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Please don’t judge Blood Sisters by Chief Daddy 2

Onoshe Nwabuikwu

BY Onoshe Nwabuikwu

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It’s been a few weeks of Blood Sisters-mania. The limited drama series directed by Biyi Bandele and Kenneth Gyang; and produced by EbonyLife Studios, premiered on May 5, 2022 on Netflix. Hopefully, some of the frenzy has settled down enough for me to add my bit. I doubt that there are many people waiting to hear from me before watching Blood Sisters but having weighed in on Chief Daddy 2 from the same production company, EbonyLife Studios, in this piece where I posed Questions for producers of Chief Daddy 2-it seems only right to report that something much, much better has come out from the same stables that gave us Chief Daddy 2.

This is also the reason both films are mentioned in the headline. It was the one way I could think of to grab your attention. I mean “Why I like Blood Sisters” didn’t seem the best headline after three weeks of the film trending. I couldn’t also say “Have you seen Blood Sisters?” just as I could hardly ask if it’s the best movie of 2022 or whether it’s better than another movie. For the record,

I don’t like comparisons. For what it’s worth, all the Chief Daddy 2 comparisons will be at the end of this piece. If I wanted, I could pick and poke holes but all I want to communicate, is that I like Blood Sisters. This is an important point for those who may find the rest of this piece too long to read.

Blood Sisters, in case you’ve been away on Elon Musk’s space jet, is the 4-episode limited series on Netflix, a whodunit that’s not really a mystery to the viewer.

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The viewer knows who the killers are. The real suspense is whether they’ll manage to escape the law, legal and jungle justice. The movie tells the story of Sarah Duru (Ini Dima Okojie) who’s been enduring emotional and physical abuse from her soon-to-be husband, Kola Ademola (Deyemi Okanlawon), favourite son of Uduak (Kate Henshaw), matriarch of the Ademola family.

It’s their wedding weekend and things are not looking any better as bride-to-be has taken a blow to her stomach. Sarah gets no support from her mother (Uche Jombo) who’s more concerned about how their family business run by husband (Keppy Ekpenyong-Bassey) can benefit from the Ademola clout.

Anyhow, what’s ‘one slap’ compared to what the family stands to gain? However, there’s best friend and maid of honour Kemi Sanya (Nancy Isime) who sticks closer than family à la Biblical terms. Kemi thinks her friend should call the impending wedding off. Well, on the D-day, there’s a murder.

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The groom is nowhere to be found. Has he been killed by the hired assassin on the prowl at the wedding venue, who wasn’t trying to blend in at all? Did the bride decide enough is enough and took matters into her own hands? I’m not sure I’m doing a good job of not giving you spoilers, but you do get the gist. The idea is to make curious enough to check out the movie for yourself.

Some have tagged Blood Sisters “the first original Netflix series” but as I’ve said in the past, Netflix has too many recurring ‘firsts.’ Only in Africa! I just can’t keep up with all of Netflix’s first original series. If it helps, the streaming company should massively increase the number of projects it produces so tha 6 years after setting shop in Nigeria, we wouldn’t still be talking about “Netflix’s first original drama series” or whatnot. Which isn’t unlike some journalists’ penchant for writing ‘foremost (industrialist) this,’ or ‘foremost (politician) that.’ How important are these tags anyway?

Back to Blood Sisters and why you shouldn’t judge it by the sour taste left behind, at the beginning of 2022, by Chief Daddy 2 (directed by Niyi Akinmolayan); this piece as I said earlier is essentially why and what I like about the movie. Blood Sisters has some of my favourite actors: Kate Henshaw is eerily majestic as the cold hearted snobbish Ademola matriarch (a prequel might be necessary to explain to viewers what drove this character to be so mean even to her own children. Ramsey as Nouah as Uncle B is a man of very few words but an efficient communicator. His body language and minimal facial expressions speak louder than words. I won’t talk about his vintage car that makes him stand out as he’s on the hunt for Kola’s alleged killers.

Now, let’s talk about chemistry between actors: the one between Ini and Nancy. This is very believable as they can pass for real life friends and more importantly, their acting is very organic and it’s not too show-offish. And there’s the duo of Kehinde Bankole (Yinka) and Gabriel Afolayan (Femi Ademola) acting as husband and wife. As much as I like their chemistry, can’t say I like their graphic ‘nymphomanic’ sex, or rather the amount of screen time that takes. Lest I forget, Genoveva Umeh as Timeyin (Timehin?) Ademola the struggling substance addicted daughter whose mother calls ‘useless’.

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She bears an uncanny resemblance to her screen mother Kate Henshaw. Daniel Etim-Effiong as Akin Bassey, best man, has the measured temperament of the best friend who discovers his friend wasn’t as good as he thought he was. Finally on cast, I think Sonia Irabor (Tamara) Dr. Adeboye’s (Tope Tedela) accomplice in the organ trafficking business, deserved more screen time. Perhaps that’ll happen if there’s a sequel or even prequel?

And while we are on the subject of sequel, I’m okay with Blood Sisters not having a sequel or prequel. I mean someone could blow our minds, come back with a sequel where it turns out the groom didn’t die, etc, etc…However, I have yet to see where that ends well. After all, there were more complaints against Chief Daddy 2 than its first outing. I suppose it’s easier to pass off a solo movie as something one can wave off, but a sequel reopens old wounds and can sometimes make things worse.

As I end this, if you’ve read up to this point, you’re patient indeed. In the event you’re one of those who resolved early this year to vote with your feet and stay off Ebonylife productions when Ebonylife served viewers the unpalatable ‘breakfast’ that was Chief Daddy 2, you must take Blood Sisters on its own merit.

Incidentally, I didn’t read a lot of negative reviews about Blood Sisters. I’m not sure if this is just the kind of people I follow or something. But I saw more of reactions against supposed negative reviews. This came across as people attempting to police how others should respond or talk about Blood Sisters. I don’t understand why anyone would expend so much energy on whipping everyone into line considering the massive positive reactions the movie was and still is getting.

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Why the focus on the negative reviews and reactions that are clearly in the minority? Far be it for me to admonish anyone to grow a thick skin. Suffice it to say we all enjoy different freedoms. The freedom to create doesn’t remove the freedom to react or not.

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