Split is a 6 episode mini-series now streaming on Amazon Prime featuring Sam, a bisexual woman trying to make it as an actress. What makes Split unique is that the show tells two parallel stories at the same time, one where Sam is dating a woman, and one where Samantha is dating a man. All turning around one life event that happened to Sammy as a young girl.
While Split is rather short, the writers fill it with love, drama, and self-discovery that make the show feel abundant. Written by an all-female team, the writers give Sam many levels of character development through her career and her relationships. The most interesting part of Split is how Sam’s life is divided between her relationship with a man and with a woman. These relationships drastically change the course of her life, while also highlighting the differences between dating men and women.
When Sammy was a young girl, she auditioned to get into her dream acting school. In one storyline, Sammy gets accepted and in the other, she doesn’t. This event is what splits the paths for Sammy. In one storyline Sammy evolves into Sam, an up and coming actress with a steady girlfriend to boot. The other is about Samantha, who is an assistant director who secretly wants to be an actress, living with her boyfriend. The two different storylines highlight how drastically different the course of life can be based on one major incident, including who you choose to date. Whew. No pressure, or anything.
As the season presses on, we see Sam/Samantha really show her true colors. Sam/Samantha desperately wants to make it on Broadway, in both storylines, and this passion seems to be her entire world. In Samantha’s storyline, she is dating and living with her boyfriend, and yet finds herself drawn to the woman she met at the bookstore. In Sam’s storyline, she is dating the girl from the bookstore, however, they seem to run a little hot and cold. It becomes increasingly evident that Sam/Samantha is not truly happy in either case as she struggles with her career and her relationships.
While Sam/Samantha struggles to get her career where she wants it to be, she also struggles deeply with her relationships. The two storylines parallel in many ways, as the cast that surrounds Sam/Samantha, is the same. One important thing to note is how Sam/Samantha often finds herself trying to go back to Emma, the girl from the bookstore. Even when Samantha is dating her boyfriend, she still keeps going into the bookstore and bonding with Emma. It is clear that in either path of life that is laid out for her, Sam/Samantha and Emma were meant to know one another.
However, something Split does very well is to highlight the contrasts in dating men versus dating women. Split is about making choices and how those choices impact your life as a whole. From career decisions to relationships, every choice we make changes our life course. While Samantha is dating her boyfriend, she seems settled. She is an assistant director, a career she does not really love but it is in her industry so she does not mind it. The same goes for Samantha’s boyfriend, she seems to just be idling in their relationship. It is not that Samantha does not love him, but rather that she wants so much more out of her life that she is not seeming to reach.
Likewise, Sam also is stuck in her storyline as well. Sam is a struggling actress, and her girlfriend Emma has broken up with her and wants space. Sam finds solace in Matthew as they meet in a bar (Matthew is her boyfriend from the other storyline) and decide to go back to her place. Emma just happens to stop by while this is going on, and a little bit of drama ensues. What is groundbreaking about this scene is that Sam is genuinely attracted to Matthew, just like her other path counterpart Samantha is. Thus, just like how Sam/Samantha is destined to be around Emma, she is also just as pulled to Matthew. Even if Matthew and Samantha do not have the strongest relationship in comparison to her and Emma, either path of their lives is still bringing them together. Bi representation, everyone!
Split quite literally splits Sam/Samantha’s life down the middle. Viewers get to see how one impactful day changes the course of the protagonist’s life, but also how bisexual women exist in their sexuality and their space. Despite the relationship decisions Sam/Samantha makes, she still finds herself in relations with the same man and woman. This in turn highlights the contrast in dating men versus women, but also that Sam/Samantha can be comfortable with either sex. Split reminds us that bisexual women can date, love, and hook up with whoever they want and that whatever decisions we make in life can have a bigger impact than we realize.