Welcome to Sutton Grove. The land of Friday night football games, late-night bonfires, underage drinking, and cheerleaders galore.
It’s a Midwestern town that’s seen better days, and like many small towns across the states, it has been hit hard by the wayward economy.
But Sutton Grove and its decline are just a piece of the story Dare Me Season 1 Episode 1 begins to tell.
Mainstream movies about cheerleading tend to air on the side of comedy, but the world of Dare Me takes a different approach with the sport.
The world of competitive cheerleading, much like high school football, is a business. A lot of money is pumped into these programs, and high expectations are placed.
Colette French is recruited and brought in to bring the program to prominence and, in turn, help turn the town around. It's an awful lot of pressure to put on a young woman and it's unclear is Colette is truly ready for the challenge.
First game is next Friday. What do I see? Spray tans. Gummy bear thighs. Backyard tumblers. But I don't see a squad. And I do not see my top girl.Colette
She most certainly does seem ready to go toe-to-toe with her squad though.
From the second she arrives, Colette makes it clear that it's her team and everyone needs to fall in line. She doesn't care to be the coach that is liked and becomes best friends with her girls.
This attitude leads her to be liked by some, like our resident narrator Addy, and despised by others, like party animal Beth.
Beth and Addy seem like mismatched friendship right from the start.
You can tell that Addy has it together, and she wants bigger and better than the stifled life she's known. And on the flip side, Beth's life appears to be in chaos and being the captain of the cheerleading team, and the top girl is one of the main things that bring her happiness.
Beth's home life is a serious disaster, with her dad having moved literally across the street to live with his new wife and new daughter, leaving her with a mother who doesn't seem very present.
Plus her Dad is the bigshot in town and the man looking to capitalize on the success of his daughters.
Considering this was only the pilot, there's an opportunity for character growth down the line, but as it stands right now, Beth doesn't seem to possess any redeemable qualities.
She drinks and drives, she tries to sabotage her little sister, and she recklessly shoots a gun at a bonfire amongst her peers.
It's clear that she's teetering on the edge, but it's also clear that everyone around her has their own issues to deal with.
Addy is the closest to Beth, but even she appears to be worn out by Beth.
The flashforward in the beginning shows the two girls are no longer on great terms, and you have to wonder what leads Addy to her breaking point.
It could have something to do with what they witnessed at the episode's end and how Beth deals with the situation.
Little is known about Sarge Will Mosley throughout the episode, except the fact that he appears to frequent the high school looking for recruits and all the teenage girls find him dreamy.
He also appears to be a good man when he picks up Beth and Addy from the bonfire and escorts them home safely.
But there seems like be a small chink in his armor now that we know he's having an affair with Colette.
Colette and her husband Matt don't necessarily seem unhappy, but you do get the sense that something isn't quite right.
The only time Colette ever seems to perk up or look remotely happy is when she's smiling at her phone. And we can now presume that those smiles are in regards to Will and not her husband.
Considering Colette and Will both grew up in the area, there's surely some backstory to their relationship that we need to give this storyline some legs.
The most intriguing thing about the affair was the fact that Beth and Addy saw the two hooking up and Beth took a picture.
With Beth and Colette at odds, Beth suddenly has a leg up on her new coach with that kind of information.
We know things come to a head over the next few months, with the flashforward showing a frazzled Addy with blood-stained hands driving by the French's house before something flails itself onto her windshield.
We presumably have a whole season to piece that mystery together, but it's easy to see that with all these power-hungry individuals stuck together in this tiny town things are bound to unravel at some point.
The jury is out on whether or not this turns into a mystery we care about, but the pilot makes a strong case to at least stay tuned in.
Odds and Ends
- The soundtrack is fire, as is the choreography of the routines. Hopefully, there will be more of that moving forward.
- There were a few cringe-worthy moments sprinkled throughout, but none more so than the image of three teenage girls cruising around town drinking aimlessly.
- Welcome back to our screens Matt Donovan, er, Zach Roerig. It's been far too long.
- No one stood out as being particularly likable which could be an issue moving forward. It's hard to get invested in people you don't like.
- Yes, I am aware that Dare Me is based on a well-known novel, but I haven't read it. So if my theories are off or I'm missing something, I apologize in advance. I'm experiencing this world for the very first time.
Dare Me has a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to seeing where things are headed. This was a good start for the series and I'll be interested to see the character development and the mystery unfold.
What did you guys think about the pilot?
What are you looking forward to seeing throughout the season?
Early guesses for what happens in the future?
Drop a line in the comments so we can discuss it all. And please watch Dare Me online so we can have some conversations this season!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.