“The Passage – Episode Two – You owe me a new Unicorn” (2019)

Ten Episodes

Created by: Liz Heldens based on the novels written by Justin Cronin

Featuring: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saniyya Sidney, Vincent Piazza, Brianne Howey McKinley Belcher III, Jamie McShane, Caroline Chikezie, Emmanuelle Chriqui

Doctor:This could be the cure for… everything.”

Well the second episode has arrived of the show based on the excellent adult trilogy ‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin that charts the world as it passes from a pre apocalyptic period through to an ante period through to the post part which takes place over a one thousand year time period. This time there has been an immediate improvement possibly because there has only been one director credited, but the same writer,  Liz Heldens, is still the main force behind the show.

The general plot of the “The Passage” (2019) focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, Amy Bellafonte, is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent Brad Wolgast is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project Noah. Ultimately, however, Wolgast becomes her surrogate father, as he tries to protect her at any cost.

There are still issues with the general look of the show, not only that but there are some very odd time as well as scene jumps which are so jarring as to take the viewer outside of the show. There is one problematic scene at the very start of the show where Wolgast and Amy make there way onto a school bus, which even on the surface makes no sense, in this day and age can even the most broad mind viewer believe that teachers would not check that the child and Father are legitimate, especially in the way they behave. Then Wolgast gets on the bus without anyone seeing, we then jump to both characters inside a car, it is a very odd section of the show, and this is only the start of the show.

There are more flashbacks involving the scientists as well as exploring their motivations which jump along at a ludicrous pace as well as involving some very unsatisfactory coincidences which are unbelievable even for a fantasied show. We meet one scientist who wife has just been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, then gets a phone call about a possible wonder drug, within moments he not only has a partner but has unlimited funding to explore the origins of said drug.

Finally the general introduction of Wolgast’s wife continues which is as clumsy as anything else in this episode. Apparently not only is she a surgeon, she also is an expert in geography as well as knowing instinctively when to show up just in time to remove a bullet from her ex husband. Not only that but Wolgast seeks shelter with someone who is set up as a survivalist, armed to the teeth yet is taken out of the picture in one of the worst shoot out scenes I have ever seen on television, even for broadcast television.

The problems once again stem from the fact that that the people behind the series have ignored what was great about the initial novel, ‘The Passage’. That is the pacing as well as the offering back stories to only the really important characters, not only that there were revelations about the other subordinate characters made throughout the novels which built up tension. Here there are revelations made whenever new characters are introduced which dulls the impact of the action that is taking place.

At this stage the brightest part of the series is still Saniyya Sidney, she shines above all others as Amy, the main character in both novels and series. At this early stage it does seem she might be better than the character that has been written for her, the reasons for her being, the relationship with her mother, the other worldliness of her actual being, the reason she is wanted, her actual attractiveness to Wolgast and finally why the story is centred around her. 

The second episode is a minor improvement over the first one which was needed but this is still a disappointing series so far, unless there are some real improvements this will be an extreme chore to watch over the coming weeks.

Episode One – You owe me a new Unicorn

Directed by: Jason Ensler

Written by: Liz Heldens

Amy and a wounded Brad seek refuge with Brad’s ex-military instructor; Dr. Lear reflects on the decisions that led him to involve Fanning in his research; testing of the virus on Anthony Carter begins.

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