I’m so used to watching series featuring gals dispatching biker demons, Second World War spies, vikings attacking Paris and serial killers slaughtering small-town folk that Sensitive Skin made an immediate impact.
Returning Sunday on HBO Canada for Season 2, the Kim Cattrall-led drama doesn’t feature a gun owned by Wyatt Earp, Nazis or longboat battles. It’s a slow, spare character analysis of a woman trying to find her place in the world. The first season ended with Davina Jackson (Cattrall) at a crossroads in her life. Unhappy in her life and marriage to Al (Don McKellar), things were shaken up when Al suffered a heart attack and then flatlined in the season’s closing moments.
Now, picking up after that incident, Davina is moving on. But how? Would finding a new place make her happy? Would living with sister Veronica (Joanna Gleason) and brother-in-law Roger (Colm Feore) fill a hole in her life? She doesn’t know, though Theodore (Clé Bennett) goes a long way to helping her come to a decision. And while Davina is certainly the focus of Sensitive Skin, I was constantly drawn to Theodore. Sure, he deals drugs outside of her condo building, but the guy definitely has some viewpoints on life and is dead-on about many of them. (“They’re building one of those bath bomb places across the street, so you’d have to be smelling that hippy shit all day. That ain’t no way to live, right?” is one of his sage statements.)
Several segments in Episode 1 are very much about words left unsaid. Rather than fill a scene with conversation, head writer Bob Martin’s scripts boast precious seconds slowed down and set to a simple horn and strings as Davina quietly contemplates her next life move. She caresses a kitchen counter here, stares out a ceiling to floor window there; you can see the internal discussion going on in Davina’s head without her having to say the words aloud. It sets Sensitive Skin apart from other series, and I like that. A lot.
Sensitive Skin airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET/MT on HBO Canada.