Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Messengers, Season One, Episode Two: Strange Magic

Vera holds a pillow, as she stands at Rose's bedside.  The man appears and tells her not to stop because she is so close. Vera tosses the pillow on the bed and tells the man that if he wants Rose dead, he should do it himself.  Vera questions how she can be sure that the man has Michael and he holds up a toy which used to belong to Michael when he was a baby.  We get a flashback of Vera playing with toy with Michael, as in the background the song Strange Magic plays. An announcement comes over the loudspeaker to ask Vera to head to the nearest courtesy phone.  When Vera turns back around, Michael is gone. Vera starts to scream Michael's name in a panic.  In the present, Vera attacks the man, calling him a sick son of a bitch.  The man wraps his arms around Vera, again asserting that he knows where her child is.  Vera picks up the pillow and again approaches Rose but before she can act, Rose sits up suddenly.  Rose turns and sees the man and says something unintelligble to him, causing him to disappear. 

Vera is shocked that Rose is no longer in a coma. Rose notices the pillow in Vera's hand and realises that Vera came here to kill her.  Rose starts to get out of bed, as Vera pleads to know the name of the man because he knows where her son is. 

Raul has passed out in the back of Erin and Amy's car.  Erin quickly disarms Raul, saying that she needs to get him out of the car, as Amy pleads that Raul is not a bad man and needs help.  Amy sees a sign for the hospital and begs her mother to take Raul there.

Joshua has arrived at the hospital and he makes his way into a room.  When Joshua looks up at the television, his father is hosting an interview where he is being denounced, declaring Joshua mentally ill.  Joshua looks up and sees the sign for a chapel.

Peter has now been dropped off at the hospital by the trucker.  He decides to head inside after a vending machine steals his money. Peter grabs a tray of food meant for a patient.

Amy and Erin talk to a nurse, as the nurse works on Raul. Erin and Amy move to walk away and nurse asks their name because she is required by law to report all gun shot wounds.  The nurse instructs them not to leave and then exits the room. Erin tries to convince Amy to leave but instead, Amy wakes up Raul.  When Raul sits up, Erin snarks that he is lucky they didn't bring him to a police station instead of a hospital. Raul tries to get out of bed but collapses on the ground, with Erin falling on top of him.  Erin's touch heals Raul and he questions what she just did.  The cops arrive and Raul, Amy and Erin take off.

Joshua is in the chapel and sits to pray, asking if the visions are real, adding that he has lost everything.  Peter is also in the chapel and he is eating his stolen meal.  Erin, Amy and Raul rush into the chapel to hide from the cops and they are quickly followed by Vera and Rose.  Joshua recognizes Rose as the woman from his visions and Rose not only confirms her identity but calls the assembled group The Messengers. Rose explains that they are the angels of the apocalypse. When Vera reveals that Rose just woke up from a seven year coma, Peter turns to leave the chapel.  Erin stops Peter and then calls all of the gathered together and informs them that they all died yesterday. Joshua is relieved to know that he is not going "crazy".  Rose explains that God is angry and is giving them a test - this is the beginning of the end. Vera is not impressed and believes that Rose is wasting her time, so she demands to know the name of the man who took her son.  Rose explains that the man is the devil, who was cast down from heaven once again. When Vera declares herself to be an atheist, Rose makes it clear that Vera shouldn't doubt the devils presence, adding that he will play on their worst fears and insecurities.  Vera turns to leave, saying that she is calling the cops but Rose points out that in seven years, they haven't helped her find Michael.

The nursing staff discovers that Rose is no longer in bed and sounds the alarm.

Erin asks why them and Rose explains that if people like them can figure out a way to work together,  maybe the world can be saved.  It's Joshua who points out that Rose is referring to the rapture. Rose explains that God has given them all special gifts to save the earth. Vera however says that she is the one with the gift of sanity but Rose suggests that Vera's gift will reveal itself when the time comes.  Rose adds that God has gifted her with understanding whatever God wants her to in every language known to man.  Vera declares that Rose needs medical attention and starts to rant but Joshua falls to the ground and has a vision.  In Josh's vision, he sees Vera and her son reunited, a horse race and E1.

The meeting is broken up when the nurses enter the chapel.  Rose tells Vera that there is no escaping destiny.  The nurses rush in and call Rose's awakening a miracle.

Erin and Amy rush outside with Raul.  Erin tells Raul to get into the car, saying that she believes Rose is right because she must have healed him for a reason.

Vera walks out of the hospital and she gets a call from Alan to report that they have been fired and locked out of their offices.   Alan is being escorted by the military.  Alan however tells Vera that he still has the rock from her house and she hops in her car to join him.  Vera does not get far because Joshua jumps in front of her car saying that he saw her son.

On the road, Raul explains that he is a federal agent who was framed and now there are people looking for him. Raul asks Erin to drop him off at his brother's because he doesn't want to be anymore trouble.  Suddenly, a cop car starts following them with sirens blaring.  Erin hands Raul his gun and pulls off to the side of the road.  The cop approaches the car and Raul hears Amy and Erin thoughts about not wanting to be hurt.  Raul hears the cop thinking about arresting Erin for kidnapping. The officer orders them both out of the car and Juan uses the door to knock the officer to the ground before disarming the cop and handcuffing him to his patrol car. Back on the road, Raul asks who Ronnie is, causing Erin to realise that Raul was reading her thoughts.

Peter gets a call from Alice asking him where he is and when he can come home.  Peter replies that he cannot return because he is guilty of murder.  Alice reveals that she informed the cops that Sam threatened to kill him and now the cops know that it was just self defense.  Peter however says he has things he needs to figure out before returning home.  Peter stops at a sign which reads, "Need directions? Follow the signs."  The entire time Alice was on the phone, a cop was standing behind her and the cops were tracing the call.  They locate Peter in Houston and thank Alice for her help.

Vera is driving with Joshua and he explains that he saw Michael in his vision. Joshua assures Vera that he is not some preacher who has gone off the rails, adding that it was his visions that led him to Rose.  Joshua says that God has every reason to be angry with humans because of all that is wrong with the world. Vera however has reasonable answers to everything Joshua says.  They pull up outside a house and Josh has a vision of 333.  He gets out of the truck and tells Vera that if she wants to find her son, all she has to do his follow him. Joshua explains that this is the house he saw in his vision.  Joshua tells the woman how answers the door that they are representing a group helping wounded veterans. The woman explains that her husband Ben lost an arm and is out of work.  As they leave the house, Joshua tells Vera that Ben is the man he saw in the vision and that God is trying to say that it's all connected. Vera is adamant that she does not believe in God or the devil.

At the racetrack, the crowds screams with joy at the horse race.  Ben is excited after winning a trifecta and the empty seat next to him is E1 - exactly what Joshua saw in the vision.  The man sitting next to Ben asks him how he would like to double his money. 

Erin drops Raul off at his brother's place and they shake hands.  Raul gets out of the car and Amy declares that she likes him.  Erin starts the car and drives away.  Raul immediately notices that the front door is ajar and pulls out his weapon.  When Raul enters the house it is in shambles and he finds on the wall the words blood for blood in Spanish.  Nadia leaps out of the closet and attacks Raul with a golf club.  Nadia starts to talk about what happened and Raul hears Nadia's thoughts.  Raul tries to assure Nadia that everything is going to be okay.  Raul asks Nadia to come with him but she is adamant that she is not going anywhere with him.

Joshua and Vera arrive at the track but E1 is empty.  Vera decides that she is leaving and says that Joshua has completely lost his grip.  Joshua tries to tell Vera that the vision included a park and her son but she walks out. Joshua has a flash to meeting a man in the park with Vera.  Joshua then checks on his phone where he can play chess in a park.

Raul is trying to convince Nadia to come with him, when a man appears with a gun.  Raul pushes Nadia behind him and the men tell Raul they knew he would come back.  Nadia hands Raul the golf club and hides as Raul takes on the two men, knocking them both unconscious.  Raul once again asks Nadia if she is going to come with him.

Peter enters the store and picks up a bottle of spring water.  He sees an add for Sen. Cindy Richards, talking about veterans in her bid for re-election. Peter puts the water down when two cops enter the shop. 

The man is in the park playing chess with Ben.  The men asks Ben how he lost his arm and Ben tells the story of running over an IED in Kandahar. Ben reveals that he also lost his best friend Jimmy, who was the son of a senator.  The man says that it's not Ben who is important but what Ben can lead them to. This confuses Ben, so the man explains that he has been fighting a battle for a long time and has been wounded as well.  The man explains that he was close to snuffing out a problem before being stopped in his tracks.  The man then talks about switching strategies and then picking pawns off one by one. The man then declares check mate and tells Ben he should have quite while he was ahead.  Ben hands over the money he won at the track and the man asks Ben what he is going to tell his wife.  An upset Ben gets up and walks away.  The man then throws the money in the garbage.

Vera gets on the phone with Alan to report she is on her way back but is informed that the crater is gone.  Vera pulls the truck to a stop and Alan says that it's a government conspiracy.  Vera hops out of the car when he sees Joshua, who is running across the street towards Ben. Joshua doesn't get there in time and Ben is hit by a bus.  The man appears briefly to Vera before disappearing.

Raul is driving down the road with Nadia.  Raul asks about Nadia's mother and she replies that her parents split up a few weeks ago. In Nadia's thoughts, Raul hears Nadia blaming him for her parents splitting up and the fact that her father might be dead. Raul tells Nadia that he will not allow anyone to hurt her father before turning the radio back on.  With steam coming out of the front of the car, Nadia is forced to pull over.

Peter arrives at The Last Supper Bar and Grill.  He sees a sign for hire for a dishwasher. 

Inside a bar, Joshua and Vera talk about his vision and Vera is still adamant that Joshua is a head case televangelist.  Vera points out that she has not been given anything and that there's no such thing as destiny.  All of a sudden, the song "Strange Magic" plays on the jukebox (the same song which was playing when Michael was kidnapped) and Peter, Raul, and Erin enter the bar. Rose quickly follows and they all end up at the bar.  Rose says that it's no accident that they're all there because they need to find the four horseman of the apocalypse. Rose says that the horseman are regular people like they are, who the devil is tempting to commit some kind of terrible sin.  Once the sin is committed, the horsemen will no longer be human. Rose adds that each broken seal is like a stepping stone on the way to the rapture.   Erin and Raul both say they have something they need to do but Erin again reiterates that if the four horseman succeed in breaking their seals, they can all kiss humanity goodbye.  Joshua brings up the unarmed vet in his vision who is now dead, asking if he was a horseman. Rose explains that if they had found Ben in time, Ben could have helped them.  Peter then brings up the campaign ad he saw and Rose is adamant that God shows them signs everyday.  Peter points out that there were seven angels of the apocalypse and Rose agrees that while there is still one to come, they cannot wait and must stop the horsemen. Vera says that she has heard enough and only believes things she can see.  Rose instructs her to look harder and when Vera looks in the mirror, she sees that they all have wings.

Joshua has another vision and this time he sees a middle eastern man, a sword, blood and fire.  Rose declares that Joshua has seen the horseman of war.

Okay in episode two we now have a much clearer vision of the The Messengers is all about.  There's no doubt that it is religious.  Rose says that the end of days is talked about in many different religion in a nod to being inclusive but clearly this is a Christian story being told.  What I don't like about it is that it doesn't really divert away form its biblical message and seems to have an agenda of pushing people to believe. For instance, Vera is adamant that she is an atheist, yet is expected to brush away based on the idea that the devil is out there trying to hurt the world.   The Messengers is nothing more than Christian fantasy as far as I am concerned at this point, and I don't like its underlying message of conversion.

Rose as I had feared has become the mystical Negro.  Yes, it's fair to say that in someway she is a leader because she knows all of the answers and God supposedly picked her to understand but it still comes across wrong to me.  At this point, I don't know what could be done to change her character to make her more palatable.

I don't like the ableist language Vera so freely tossed around at Joshua. Yes, it's easier for Joshua to believe that he is suddenly an angel on a mission from God.  All of it marries his belief system already.  I very much feel that calling Joshua crazy was not only imprecise given that Vera is a scientist but extremely ableist.  There are so many different words she could have used to counter Joshua's proselytizing.

So far as I can see, all of the women are pretty passive and the men are active. Gender roles play large on The Messengers.  Raul while having a passive skill is able to by physically active because he is a federal agent. Peter is super strong.  Peter was willing to throw himself in front of a bus for Ben.  All the things the women have done to date are absolutely passive.  I want to see them get their share of ass kicking in.

Finally I wonder how the outside complications are going to effect the mission of the angels.  Joshua has his father and possible child to worry about, Peter, Erin and Raul are fleeing the cops (in the case of Raul the drug lords as well), and Vera has lost her job and wants to find her missing child.  These are a lot of distractions.  I suppose this is all the devil's work to stop them from their assigned tasks. 

Finally, was it really necessary to have a Middle Eastern man be the horseman of war?  Yeah I am throwing side eye all over this.