In an industry that has never been particularly compassionate toward its female stars, Daisy Jones & The Six subverts stereotypes in favor of telling the complex stories of five women caught in the chaos of the 1970s music scene.
*This article contains spoilers for all 10 episodes of Daisy Jones & The Six.*
Upon starting Prime Video’s new hit series Daisy Jones & The Six, based on the Taylor Jenkins Reid novel of the same name, you may initially be inclined to dismiss the edgy 70s drama as a tale as old as time: boy meets girl, the boy becomes a world-famous rock star, boy’s life turns to shambles when fame, lust, drugs, and alcohol intervene…you’ve heard it all before. While that tale does hold space in this particular story, those who continue watching will find that there’s far more beneath the surface.
Daisy Jones & The Six follows the members of an up-and-coming rock band pining for fame in1970s California, who now, 40 years after breaking up, are sharing their story for a documentary. From the epic highs to the devastating lows, the crew must learn to live with the demands of stardom — and each other. Rife with drama, passion, and nostalgia, the series is a love letter to an era of music defined by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and the Rolling Stones.
What the series explores that you may not expect, however, is the complex inner lives of its female characters. After all, how often are women actually at the center of rock and roll history? Daisy Jones expertly and intentionally places its women at the forefront, each with their own narrative and own sense of agency. In an industry that has long been characterized by misogyny, sexism, and abuse, Daisy Jones reclaims the stories of the women who define a new age of music.
The titular character Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) is a confident, messy, complicated, and immensely talented singer itching for the praise and acceptance she never received as a child. But don’t get it twisted: she is not one to be defined by her past. As she battles substance abuse and her own inner demons, Daisy steadfastly remains true to her kind heart and passionate soul. Though her erratic behavior and undeniable beauty lead others to take advantage of her, Daisy refuses to succumb to the broken, shallow perception people have of her. Set up to serve as the reckless, alluring Manic Pixie Dream Girl who comes between the long-standing relationship of the band’s lead singer Billy Dunne and his wife Camila, Daisy defies tropes by taking accountability for her actions and eventually making the difficult but selfless decision to let Billy go.
Camila Dunne (Camila Morrone) shines as a powerful, dynamic, and fiercely loyal character who refuses to be reduced to the title of “lead singer’s wife.” She is keenly aware of how easy it would be to take a back seat in her own life and allow herself and her accomplishments to be defined by who she’s married to — but Camila is not the type to sit idly by when there’s a whole life out there for her. Quickly putting a cheating, drunken, coke-addicted Billy in his place when she gets pregnant with their daughter, Camila makes it known that her life and her dreams matter just as much as Billy’s. Where we usually expect to see a woman in Camila’s position become submissive and naïve, she holds her own and reclaims the agency that so many like her are stripped of — all leading up to the heart-stopping finale moment in which she gets the final word on her and Billy’s relationship and offers him the closure with Daisy that he didn’t know he needed.
Defiant and headstrong, Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse) is the band’s keyboardist and close confidant of both Daisy and Camila. From the moment we meet her, it’s clear that Karen won’t let anything interfere with her success — not even her hush-hush relationship with fellow band member Graham Dunne. Behind her tough exterior, Karen is kind and sensitive, forming deep emotional bonds with the other women in her life who are acutely aware of the ways the world treats them differently than their male counterparts. When she unexpectedly finds herself pregnant with Graham’s baby, she decides on her own to get an abortion and focus on her career, knowing that motherhood and the things she still wanted to accomplish couldn’t coexist. Karen is unafraid to put herself first because she knows that the world never will otherwise.
Accompanying Daisy on her rise to fame is her best friend and fellow singer Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be), who is trying to make a name for herself in the world of disco. When we first meet Simone, she’s stuck in the shadow of those around her, singing backup vocals for artists instead of claiming the stage as her own. As she and Daisy push each other to pursue their dreams, Simone learns to step into the spotlight and embrace her potential, eventually leading her to DJ and music partner Bernie. Through her relationship with Bernie, Simone ventures on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, realizing that she has spent too much time worrying about what the world thinks of her instead of living authentically. Through the trials of existing as a queer Black woman in 1970s America, Simone lets her voice soar and discovers the power of staying true to yourself when the world wants you to be something else.
To deny the impact Julia (played by Naya Kodeh as a child and Seychelle Gabriel as an adult) has on the show’s events would dismiss the very foundation of Camila, Billy, and Daisy’s relationship. But, Julia is so much more than a plot device: she is, in fact, the very reason the story exists, as it’s revealed in the finale that the documentary’s interviewer is none other than the daughter of Camila and Billy. Though we only meet adult Julia briefly, it’s clear that she’s been deeply loved and shares the same passion, creativity, and strength that her mother held. In documenting her parents’ wild ride to fame, Julia doesn’t shy away from the dark, ugly moments that Camila and Billy tried to shield her from. She wants the raw, honest truth of what happened, even if it’s messy — she’ll still love her parents all the same. Watching Julia grow into her own person echoes Camila’s unwavering efforts to claim agency over her life and define herself on her own terms.