Thursday, November 10, 2016

Aftermath, Season One, Episode Seven: What the Thunder Said

So when we last left Aftermath, Mount Rainer was set to explode.  The Copelands are desperate to get off the mountain. They listen as the radio advises which direction they should go but they are cut off.  Things come to a head when the RV overheats and they are forced to stop.  Joshua is confidant that they still have some more time and will just wait until the radiator cools down a bit. Given that the family is outside, Dana and Martin decide to use the time for a little privacy. They don't get to fool around for long because Karen enters the RV.  She's not impressed to see Martin and Dana together and starts to grill them.  For the first time we learn that Martin is 28.  Karen asks about Martin's military service and how he came to be under the command of Booner. Once satisfied, Karen quickly gives the couple her stamp of approval. Look, I know it's the end of the world but there's something wrong with a 28 year old man canoodling with a 15 year old girl and professing his love for her. If this weren't happening at the supposed end of the world, there would be a nice jail cell waiting for Martin. 

The Copelands are able to get moving again.  Jane travels with Brianna and they end up talking about Jane's dead son. It seems that Jane thought that her son was getting better and so she accepted a deployment but unfortunately, Jane's son died while she was away. This of course is a set up to explains Jane's actions later. What obvious bad storytelling.  The caravan is forced to come to a stop when Joshua sees a bald, barefoot man standing in the center of the road.  He claims to be a monk who woke up not far from their current location in this body. The chat with the monk is brought to halt when they come under sniper fire.  Everyone except the Monk and Joshua who has been shot looks for cover. The monk does his mojo thing and kills the sniper. 

Joshua is rushed into the RV because he needs medical attention after being shot in the stomach.  The monk does the woo woo thing and declares that none of Joshua's organs were damaged and removes the bullet with his bare hands.  He then puts some herbs on Joshua's wounds and says that they work better than stitches.  Joshua promptly passes out. The Copelands get moving again and Dana worries about the health of her father prompting Martin to give her some song dance about how only the people who believed they were going to die ever died while he was in battle.  

The whole convoy is forced to stop when the come to a creator blocking off the road. The Monk suggests that they head to the prayer wheel on the mountain because anyone who stands in the prayer wheel will have their wish fulfilled.  Joshua who is now magically healed gets up to discuss this. Seeing Joshua without a mark from the gunshot wound is enough for the Copelands to seriously consider doing as the Monk asks.  Karen and Joshua argue about who should go.  Karen is worried about Joshua's health and he is concerned that she's not exactly a believer. Joshua relents and Karen heads up the mountain with the Monk and Jane because she promised to protect Karen.  The rest of the family decides to head to the avalanche shelter. 

As Karen, Jane and the Monk make their way towards the prayer circle, Joshua, Matt, Dana and Martin drive towards the shelter.  Joshua stops the RV when they come across a couple coming down the mountain. Steve and Anna introduce themselves and explain about losing a friend of theirs on the mountain.  Joshua tells them of their plan to head to the shelters but Steve argues that the shelter only hold enough oxygen for a few people and they are more than a few people.  Joshua feels that it's their only option, so invites Anna and Steve to either join them or make their own way to safety.  Seeing that they have few options, Anna and Steve come along for the ride.  Martin is concerned with how easily Joshua accepted Anna and Steve and ponders whether or not Joshua is too nice of a guy for the apocalypse.

Karen, the Monk and Jane make it to the prayer wheel.  Karen's all set to enter but is stopped when her gun is taken by Jane. It seems that Jane wants to enter the prayer wheel because she wants to see her son again, eruption be damned. Karen tries to talk her down but Jane will have none of it.  The Monk warns that if Jane enters the prayer circle that it won't achieve the result she wants and she responds by shooting him. Jane and Karen scuffle for the gun again but Jane ends up in power again. Jane enters the circle and at first nothing happens but then the rocks begin to float and light shines up from the ground.  Jane gets sucked into the earth and disappears. 

The rest of the Copelands have arrived at the shelter.  Steve grabs Dana and puts a knife to her throat while Anna points her gun.  Steve and Anna want the keys to the RV, certain that they won't all survive in the shelter.  Matt responds by tossing the keys into the bushes.  Martin tries to talk down Steve and Anna, given that they are holding Dana.  He approaches slowly pointing out that neither of them are killers and almost convinces them both to lower their weapons and release Dana but Anna has a change of heart and shoots Martin dead. A horrified Steve releases Dana and starts to scream as Anna backs up and lowers her weapon.  Matt reacts quickly and punches the shit out of Steve.  Matt then turns his attention to Anna and informs her that he is going to hang her.  Matt drags Anna to a crane and strings her up as she begs and pleads and says that she is sorry. 

Karen looks up and sees the Monk standing on his feet.  His shirt is bloody from being shot but otherwise seems unharmed. Karen reports that she failed to enter the circle and so the Monk offers her the opportunity to come with him to a new dimension because this one is ending. Karen asks about her family and when she learns that they won't be there but she will instead find safety, it's not enough for to give up and head with the Monk..  He's very impressed with her decision and comments that she is coming along nicely.  Karen turns away and in that short span of time, the Monk disappears.

Matt starts to hang Anna and Joshua rushes over to stop his son.  Joshua argues that if Matt kills Anna, her blood will be on his hands.  Matt however is not ready to let go and asks Joshua if he's angry and what he wants.  Joshua replies that he wants justice and tells Matt that he won't be the same if he does this.  Matt relents and Joshua decides that Anna and Steve are going to walk down the mountain on their own. It is in fact a death sentence but it's a death sentence without a member of the family having to pull the trigger.  Steve tries to argue that he wasn't the one who killed Martin but Joshua is all out of fucks to give and points out that Steve held a knife on his daughter.  Finally, done with talking, Joshua and Matt begin firing their weapons at Steve and Anna's feet, forcing them to start walking down the mountain. 

The mountain begins to shake and so it's time to seek shelter.  Joshua and Brianna have to pry Dana off of Martin's dead body as she begs for more time.  The family all head towards the shelter but Dana stops running and looks behind her.  Brianna, Matt and Joshua all make it inside the shelter and it's then that Joshua notices that Dana isn't with them.

On the mountain, things are getting hairy so Karen starts running. She ends up falling into a crevice. 

So once again, we have the Copelands separated because heaven forbid that Aftermath allow them to spend an episode together as a family. You know damn well that at least a good portion of next week's episode is going to be dedicated to getting the family together again, only for the writers to separate them again. 

This week, the writers tried to deal with the fallout from all that the Copelands have experienced to date. Joshua and Karen finally get around to talking about the fact that they've killed people.  Joshua is surprised to learn that Karen knew what he did.  Karen is nonchalant about her actions justifying them as part of her responsibility to save the family. In her conversation with the Monk, he brings up that the Copelands continue to survive but to do so they will have to keep killing other's thereby sacrificing their souls.  I get that this was Aftermath's attempt to be deep but it simply fell flat for me. I certainly didn't find the barefoot Monk convincing at all.

I really think that it's time that Aftermath begin to explain to us what is going on and why. Putting the family in jeopardy each week and killing off side characters to represent the peril they are supposedly facing is not nearly enough. It feels like we are jumping from one disaster to another without any kind of rhyme or reason.