REVIEW: The Passage – Season 1 Episode 2 “You Owe Me A Unicorn”

After my conversation with Executive Producer Liz Heldens this past week, I wanted to follow up with a review of tonight's episode of The Passage.  So much happened in this episode that will be key to the story going forward.  I may jump around a bit, but here we go.

After Brad and Amy narrowly escape the pursuit of Project NOAH, they find their way to Wisconsin to seek refuge with one of Brad's old military instructors.  They almost don't make it there, after Brad passes out from the gunshot wound that he suffers.  Amy acts quickly and calls Lila for help.  Man do I love how smart and quick Amy is!  Unfortunately this doesn't sit well with Brad for a couple of reasons, and he breaks their phone before they head on their way.  This little moment of tension does give us a great line, "I don't leave you, you don't leave me."  As if the bond between Brad and Amy wasn't already strong enough, this took it up a notch and it's not the last time we would hear that before the episode is over.  This also leads us to a nice moment between Brad and Lila, who tracks him down in the deep woods of Wisconsin.  There are a couple of other things that I want to talk about, so I'll get back to this in a moment.

We get to see Project NOAH finally start to take it's affect on Carter.  He's healing old wounds, and feeling great, until he's pulled in to one of those creepy Viral dream sequences.  Babcock and Fanning are there waiting for him, seemingly trying to recruit Carter to their cause.  It's so creepy to me how casual they both are about life as a Viral, and how they clearly have a grand plan that we are not allowed to know about yet.  One of my favorite scenes early on this season happens moments later, when Babcock confronts Carter to pay for his bloody beverage that he did not partake in.  I'll be honest, I almost had to look away when she pulled his tooth out.  I feel your pain Carter, I'd wake up freaked out too.  Babcock already gave me the creeps, and Brianne Howey would do that again when she goes "full Viral" and attacks one of the workers at Project NOAH.  I mean, the guy had it coming, but still it was pretty brutal.  It scares me just how powerful she is, and can be, but yet Howey's performance is so amazing that I have to see more.

The other side of Project NOAH is presented in the flashbacks, where we see Dr. Jonas Lear make his decision to bring in Dr. Fanning on his project.  To me, this is one of the ongoing debates fans are probably having early on in this series.  Should he try to save his wife or respect her wishes and spend as much time with her as possible?  Obviously we know how it works out, but how someone would make that decision I think really adds to the emotional fallout of what is going on with Project NOAH.  It also either makes you feel sorry for Jonas, or feel like he got exactly what he deserved.  It doesn't help that Fanning is not a likeable guy AT ALL when we see him in these flashbacks.

Now we have to talk about that ending, and probably the most shocking thing that happens in the series so far.  Richards ends up tracking Brad and Amy down in Wisconsin, and a shootout ensues.  Just when you think that they are about to escape (because that's the TV trope that happens oh so often), Brad actually gives himself up.  If that wasn't shocking enough, we see Amy come out moments later to keep Brad from sacrificing himself.  "I don't leave you, you don't leave me" remember?  A great callback!  It also ends up saving Lila, who manages to sneak out the back in all of the chaos.  The writers could have dragged this out much longer and had them evade capture a bit longer, but it was so refreshing to see them take a different tactic.  It's a breath of fresh air to see this being dealt with head on so early.

The way this show balances the drama with the sci-fi elements is very well done.  The fact that they were able to establish such a bond between Brad and Amy so quickly, and even take it up a level after only two episodes, it something the writers and the actors deserve high praise for.  I'm rooting for them, but at the same time, I'm terrified of what lurks inside with those Virals and what they can do.  It looks like Brad and Amy will get to find out first hand what they are all about in Episode 3.  Question is, how does Lila now factor in to all of this?  Where is the line for Project NOAH and how far will they go?  Will we see more from the bizarre interaction between Richards and Babcock in Episode 1?  I can't wait to find out.

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