Things begin spiraling out of control for Fred and Dee as they glean the first hints of their adversary’s origins while Alice sets her sights on the Allen twins.
In a second straight flashback that plays fast and loose with continuity (a Dark Crystal poster on the wall in 1975 when the movie didn’t arrive until ’82), “Open Your Eyes” starts at the beginning, specifically Fred and Seth’s first hands-on experience with a monster. Its place is to emphasize the difference (unnecessarily so) between Fred’s childhood and that of his own kids. But that is quickly forgotten as October Faction throws another wrinkle in the mix when a company of monster soldiers storm into the woods with their sights set on Alice. Considering what little we’ve been given thus far on monsters, but based on Fred and Dee’s reaction, seeing differing species working together as a cohesive, high-tech unit is unheard of. Sadly, “Open Your Eyes” reinforces the movie/television trope of having soldiers split up when facing a physically superior foe.
Alice takes them apart one-by-one, with the only saving grace being the physical evidence left behind that verifies Alice as a warlock from Harlow House. There’s no further context to that statement but it’s almost a guarantee that the Allen family is a major piece to this shadowy puzzle.
Aside from the monster squad curveball, “Open Your Eyes” also gives more information on the summoning symbol in Seth’s bedroom. When she’s taken down to the police station for a statement on Gina’s injury, Dee rummages through the sheriff’s desk and discovers a file her father, Sheriff Lang, had taken of victims who were apparently sacrificed in that very same symbol. The intrigue is further amplified when Viv’s new ‘friend’, the man with the mechanical flashing eye, activates said symbol as he tries to explain to her his origins.
Though it’s a pertinent piece of the narrative, Viv’s attempts at communication with this man is unintentionally laughable. It plays more like a farcical rendition of a true drama with nothing about it capturing the serious tone of the larger narrative and further bogs down Viv’s once interesting arc. The only positive is that at least her story offers at least a modicum of interest. The same can’t be said for Geoff.
Thus far, no part of October Faction has been worse than Geoff’s most recent storyline with Phillip. What started out as a typical popular guy vs new kid vying for power (an uninspired trope in itself) has reversed course and, in the span of a single episode, these two have gone from enemies to dating, with no logical steps between. “Open Your Eyes” continues with this absurdity, following along Phillip’s admittedly admirable decision to come clean with his parents and girlfriend Madison regarding his sexuality. That’s the only bright spot in this sea of bad, where Geoff rides along as Phillip’s clingy support system, all the while showcasing just how hypocritical and self-absorbed he is (having the nerve to call out Madison for the same thing).
Geoff’s entire demeanor only adds to the weight of dislike I’ve had for his character through most of the series and undoes the work “Soirees of Future Past” did in offering a glimpse at his more empathetic side. He does see an uptick in his abilities, somehow seeing the reaction of Phillip’s parents to their son dating ‘the Allen kid’. For a second, my empathy for Geoff returned, only to have it vanish the second he opened his mouth to complain about his day to Viv (after ignoring most of her calls/texts). Maybe things will change for him (and Viv), considering Alice kidnaps the pair in an obvious attempt to reconcile some unknown secret about her past.
October Faction has given us a shaky ride, flipping between middling and good, with scatterings of laughably bad thrown in. “Open Your Eyes” all but eliminates the first two as ingredients and instead takes some viably interesting concepts and haphazardly tosses them into a blender, resulting in a mush of plot-filled insanity (not of the good kind) with leftover morsels of potential. It may be too late in the game for the series to reach the level of good where I’d recommend it as a definite watch, but with the healthy amount of unanswered questions, it can still recover from this train wreck of an episode and reach the point of a middling yet entertaining series. One can only hope.