Between Recap: Season 1 Episode 2 'Who's The Boss?'
*All of our episode recaps contain spoilers*
If last week’s episode was about setting up the characters and the situation, this week we see how they kids are coping without the adults around. At the moment, they are barely hanging on, with petty disputes and prejudices about each other threatening to cause problems for those left behind in Pretty Lake.
The opening is quite good, as we see orphaned young children trying to get food and then one child is killed in a car accident, which I wasn’t expecting. Without any adults around the kids are struggling to maintain order and keep watch of all the young children. Supplies are also getting low which means people are resorting to breaking and entering. Some like boring Gord are stealing food to feed starving kids, while other like Ronnie are just looting from deserted houses. The latter incident leads to further conflict between Ronnie and Chuck and later when a dead woman’s finger is cut off for her ring Chuck immediately suspects Ronnie. Things are made even worse when Chuck believes Ronnie and his siblings started a fire at his shop, which was really caused by his sister Amanda. At the moment all the conflict seems a bit predictable but hopefully it can go off in more interesting directions. Especially as we don’t know who did cut off the dead woman’s finger.
The best storyline centres around Chuck’s other sister (I can’t even remember her name) who's gone missing. At first this doesn’t seem like it’s going to be particularly of interest - a moody teen has gone off in a sulk, so what? But then Gord finds her body in the wood. As he shows Chuck and Adam what happened it at first appears like suicide, but there are suspicious circumstances around the body. However with no police around how can it be investigated properly? The scene works really well, as Justin Kelly (Chuck) seems like one of the few actors who can actually act in this show. Throughout this show, the teenagers don’t seem to be as affected emotionally by the loss of their families as they should be, but at least in this scene the grief felt real. So we have another mystery on our hands, who killed her and why?
Over in the prison the female prison guard is about to turn her back on Mark and leave him locked up until he pleads with her to look at his file and that he killed his father to protect his mother. When she returns she apologises and lets him out, but it looks like Mark was a bad guy all along and knocks her out. More twists like this would be welcomed in further episodes. Although, along with the majority of this cast, I find it hard to believe either Mark or the prison lady are under 22 years old.
Then there’s Whiley’s subplot which has her looking for the money she’s owed from her mysterious baby daddy. However, she faints before she can get the cash and people presume she’s just another dead body and throws her onto the burning pyre. This is just a bit ridiculous, could no one see she was breathing or check for a heart beat? It’s also very convenient that Adam happened to be searching for a man among the bodies and saves Whiley just in time.
Meanwhile, the outside world communicates through video messages to Pretty Lake asking the children to burn their parents’ bodies so that the virus can be contained and they can (allegedly) be rescued. Seeing the piles of bodies on top of each other is quite a grim scene but many of the characters don’t look particularly bothered about it. It’s only at the end of the episode that everything finally starts to click and everyone seems appropriately sombre.
So we now have a murder to solve alongside the virus outbreak and Whiley’s whose-the-father mystery. These mysteries keep the show engaging enough for now, but it still doesn’t feel like it's hit its stride yet. But it’s only episode two so there’s still time to improve.