“The Passage – Episode Nine – Stay in the Light” (2019)
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
Amy: “I never used to believe in monsters. I do now”
The ninth and thankfully second to last 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.
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. As each episode has unfolded we can see that the writers of the show have been chopped and changed from episode to episode which lends to the jig saw nature and unevenness that this show smacks of, if there is one thing that this show needed it was a unified voice from one person with input on the overall narrative to make sure it made sense, if there is one thing that is obvious about this show it is the unevenness that effects everything from performance to direction.
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.
It seems everyone behind the scenes has given up as even the linking from the end of the previous episode to the opening of this one has a time jump that seems to indicate that parts of the show were never filmed and the narrative is being made up in the edit. Not only that the sets seem as flimsy as the show itself which indicates budget issues especially in battle scenes where it appears people are firing weapons into the dark with no enemy in sight. We also have piped through for creature effects some of the basic sounds I have ever heard, they would be at home in late 1990s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2001) not in a show created almost twenty years later. It is not just the storyline that keeps getting made up as the show nears its (hopefully permanent) end, characters who should have been forgotten turn up, or survive somehow and others that were introduced have seemingly disappeared without explanation.
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.
We are now at the point in the season where we should be, as the first novel did, really see some thrilling elements taking centre stage, however that is not the case at all. We are still being exposed to back stories that add very little to the overall plot except by trying to pull the wool over audiences eyes with a convoluted narrative which is neither original or engaging. There is simply nothing at the centre of this show which means everything is stacked like a house of cards, one good tug on a thread will see it collapsing under its own weight. I pray that this show will be put out of its and my misery.
Episode Nine – “Stay in the Light”
Directed by: Jason Ensle
Written by: Daniel Thomsen & Vanessa Gomez
Amy must decide what’s best for humanity when the only way to stop Fanning and the virals from escaping Project NOAH involves an explosion that could leave Brad, Sykes and the cure for the virus in the crossfire.