Monday, September 8, 2014

Intruders, Season 1, Episode 3: Time Has Come Today

Tim the replacement conspiracy theoriest is still on the radio (and can he get new material? Armstrong’s family was killed and so was Oz – you need a bit more than murders for a conspiracy) being listened to by creepy Madison (or Marcus) and the woman she paid to drive her to Seattle (she looks very disturbed and, frankly, should be wearing a red shirt), Karen. She’s starting to have doubts over the whole driving off with a 10 year old girl thing while Madison continues to be the creepiest kiddy ever with extra knowledge of classical music which she also makes creepy by throwing in some child murders that she remembered way before she was born- because she’s Madison and everything she does is creepy.

To Jack who is drinking while driving and playing with his phone as well. Naughty policeman. He’s having lots of sad memories of his wife Annie and how she became all creepy and odd before her disappearance.

On the same stretch of road, Richard Shepherd (the ominous one) is having his own angsty memories of being sent to kill Marcus – who says (for more crypticness) “Granfield convinced the 9 to finally kill me off.” We have added references to knowing people for thousands of years. Marcus has  another plan – pay Richard a load of money to pretend he’s dead and when he finally does die, Richard will “Shepherd him off the books” (I’m calling him Richard from now on since Shepherd seems to be a job description as much as a name) which seems to be how these people come back from the dead. When he comes back he will then kill off the 9 since they won’t be expecting him. He also gives Richard the cracker/wafer which he gave to Madison in an earlier episode.

He does accept the deal so we’re back to the present with Richard looking kind of troubled.

Jack returns home and returns his neighbour’s car – and she briefly pulls a gun on him because Madison isn’t the only one who can pull out the creepy.

Amy is waiting for him… yes that phone call last week was genuine. Rather than talk about her random disappearance she’s concerned about the bruises on him – and him still drinking (the impression being that Jack used to have a problem). She does have a fairly good idea for why she didn’t call him to say she’d lost her phone (she couldn’t remember his mobile number. Landlines apparently don’t exist). She actually has a really good explanation for everything (she was interviewing with a rival firm and didn’t want her boss to know about it) and is actually pretty angry about him not remembering them discussing it (him being so self-absorbed with his book). She also pours away the bottle of booze she finds.

They reconcile and it doesn’t cover everything but Amy tells Jack that she will never leave him – because he’s her Shepherd. She then turns into the cryptic about how he couldn’t understand – before running out and playing jazz, music she’s supposed to hate.

He goes to her to find her on the phone with someone. She tries to get him to back off but he keeps pressing, she’s supposed to have quit smoking and now she’s lighting up again and who is she calling in the middle of the night. She has another plausible explanation and asks for her phone – which he gives her, but not before cloning it. Yeah, this level of suspicion is not the recipe for a happy marriage. On that note, Jack makes a plea for them to return to how they were – and she says they have to split up.

Jack does not take this back and pushes her into a chair, storming off; rather worryingly Amy says “I didn’t want to bring out this Jack” and becomes extremely apologetic and worried in the face of his rage. She accepts total blame and adds “I need to become who I’m meant to be.”

Jack punches a window and probably breaks his hand. There’s lots of crying and Amy telling him she isn’t leaving him, she loves him – she’s leaving herself. It’s kind of like breaking up with someone who has spent the last 10 years reading New Age Self Help books. Jack seems to get over his anger due to sheer confusion.

Jack decides to get drunk in the rain and, with some reminiscences, Amy spills the truth: they die and they come back. Jack, of course, doesn’t understand and thinks that some hippy has taken over his wife because it’s so grossly out of character. He talks about how she saved his life and begs her to stay so he can save her. They kiss, they begin to have sex – and Amy’s pupils expand (a possession marker it seems).

She pulls him off her and goes to sleep. Jack lies on the floor and has a memory (I think) of him shooting three people and her holding him. I’m assuming a flashback to his cop days. After his memory vision he gets a call from Gary – with ominous news about his wife which (of course) he can’t share over the phone.

They meet up and Gary shows pictures of Amy with a man (her boss?) when she said she was home. He also has evidence that she’s part of a group that killed Bill Anderson’s family (we keep going back to this mysterious Bill Anderson).

Back to Madison and her unwilling driver, Karen. When Madison falls asleep, the Karen picks up the black card with the 9 on it – and a telephone number on the back. She pulls into a rest stop and while Madison is asleep calls the number getting Richard Shepherd. She can only get a garbled message through to Richard though before Madison arrives and has a full on tantrum, smashing the phone.

After the call ends Marcus/Madison realises she’s gone a little too far in her child role and apologises to Karen – tearfully claiming the man she was calling was her “uncle Marcus” who “touched her.” When she learns Karen told Richard where she is, she plans to leave – a suddenly horrified and guilty Karen offers to take her the rest of the way to Seattle, now definitely under Madison’s influence. But first they need to use the washroom

There’s banging and screaming – and it’s not Madison screaming.

Richard arrives at the rest stop with his gun – to find a whole lot of blood and Karen’s body.

It occurs to me, if these people have been resurrecting for literally thousands of years you’d think they’d be better at covering it up. I mean, Amy drops into Russian, doesn’t realise what habits she should or shouldn’t have and says things like “I need to become who I’m meant to be.” And Madison? Yeah, they’re not good at this

I have to say, regardless of who is possessing Amy, I’d be cheering her on if she decided to leave Jack anyway – he does not look like the safest of partners. His rage and violence and her fear were disturbing to watch. I don’t think the show did a great job of showing that as a bad thing rather than just evidence of his oh-so-tragic pain.

It overshadows the underlying message of the conflict – that Amy has undergone a fundamental personality shift and how adrift Jack is with an Amy who is so alien from the one he knew. This would all work more if we’d seen more of their relationship before – I can kind of see what they’re trying for but I think they’ve missed it – they’ve missed the deep and terrifying horror of someone you know so well, of someone you love, of your spouse acting so completely alien – of them listening to music they loathe, eating food they once hated, saying things they’d never even consider. I think if they’d conveyed that better then Jack’s questioning and suspicion and fear would be conveyed better (though his rage remains unchallenged and problematic).

I am still awed by the quality of Madison’s acting because that girl is scary. And part of me wants to say “Karen, she’s a child, you don’t let her speak to you like that!” but then another small part of my brain says “Oh please, if you were in Karen’s shoes you’d shut up and cringe too!” because she broke the creepy meter. Still… I am a little dubious of Madison’s ability not just to intimidate but to dish out that level of violence.

There have been a fair few deaths on this show in its short time – what there haven’t been is a fair few POC; and most of the few we have had are disproportionately among the dead. The random Chinese people last episode and now Karen – following on from the luckless cabby who was beaten. They didn’t just die, but they were pretty tangential to the story – Karen and said cabby in particular were not invested or part of the story in any way – they were tokens thrown in to die. It makes me worry about Gary – but also think he may be safe as the single recurring POC.