Sunday, June 7, 2015

Between, Season 1, Episode 2: Who's the Boss

Day 14: Death Toll 6,043

As should surprise no-one, Adam survived his little jaunt to the fence and has now set up a board of various things to think about – the victims, their ages, the fence et al.

Things are slowly decaying in town with a large number of orphans and drying up food supplies – and kids tasking up driving which doesn’t end well. It’s a nicely ominous “everything is falling apart” foreshadow. Gord and his sister                Francis speak to the little girl, Sarah who lost her brother in the car crash.

To Wylie and her newborn baby. Her sister, Melissa has taken in a lot of kids at the church to look after them and would really like Wylie’s help but Wylie has completely withdrawn, not going out and not even naming her new son.

To the rich folk’s household with kid Chuck completely failing to reassure his sister Amanda about their other sister Lana’s disappearance – she’s been gone for 4 days. Charles senior, arsehole rich guy, has finally died from the virus

Day 14: Death toll: 6,922

It’s time for another town meeting (led by Ms Symmonds the teacher) – but whole the last one was full of sombre and concerned adults, this is full of noisy children. They have a message to play from Minister Miller, the lady who holds some kind of authoritative role outside the fence. She confirms that everyone over the age of 22 is now dead which, bright side, means the rest of them probably will live. She wants the survivors to then burn the bodies.

Francis takes little Sarah to the beleaguered Melissa’s church hall crèche – I wonder if Sarah saying “he died” about her brother will ever be less heart wrenching?

Far more tragic is watching the survivors gather all the bodies of their loved ones to take them to the bonfire. It’s taking so long that Chuck eventually decides to draft all over 12s to move the bodies. Lana is also still missing

Gord goes around being a saint, first of all he and Francis steal food for the orphans from the supermarket and then he stops to lecture Ronnie on stealing drug. Ronnie pulls a gun and to make it worse Chuck and his cronies show up. Chuck is happy to back down from the gun wielding Ronnie, Gord almost has a death wish but they don’t stop Ronnie leaving with the drugs.

Gord and Chuck discuss the grocery store theft – and Gord apologises, he assumed it was a giant chain not belonging to his family, but he adds that there are kids who need food. Chuck does ask Gord talk to him about any future acquisitions – Chuck (and his hockey team minions) wants to hold the town together until the fence comes down and thinks about how to control Ronnie (with force) while Gord uses intelligence (getting Ronnie’s brother Pat to reel him in). We also learn Gord used to be on the hockey team before his dad forced him to quit and help on the farm.

When Gord leaves, one of Chuck’s hockey minions shows him a picture of one of the bodies with a finger cut off – they guess Ronnie did it to get her ring. Chuck and his minions decide to visit – except reasonable brother Pat has zero reason to trust Chuck. There’s a tense confrontation and Chuck even tries to be reasonable – but there’s so little reason to trust him that Pat won’t listen – it devolves into insults before Chuck & co leave. Pat is pretty suspicious of his brother himself.

Gord and Francis go to see Melissa who is beating herself up over Sarah’s brother’s death, blaming herself while Gord, fellow saint, points out she desperately needed help sooner.

Adam is still researching rather than helping with the bodies, unlike Ms Symmonds who checks in him, he isn’t so sure the fence will definitely come down just because they burn the bodies. He points out that they have received no help, no guys in HazMat suits to help deal with the bodies, just leaving a population of kids and not-long-since kids to cremate their loved ones. He’s also curious about the 22 year old cut off age of the virus death – which just doesn’t match with Ms Symmonds guess of youth and greater health. His research hasn’t thrown up any information but he does try to lighten the mood with an unnecessary cross dresser joke.

Adam’s research leads him to a guy called Art Gary, it’s a thin lead but he’s the only person he can find with high government clearance and links to Pretty Lake. Wylie arrives and she’s despair and depressed and desperately needs a hug

The next day she goes to the lawyer’s office where she agreed to sell her baby and looks, presumably, for the contract. The lawyer is dead, his young son isn’t – and he has a knife. The poor kid is desperate and scared and quickly goes from threatening to begging her to stay. As they look for her papers, Wylie collapses. Since the kid doesn’t know what happened, he calls on those collecting the bodies to take her and his dad to the big body pile.

In the woods, Gord finds the body of a woman, Chuck’s sister Lana  – and it looks like she died violently not from the plague. He calls Chuck and they bring in Adam as the town’s resident brain. It looks like suicide but Adam spots a few things that point to a second person being involved. They agree to preserve what evidence they can for the investigators before removing the body since they don’t want to leave her there until the quarantine is lifted. When Chuck is gone, Adam tells Gord Lana was murdered

We have some painful scenes of grief and burning bodies and Chuck trying to talk to his sister Amanda (who is disabled, confuse, sad and angry over her missing sister). Francis throws rocks at a car – a nicely shot moment of such a good kid doing something so mindlessly destructive surrounded by wreckage. She gets a call from her aunt outside the town but the reception is poor and they’re quickly cut off.

Amanda tries to cook (under the idea that cooking burgers will bring Lana back) and nearly burns the store down. When Chuck asks Amanda what happened she lies and Chuck’s minions assume it’s Ronnie who is behind the fire. Gord is the voice of reason, asking them to wait until the fence comes down and report the fire to the authoirities.

Adam follows up on his lead about Art Gary and finds a picture of him with Minister Miller. He goes through the huge pile of bodies looking to see if Art is among them. He finds his body and quickly searches him, taking something from his pocket. He also hears Wylie and hurriedly pulls her from the pile as Chuck finishes his speech and they start the fire

To the prison – which is also full of bodies. The guy we keep following who still needs a name is locked in his cell and desperately calling for help. Eventually the remaining prison guard arrives and gives him food for a week – she’s planning to leave but is under orders never to let him out. Apparently the guy killed his dad to protect his mother, or so he claims.

She checks his file and decides to release him – probably a mistake since he hits her and steals her gun.

I am, again, surprised by this show – there’s a lot less drama and angst than I expected –though there’s still a lot of excellently presented grief. Instead we have a lot of people dealing with the terrible situation with an almost common theme of these kids and young adults having to grow up extremely quickly. Some are just plain excellent at it and need to take the reigns now – Gord. Some are completely overwhelmed like poor Melissa. Chuck is trying to step into some kind of leadership role likely pushed by his family’s arrogance and class privilege – but, unlike his dad, does seem to be genuinely care and be trying to do a good job. He reminds me of Melissa, only with more power, more influence and higher assumptions of both himself and what he can do – while at the same time being equally out of his depth. Mixed with this you have people fighting their own ongoing personal battles – with Wylie and Pat, others taking advantage of the situation as they can with Ronnie – and Adam pulling back to look at the bigger picture beyond all the personal, survival and town drama

In theory it’s a nice balance. We have morality conflicts, deeply personal stories, survival stories of keeping the town working and surviving with an eye kept on the ongoing meta as well. It’s a good idea and a great concept that I applaud.

Execution wise? Not so much – so many characters (I have a feeling the prison storyline is really going too far), so many names, so many people to keep track of. There’s a bit too much going on and, because of that, not enough time to develop most of the characters to a level where I actually care about them enough. I’m not put off the show, but at the end of the second episode I’m not really hooked either.

Can we just make Gord leader please?