Netflix Review: “The Queen’s Gambit”


Jenna Wiley, Editor-in-Chief

The new hit Netflix Original “The Queen’s Gambit” is a mini-drama series that is also a huge coming of age story for a young troubled woman, Beth Harmon. This show deals with mature themes, such as substance abuse and addition, death, and sex so be aware of that when you hit play. 


The show begins with a young Beth Harmon, now an orphan after a car crash that killed her mother (more on that later), coming across a chess board and the orphanages custodian Mr. Shaibel. The chess match ensues and it is apparent that Beth is unnaturally good at the game and it soon becomes her only escape in the orphanage. 


As her life continues in the orphanage, she becomes addicted to the medication that is given to all the children. She then becomes, in her mind, dependent on the pills to be good at chess and thus starts a lifelong addiction. 


Once Beth eventually gets adopted, and her talent at chess is thrown into the public eye during her teenage years. She plays at a local high school tournament as her first ever real match, and she just keeps going up from there. 


The show follows the theme of a fantastic sports tale but is also a story about a woman succeeding in a male-dominated world (much like Queen on a chess board). Beth rises in notoriety and fame in the chess world on a steady diet of alcohol and drugs. 


We watch Beth compete in tournament after tournament. She wins some, loses some, has a few hookups here and there, until she is met with the number one player in the world: Borgov. The two face off for the second time in the tournament for all the marbles so to speak. The world championship. 


I won’t spoil the end for you in case this review has tempted you to watch the show, but let’s just say I am happy with the ending. 


“The Queen’s Gambit” does a fantastic job of handling substance abuse and addition in a very real way. It isn’t romanticized or seen as something “cool”. Overall I’d give this show an 8/10 and I definitely recommend it!