‘Shining Girls’ Season 1 Episode 1 Recap: ‘Cutline’

Apple TV+’s original series, Shining Girls, is here. And with it, a recap of the premiere episode. In Shining Girls Season 1 Episode 1: “Cutline,” Elisabeth Moss plays Kirby Mazrachi, a young woman whose life is forever changed after a brutal attack. Living in a reality that seems to change constantly, Kirby works with a journalist to get answers.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Shining Girls Season 1 Episode 1: “Cutline”]

Elisabeth Moss as Kirby in 'Shining Girls' Season 1 Episode 1: 'Cutline'
Elisabeth Moss in ‘Shining Girls’ Season 1 Episode 1: ‘Cutline’ | Apple TV+

‘Shining Girls’ Season 1 Episode 1 recap: A woman found dead appears to have a connection to Kirby

“Cutline,” which began streaming on April 29, 2022, along with two additional episodes, according to Apple TV+, begins with a moment in 1964. A girl, presumably Kirby, sits on a stoop playing when a man (Jamie Bell) walks by. He strikes up a conversation before pulling the wings from a bee, saying, “First we find its shine, then we take it away.” Then the man gives her a small pony figurine and walks away. 

Fast forward to 1992. Kirby lives in Chicago. Her days there are numbered because she’s moving to Florida. In the meantime, she’s finishing up her last few days at the Chicago Sun-Times. She works in a dreary office with leaky pipes. Everything on her desk is just so, from her ruler and pen to her mug. 

Meanwhile, a reporter at the newspaper named Dan (Wagner Moura)  discovers the police have found a woman’s body in the pipes below the city. As he tries to learn more, Kirby meets with a detective who says she and the woman may be connected. Meaning the same person who brutally attacked her could also be the person who murdered this woman.

Kirby looks through images of possible suspects. But, as she tells the detective, the man who did this to her is “everybody, he’s nobody, he’s all the time.” 

Another woman is attacked 

Phillipa Soo , featured in a recap of 'Shining Girls' Season 1 Episode 1: 'Cutline' looks on
Phillipa Soo in ‘Shining Girls’ Season 1 Episode 1: ‘Cutline’ | Apple TV+

The book-to-TV adaptation continues with another attack. While Kirby confronts a suspect, Jin-Sook, played by Dopesick’s Phillipa Soo, is attacked. However, there are a series of strange, seemingly innocuous events leading up to it. 

First, there’s a bee with no wings at her workstation. Later, Jin-Sook gets stuck on the roof of the Adler Planetarium unsure how her red umbrella ended up nearby. Then a man — the same one from the stoop in 1964 — talks to her after a presentation at the planetarium. Finally, the man returns to the planetarium one night and attacks Jin-Sook like Kirby. 

Kirby wonders what’s real and what’s not 

The Shining Girls recap continues with Kirby questioning her present. What’s real and what’s not? It’s something she’s confronted with at various times throughout the premiere episode. As she says at one point, it starts small. For example, Kirby returns to her desk only to find someone else there. After a brief moment of confusion, she realizes she went to the wrong desk. 

Later, she goes to apartment 2b where she lives with her mother, Rachel (Amy Brenneman). Her key doesn’t fit in the lock. A man answers the door and her apartment looks the same. Except it’s not hers. So she checks her license only to realize she lives one floor up. 

The confusion doesn’t stop there. When Kirby opens the apartment door she finds a cat instead of a dog. Rachel’s nowhere to be found. Instead, Marcus (Chris Chalk), a co-worker is there to give her a hug as she steps inside. 

A new episode of Shining Girls begins streaming on Apple TV+ every Friday. 

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. 

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