Television/Streaming review: “The Passage – Episode Six – I Want to Know What You Taste Like” (2019)

“The Passage – Episode Six – I Want to Know What You Taste Like” (2019)

Ten Episodes

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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

Nicole: “I want to go and see “The Quiet Place” and describe it to Babcock.”

The fifth 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, and make not mistake there are many, 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.

Watching this weeks episode the word that comes to mind is ponderous, that is the long time it is taking for the story to actually get going to a point that is interesting enough to actually enjoy – we are not there yet. Once again we have illogical decision making by all the main characters for arbitrary reasons as well as once again jumps in action that make little narrative sense. Not only that decision making that actual people would do seems to be out the window. Witness two linked events where one of the suck up scientists not only tests the ability of the virals to read minds but trusts the outcomes of his experiment, then later carries it out again by himself, you can guess what happens then. At the end of last episode we left the two main characters evading a viral, however this episode we jump to them stuck in an elevator which Wolgast is unable to open for no real apparent reason, the power has gone out but why? This is just one example of a jump in narrative for no apparent reason.

It is obvious now that the writers of the show have no idea where the plot is going which in turns mean that we see jumps in the narrative that make no sense as above. This episode has been taken to new heights in ridiculousness with not only once again characters making dumb decisions but also coincidences galore. So for no explanation Wolgast’s wife has been kidnapped and taken to the science facility, not only that she arrives at night when one of the virals has escaped and evades it to be met by her ex husband and Amy, just ridiculous. Then we seemingly switch from night to day to hunt the viral which has infected others – this seems arbitrary at this point – who soldiers kill with bullets as well as sunlight, not only that it has taken weeks for the original virals to turn but these humans turn in a matter of hours. Not only that but apparently if you kill the viral that turns other virals then they all die – the estate for Robert A. Heinlen should really sue, this is straight out of any of his sc-fi, as well as a bunch of Hammer Horror movies. There is so much else to complain about any average viewer should be able to pick up on inconsistencies (I am being nice) as well as just rip offs from other genre shows that the writers, producers and directors should frankly feel embarrassed.

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. 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.

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. 

After watching over half a season 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.

The problems with the show are numerous, but the one that stands out for me is that it is exactly no different from a variety of other shows. We are now seeing shadowy figures like the one played by the excellent James LeGros (wasted here) who want to control the virals, while all along a larger plan by those virals is being played out. Again giving the virals themselves personalities as well as actual goals and an ability to mentally manipulate people is something that was not in the novel, they were treated like their origins, that is they were animals a force of nature unleashed onto the world with only one unconscious objective, to kill everyone else and survive. The producers were obviously too scared to do this so we have virals as traditional vampire which is something that is unforgivable: boring.

Episode Six – “I Want to Know What You Taste Like”

Directed by: Jessica Lowrey

Written by: Dennis Saldua

Guilder and Richards race to mobilize a search party when a viral gets loose outside Project NOAH; Amy creates friction with Brad when she volunteers to help in an unexpected way.

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