I’m happy to say that after last week’s strong start, the momentum didn’t diminish. In fact, I think that it was enormously helpful to start the episode mere seconds after the conclusion of the first one. We even had FBI Counterterrorist Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) still engaged in the same conversation.
This spills into some critical action as a Visitor clean-up crew arrives to sweep the warehouse. The pair try for a closer look, and Erica calls in an anonymous tip from a pay-phone. Unfortunately, the Visitors are monitoring communications and dispatch one of their “seekers” (the spike-shooting ball from the first episode) to hunt them down (shades of “Phantasm”!). Erica and Father Jack escape and split up, their plans to continue the resistance momentarily disrupted.
Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, depending on your paranoia level, both characters soon become embroiled in FBI investigations. For Erica, it’s a reversal; she’s subjected to questioning over her “now-missing” partner Dale (Alan Tudyk), who was revealed as a visitor (and stabbed by Erica) last week. Father Jack gets questioned over the injured man that gave him the envelope that led him to the resistance meeting; apparently, there’s already an FBI task force assigned to Visitor relations. I’m sure that will go well, with no impact on citizen liberties.
We also met Erica’s boss, Paul Kendrick, credibly played by daytime veteran Roark Critchlow. I thought that he had a pretty convincing arc of reactions to Erica’s story, blending cautious trust with the frustration of a man that just lost one of his people. I would hope that he’s not one of the Skrulls, er, Visitors that have been hiding in plain sight; I’d just like him to be conflicted.
About the “secret invasion” aspect: Erica and Dale had been partners for SEVEN years. Does that mean that Dale had been a Visitor the whole time, or was he replaced at some point in that time frame? Do we know how long Crusader, er, Ryan (the good Visitor) had been in place before his reveal?
For his part, Erica’s son Tyler (Logan Huffman) continued his awkward interest in Lisa (Laura Vandervoort). One wonders if Lisa’s reaction to Tyler’s punching of the guy in the crowd is born more out of genuine distaste for violence or part of a larger game. The wondering is part of fun, as I’m constantly wondering what other background characters will also turn out to be Visitors.
Overall, this one was a solid follow-up to the first episode, even if it did lack that one’s scope. Right now, the cast feels sort of small for an alien invasion thriller, and the Chad (Scott Wolf) story this time seemed of little consequence. Even “Lost” in its first season had 14 major characters; as it is, we only have about five (Erica, Jack, Ryan, Tyler, Chad) on the human side reacting against the threat. That should be spread out.
I find that the various stories are also, in several ways, mapping quite well with the original. There’s the teen human/visitor relationship, there’s the formation of the resistance, there’s the media angle, etc. Adding the FBI and faith angles are sharp, but I miss the cluster of scientists and doctors from the original; here’s hoping that a character from that part of the deck gets added soon.
How about you, readers? Happy? Interested? Ready to sell out humanity for Anna? Discuss.