One of the more interesting television premieres of 2017 has been the first season of Genius, a miniseries focusing on the life of Albert Einstein. The season finale, included in the final two episodes premiering tonight, looks to provide closure to the ten-episode retelling of his life. After an advanced screening of the finale, I must say this: Genius provides hours of insightful entertainment to history buffs, science fanatics, and Einstein experts alike.
Something that definitely stands out in the finale is the spectacular acting of the miniseries. Emily Watson (portraying Elsa Einstein), Michael McElhatton (as Dr. Philipp Lenard), and Richard Topol (playing Fritz Haber) all capture their roles expertly. However, it’s Geoffery Rush, tasked with playing Einstein himself, who truly shines in the role. Not only was the actor able to capture Einstein’s iconic look, but Rush’s portrayal had a great amount of subtlety to it. There was a sensitivity to his version of Einstein, all the while maintaining his sense of humor as well. Rush’s acting in the finale expertly showed both Einstein’s poignant reactions to tragedy and charming moments of conversation alike, highlighting the complexities of the famous physicist.
The finale also continued an interesting theme that goes beyond his well-known additions to science: Einstein’s politics. Well known for his pacifism, Einstein faces the growing global tensions in a time when nuclear warfare was beginning to become a reality. Additionally, we see him deal with some of the historical aftermath of the conflict, highlighted infamously with his portrayal on the cover of Time magazine juxtaposed next to a mushroom cloud.
However, one moment in particular stands out in the final episodes. While the series has undoubtedly been filled with well-constructed scenes, the crowning moment is seeing Einstein listen to the news of the dropping of the atomic bomb. Not only did this perfectly highlight the subtleties of the performance of Geoffrey Rush, it provides a thought-provoking moment where you put yourself in Einstein’s shoes.
While season two of the series will focus on a different historical figure, the first season of Genius is extremely promising. The National Geographic miniseries features terrific acting, captivating storytelling, and an excellent portrayal of the past. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the finale, appreciate the fascinating story of Einstein, and anticipate the second season of the show.
The final two episodes of the first season of Genius will air 8PM ET June 20, 2017 on the National Geographic channel.