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Fishbowl Wives Episode 1 Review: The Ethics Of Infidelity In An Abusive Marriage

Fishbowl Wives episode 1 review

Although the synopsis of Fishbowl Wives sounded like a sensationalised story that sells drama and sex when we first chanced upon it, the show surprisingly deals with complicated topics such as infidelity and spousal abuse in an unflinching manner. At the heart of Fishbowl Wives lies six women, who are in unhappy marriages and choose to turn to their vices

Goldfishes, infidelity, and loveless marriages

fishbowl wives - takuya cheating
Image credit: Netflix

The first episode follows Sakura and her unfaithful husband Takuya, whom we see making love to another woman right as the show starts. Sakura notices that Takuya is cheating on her, but she remains silent.

fishbowl wives - sakura and mei
Image credit: Netflix

Upon the advice of a fortune teller named Mei, Sakura goes to a fish shop to get a goldfish in hopes of saving her marriage – Mei claims that a marital relationship could improve by having something to care for. 

fishbowl wives - sakura buying a goldfish
Image credit: Netflix

Sakura ends up buying a goldfish from Haruto, the fish shop’s owner, and brings it home. However, Takuya disapproves of the goldfish and asks Sakura to send it back. They get into a one-sided argument and Takuya, in a fit of rage, knocks over the fishbowl. 

fishbowl wives - sakura protecting her goldfish
Video adapted from: Netflix

Takuya moves to crush the goldfish with his shoes but Sakura manages to shield it with her hands.

Sparks fly between Sakura & Haruto

fishbowl wives - haruto treats sakura's wound
Image credit: Netflix

Sakura rushes over to Haruto as the goldfish is hurt, and in the process of treating the goldfish, Haruto treats Sakura’s injured hand as well.

fishbowl wives - sakura and haruto on a boat
Image credit: Netflix

Haruto then brings Sakura on a boat ride and they end up spending the entire day together, as if on a date. Their wholesome scenes are juxtaposed against cuts of Takuya making love to another woman. 

fishbowl wives - takuya hitting sakura
Video adapted from: Netflix

After their date, Sakura returns home and gets into another argument with Takuya, which ends in Takuya hitting her. Sakura manages to escape and runs out of the building and finds that Haruto is there for her.

The morality of infidelity

fishbowl wives - takuya calls sakura useless
Image credit: Netflix

Takuya is depicted as the ultimate scumbag, given that he cheats on Sakura and abuses her. His infidelity scenes are made to irk the audience, while Sakura’s relationship with Haruto, by contrast, is shown to be wholesome and hopeful. 

fishbowl wives - sakura and haruto kiss
Image credit: Netflix

Sakura and Takuya are both committing infidelity, but Sakura’s act is presented to be more “moral” than Takuya’s, given that he is the antagonistic character in the show. Does an unhappy and abusive marriage then justify infidelity, especially if one is trapped?

Despite exploring the grey areas of infidelity, the show clearly doesn’t encourage cheating on your partner. Instead, it attempts to shed light on the many reasons that could underlie such acts.

The characters all have their own reasons for cheating, and these reasons may not justify their actions, but they at least provide us with an understanding as to why they did it.

Final verdict: 3.5/5

fishbowl wives - key visual
Image credit: Netflix

The first episode of Fishbowl Wives actively veers away from typical romance dramas, which focus more on “love” than on “sex”. Given that infidelity is the main focus of the show, it definitely deals with more mature themes that are not suitable for children.

fishbowl wives - haruto and sakura sharing umbrella
Image credit: Netflix

Although the show does invite you to ponder on the ethics of infidelity, there were some scenes that were too clichéd for us. Sakura and Haruto’s relationship blossomed way too fast, and Haruto always seemed to appear before Sakura whenever she needed him most.

fishbowl wives - female residents
Image credit: Netflix

However, we understand that the pacing has to be relatively quick given that the show not only has to show Sakura and her relationships, but also those of the other wives in the apartment building.

Overall, it is still worth giving Fishbowl Wives a shot if you are interested in the complex inner workings of infidelity and in getting to know the other wives in the story.

Fishbowl Wives review – not your typical love story

It is not everyday that you will come across a show that explicitly explores infidelity as it is difficult on the producers’ end to find a balance in portraying such a controversial topic well. 

Fishbowl Wives’ attempt is commendable, but whether they or not will be able to further develop the relationships in later episodes is another question.

You can catch all episodes of Fishbowl Wives on Netflix.

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Cover image adapted from: Netflix