The first time that I saw this Hulu series on the streaming platform, I was pleasantly surprised to see the A-list star, studded cast all in one show, which included Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Michael Shannon, Regina Hall and more. It was even more intriguing to see these iconic actors come together for an entire plot diving into the benefits and destructiveness of psychedelics.
When nine guests from different backgrounds who don’t know each other at all arrive at this well renowned resort, Masha’s safe haven, they’re all expecting to either relax or face hidden traumas that they fight to deal with. However, not all of the guests are as eager to let Masha’s inner work on their “true selves” begin. Later on in the series we begin to find out that these nine strangers aren’t exactly strangers or “perfect” in any sense at all, but a carefully calculated group pulled together by Masha who is still fighting inner demons of her very own.
After flashbacks and psychedelic trips happen that provide us with more background info on their most inner secrets, we soon learn that Masha wasn’t always this seemingly angelic and perfect figure that she presents herself to be. It is revealed that she survived a near death experience. Masha was shot at gunpoint by a stranger with one blue contact in a parking garage a few years prior. Spoiler: What’s even more surprising is that one of the nine strangers that she invited to her secluded land is the person who shot her.
Despite Masha giving the facade that she has it all together by manipulating and dosing her unknowing guests with drugs that are “safe,” the nine perfect strangers all follow the spirit guide to get them to complete the inner work mission that they traveled to her for. But, has any of Masha’s methods ever been ethical or safe? One of the nine strangers is a journalist that entered the resort for one specific reason; to find out what really happened the night one of her prior guests had a heart attack and died on her land after following through with Masha’s psychedelic plans.
In the very end, we learn that Masha’s intention for this special resort and the methods she condones is for people to heal, but as well as find and connect with her dead daughter through the journey of another person or family’s psychedelic trip while they find their loved ones. Although the show was meant to intrigue and provide a mysterious energy, there were definitely moments that were sinister.
Make sure to check out all eight episodes of the hit series and vote your reaction below!
By Kori Barnes, University of Nevada, Las Vegas