Monday, January 9, 2017

Beyond, Season One, Episode Two: Tempus Fugit

Episode two appears to open just before Holden awakens form his coma.  He is with Willa and she gives him a compass to help guide his way, making it clear that it's time for him to go.  For his part, Holden clearly wants to stay.  Suddenly, who should run by but Kevin.  Clearly, he's a part of what is going on. Suddenly, Willa's face starts to melt and she instructs Holden to run, which he does but in the process runs into the man in the yellow jacket who takes a shot at him. This time when Hold awakens he's in his room.

Proving that Holden cannot catch a break, when he heads downstairs, he finds that the cops waiting to talk to him about events the night before at the bar.  Luke is the first one to pipe up suggesting that Holden doesn't have to talk to the cops if he doesn't want to. As the cops start to question Holden he remembers what happened the night before and stops speaking.  It's Tom, who puts an end to the interrogation, realising that his son is in over his head.

Holden gets Luke to take him back to the bar parking lot to see what evidence remains there.  Holden find a cracks in the ground from where he punched his fist into the cement but doesn't share what the cracks mean with Luke. It's Sunday, so it's time for the brothers to head to church with their mother. Holden isn't even in the church a New York minute before he has an incident. A phone starts to ring, causing Pastor Ian to stop speaking thus drawing the attention of the entire congregation.  It seems that Willa slipped a cell phone into Holden's pocket and she's now calling him.  Holden rejects the call and apologises.  The next time Holden comes to the attention of congregation, it's because he is having visions of the bald man, who is pleading with him to remember. Holden screams out to be left alone, only to find he is back in the church with all of the congregants and not in fact alone with the bald man.

That's enough for Holden and he heads home where he meets with his father Tom, who has a different approach for bringing some normalcy to Holden's life.  It seems that they saved Holden's dirt bike though it needs a little bit of work to get it back on the road.  Tom talks about how tactile they both are and driven to fix things.  Together, father and son get the bike back on the road and after being handed his helmet, Holden takes off for a ride.  For a moment its like the years have slipped away as Holden rides his dirt bike.

Holden doesn't get to enjoy his ride for long because he is quickly followed by a maroon truck, mirroring what happened the night he went into a coma. The driver manages to cut him off and it turns out that it's Kevin. The two head back to their old favourite drinking place and once again we see that more than years now separate the former friends.  Kevin wants to know exactly what Holden is now and doesn't mince about words about the ways in which Holden's awakening has messed with his life. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Holden, who is quick to point out that he didn't ask for any of this, before leaving.

Mr Yellow Jacket is travelling on a bus when he meets a kid, who notices his gun.  Yellow Jacket offers the kid his gun but fortunately, the kid is called away by his mother. Yellow Jacket makes his way into a lovely gated community to meet with Mr. Frost.  Unfortunately for Yellow Jacket, he is forced to deal with Tess Shoemacher instead.  Tess informs Yellow Jacket that Frost is not impressed that his actions drew so much attention and the fact that because of him, Holden is on high alert. Yellow Jacket tries to protest that at least he got proof of what Holden can do but Tess isn't having it and gives him his walking papers. I think I'm going to like Tess, she seems to be really good at throwing shade.

Yellow Jacket then heads home.  It's a bit shocking because we're set up to expect him to do some violence in this quiet suburban neighbourhood.  He's greeted by his daughter and his wife, who is not at all pleased. It seems that she believes that Yellow Jacket is a travelling salesman and is not pleased that he didn't have a chance to talk to his so-called boss about a promotion. Frost is stopped from further explanations when Mr. Frost calls him personally and seemingly reassigns him.

Willa has been busy blowing up Holden's new phone. Holden cannot take it anymore and so tosses the phone in the garbage.  In the garage he meets up with Luke, who suggests that what Holden really needs is to blow off some steam and so invites him to a college party that he is headed to.  Once there, Holden is clearly a fish out of water as he makes his way through a crowd of people.  He meets Jamie and the two start to make out on the couch but when Holden opens his eyes, he sees Willa instead of Jamie.  Confusion begins to set in as the bald man makes an appearance on the couch beside Holden. Clearly off  balance, Holden makes his way to the bathroom and promptly collapses, ending up mentally in a different place, even as his physical body lies on the bathroom floor.

In his new head space, Holden looks like he is in some sort of dungeon and something is pounding on a door trying to get to him. In his panic, in the real world, Holden's mental trip has caused the house to catch fire. Luke begins looking frantically looking for his brother and finally finds him in the bathroom curled up in the fetal position. Luke manages to get Holden out of the house safely  and then the two brothers flea before the cops show up.

The fire it seems is the last straw for Holden and so he heads to Willa's apartment.

So far, Beyond has spent its time setting up its narrative and introducing its characters.  Other than Kevin, I'm not certain that we are going to have any regular characters of colour.  When this is added to the fact that Holden, the straight, white, cis guy is being set up as the chosen one, it just feels old. With all of the interesting new racially diverse shows airing now, why is Freeform falling back to this? Not only that, but the entire premise of Beyond has been done and in fact, done better.

We don't know where Holden went during his coma and what he has become now.  It's absolutely a device to keep the audience just as ignorant as Holden, so that we can begin to identify him and the difficult positions he is placed in.  In many ways, Holden is endearing with awkwardness but Beyond is going to need more than that to sell this show. They really need to get the meta moving and give us something that we can dig our teeth into because for now, all I see his mindless fluff which is headed nowhere.