Parents' Guide to

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Language, powerful performances in book-based series.

TV Apple TV+ Drama 2022
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Television: Poster image

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With powerful actors Samuel L. Jackson and Dominique Fishback at the center, this book-turned-limited series is affecting and habit-forming, with fully-fleshed characters occupying a brisk plot. The serum that returns Grey's memory to him and then causes him to quickly flame out is an appealing if fatally flawed fantasy in The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey: What loved one of a person with dementia hasn't imagined a way to turn back the clock? And the Grey we meet in the first episode isn't a happy or satisfied man; he hides in his roach-infested apartment, terrified of what could be outside. Meanwhile, sound and camera work show the viewer how his mind works, with memories both lovely and awful bleeding through and obscuring what's actually going on around him.

Things improve immeasurably once sympathetic teen Robyn appears, connected to Grey through a web of friends and family, herself in need of someone to care for and about her. She shapes up Grey's existence, but can only watch in dismay deepening into horror as he chooses to take the experimental treatment offered to him by the doctor he calls Satan. The twin mysteries the newly sharp Grey solves are MacGuffins that fade into the background compared to the interplay between Jackson and Fishback, which is tender, involving, and absolutely beautiful to watch. Author Mosley is known for his crime fiction and his characters; The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey gets both exactly right.

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