It’s best not to think too hard about the premise for The Rain, which is that a sudden storm appears one day in Denmark and wipes out most of the country’s population. In short: the rain contains a bioengineered virus, and whoever comes in contact with it starts instantly vomiting and choking to death, and all water is therefore contaminated and totally deadly, except people are mostly fine going out as soon as the rain stops, even with the lingering humidity. (Like I said, don’t puzzle over the specifics.)
Because once you get over the ludicrousness of a killer virus whose host is the weather, The Rain is a taut, tense thriller. The first Danish original series to come from Netflix, it’s gratifyingly fast-paced and unfailingly dark. The action kicks off mere minutes into the first episode when teenaged Simone (Alba August) is dragged out of school by her father before a crucial presentation (and an even more crucial date). He bundles the whole family into a car, offering little explanation other than that it’s going to rain and the family can’t stick around.
When the family arrives at a hidden bunker—after a high-speed highway sequence made even more anxiety-inducing by the sight of ominously huge black clouds on the horizon—things get a little clearer. Simone’s father (Lars Simonsen) appears to work for Apollon, the company whose name is branded all over the high-tech bunker, which is handily equipped with hazmat suits and a decontamination shower. He tasks her with looking after her younger brother, Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen), dons a protective suit, and leaves, saying only that he has to prevent everyone from dying. Simone and Rasmus dutifully stay in the bunker. For six years.