Written by Paul and Michael Clarkson, Red Rose (Season 1) is a British teen horror drama that sheds light on technology addiction among teenagers. The series will suck you into the twisted world of the dark web within just fifteen minutes.
Set against the backdrop of Bolton, a scenic town in England near Manchester, the series examines themes related to friendship, teenage love, poverty, classism, and grappling with the loss of a loved one. The fact that we are so dependent on technology these days makes Red Rose a perfect weekend binge.
Red Rose (Season 1) Recap:
Episode 1: It’s Grim Up North
The series begins with Alyssa, a high school girl, looking terrified. She goes home, and somehow, she is not able to control any gadgets and electronic items in her house. A few minutes later, she jumps off the roof and kills herself. Six months later, a group of students is celebrating the end of their high school life.
Except for Rochelle, they are all invited to Becky Fox’s party. Her best friend, Wren, convinces Becky to invite Rochelle. A while later, Rochelle receives a link from Becky. It’s the link to the Red Rose app. The Red Rose app asks her a few questions and instructs her to perform a few rituals. When she heads back home, she finds a new dress and a pair of new shoes. While the app grants all her wishes, it also blackmails her into kissing Wren’s boyfriend.
Episode 2: The Garden
Wren is heartbroken, and Rochelle’s own actions traumatize her. She feels guilty for hurting her best friend. She apologizes to Wren, but the app controls her phone and all her social media accounts. It can access her camera and records everything that happens around Roch.
They both engage in a brawl and the app uploads that video on Facebook, ruining Wren’s image. The next morning, Rochelle is found dead in her bathtub. Wren knows her best friend would never kill herself. She announces the same during the funeral, but nobody believes her. Moreover, Wren’s classmates mock her for being an attention-seeker.
Episode 3: Scapegoat
Wren downloads the app and now performs the same rituals Rochelle did. Her boyfriend, Noah, doesn’t leave her side the entire night. Wren’s friends advise her to delete the app, but she is keen on finding out what exactly happened to her best friend. All of them decide to stick together for now and keep tabs on each other.
The other classmates who blame Wren for Rochelle’s suicide corner her, and one of them spits on her. Wren loses her calm and starts hitting them. Wren receives a location on her phone. Somebody wants to meet her in Manchester.
Episode 4: Manchester Innit
The gang is on a train to Manchester. It’s Jaya, one of their classmates, who invited them to Manchester. The app takes her down the tunnel. Rochelle appears on the screen and asks Wren to follow her. “Join me,” she screams as a train passes by at full speed. Her friends pull her back.
Jaya takes them to CoderDojo, a place for all coders of various apps. She shows them Jacob Taylor’s desk, who could be the possible founder of Red Rose. They visit Jacob’s house and search through his room. Jaya finds a notebook that has all the coding used to create that app. Jaya gets a phone call from Jacob.
Episode 5: Lockdown
The gang is at Taz’s place. Jaya arrives and asks them to turn off their internet and Wi-Fi. She gives them cellular phones and says Jacob called her last night and said it’s all going to end soon. All of them look scared because the timer on their mobile phones is counting down to midnight, which means they are going to die tonight. They lock themselves inside Taz’s home, and Jaya is trying to understand the app’s coding.
The app sends all their classmates a message that there is a party happening in Taz’s place. The TV screen shows Rochelle’s clip of screaming, and Wren is again blamed for trying to seek attention even after her best friend’s death. Simon, Wren’s mother’s boyfriend, picks her up from Taz’s place. The gang thinks Simon is Red Rose. Her friends reach on time and manage to save Wren. Simon, like Alyssa, jumps off the building and kills himself. The scene shifts to a bald man watching everything on his computer screen.
Episode 6: Results Day
Their results are out, and all of them have done well. They think their troubles are over, but one of their friends, Anthony, goes to Jacob’s house. He finds Jacob’s iPad. Jacob had documented his progress with the Red Rose app, and he talks about liking a girl named Alyssa. It’s the same Alyssa who killed herself in the first episode.
They are all in the woods partying. Jaya is now a part of the “Dickheads”. Jaya finds out the passwords to Jacob’s Red Rose profile. She logs in, and the person behind Red Rose finds out about this because Jacob is dead. It’s someone else logging in through his profile. He warns her, and a message pops up, “you’re not supposed to be here.” Jaya’s computer catches fire. Meanwhile, their friend Ashley is pushed down the cliff at the party.
Episode 7: Heart BLTN
Ashley is admitted to the hospital, and they find out Jaya is also nowhere to be found. She is gone. It’s evident that Taz has feelings for Ashley. He wants to stay with Ash and wants to be with her when she opens her eyes. Ashley’s parents ask Taz to get some rest. The app sends Wren’s mother a message from Rick, Wren’s father. The message says not to let Wren outside the house. Wren says these messages are sent by Red Rose and shouldn’t be believed.
Taz receives a call, and it’s Jaya. She is still alive. Jaya informs him that Ashley is in trouble. She is kept in the morgue. Subsequently, Taz finds her, and they have their first kiss. Wren watches a video of her father. The Gardner kidnaps him. She gets a call from Rochelle, who asks her to come to Le Mans Crescent.
Episode 8: The Gardener
Jacob Taylor, the founder of Red Rose, created this app to impress the girl he likes. It started as a cute app where the app would ask her questions related to her likes and dislikes. Jacob’s online friends, who helped him in making this app, ask him to confess his feelings for Alyssa. When he does so, she rejects his proposal. Jacob is heartbroken.
His online friends are making fun of him for getting rejected. In retaliation, Jacob acquires all the access to Alyssa’s cameras, including her home’s CCTV cameras. Jacob feels guilty for doing so. But all his friends take advantage of the app and start scaring Alyssa. They take this prank a little too far. That’s when Alyssa kills herself.
Red Rose (Season 1) Ending, Explained:
Do Dickheads kill The Gardener?
A lady from the Red Rose reaches out to Noah in the hospital and discloses Wren’s location. All of them head to Le Mans Crescent, but Jaya is still inside CoderDojo, watching the Red Rose players play their game with humans.
Rick is held hostage by a bald man. Wren arrives to save her dad. Jaya deletes the app, and no viewers can enjoy The Gardener’s show. Wren kills the bald man, and Rick takes the blame for the murder.
Will there be a Red Rose Season 2?
When Jaya reaches to meet her friends, the same woman who helped Noah is following her. She says, “There’s nothing you can prove.” Jaya asks why she helped them and informs her that The Gardener’s dead. She asks, “Is she?”. The Gardener is this woman, and she is still alive. “You can’t delete an idea,” she says and walks away.
Red Rose (Season 1) Review:
Red Rose is fast-paced and will hold the viewer’s attention from the get-go. It’s an enjoyable teen thriller that highlights the issue of tech addiction and the dangers of creating an app with malicious intent.
The show talks about cyberbullying, harassment, blackmail, and the importance of having good and honest friends. All of these things are so prevalent in today’s times that it makes this show a must-watch.