“They think that they can control what we are. We’ll see how that goes.”
We’ve reached the halfway point of season one and, now more than ever, it looks like the end is nigh. Not only are we introduced (rather late, I may add) to a new character who unsurprisingly represents the government’s interests in weaponizing the Project Noah subjects, but we get our first viral escape, Amy’s powers are developing at an exponential level and Tim Fanning’s motives are made a bit more clear.
Just when you thought Clark Richards was the most annoying character in the show, Deputy Director Horace Guilder steals that crown as the generic government agent whose sole purpose is to take the credit for procuring any assets or research developed at Project Noah for the Department of Special Weapons. The character himself comes off as a typical cardboard government-type, with nothing about him standing out. Yes, his arrival finally spurs Sykes into realizing that Project Noah has gotten out of control and therefore needs to be terminated but was Guilder truly necessary for her decision? In fact, using Guilder as the catalyst for Sykes’s change of heart is a bit disappointing, considering her reticence from the beginning at involving Amy in their experiments. The screen time and story line parsed out to Guilder takes away from far more interesting prospects, including Anthony Carter (now firmly ensconced as a viral), to the Amy/Wolgast dynamic and, to a lesser degree the Fanning/Lear relationship.
Taking Amy and Wolgast’s wonderful moments aside, the best parts of “How You Gonna Outrun the End of the World” lay in the continually evolving history between Jonas and his wife, Elizabeth and their relationship with Tim Fanning. A glimpse back into 2012 shows that Fanning was in love with Elizabeth—and probably still is—as she harbored a deep infatuation for him as well. That connection plays a vital role in Fanning’s actions as he delves into Elizabeth’s now foggy mind, so battered by her neurodegenerative disease that no one else can reach her. It’s quite ironic that Fanning’s transformation gives him the necessary abilities to not only speak to Elizabeth but, by extension of Grey, cure her as well. But we know the cure will have monstrous side effects and Jonas, when he comes to understand what Fanning has orchestrated, will have to decide if he’s strong enough to end Elizabeth’s life before her transformation begins in earnest. But that decision is not the most pressing conflict to be addressed.
The burgeoning psychic powers of the virals (and now Amy) have created a secondary level of storytelling, as the former are able to invade the mindscapes of others. These interactions seem real—though could have been improved from a cinematic perspective to make the differences between reality and the mindscapes more pronounced—though, as Dr. Pet (chief suck-up and aggressively ambitious) finds out—quite deceiving. David Winston becomes the first viral to escape, craftily manipulating Pet as the doctor thought his telepathic nodes (!?) would allow him to control viral behavior. Not only does he become victim to Winston, the viral is loose on the compound with only Amy’s increased power levels (and the sun) seemingly able to stop him.
And that leaves Amy. It’s a lot of fun watching her come into her own, not just in her relationships with Wolgast and Sykes but as her own person. Saniyya Sidney has showcased a lot of potential for such an inexperienced actress and, even with The Passage narrative lacks compelling drama, she (and Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have such a magnetic relationship that makes up for some plotline stumbles. But at least we’ve gotten pass the point of pretending this is going to end any other way than abject horror. And the anticipation of that doom makes the second half of The Passage’s freshman season worthy to keep watching.
The Road Less Traveled
- Last week I said that the Lila/Lacey team-up could provide another avenue of interest regarding the show’s narrative. Though it’s only one episode, nothing much has changed with that. We get a snippet of Lacey’s past that, if it weren’t for the impending apocalypse, would have added depth to her developing character. Granted, her “Amy is my calling line” foreshadows Lacey’s impending sacrifice to save Amy. While that may work, Lila’s evident kidnapping plays out like a latch-ditch addition to up the drama.
- This week wasn’t the greatest episode, rife with the continually maddening decisions of characters like Richards, the unnecessary addition of Guilder, and then the laughable surprise of telepathic nodes to help control the virals. Still, it does signal the beginning of the end as events are truly beginning to spiral. Anthony Carter’s short conversation with Wolgast is one of the better moments as he’s the harbinger that the worst has yet to come and, despite not giving a damn for Wolgast, aligns himself with our young heroine, Amy. Considering what she’ll be up against, Amy’s going to need all the help she can get.