The moment we learned that there is a series by the name Turn of the Tide and that it is about a group of friends making it big through an unexpected opportunity, we could almost tell what the series was going to be like before even watching it. Once upon a time, there was a film called No Country for Old Men where a man came across unforeseen wealth, but along with that, he also invited trouble into his life with the people looking for what he had found. Since then, we have seen multiple adaptations of the same story across formats, countries, and genres. We would also say that it is embarrassing how similar the stories are to each other. There is one guy who takes on the role of the leader, there is a love interest, and then there are the other friends whose personalities change according to the needs of the plot or to move it forward. There will be a lot of running around, some high stakes, and finally, a deal or two with the devil that will miraculously turn around at the last minute.
All of these assumptions were formed even before we started watching Turn of the Tide. None of these mean to say that the series is not well made or doesn’t have its heart in the right place. But unless and until you have a taste for this particular niche, it just doesn’t feel as exciting. We could have also done without the love triangle. It was obvious that the makers wanted us to pick sides, but it was quite the twist that neither Silvia nor Rafael was interesting enough for Eduardo.
Swerving away from our assumptions, one difference we noticed right away was the personality of Eduardo. Unlike what we expected, he was not always self-assured, but was quite scared and on edge regarding his circumstances. He was also enterprising and knew to take the right risk, and this, combined with his humility, made us empathetic to a character like him for the first time. We wish we had gotten to know more about him outside of his harsh circumstances. We are also not in awe of the fact that half the characters always seemed to be under the influence of drugs, and that is what gave them their personalities, be it the helplessness, the paranoia, or the straight-up evil. Additionally, for all the grass they were constantly smoking, we never saw them eat any food. In a way, the setting takes us back to Narcos, as some of the visuals of Turn of the Tide should have been in it. Selling drugs in plastic cups like milkshakes was a grim touch, and we were confused between being shocked and being incredulous.
The episodes move fast, and we consider that a worthy merit in favour of Turn of the Tide. When something new is not being attempted, pacing makes a lot of difference in how interesting it can be. But an unintentionally funny part of the series is how Eduardo’s father reminds us of Jesus. We also don’t understand Rafael’s pants. Both of these aspects are laughable, which adds to the comedy in the series.
Something about Turn of the Tide is that it genuinely tries to be entertaining and succeeds to a moderate extent, instead of being another product of OTT spaces’ relentless addition of meaningless content. Be it the business school route it takes to explain the character’s actions or the way the actors really commit to what they are doing, this series keeps things going. Albano Jeronimo, who plays Arruda, is a special favorite of ours. His swag, his steel teeth, his ruthlessness, and his unhinged threats add a layer of adrenaline-fueled urgency to the narrative. We were especially fond of how he bargained with the children for ice cream in return for finding drugs in the ocean. Also, not many people look good on screen smoking and sporting purposefully tacky blonde highlights, but Arruda does it well. He is the only character, other than Eduardo, who has the foresight to go looking for the source of the white powder. It is a different matter that he is somewhat late.
For some reason, Turn of the Tide is making us think of Outer Banks a lot. Maybe it is the similar setting of both series and the fact that the protagonists find themselves neck-deep in trouble they keep inviting over themselves, partly due to need and somewhat due to greed. At one point, it is clear that letting go of the wealth or cutting a deal would be better for them all than to keep pursuing it. But that is what happens when you take too many risks and start aligning your life around the dreams you have always had.
The narrator had said in the series many times over that nothing good ever happened on the island. We would have liked a clearer explanation of that. Was it because of the drug business, or was it something else? All the protagonists seemed to have had certain dreams of greatness. Eduardo wanted to study, Rafael wanted to play in the big leagues, Silvia wanted to make a mark in show business, and Carlinhos was looking for love. Circumstances stunted their growth, but how did the larger culture of the island play into it? In Outer Banks, the entire series took place on a remote island, much like Turn of the Tide, but we saw a clear social divide there in terms of wealth and opportunities. Silvia, at best, seemed comfortable but not swimming in money. Maybe the reason we wanted to see that was so we would know the source of aspiration for Eduardo. What was the motivation for him to try and outearn his needs by putting himself and others in such danger? This question doesn’t need answering, but it would have been nice to see that.
Overall, cliche or not, Turn of the Tide is interesting enough to deserve a chance. Do not be put off by the first half hour the way we were because it gets better. If for nothing else, we would recommend that you watch it for Arrudo.