Queens Gambit Review Pt2 (Major Spoilers)

By Somaiya Ahmed, Summer Intern

Ep.2: “Exchanges” 


Episode Two of “Queens Gambit” takes us a few years into the future. Beth is now a teenager moving into her first home. She experiences insecurity trying to adapt to the changes of her new environment; however, she finds positive and negative ways to cope.  


This episode previews the beginning of Beth’s chess career while displaying her ongoing issues with addiction and loneliness. There is a lot of storytelling which calls for an array of camera shots to commemorate.


Down below I have analyzed three of my favorite shots from episode two, commenting on their cinematic elements. Check it out! Also don’t forget to check out the chess glossary too! 


Timestamp: 3:15


Beth and Jolene together, looking out the window. Jolene smokes a cigarette while Beth looks out endearingly. The lighting is cast towards Beth, spotlighting her viewpoint while Jolene is half lit. The two characters are positioned together in a wide shot. Feelings of nostalgia and hope are ever present as we watch the two grace the screen. 

Timestamp: 30:25


An overhead shot of Beth staring into the ceiling as chess pieces appear rapidly. Beth’s half lit face displays a sense of eeriness due to the unnatural splitting of light; however, the lighting communicates a supernatural event taking place. The cinematic and graphic work done here effectively constructs Beth’s mental world, a place in which chess dominates. 


Time Stamp: 52:21 


A haunting shot of Beth staring into a window reflection of her deceased mother. The camera racks its focus from Beths to the dreary look of her mothers eyes.The dim blue lighting is paired with a soft gaussian blur, providing feelings of melancholy. A shot that speaks of many feelings. 


Chess Glossary: click the hyperlinks to learn more about the chess terms and ideas mentioned in episode 2! 


Sicilian Defense 


Modern Chess Openings: Walter Korn (book)

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