Prime Video’s Workplace Horror-Comedy The Consultant Loses Its Edge | TV/Streaming

In a way that’s effectively more subtle than certain power moves, “The Consultant” shows how individuals like Craig and Elaine would be caught up in the spell, especially with the promise of upward mobility, being close to the boss. With a vampire’s grace, he teases conversations of understanding to gain access to their personal lives. Craig, initially trying to buddy up, has a wild ride with Regus, which helps Regus later get closer to his progressively distant fiancée Patti (Aimee Carrero). And in the middle of Craig and Elaine’s investigations into his background, Elaine chooses to look past many eccentricities, especially if it means a way to spruce up her resume. No sci-fi-grade mind control is needed for these gradual developments—one of the show’s more incisive statements—but these games can’t give “The Consultant” the speed it needs. 

Every now and then, “The Consultant” has moments that achieve its desired grace as an allegory, like one mid-season episode that focuses on a side character who sacrifices so much for Faustian work. A hand dropping one valuable item into fire says a great deal, in a fashion specific to the tone that Basgallop and his directors (Matt Shakman, Karyn Kusama, Charlotte Brändström, and others) conjure. But the same can’t be said for the outrageous stuff that follows in the next scene, caught up in symbolism and also the show’s need for more chaos. 

Across its eight, half-hour episodes, “The Consultant” struggles to build much of a plot out of its symbol, sometimes resorting to using characters like prompts in a video game; other witnesses at CompWare, mostly just sit around with scant collective sentiments like non-playable characters. For all of Patoff’s alarming movements, there isn’t a thick enough atmosphere of chaos in this office space, which is then paralleled with the creation of a baffling video game, a long-winded metaphor-in-the-making about characters who walk on glass. 

Basgallop has mentioned in interviews that he sees this concept running for more seasons, which is bizarre in itself. No spoilers here, but the significance of the show’s concept is already hammered in well enough. Whether it does get another shot, “The Consultant” has only limited power as a metaphor, and even less so as an obvious precautionary tale. 

All of season one was screened for review. “The Consultant” premieres in full on Prime Video tomorrow, February 24th. 

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