Entertainment

Top of the Lake's female characters are unpredictable, just like women in real life: Schneller

Some viewers have cooled towards season 2 of Jane Campion's show but Johanna Schneller likes the fact that the characters perplex her.

Season 2 of Top of the Lake, starring Elisabeth Moss, left, and Gwendoline Christie, has received some virulently bad reviews.

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Season 2 of Top of the Lake, starring Elisabeth Moss, left, and Gwendoline Christie, has received some virulently bad reviews.

The Show: Top of the Lake: China Girl, Season 2, Episode 2 (CBC)

The Moment: The odd conversation

Sydney police detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) and her new partner, Const. Miranda Hilmarson (Gwendoline Christie), are watching video of a legal escort, Cinnamon, who may have been murdered.

Miranda zooms in on Cinnamon’s boots. “Prada,” she declares.

“Could be fake?” Robin asks.

“No, they’re real,” Miranda says.

“How many guys would that be?” Robin asks.

“For her?” Miranda replies. “One.” She pauses. “Have you ever thought about being an escort?”

“No,” Robin says. “Have you?”

“I’ve had offers,” Miranda says. “I’ve thought about it, because the money is so good. But the work — a bit bleak.”

Showrunner Jane Campion got raves for this series’ first season. Season 2 has received some virulently bad reviews, and I think conversations such as this may be a reason.

It’s odd. You don’t quite know what to make of it. Physically, petite Moss and extremely tall Christie (you’ll recognize her from Game of Thrones) are opposites, but they don’t conform to any type. Similarly, Nicole Kidman, playing a mother whose teenage daughter is throwing her life away, doesn’t shy away from being angry; and Alice Englert, playing the daughter (she’s Campion’s daughter in real life), is relentlessly difficult.

In other words, some viewers don’t care for these women. They don’t get them. They can’t warm to them.

But for me, they’re like jolts of electricity, precisely because they frustrate and perplex me. I binge-watched this season in high-wire excitement because — as with real humans — I had no idea what they were going to say or do next.

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