Apple TV+’s Bad Sisters centers the Garvey sisters – Eva (Sharon Horgan), Bibi (Sarah Greene), Grace (Anne-Marie Duff), Ursula (Eve Birthistle), and Becka (Eve Hewson) – and their mutual hatred of Grace’s husband, John Paul (Claes Bang), rightfully dubbed by them all as “The Prick.” He makes jokes about Eva’s infertility, throws fits about his 12-year-old daughter wanting to wear a training bra (claiming it “sexualizes her”), abuses his wife emotionally; the list of awful things The Prick does goes on and on.
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The limited series goes back and forth between two timelines: the present, just after John Paul’s death; and the series of events leading up to his demise. Bad Sisters‘ first six episodes focus on how The Prick has wronged each one of the Garvey sisters. These aren’t just minor indiscretions, though – they’re varying levels of pure evil. For the sake of not spoiling the truly vile things he does to all five of them, let’s just put it this way: John Paul is exactly the kind of man that women are afraid of encountering.
And of course it’s not just the sisters he’s awful to. It’s everyone! The Prick pretends to be a ten-year-old boy online to try and get his neighbor, Roger, who runs their church’s chat room, to look like a pedophile. He’s dismissive of the people he works with. John Paul even gets their daughter’s cat killed, then makes it look like it was Grace’s fault. It’s no wonder the titular Bad Sisters want him dead. To be frank, while watching the series I had to pause several times to compose myself because of how goddamn infuriating it is to watch this man be absolutely fucking terrible just because he can.
The plot against The Prick starts with Eva and Bibi. They come up with a plan to kill John Paul and make it look like an accident and of course, it fails. With each subseqent episode, the Garvey SOTW (Sister of the Week) joins the others in the plot to murder him. As awful as The Prick is, at first it’s incredibly funny to watch the sisters murderfail over and over again. As their failures continue, though, the sisters wind up putting others in harm’s way, and the attempts get harder and harder to watch.
In the present timeline, the Bad Sisters must deal with two nosy insurance men: half-brothers Thomas (Brian Gleeson) and Matthew Clafflin (Daryl McCormack), who are just trying to “make sure Grace gets everything she’s entitled to.” Thomas is convinced the Garvey Sisters have something to do with the Prick’s death, while Matthew begrudgingly follows along. The brothers’ relationship is meant to parallel that of the sisters – who are willing to lie for one another, tag along for schemes their siblings come up with, and, you know, murder – but it lacks the depth of the Garvey sisters’ dynamic. Where the Garveys genuinely care for one another, the Clafflins only really deal with each another because they’re their sole connection to their dead father.
Duff and Bang give Bad Sisters‘ strongest performances as Grace and John Paul. Duff’s portrayal of Grace constantly, who tries constantly to be good enough for her good-for-nothing husband, is simply devastating to watch. It’s an authentic portrait of a woman torn down over and over by the person who’s supposed to love her unconditionally. As for Bang’s John Paul, the vileness of his character is so well done that you’ll have to remind yourself that he’s not actually as disgusting as The Prick.
But what makes Bad Sisters a thrilling watch is the standout female performances. Each SOTW episode gives the Garveys their individual moments to shine, some of which – no spoilers – will surely stick with viewers for a while. I can already think of a bunch that will stick with me.
The first three episodes of Bad Sisters are now streaming on Apple TV+. New episodes will be released every Friday.