Saturday, June 27, 2015

Between, Season 1, Episode 6: War

21 Days Under Quarantine

Adam has been reunited with his dad in the prison and is very very confused. He wants to get Adam out of there. He tells Adam about a tunnel where he can get out – but he doesn’t expect to join Adam. In fact, he doesn’t look well. He also tells Adam there is no cure for the disease – he should know, he worked on it

It also means, as an over-22 year old, he’s probably dying (though this disease never had symptoms before, people just died). They have to hide when a large number of military vehicles drive in… Adam’s dad says “they’re early”. The soldiers have been sent by the government to dish out cures – not knowing that the injections will actually kill everyone in Pretty Lake AND that the protective masks the soldiers are wearing won’t save them either

All he thinks he can save is Adam – he’s dead, the soldiers are dead, the kids are dead, he just hopes he can save Adam. Adam insists he has to help people, especially Wylie – and his dad dies.

The troops arrive at the prison with ominous trays of syringes.
Pat is all tortured over Amanda’s death while Chuck and Samantha bury her. Of course they blame the Creekers and Chuck is on another vengeance kick. Samantha thinks this is a bad idea but since when does Chuck listen to other people.

Naïve Wylie tells Tracey she can just explain it all to Chuck. Because that has worked in the past. While in town someone warns Melissa that Chuck & co are going after the Creekers so she needs to get her sister out before Chuck’s classic random violence gets her killed.

Speaking of, Chuck and his gang head to the Creeker house carrying guns, of course the possibility they’re not at fault is not something Chuck wants to hear. They find the house empty, but also find Pat’s damaged car.

While they’re at his house, Pat goes to Chuck’s to try and talk to him (oh such naivety) and only gets Samantha – he tells her he killed Amanda. When Chuck returns, Samantha tries to arrange a peaceful discussion

While she does that, Ronnie, Tracey, Wylie and several Creeker cousins head into town with guns. (Wylie has brought a baby to a gun fight. No matter how hard you throw a baby, it will never match the range or accuracy of a rifle). Samantha tries to get everyone to play nice (which is usually Gord’s job but he’s wisely decided to stay out of this bullshit). But she’s sure they have a peaceful settlement ready at the church.

In the church Pat offers to give up to “justice”, even death at the hands of Chuck the awful (hey can we have the same punishment for the man who nearly murdered a child?). He’s doing this because he wants peace. He wants promises that the war ends with him (uh-huh, until next week when Chuck decides whatever random event happens is totally the Creeker’s fault and goes on another rampage). Ronnie agrees – and so does Chuck so long as he gets his vicious revenge.

At the farm, Gord isn’t entirely happy with Hannah and her surprise husband showing up. She explains it was an arranged marriage – but though she’s not a big fan of hubby John, she’s not willing to abandon her community. Gord is waves her on the way, still not happy.

Gord returns to wondering about his father who died from suicide, asking Frances about it and revealing some really deep insecurities (was his dad just looking for an excuse to commit suicide that the virus presented – since the farm wasn’t doing so well). Poor Frances worries Gord may be thinking of following his dad – when he reassures her, she insists they go into town with the milk as they’re supposed to.

When he’s in town checking on Melissa, he sees the two sides of the Creeker/Chuck war gather – oh Gord you do not want to get involved. Chuck has decided to shoot Pat in the head because he’s totally convinced this is fair and just. Wylie stands in the way and demands to be shot as well because she was also in the car.

Melissa (and Gord – run Gord, you and your sister must preserve the town’s only brain cells) arrives to confirm it and, technically, condemn her sister. Something she’s really thrilled about because she wants her sister to take responsibility for taking life saving drugs for a dying teenager. Melissa your sister issues are not the topic at hand. But apparently we are actually taking time out in this whole hot mess for sister spite – because now she wants Wylie to tell everyone who the father of her baby is.

Really? Chuck is pointing a gun at Wylie and Pat. No-one cares, Melissa.

Well until we learn that the father of Wylie’s child is Chuck’s dad – Charles Senior the arsehole. Ok can we cut the soap and return to the collapsed society plague thing this show was supposed to be?

Apparently someone was listening to me because the powers that be contact the whole town to ask them to report for vaccinations. Everyone needs to report to the prison for this – and everyone is quite happy. Chuck still wants to get gun happy though but is derailed by his new brother

Which is when Adam arrives to tell them the vaccination is actually lethal. He tries to talk sense to them all, pointing out how weird it’s all been – how they’ve had all communication stopped, the no-fly zone, none of this makes sense for a quarantine. Poor Adam, he’s trying to explain things to the terminally clueless. When the soldiers start hitting people and assault us with terrible acting, the kids agree with Adam and fight back, overwhelming the soldiers.

Frances and Hannah are taken to the prison. The soldiers begin injecting the children.

At the church, Wylie and Adam have a moment but, more importantly, Gord (he with a brain cell, takes charge). He makes a plan and they use Mark who was an inmate so knows the layout of the prison. While they go off, Wylie and Melissa remain in the church to talk things out and generally Melissa continues to be a terrible person (she assumed Wylie kept the kid out of spite). This continues with Wylie telling her how much Charles listened to her which no-one else did even while they’re hiding from soldiers. Melissa finally sees that maybe Wylie was being exploited by Wylie rejects that – she says she’s not a victim. The crying baby gets them discovered and dragged to the prison.

With Gord pretending to be a guard they enter the prison, take a few guards hostage and head to the control room. Though Chuck and Pat don’t manage to hold the hostages for long. They all end up in a series of firefights and send Adam to lock the prison down – reasoning that then everyone will be far too busy trying to escape without dying of plague than injecting kids.

Which Adam starts to do when his Not!dead father arrives. He kind of wanted the whole purge to go ahead and only wanted to get Adam out. Dear ol’ dad asks him not to save the kids – for the sake of the planet, because it’s only a matter of time before one of the quarantined escapes and spreads the deadly disease. Extra tid-bit, the reason why he’s not dead is he decided to put his own DNA in the virus, as you do, so he and Adam are immune. Everyone else is a carrier and will all die when their biological clocks (which I don’t think is actually a thing) tick to 22.

Time for a ridiculous motive – Adam’s dad designed this virus because he’s worried about overpopulation… so he designed an extinction virus? Utopia did this storyline and did it better.

The virus got out and spread early because of Art who went rogue and did… something. Anyway, that’s why all the carriers have to die now. Time for Adam to point a gun at his dad, while his dad tries to convince him to kill everyone. Adam shoots his dad. Fake that one daddy.

Everyone is captured and Frances is next to be injected.

Adam locks down the prison according to plan (the guards, presumably, fight to escape rather than inject more kids(. And Pat and Chuck take a moment midfirefight to talk. REALLY?! Y’know can we go back to the everyone is dying plan? Please? C’mon if everyone doesn’t die they might renew this drek. Anyway this is all so Pat can heroically try to sacrifice hismelf

The van carrying Melissa and Wylie crashes as the drivers die of plague – Wylie leaves with her baby, but can’t bring the unconscious Melissa out of the burning van

Move on a little – all the guards are now dead. The remaining kids are alive… until they turn 22 anyway. Adam lets everyone go. Melissa is presumed dead. Pat is dead saving the worthless chuck. Melissa and Tracy are not happy. Many children are dead from the inoculations – but not Frances. Gord finds her and she’s alive.

Wylie finds her way to Adam and asks why they wanted to kill them all with Adam adding extra angst that the soldiers didn’t know they were killing kids. Alas, Adam says it isn’t over.  Of course, Adam also knows a way out thanks to his dad.

And lo concludes the season finale of this mini-series – which is the whole problem with this show.

6 episodes. 6 episodes is all this show had. That’s far too few to throw in as many potential conflicts as it did. And there was a lot here which were designed to be big and meaty and need development. Wylie and her conflict over raising a child with her upbringing and issues – we’re supposed to handle this in 6 episodes? Melissa with her desperate attempts to be good despite being overwhelmed. Gord trying to get by in his farm but also trying to stop Chuck going off the deep end and there are his relationships with Hannah and Frances. Hannah torn between a marriage she doesn’t value and a community that still needs her. Ronnie and his addiction and general badness, Pat trying to hold his family together, escaped prisoner Mark doing whatever he’s supposed to be doing, Chuck falling apart because he’s just not capable of doing what he thinks he should – to say nothing of a dozen more characters and the actual underlying mystery pursued by Adam as well (like how it kills people at exactly 22, why anyone would think this is a good thing to create and how it manages to infect through a HazMat suit). An no, I don’t count the utter rushed bullshit in this episode as anything closely resembling an explanation

So many characters and so many characters with actual plot lines and issues to explore – but 6 episodes could never do half of them justice. I feel like half of these characters ended up with character traits that went nowhere simply because there was no time to develop them. Wylie is a teenaged mother, but we don’t do anything with that. Hannah shows up with her conflict – but why is she there when we have no time to explore that conflict? Chuck’s sister was a drug dealer, but that just kind of dropped because, again, no time

There’s not even any real underlying time to explore the consequences of the world. Beyond Melissa running a crèche, how is this community of young adults and teenagers handling all of these kids? What about food and supplies? What about grief? Except for a couple of episodes, is anyone actually grieving for all their parents, older siblings et al dying? Because after the big bonfire in episode 2 everyone kind of got over that

Instead we just got episode after episode of Chuck vs the Creekers which was fairly clichéd, fairly dull and could have happened in just about any setting with any set of characters in any story. It seems a shame to focus on a dull feud storyline between characters I care so little about when there was more potential elsewhere – and no time to explore that potential. It was also poorly done, class issues were touched upon but rarely developed and it was constantly framed (especially this episode) as a mutual feud – when in actuality the Creekers did very little that Chuck accused them of (the death of Amanda – an actual accident – is the only thing they actually did) but were constantly accused and attacked for it.

Let’s look at Wylie – so it turns out she had sex while 17 with Charles senior (a man in his 40s or 50s) I don’t know what the age of consent is there but the age and power difference alone make consent severely unlikely and the whole thing screams of sexual assault. In fact, even that much doubt is dubious in the extreme – at best Wylie was exploited by a much older, more powerful man (how often have we been told that he owned this town) and I’m more inclined to call it rape. Yet Melissa has spent this whole show judging her and demanding she take responsibility – she has been hit with shame from the very first and, in the end, we only get this revelation for a purely bizarre moment that makes no sense at all. Melissa just decided “hey, can I interrupt this random shooting to tell you your father raped my sister while she begs me not to?” Other than establish that Melissa is a terrible terrible person, what did this achieve?

Which also applies to Ronnie’s attempted rape of Wylie – we know Ronnie’s a terrible person, it did nothing for Wylie’s storyline and they’d all forgotten about it the very next episode. What was the point of this gratuitous bullshit?

And other women on the show? What did Hannah, Samantha, Tracy, Melissa, Ms. Symmons, Amanda (she was fridged and appalling portrayed before then) or Stacey actually do? At least Frances killed a tiger. The women have been singularly ineffective, extras in a plot line that always centred around men – and Wylie was supposed to be the protagonist. The whole cast of women have been extras.

POC? We had Ms Symmons (who died to let us know the virus kills as soon as you turn 22). At least Frances and Gord were the only people in town with sense and the only ones I actually didn’t want to die a horrible death. But that having sense meant Gord was continually called on to fix people’s problems – and never received any credit for that.

The plague also killed all LGBT people – like so many dystopian afflictions.

All in all, with the series over, I conclude it to be drek. Please do not renew – or at least make Renee recap this crap next time (the show is Canadian, so I think she has a moral responsibility to do so).