The Regime – Victory Day

Victory Above All Adversity, Foreign and Domestic.

Kate Winslet absolutely ‘dictates‘ every scene she’s in with an iron fist in the debut episode of HBO’s The Regime. Winslet exudes absolute grace cloaked in destructive malice as she plays Chancellor Elena Vernham, leader of a Middle European Nation about to enter into the world stage. Her exquisite acting performance truly shines in every scene, though in her debut episode, she is still somewhat portrayed as powerful yet inexperienced in the world of global politics.

It’s no wonder the titular character was given to Kate Winslet as she nails every scene demanded of her. A small and subtle twitch from her mouth, a slow and penetrating gaze, without much use of words she truly exemplifies grace under pressure, both from her character’s physical ailment as well as other nations lurking around her doorsteps.

Her performance in this first episode of The Regime is a wonderful beginning for the build-up of the lead character. Paranoid and meek, she duly obliges her council’s theatrics like a puppet on strings. But by the end of the episode, we are given a chance to see a glimpse of what is to come for her evolving persona. Given that this is the maiden voyage of a captivating show, it is safe to assume that we will be seeing a slow metamorphosis in Chancellor Vernham’s political prowess.

In the episode titled Victory Day, Elena is depicted as comparably weak-minded and easily manipulated hiding behind a smiling facade for her foreign counterparts. As the episode churns on, we see her prioritizing her health concerns rather than the nation’s interest. A small weakness for some, but in the world’s eyes, any weakness from a nation’s leader is exploited and is ripe for a regime change. 

As many neophyte rulers are concerned, the ugly truth of world-scale interference and economic meddling from other countries is front and center for Elena to overcome. Though this wall may be higher than her reach, Corporal Herbert Zubak gives ample assistance to the Chancellor, allowing her to come out on the other side. Played by Matthias Schoenaerts, Zubak is gives an outside perspective for a layman in political machinations. He is portrayed to be the catalyst to our Chancellor’s transformation, free from manipulation and ill-will, driven by passion and desire to come out on top.

A Gentle Mind with a Heart of Stone

Corporal Herbert Zubak, a military officer tasked to
attend to the Commander-in-Chief of the nation as a walking moisture detector is one to look out for as the story progresses. With every interaction, Matthias’ facial expression remain detached and apathetic, though it was just a matter of time before his actions will truly shine just before the episode concluded. Even as his duty to his supreme leader felt uninvolved at best and embarrassing at worst, the Butcher, as he is monickered by the staff, trudges on in compliance, being reminded that he is but a speck in the overall hierarchy of the food chain. Elena also tests his new found aide as the episode went on, from lavish dinner galas to nighttime bedroom assassination attempts.

Chancellor Elena also demanded Zubak to have a Gentle Mind. Though in this situation, it represents calmness with a steady aim, not a zen-like demeanor that is proper in politics. For Zubak, however, it is about keeping still the waves of indecisiveness and pursuing
one’s dream, free from distraction, manipulation, and in this case,

Zubak provides Elena with a mind firm on achieving her
goal, no matter the methods. As he had said, He could smash their faces
all day. This line provides us with that old proverb of ‘Spare the rod,
spoil the child.’
Matthias Schoenaerts’ explosive scene comes at the last part, where he has his tet-a-tet with Elena. His performance did not disappoint, giving more gravitas to Winslet’s performance as someone who is broken yet ready to be fixed with the right guidance. With both their ambitions aligned, Matthias’ character will surely be given more importance in the coming episodes.

What the Nobodies Want is What the Audience Need

Any episodical series would need a bit of resolution in the end, The Regime blended a bit of overview to what’s to come when it came to its first episode conclusion. Politics is not for the faint hearted, though in this case, not for the weak lunged. Sufficing to say, Kate Winslet’s character will have more time to grow in the coming episodes, much more so is his ever loyal soldier Zubak. These two are quite a pair to watch by the end, like iron forged through strength, heat, and pain. We have yet to see this duo do their Machiavellian schemes behind closed doors, and with episode 1 out the door, there’s nothing stopping this political drama grasping everyone by the throat in compliance to its inevitable brilliance.

There is more to expect and more to come for one of 2024’s most anticipated series. Hopefully in the next episode, both Winslet and Schoenaerts get to expand their acting chops more and give the nobodies what they want; a powerful performance worthy of their title.

About the Author – Alvin Asiaten

Alvin is a multifaceted creative who finds inspiration in binge-watching various TV series and immersing himself in the world of video games. As a skilled graphic illustrator and video editor, he brings his unique vision to perspective and is well informed in the art of captivating visuals and storytelling.

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