Meet the Hatfields! Led by Meredith (Michelle Fairley, Game of Thrones) and Lawrence (David Thewlis), this family is one to watch. If you’re tapped into the Feed, then you already know this. No doubt their children, Tom (Guy Burnet) and Ben (Jeremy Neumark Jones), are oft-mentioned in your mundles (that’s your memories, silly). Yes, Tom’s happily married to the expecting Kate (Nina Toussaint-White), but Ben’s single again, and boy is he handsome. Everyone trilling the Feed knows that! Obviously, because you can’t disconnect—unless you wanna be uncool and imprisoned, like those pesky “Resisters,” who hate everything the Feed offers. Now there’s a bunch that just doesn’t understand what a gift the Hatfields are to the world. But you do, yes?
Amazon’s The Feed opens with a flashback to the wedding of Ben and Miyu (Jing Lusi), where Tom skateboards in, his feed playing Ska music that only he’s privy to. For some reason, this charms Kate, and the two get busy in the study room, but not before Kate saves Ben from an attacker with a knife. This would-be assailant is Sara (Milly Thomas), a chef for the wedding feast. Her brain-implanted Feed is presented as a POV shot; “bubbles” of news and entertainment float around her field of vision. Think Iron Man’s UI, but everyone here is plugged in except for Kate, which Tom finds curious. Sara isn’t having a good time though as her Feed begins to freak out which leads to the attack. “It’s so dark,” she moans, as she’s drug away by security.
In the present, Lawrence and Meredith wield their power in different ways. As the patriarch, Lawrence is aloof and a bit snobby (“You want to do something useful, change your shoes”), while Meredith takes charge with whatever’s happening, and always with an agenda. Both actors are a joy to watch, bringing a lived-in air to their sitting pretty characters. Fairley, in particular, has such an expressive face. In hindsight, her role as Caitlyn on GoT didn’t offer her as much freedom as a role like this.
Kate experiences a number of pre-birth scares as she steadies herself for Tom’s offspring. She’s not “on” the Feed, so when she learns that an epidermal can only be administered via the tech, she declares, “I need to be on!”
This is now a problem for Tom. He works as a Feed psychologist and recently dealt with the 15-year-old son of Hatfield devotee, Dimitri. The man’s gone missing and Anton (Anson Boon) is a suspect, having somehow disconnected from the Feed. When Tom probes the boy’s mundles, we see Anton murdering his father, despite other signs of an apparently close relationship. Anton doesn’t remember what occurred and freaks out when he sees the Feed of the attack. He seems genuine but the discovery of the buried body results in Anton going away for murder. Tom’s especially concerned when Kate’s late night outburst of “Something’s in there with me” appears to be erased from her memory post-Feed reconnect.
By the way, there are QR Reader symbols on buildings and interiors for both décor and “visits” (I’m not sure if this is literal teleportation or just a device to avoid texting scenes). Evelyn (Clare-Hope Ashitey) installs one on her chest as a gift for her man, Max (Osy Ikhile). She’s able to project any fantasy he wants (larger breasts, etc.). Yeah, that’s going to turn out well.
This is the cloud that hangs over The Feed—everything feels wrong, despite the heavenly skins applied to people and places via a scroll and select option. The Feed works like a wheel with users constantly moving bubbles and mundles around their field of vision. When a virus infiltrates the feed, every user is momentarily exposed to a barrage of upsetting imagery that includes starving children, war, and the like. Some notice a white, plastic-y doll floating underneath it all. Who could that be?
For damage control, Meredith releases a statement, blaming Resisters for the intrusion then offers a free SAVEYOU memory upgrade for users. Meanwhile, we learn the fate of the Chef Sara after Lawrence visits her in a secluded area. She’s mutilated her left eye and appears to be in a vegetative state of captivity. Lawrence hints that they might have to rip answers from her to find out who’s behind these attacks.
I’m already intrigued by the premise. The world is fully formed, and while this is another hierarchy from-the-inside story, it’s not focused on how rich and evil they are, just their footprint and who’s affected. There’s subtext but the story appears to be about the destruction that genius can bring, and how human beings can’t merge with technology without flesh rejecting it in some way, either naturally or with help.
Plus, eyeball-ripping gore, if you like your Sci-Fi more visceral than psychological. I like both, so I’m in.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime