Apple TV+ has repeatedly shown that it is a streamer willing to take many kinds of risks when it comes to the types of stories it’s willing to tell. One notable example is the new series Roar, an anthology drama focusing on the experiences–both joys and sorrows–of women living in the modern world.
Each episode focuses on a number of different characters, all of whom demonstrate various levels of intelligence as they navigate the fraught territory of their lives. All of them, however, show the importance of staying true to oneself even under extraordinary pressure.
When Amelia’s arc begins, she is a successful model but, after her marriage, she becomes little more than a trophy for her husband, consigned to a shelf for him to admire and then ignore. However, once she escapes from him–one of the series’ most liberating moments–she goes on to found her own business. The conclusion of her story demonstrates the extent to which she has always been a fiercely intelligent person, even if she hasn’t always been able to see it or make use of her skills.d
As one of the two major characters in the final episode, Millie plays a key role in her friend Jane’s attempts to avenge her father’s death. While she may not be quite as skilled as Jane is at the skills needed to survive in the brutal world of the American West, she does have a keen emotional intelligence that makes her a valuable ally. Indeed, she’s the one who proves able to concoct the perfect vengeance for the man that killed Jane’s father, sentencing him to live with his guilt rather than killing him outright.
From the moment she appears in her episode, it’s clear that Jane is the type of person who isn’t willing to remain content with the world as it is. She rebels against her father and, after his death, she sets out to avenge him. She has a no-nonsense demeanor and, just as importantly, she clearly has a great deal of skill when it comes to dealing with horses. As it turns out, her own form of intelligence meshes well with that of Millie, which is precisely what makes them such a good partnership.
Elisa has one of the more unusual storylines in the series, since she ends up having a relationship with a duck. However, as strange as her story is, she still shows throughout her episode that she is a very intelligent person.
Though it takes her some time to actually figure out what she wants to do with her life, she has the type of perceptiveness that allows her to realize, before it’s too late, just how much damage her terrible relationship is inflicting upon her.
Even though she only appears in one episode, Nicole Kidman proves, as she always does in her best roles, why she is so respected as an actress. Her character, Robin, is someone who has a keen sort of emotional intelligence, the kind that allows her to stay close to her sons and, just as importantly, to do what’s best for her mother, who is beginning to suffer memory loss from dementia. Though their relationship is at times difficult, it is Robin’s emotional acuity that allows her to bridge the gap (at least to an extent).
Like the other women who appear in this series, Anu feels dissatisfied with her life, in particular the way that her husband of many years seems to ignore her desires and her needs. Ultimately, she is the type of intelligent person who realizes that she doesn’t have to stay in a relationship in which she is unhappy, which is why she returns him to the store.
At the same time, she is also intelligent enough to know she’s even more unhappy without him, which is what allows her to admit to her own feelings and pave the way to their reconciliation.
Issa Rae has already established a powerful reputation for herself as the star of Insecure, one of the best HBO shows of the 2010s. Here, she plays a similarly intelligent character, a woman named Wanda, whose book is being obtained by Hollywood. However, she soon finds that they don’t really value her input. While she’s at first far too willing to put up with being sidelined, she ultimately shows that she’s intelligent enough to seize control of her own destiny and her own career.
Of all of the characters that appear in Roar, Rosey’s is arguably the most tragic, since she is suffering from dementia that will eventually rob her of her memories. Nevertheless, she still shows that she is one of the series’ most intelligent characters. She has a keen perceptiveness that not only allows her to see the full significance of what’s happening to her–a terrible thing for anyone to face–but also to understand her daughter in a way that few other people truly do. In doing so, her episode becomes a haunting story of mother/daughter relationships.
Alison Brie–famous for being one of the stars of GLOW, one of Netflix’s best series–brings her considerable charm to her character Rebecca. This young woman has the unenviable job of trying to solve her own murder, stuck as she is in limbo until and unless it’s resolved. Fortunately, she is intelligent enough to see the ways that the many pieces of evidence add up and, once she discovers the killer, she leaves the evidence for a female police officer to uncover.
Ambia, like the other characters in the series, feels the particular stresses of living in the modern world. Like many other women, she aims to have it all, both in her professional and personal lives. She is, of course, a phenomenally intelligent woman, which has allowed her to achieve the pinnacle of business success. Fortunately, her intelligence also is what allows her to come to terms with the guilt she has internalized to such an extent that her body has begun eating itself.
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