Chance: Slow Melodic Thriller That Burns (Review)

Hugh Laurie as Eldon Chance

Hulu has already approved Chance, a vehicle for Hugh Laurie, for two seasons. The first two episodes aired Wednesday. One instantly thinks  of House,  but after that brief sense of deja vu, the series moves melodically into a burning waltz. A thriller that feels a bit noir and is a compelling look at one neuropsychiatrists own obsession.

The series starts with Chance reading his own notes regarding patients. Eldon is going through a divorce and having money struggles due to his soon-to-be ex wife’s failure to declare additional income on their shared taxes.

Set in San Francisco Chance’s patients are all victims of random attacks, various mental ailments and patterns of destruction. The city is violent, random and rather frightening.

The doctor decides to sell some matching antique furniture that requires some work. He meets a repairman/craftsman named D. The man is a mountain and  could almost be a Californian Golem.

Chance is asked to look in on another doctor’s patient, Jaclyn. The woman was given a concussion by her abusive spouse, Raymond who is a detective. Jaclyn  claims that after the injury she has developed a split personality; Jaclyn Black.

When he stops by the hospital to see Jaclyn, Chance meets her husband. The homicide detective is an aggressive alpha male.

D is another type of alpha male.  He takes Eldon out into a bad section of town. The large man adopts the posture of a someone who has a bad arm and leg.  D tells Chance to take out some money from an ATM and three men follow them.

In a blind alley, the men  attack and D takes all three out quickly. They are handled efficiently and violently. Later Chance finds blood on his shirt.

The  first two episodes of Chance have a somber and somewhat downbeat feel to them.  The patients whose files are read out by the doctor are all random victims who are still paying for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A man who sees the Mexican driver who injured him in various parts of the city and attacking him, even though the real driver left the country after the accident. A woman whose father was decapitated beside her in a car crash  kills herself.

Another  young woman is attacked on the sidewalk by a mentally challenged man. As a result she becomes homeless and refuses treatment. Jaclyn is put in the hospital by her husband again.

(Each of the case files that Chance reads out includes whether the patient is right, or left handed, or,  in at least one case, ambidextrous.)

Chance is a serious and very straightforward character who agonizes over selling his antique furniture with altered metal work to increase the price. After the sale he calls the furniture dealer who brokered the deal and tells him he wants to cancel the sale.

This action speaks volumes about the man.

He is developing an infatuation with Jaclyn and her case. Blackstone’s previous psychiatrist was murdered; stabbed over 43 times and the crime was never solved. Chance believes her husband killed the woman.

At the end of the second episode, Chance meets Raymond Blackstone again and it is not a pleasant experience. It seems that Jaclyn, D, Raymond and Eldon are all heading to a crossroads of sorts and  what happens there will be a life changer for everyone.

Hulu have introduced a series with interesting characters in a world that  seems somewhat downbeat or at the very least humorless. The slow pace works in the show’s favor and Laurie, as usual, is infinitely watchable.

Chance airs Wednesdays on Hulu.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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