The scene opens with two women, both with position of authority, but standing in opposition to each other regarding someone. The dark-haired woman, Vera Stone, wishes for a certain student to be a part of some organization. The opposer, Margaret Crain, feels quite differently and in what appears to be a symbolic gesture thereby eliminating this contested candidate, smashes a blue rose. All is not what it seems, however, when after Crain leaves Stone picks up the smashed rose, whispers some words, and the rose is restored and placed on a desk with other invitations.
Meet Jack Morton… He’s a recent high school graduate who is trying to get into Belgrave University. When he receives a mysterious rejection… No, wait… Now it’s an acceptance letter, he then celebrates with his grandfather, but their reasons for celebrating are not entirely honest. They want revenge against someone who killed his grandfather’s daughter… Jack’s mother.
Jack gets to school and during orientation, he immediately shows some of the other students how much he knows about Belgrave by hijacking the orientation tour and showing them pretty much everything there is to know, including the tales of some mysterious organization of magic users called The Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose. Of course, as far as Jack is concerned, it’s just some club that claims to practice magic until he is kidnapped and brought into an orientation ceremony. Being that this is a University there are petty jealousies involved, and he flunks out thanks to the jealous actions of one such member. However, it isn’t long until he discovers that magic is quite real, and when he deposits the evidence of a magical killing creature he is automatically brought in as a neophyte. Unfortunately, his curiosity gets the best of him for he later finds himself in a mysterious house, and when examining the basement he finds himself unwittingly drafted into a very unusual order that has a connection to the Knights Templar, who have been at odds with the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose. Now Jack finds himself with each foot planted in a different world. Can he attain his final goal, all the while keeping his hide intact?
The Order is an original series on Netflix. It’s not an adaptation from a book or graphic novel. This is a truly original series, which immediately means that it’s free from any constraints that would exist from any source material. It’s also quite the young adult show. Think Beverly Hills 90120 meets Harry Potter. There have been other shows that tackled this type of world, namely The Magicians, but the universe building here is tightly controlled and the characters aren’t insane with all of their angst. Any silly behavior falls perfectly in line with the kind of antics one would expect from University students. The mystery of this show is evenly revealed from one episode to the next, which very early on shows how closely tied Jack’s plan for revenge is tied in with the Order. Of course, his sudden involvement and unwitting admission into the Knights of St. Christopher have done more than complicate his plans. It is now complicating his life in ways he never thought possible, especially since he has eyes for one specific magic-user named Alyssa Drake, who is both his tutor and medicum in the Order. Through the course of the series, we eventually find out what the ultimate goal is for one specific magic user as he seeks to learn the most powerful incantation in existence, which creates for a very thrilling ride into the underground battle between different supernatural factions.
The cast is pretty good here, starting with Jake Manley as Jack Morton. With only 26 acting credits under his belt, he is quite the natural and shows great potential as a very serious actor. The role of Jack allows him to act out a wide variety of ways, which proves that in time he could probably act with great ability in just about any modern genre of film made today. Then there is Sarah Grey as Alyssa Drake. For an actress with 27 roles, she too shows that she has some pretty strong acting chops, and the on-screen chemistry between her and Manley as Jack is quite convincing. There are more than a myriad of secondary characters, but a few that are worth mentioning are Katharine Isabelle as Vera Stone, the Temple Magus of the Hermetic Order of the Rose. She is comically stern at times, intimidating at others. Adam DiMarco plays Randall Carpio, a friend to Jack with his own secret that is revealed once he “initiates” Jack into this Knight Order. Devery Jacobs as Lilith Bathroy and Thomas Elms as Hamish Duke round out this chapter of the Knights of St. Christopher, and combined this little troupe of DiMarco, Jacobs, and Elms each brings something incredibly unique that blends beautifully together.
Thankfully most of their scenes are together because the way they play off of each other is delightful, especially with Lilith when she remembers something of her past that she easily wishes remained forgotten. Lastly, there is Jack’s grandfather, Peter Morton, and he is played by the practically legendary Matt Frewer. Having cut his teeth with Max Headroom, Frewer is no stranger to horror or sci-fi, but in many of those cases the roles were somewhat offbeat. Here he is as a grief-stricken man who has never been able to get over the loss of his daughter. It was unusual to see this range of acting from Frewer, who has been called out more than once for his nutty performances. Nonetheless, he was wonderfully solid in this series.
As exciting as this series was, it did something that was beyond shocking for its final episode. In fact, it was downright disappointing. It’s sad when a series that has an amazing run of episodes completely goes off the rails during its last moments and delivers a story point that completely takes the steam and energy out of where the series was potentially heading. Now at this time, there is no word if a green light has been announced for season 2, but given how season 1 ended I would almost wish that there not be a season 2, for as awful as the first season’s ending was, to come up with a season 2 with the same players would undermine season 1’s ending (as poor as it was). It’s almost as if the writers thought they were about to paint themselves into a corner, did something that they believed to be really amazing, and in the end, painted themselves into that very corner they had hoped not to do. This is a series that Keith and I were enjoying thoroughly (we mainlined the entire series over the weekend), but once the final credits for the last episode began to scroll all we could do is curse and bitterly complain at how disappointingly bad the ending was.
For its extremely poor ending, I give The Order only 3 out of 5 Blue Roses.