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'Undone,' From the Creators of 'BoJack Horseman,' is Original and Captivating
September 17, 2019  | By David Hinckley

When people say we shouldn’t take time for granted, they generally mean we should appreciate every moment of our stay in this finite life. 

Amazon Prime’s new series Undone, whose eight episodes rolled out on Friday (8/13), has a different message about the downside of taking time for granted.

Our heroine Alma (Rosa Salazar) comes out of a coma, following a near-fatal car accident, to hear an offer from her late father Jacob (Bob Odenkirk) that would enable her to experience time in a whole new way. 

To oversimplify slightly, call it non-linear. 

Whereas for most of us time proceeds in order, one minute after the next, Alma could move to a world in which time could constantly shift among past, present and future, at varying lengths and sometimes in random order. 

Jacob has his own reason for offering Alma this option, which for graphic purposes on the show sometimes involves splotches, blackouts, and weird visual effects. 

Jacob died two decades ago when Alma was six, and her younger sister Becca (Angelique Cabral) was about four. Their mother Camila (Constance Marie) told them it was a car accident, but when Alma comes out of her coma and sees Jacob in her hospital room, he tells her that wasn’t true – that he died in another unspecified way and that if Alma agrees to live in this time-shifting twilight world, she can change history and save him. 

What little girl who lost her Dad wouldn’t leap at the chance to bring him back?  

Nor is Jacob’s potential resurrection the only lure for Alma here. She was complaining before the accident that her life had stagnated. 

Same boyfriend, same breakfast, same commute, same job. At 28, she said, she was terrified there will never be any more than this.

When Becca announces she’s engaged to Reed, a nice white-bread guy who also happens to be wealthy, Alma asks why she would want to commit herself to a life that’s so predictable and so inevitably boring. 

Becca replies that while Alma talks about living a free life, she never takes the steps actually to do it. 

Perhaps chastened by this scolding, Alma breaks up with her live-in boyfriend Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay). This doesn’t affect the plotline of the show, however, because when she comes out of her coma, she doesn’t remember that. She treats Sam as if they remain a robust couple. 

Between memory lapses, frequent conversations with her dead father and a series of nightmares about accidents and people around her morphing into skeletons, Alma gets an extensive free sample of a life unconstrained by linear time.

In a way, it would seem to be just what Alma had been wishing for: a bold leap into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable and seemingly impossible things might lie within reach. 

Yet still, for all the contempt in which she seems to hold the status quo, Alma shares the powerful human reluctance to give up things with which she has become familiar and which she still enjoys. 

Undone asks, among other things, what price freedom, and what consequences it could bring. Alma gets to test-drive the freedom she has always said she wanted, making those questions more than theoretical and their answers more than a little bit complicated. 

Undone uses the umbrella of adult animation to include a small sprinkling of graphic language and imagery. But the “adult” designation refers more to the show’s core subject matter, which would likely feel disturbing to most children. 

In fact, it could also feel that way to some grownups. Or it could feel just plain weird. For those willing to accept the premise, creators Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy have developed a series whose freshness sets it apart. 

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