“The Passage – Episode Four – Whose blood is that?” (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

Babcock: “Don’t worry you will see him soon.”

The fourth 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. 

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.

The problems once again stem from the fact that that the people behind the series have ignored what was great, compelling and original 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. This week we get a ponderous as well as pointless backstory to one one of the infected, this time Anthony Carter whose introduction in the novel as well as his own backstory became two of the events that helped shape the first half of the novel, here it is clumsily introduced as well as being effectively pointless to the rest of the plot, instead it is some kind of clumsy reasoning behind him tuning into a viral, which when taken apart from the narrative actually makes little sense. Not only that the reduction of the characters age as well as social situation robs him of any real impact, it along with Amy’s mother deletion are two of the major pieces (although as it moves forward this series moves further and further away from the spirit of the novel) that would have made this show something very special.

However for me it is the Anthony Carter character that was so full of honesty, soulfulness, gentleness and most of all courage that is one of the biggest lost opportunities. Carter in the novel was all about protecting the memory of a woman that took pity on him, for no other reason than to help give an older possibly impaired man a chance then ends up being the reason for him on death row. Even though he is innocent his own moral compass in protecting the woman, her memory is one of the reasons that Wolgast ends up attempting to protect Amy, not the A typical reason given in the series which is trite as well as disingenuous.

There are also elements within the narrative that make no sense the biggest in this episode is the strange jump cut (there are so many in the series so far you have to wonder how many people had a finger in the post production of this show) from Amy and Wolgast in her lab room talking about the possibility of infection then we see them building a tree house in the open surrounded by people, so on one hand the people in charge are terrified of their patients infecting others then they let one out in the open with soldiers, where is the logic, this is just one example of the inept lazy storytelling that exists throughout this terrible adaption.

As has been present throughout this entire series there is the continuing use of the most overused plot devices that is essentially an artificial way to build tension as well as move the narrative, that is keeping information or a secret away from others when in fact they should know what is going on. Not only that they would know as part of their position within the story such as Babcock not being liquidated. We also see a pattern emerging at the end of each episode there is a jarring cliffhanger of sorts which make no sense as we already have that information from earlier episodes. We also see briefly, as I assume this subplot is being written out as it is ludicrous, Wolgast’s wife, his friend and a reporter where for the briefest moment it is mentioned the report has died, the other two look at each other mysteriously and that is the last we see of them. There is still no explanation of how Wolgast’s friend was able to return from a shootout where she looked dead and now has no mark on her, although when we see her she is in bed, I though bullets caused more damage than that? The show is full of jumps in storyline or just pretending actions did not happen in previous episodes – it is very confusing.

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. 

At this stage of the series with only four episodes gone this show is really feeling like hard work, I can only imagine what readers of the novel who are still watching think of this. For people that have not read the novel this show must feel like a retread of so many other horror/fantasy genre pieces that it becomes obvious with each passing moment what is going to happen next, which again is unlike the novel that had no easy answers for readers which in this day and age is a real gift.

Episode Four – “Whose blood is that?”

Directed by: Allison Liddi-Brown

Written by: Daniel Thomsen

Wolgast convinces Sykes and Lear to let him and Amy outside of the facility for exercise in an effort to protect her; Fanning’s hold on those kept in Project Noah grows stronger as flashbacks reveal how Carter wound up on death row.

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