If living under lockdown has done nothing else, it has exposed me to a variety of new television shows and movies that I may not have otherwise had the time the watch — among those being Tyler Perry’s “Ruthless” on BET’s streaming platform BET+.
After interviewing Deborah Cox for her recent movie Influence, my interest was piqued and I decided to give BET+ a try. Having grown tired of clicking through other streaming services in search of TV shows and movies that feature people who look like me, I was pleasantly surprised by the content that was available. One of the shows that quickly grabbed my attention was Tyler Perry’s “Ruthless,” a drama that follows the journey of a woman, Ruth Truesdale, who kidnaps her daughter and joins a religious cult. The Rakadushi cult, which appears innocent enough on the surface, turns out to be every woman’s nightmare, driven by sex, misogyny, violence, and, deception.
It wasn’t until I was six episodes into a binge session that I realized “Ruthless” was a spin-off of “The Oval.” If you’re familiar with “The Oval,” you know that Barry’s daughter Callie was kidnapped by his ex, Ruth. And while Ruth believes that raising her daughter in the Rakadushi way will help her climb the ranks of the organization and gain favor in the eyes of their leader, The Highest, she quickly realizes that much more is required of her and many unforeseen terrors await as she is elevated to elder status within the religion. The Highest, who is presented as a Jesus-like figure, is a sexual predator, drug addict, and ex-convict who has convinced his followers that he is a god.
Ruth’s involvement in the organization eventually results in her death; however, it presently remains unclear exactly who is responsible for her murder. As her death plays out on “The Oval,” all signs appear to point to Ruth’s ex, Barry, who is obviously enraged by the fact that she kidnapped their child. At the same time, as we watch life on the Rakadushi compound unfold for Ruth and the other women, it is evident that someone within the cult could also be responsible for her demise— especially since she began devising a plan to escape with her daughter.
“Ruthless” is definitely not for the faint-hearted. There are scenes that are highly uncomfortable to watch. And the series is filled with extremely dark twists and turns. It’s a side of Tyler Perry programming that we haven’t seen before as every new episode is truly darker than the last. At the same time, it is entertaining and refreshing to see Tyler step out of his usual box, which is why I’ve been tuning in religiously every week since I first discovered it.
Have you been watching “Ruthless”? What are your thoughts on the show so far? Let us know in the comments below.