Television/Streaming review: “The Passage – Episode Ten – Last Lesson” (2019)

“The Passage – Episode Ten – Last Lesson” (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

Wolgast: “They all went home.”

The final and hopefully last ever 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.

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.

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 the entire season this show is really felt 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.

One of the changes that has been made and was apparent very early on was the alteration to the way the virals/vampires existed and operated in this version of the novel which is, along with the general story telling techniques, one of the very worst aspects as it robs the entire narrative of any originality that could have been ported over from the source material. This change had a major effect on the overall plot and narrative, instead of making Wolgast the (mostly) main character it featured the way in which this story was told which not only lessens the overall narrative but diminishes the reason for his existence, making him one dimensional as well as taking the attention away from the themes of the series which may explain why this seems just another terrible vampire series. Within the confines of the novel the objectives as well as the personalities did not exist which was a strength as it meant that the actual story was about people who were attempting to fend off the virals – which in itself has a deeper meaning already without even trying.

There is strong evidence that this show is not getting a renewal, the evidence is all over this final episode from the bait and switch of a cure which seems hamfisted as well as the complete disappearance of a character who the show runners obviously introduced then did not know what to do with much like Wolgast’s friend who appears and disappears for no real reason. The ending which bastardizes as well as completely misses the point is a Frankenstein like edited piece of nothing that makes little sense in the overall arc of the show which renders the entire series pointless unless the point was to teach Amy how to fire a bow and arrow.

There is so much that is completely misjudged, mishandled and tonally off with “The Passage” that it is reduced to a rip off of other similar shows that are supposed to be about something bigger but ends up being just like “The Strain” (2014-2017) not a good comparison, I will be pleased if this is not renewed and we never see it again, a shame as I love the novel.

Episode Ten – “Last Lesson”

Directed by: Mark Tonderai

Written by: Liz Heldens & Joy Blake

Following the explosion, surprising alliances are formed and a key figure returns to convince everyone to fight for their lives.

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