This episode continues the world building begun in the pilot, using flashforwards* to follow Reece’s future memories from her adoption of Leah to her decision to come back to the 21st century. In the present day, the hunt for Reece continues, Leah’s illness is discovered, and Lindauer’s questionable motives continue to surface.
This episode spends time getting to know the characters better as individuals in a way that the pilot didn’t have time for. It’s could almost be seen as a part 2 in that sense, since it finishes the set up of the story and gives us insight into why we should care about these people. We get a sense of the factions at play in the future and how they’re being transferred to the present day. The stakes are made more immediate, drawing the viewer into the suspense and intrigue inherent in the premise, but kept at a distance in the pilot.
There’s nothing like a killer future plague to make you sit up and take notice, except maybe morally ambiguous future people accidentally trying to keep the cure from reaching Patient Zero. Or are they preventing the cure from reaching Leah on purpose?
In the first flashforward, it’s 2187. Reece is a law enforcement agent. She and a partner are searching for a Commons hideout. Commons is what the Apex call Homo sapiens. Reece says, “Control said there could be up to 30 Commons here. Get ready.” After dramatically opening the door to a darkened barracks, all they find is a room full of people who died in their beds. They pull one of the bodies loose from their blankets, to reveal the same waffle patterned rash that Leah has on her arm. Reece’s partner says, sarcastically, “Mantle’s disease. Shame they never found the cure.”
A baby cries, so they follow the sound to a nearby bed. Her partner thinks the crying is an ugly sound that makes the baby weak. Reece understands that the baby is scared. Just as her partner is about to shoot the baby, we flash back to the present day.
Jude is bringing Reece to the beach to help her find Leah. He tells her to stay in the car when they get there, and let him do the talking. Like any parent would do that in this situation. He doesn’t want her to turn into a violent hysterical woman and hurt people, like she did when the guy tried to mug her and the guards threatened to shoot her. Bad Apex female, defending herself. She doesn’t respond, which shows that she’s the superior being in this situation.
The refugees have already been moved, so the beach is empty. Jude realizes what must have happened, and explains it to Reece. Reece says, “You don’t understand. She CAN’T be away from me.” Jude says he understands, because he knows what it’s like to be separated from your kid. Reece doesn’t bother to argue, since men haven’t become better listeners in her time, as we’ll find out later in the episode. Plus, he’s just a Common, and it’s not clear how much she cares about them, other than Leah. Jude says he’ll keep helping her if she promises he can trust her. She says that she just wants her daughter. That’s good enough for Jude. These two have serious communication issues.
In the next flashforward, Reece shoots her partner before he can shoot the baby. Reece is determined to take care of the now happy and smiling baby.
At the refugee camp, Caleb is given the exposition once again:
“We didn’t know if we’d survive the trip. We weren’t even sure what we’d find once we got here. If we got here. We just knew staying behind would be a death sentence. Apex was determined to exterminate us. All of us. They burned centuries of human history to the ground. Destroyed everything we’ve ever known. They stole our freedom. They hunted us like animals. They were genetically engineered killing machines, without an ounce of compassion. And the only safe place for us was a world without Apex. So we had no choice but to try and find it.”
Bryce asks if they all knew each other, and Caleb answers that no, they were all strangers who were lucky enough to hear the rumors of the threshold. He asks how many other camps there are and how many other survivors there were. Bryce explains that this is the only camp, and they are the only survivors. There are about 400 dead. Caleb asks for permission to hold a memorial service for the dead. Bryce will look into it.
Paul and Hannah agree that the camp is beautiful but quiet. Paul couldn’t sleep because it was too quiet. They’ve also noticed the extra guards and DNA testing. Now that she has a love interest, Hannah thinks everything is just great. The guards make her feel safe. Paul isn’t so sure. Sounds like he has more experience with guards than Hannah does.
Jude brings Reece back to his house, with instructions to wait quietly and stay away from the windows. He gets a call from Oliver, who has questions about packing. Jude says the trip is still on, but they might stay somewhere other than his house. Oliver asks if this is a bad time for a visit, as if Jude’s work has interfered before. Jude tells him no, of course it’s a good time for Oliver to come.
Once he’s off the phone, Jude makes Reece promise that she’ll get out of his town and life as soon as she finds her daughter. Why am I so certain that it isn’t going to go that way?
Reece hears someone at the back door. It’s Nestor, the best detective in town, who figures out immediately that Jude has a woman in the house. Nestor wants details so that, as a married man, he can live vicariously through Jude. Jude turns him down flat, and Nestor moves on to real business.
Emma is questioning the hospitalized mugger who Reece had a run in with the night before. Jude gets ready to rush to the hospital to confront her. He insists that Reece stay in the house and let him handle the search for Leah. Most mothers would have a hard time with doing nothing while their child is missing in a strange place, but this is an Apex who is a law enforcement officer herself. She has no intention of being sidelined.
Jude finds Emma just outside of the hospital. They start with a little tiff about who was supposed to be trusting who and sharing information when, but it all boils down to neither of them trusting the other or sharing information. Jude tells her she can feel free to start now and tell him where the refugees have been moved. She ups the ante by showing him what the refugees have been saying about where they came from, but not telling him where they are..
Rebecca: [Apex] wanted to wipe us out, so they created a virus, Mantle’s Disease.
Paul: It killed everything it touched. Whole cities. Tens of millions of people.
Hannah: If you knew someone who was infected, you had to leave them.
Caleb: You had to run.
Paul: Apex wasn’t affected cause they engineered it, so they would be immune.
Rebecca: They could walk into any infected area and just take out the resistance. They wanted this planet for themselves.
Caleb: And now they have it.
Jude: Do you believe this?
Emma: Believe is a strong word. But I’m a lot closer than I was. Look, can we just work together?
Emma drives away. Jude has Nestor tail her.
Reece looks through Jude’s things, learning about this century. A photo of Oliver takes her to a memory of when she brought Leah home in the future. Her live in emotional support person (husband by arranged marriage?) has issues with her illegally housing a Common baby in their home. It’s his duty to point out that she’s committing a crime and they’ll be discovered. They could petition the department for a procreation waiver if she wants a child. Reece doesn’t see how Leah’s different from other babies. She has love for Leah and isn’t going to give her up.
In the present day, Reece finds Jude’s rainy day cash box and the keys to the old car he’s fixing up. She’s an Apex, so, unlike Hannah, she understands what these things are for. The car is a 1970 Chevelle, for the car buffs out there in TVLand. Its engine is torn apart, but Reece is practically a superhero, and she has the manual. We all need an Apex around the house, if only for their ability to understand product manuals and diagrams on the first try.
Emma checks in with Lindauer, who is having to work harder and harder to make his instructions make sense. He wants Reece found ASAP, using every available resource. Except he says Jude and the local police, the people who know the area and where Reece might hide, can’t be involved. He still doesn’t believe the Apex story has any credibility, but he thinks Reece is an unspecified type of terrorist with no discernible motive or stated goal.
He pretends that he ordered the DNA tests on the refugees simply to determine their genealogy, so he would know where to send them back to. Yet it’s clear just from looking at them that they are ethnically from all over the world. The excuse that they’re from a single foreign country is flimsy, given their accents.
The good news for Lindauer is that he’s acquired an unnamed sidekick henchman (Steve Harris) and an evil queen for a boss. The boss lands in a few hours, but the henchman is waiting for him, upset that nothing they’ve done to change the future has had an effect. Lindauer gives the goon the bad news that an Apex got through to the present day. Henchman refers to Reece as an “it” and can’t wait to torture her to death, even though Lindauer orders him to kill “it” quickly when it’s captured.
Jude calls a friend to ask for legal advice in dealing with Reece. If he gets involved in her case, and reunites Reece and Leah, is he liable for anything Reece does after he “bows out”? His friend can’t believe Jude would even consider doing something like this again:
Oakland Attorney Friend: Stop, stop, stop. Not another word. Look, Jude. Didn’t you learn anything from the Doucette case?
Jude: Yes, of course I did. Look, I’m not testifying… I’m not testifying against anyone here, okay? She’s got a kid.
Attorney: And so do you! Whatever the h*ll you’re doing, just remember- Put your family first this time.
They hang up, and Jude nods, “okay” to himself.
Nestor finds a guy named Marshall at the station, waiting for processing. He asks what Marshall did this time, and Marshall replies that he allegedly hit someone, but he wasn’t there. Jude also greets Marshall like a regular as he passes Marshall on the way to his office.
Jude brings Nestor with him. Nestor successfully followed Emma long enough to figure out that she was headed for Camp Tamanowas, an old summer camp where Nestor may or may not have lost his virginity. The camp closed 10 years ago and could easily house the refugees.
Jude shuts down the discussion. He doesn’t want to jeopardize his family and career again by making the same mistake that he made in Oakland, whatever it was. It sounds like it involved getting too close to someone involved in a case. He’s walking away from this one.
Reece has fixed the Chevelle and visited the local camping supply store to gear up. She remembers back to the future 😜 when Leah got sick for the first time. In the memory, Leah’s no longer an infant, so it was sometime in the last few years. When the doctor came, Leah had the rash for 12 hours, but had no fever. The disease is serious when the fever starts. The doctor says that the Mantle’s is in Leah’s blood, and can’t be removed, but he can use Reece’s blood and immunology to give Leah a chance.
A cop interrupts Reece’s memories when he recognizes the Chevelle. He orders Reece out of the car, then gets out himself when she doesn’t. She takes off, and he follows. Vintage car chase! Reese gets a bit ahead of the cop and ditches the car. She disappears with her supplies.
Roy stops in at Hannah’s cabin, saying he’d offer to help her unpack, but he knows she owns literally nothing. The only thing she tried to bring with her from the future was a locket, and she lost it in the ocean. He leaves again, and Hannah gets the universal look of someone who’s mad at themselves for failing at flirting.
Leah has been sleeping all day and refusing to eat. She’s awake now, but Rebecca’s worried about her. Leah reminds Rebecca of her lost daughter. Caleb reminds Rebecca not to get attached, because they don’t know what the future holds. Darn Caleb and his practical wisdom, keeping everyone grounded and ruining the fun. 😉
Bryce asks Rebecca to bring Leah to the office for her DNA test.
Jude gets his Chevelle back in perfect condition, not even a scratch. Reece left the keys in the ignition. Jude starts to call Emma, then sees Reece waiting for him across the station. As he walks across the room to her, he tells Nestor to put Marshall “in the tank.” Everyone else gets to stay in the room. Why is Marshall so special? Rich boy? Relative? Everybody’s favorite friend who can’t quite take care of himself?
Jude confiscates Reece’s bag and gets upset about the hunting knife he finds inside. Seems like a minimal amount of weaponry for a killing machine with no compassion who’s being hunted and whose daughter is being held hostage by strangers, but maybe that’s just me. I’d have Winter Soldier levels of weapons stashed on me if it was my kid they wouldn’t turn over, but I do tend to go overboard. At the very least I wouldn’t be using a friendly tone of voice any more, and my eyes would probably be shooting lasers. Reece is amazingly controlled.
Jude says he knows where Leah is, but he won’t take Reece to her until he’s sure that she’s been straight with him about who she is and why she’s there. Reece says that she’s there because she made a promise to her daughter.
Leah finishes spitting for the DNA test and Emma offers her a piece of candy. Reaching for the candy aggravates the rash on Leah’s arm. Rebecca pulls up her sleeve to check, and discovers that it’s now a bright red open sore. She gasps in shock, recognizing it as Mantle’s Disease. They rush Leah into an isolation chamber in the camp infirmary. Strangely, Rebecca isn’t put into isolation, even though she had her hands right next to the sores and was near Leah off and on all day. There’s no way she wasn’t exposed to such a contagious disease, but TV rules are apparently in play.
Jude drives Reece to the place where she will supposedly get Leah back. He’s sending her so many mixed messages that it’s no wonder his marriage failed. He’s supposedly helping her, but acting resentful about it the whole way, as if she’s forcing him.
Reece remembers forward again, this time to a report she gave at work to her superiors. She tells them that the Commons are allegedly moving quickly on a time travel device that bends time. There have been unfounded rumors about the device before, but her informant says that these seem to be true. She’ll know more soon.
Once she’s done with her report, her superiors move on to an accusation that’s been brought against her. She’s accused of a serious violation, brought by her husband. He’s finally turned Reece in for keeping Leah, assuming that this will allow them to return to living normal lives. The charges against her are equivalent to treason, punishable by being sent to a re-education camp. Does she comply?
Reece takes a quick look around the room and hooks the heel of her boot over the bottom rung of her chair. She says she complies, then bursts into action, kicking the chair, grabbing the guard’s gun, shooting her superiors and the guard, telling her husband he’s a jerk, and escaping, all in less than a minute. She’s a woman who knows how to multitask.
Jude brings Reece to an old boat house for a private meeting with Emma, so they can try to work something out. But first he tricks Reece into walking into a room ahead of him so that he can lock her in. They must not use that one anymore in the future. Then Jude calls Emma and demands that she come right over to meet with him and his prisoner, or he’ll go public with the refugee story and where they’re staying. Emma tells him to send her the location.
Reece relaxes and concentrates, remembering her preparations for the jump to the 21st century. Leah was confused, because Reece always told her that it wasn’t safe for her to be seen or go outside. Reece explains that things have changed, so they’re going to go someplace that’s safe for them, where they can be together. It’s called the Long Peace. Reece tells Leah that she loves her. They both say that they’re everything to each other.
Just imagine it as a beautiful mother-daughter duet about a place for us to be safe together, Somewhere.
Emma apprises her boss, Lindauer, of the situation before she goes to meet Jude. Lindauer is coincidentally prepping his personal army for an attack. He and his sidekick from the future are pleased that the Apex has fallen into their hands so easily. Emma sees the helicopters full of strike teams fly past her as she drives to the boathouse.
Jude sees the helicopters, too, and starts to realize that he’s been outclassed in this betrayal of trust game. Canisters of gas break through the windows and send him into unconsciousness. Reece pretends to be unconscious so that the soldiers will open the door to her prison. She distracts them by shooting Jude’s handgun at them, then races for the water. She jumps off the dock with the strike team firing at her.
The refugees hold their memorial service that night. They float luminaria in the lake in memory of the dead. Rebecca checks on Leah in her isolation tent.
Lindauer plays recordings of the refugees telling their stories for the Secretary of Homeland Security, including Rebecca talking about the Apex taking away her and Caleb’s daughter in the middle of the night. Sometimes the Apex spared gifted children. No one knew why.
The secretary is concerned about the stories, but Lindauer convinces him that it’s a dangerous hoax. Then the secretary thinks that they should notify the FBI. Lindauer says that’s premature. He notes that the secretary is already overseeing 50,000 asylum-seekers in 100 detention camps across the country. These 47 people are a drop in the bucket. Lindauer will get to the bottom of this situation, off the books, and the secretary won’t have to worry about it. The secretary agrees.
Lindauer quickly calls a shadowy woman and tells her that he’s gotten control of the camp and the refugees future. The woman says, “There is no future for them. No one can ever know they’re here. Ever. There’s too much at stake.”
Jude wakes up the next morning in his police truck, unharmed. He goes home to get ready for Oliver’s arrival. Emma calls to check on him. She’s been trying to call for hours. He’s angry that she betrayed his trust. She tells him it wasn’t her call. She heard that they had to use lethal force on Reece. But forget about that. She needs to talk to him about something else. He turns her down. Oliver is coming, and he’s going to concentrate on that. Oliver arrives moments later.
Reece makes her way to a convenience store. She’s been shot in the shoulder, and needs medical supplies. She asks the sales clerk how far it is to Port Canaan.
Based on the flashforwards, the year the refugees came from is ~2195, 177 years in the future.
Why are there already 50k asylum-seeking refugees in 100 internment camps in present day America? This is not true in our reality, and is likely a red flag that events have already begun which will lead to the refugee’s future.
The show’s plague science is more developed than its time travel science, both in universe and as far as the information we’ve been given so far. All we know about how time travel works is that Commons were working on it for a long time and keeping it hidden from Apex. It has something to do with bending time, an underground platform/threshold, and loud, repeating booms that sound like thunder. Hundreds of people can be corporeally transported at once, so it’s a powerful method.
At least one successful jump occurred in the past, bringing Lindauer’s group to some point in the last 50 years (going by Lindauer’s age). Lindhauer’s group wants to change the future, which means they don’t believe that timelines are fixed and unchangeable. The existence of the two time travel groups who don’t know about each other suggests that there are factions within the time travel community. There is also a traitor who was acting as Reece’s informant. (Thomas? He was quick to turn informant in this century.)
Reece turned the group she was told about in to her superiors, but then switched sides and told the time travelers to move up their schedule because an Apex raid was imminent. We don’t have any evidence that the threshold was discovered, so more time travelers could arrive that way or using Lindauers device, and we don’t know how many Lindauer’s group and other factions have already brought back. Those 50k asylum seekers could all be members of a more organized time travel group, who made sure they were given proper backstories and documentation the moment they arrived, and that they arrived on dry land.
Despite this not being Lost, there is a button that needs to be pushed at regular intervals. It’s the plunger on the syringe that gives Leah a transfusion of her mother’s blood, which keeps her Mantle’s Disease inactive. Reece wasn’t just being a helicopter parent when she said that Leah can’t be away from her, she was deadly serious. The Apex doctor’s treatment turns Mantle’s into a manageable chronic disease, but it requires frequent doses that can’t be missed, or the disease quickly becomes active again. Sounds a lot like Type 1 diabetes. Apex blood immune factor= insulin.
It’s hard to tell why Reece hasn’t tried to explain this to anyone, but it hardly matters. Everyone else is practicing a “shoot or cage first” policy with her, and would think she was lying if she told them the truth. You’d think she’d be frantically explaining the situation to anyone who might be able to help, but people who are used to keeping a life or death secret don’t talk about it or ask for help with it easily, even when it’s an emergency. If she tells people why she’s looking for Leah, she has to reveal that she’s one of the evil Apex, and that Leah has an incurable, deadly, contagious disease. That’s taking a giant risk that whoever she tells won’t decide that killing the both of them is a better idea. Most people wouldn’t even believe her.
Reece and Leah run the risk of being locked up deep in the dungeons of the CDC to be used as lab guinea pigs while their bodily fluids are used in the search for a vaccine for Mantle’s. Since they aren’t US citizens and don’t even have official identities, the government could easily justify indefinitely holding the only two sources of the disease and the cure.
Reece overheard Jude tell Emma where the refugees are being housed, so there’s finally a real chance that she’ll catch up with Leah in episode 3. Whether the writers choose to let them reunite and then move on to the next plot point, or force the characters to continue the pointless search, will tell us what kind of show this is going to be.
Two episodes is long enough to keep them separated. Now Reece should “kidnap” Leah and go on the run, so that she can keep Leah’s illness under control, but the illness will stay mysterious. That would heighten the moral dilemma for Jude and Emma, who have both sensed that the refugee situation isn’t being handled in a fair or normal way, and who each have their own reasons to be sympathetic toward Leah- Emma can see herself in Leah, and Jude can see his son.
Most of the important characters are unable to see past their preconceived notions in order to grasp what’s really happening. Emma, Reece, Paul and Nestor seem clear-eyed, but everyone else is caught up in their own problems or their own agenda and not paying close enough attention.
Jude gave Leah mouth to mouth resuscitation when he found her unconscious on the beach. Was she contagious at the time? How much does she act as a carrier when her symptoms are controlled? She clearly wasn’t a major airborne threat yet, or everyone at the camp or who rode on the bus with her would be sick by the end of the episode. But Jude was exposed to her saliva and possibly blood, and could have had small open wounds in his mouth that the virus entered through. Starting to have symptoms would give him a reason to seek out Emma and Reece. If he’s receiving blood transfusions from Reece, he’d also have to continue helping her, even when he’s worried about his job.
When Nestor follows Emma, he’s driving a shiny black sedan that would quickly become obvious on the deserted country roads leading to the summer camp. I can’t believe they didn’t have him drive a pick up truck or at least an SUV or jeep. Emma totally has to know he’s tailing her and allow it for the sake of their partnership. This way she technically doesn’t tell him where the camp is, but makes sure he gets the information. It’s safer for all involved for someone to know where the refugees are besides Landauer and the slashers in the woods. I don’t think that Emma’s suspicious of Landauer yet, but she believes that he’s not taking the situation seriously enough.
All three leads, Jude, Reece, and Emma, want to be in control but don’t want to trust the others. Jude started out willing to cooperate, but Emma blew it with him by shutting him out. Now she’s realized that he might be a valuable ally. Reece needs allies but is at a disadvantage because she’s been pegged as the enemy and doesn’t know which authorities to trust.
It’s easy to see how Lindauer has ended up in his high government position, which is a similar position to that of the influential politician in The Expanse, Chrisjen Amersala. Who knew the Undersecretaries ran the world? Lindauer is a master manipulator, the lies rolling off his tongue smoothly and at a moments’ notice. He manipulates Emma, Thomas, and his boss at Homeland Security. How much is he manipulating his time traveler boss, the mysterious Eve? The main goal of the first wave of time travelers seems to have been to change the future, but what else is on their agenda?
Marshall is listed high in the credits as a regular, though we’ve barely seen him. That suggests that it’ll be revealed he’s someone important in the next week or two, probably from the future. He’s either a good Apex or a good Common who snuck through in an earlier wave and is undercover trying to protect the Long Peace.
Nestor is the hardest working, most easy-going character in the group, followed closely by Bryce. Nestor’s been given more moments to let his warmth, humor and intelligence shine, but Bryce has shown his compassion with Leah and the other refugees and his loyalty to Emma. Reece has had a few potential sidekicks, but none have stuck so far. Maybe she and Leah will hide out on the beach or a fishing boat, and Captain Cooper will be back.
Jude’s lawyer friend answers the phone with, “Hey, Jude.” He said the thing.
There is graffiti on the wall in the tunnel leading to the Commons hideout that says “WDTL”. It’s shown so prominently that it probably means something.
Jude and Emma talk a lot about trust, then screw people over that they’ve convinced to trust them. This timeline might be even worse than ours. When Reece complains that Jude’s broken her trust, he says that she’s not trustworthy because she didn’t take credit for creating Mantle’s Disease. I bet he doesn’t take credit for the atomic bomb when he meets strangers either, yet his people were responsible for that, and now the bombs are everywhere.
It’s been made clear that Jude did something unethical in Oakland that cost him his job and marriage. They’ve implied that, at the time, he thought he was doing the right thing, even though he was breaking the rules. They’re clumsily trying to do a slow reveal of that situation while setting up a similar situation in his new job, and revealing that Reece did the same thing. Emma will go through the same process.
So far, they’re not able to adequately juggle so many story lines and give all of the leads decent writing. Reece is sympathetic because she sacrificed everything for a child, and Emma is a good person trying to do her job in a difficult situation while sorting out evidence that doesn’t make sense. Lindauer appears to be someone who started out good, but has become corrupted since he came to this century. While Steve Zahn is likeable, Jude is coming off as weak and fickle, rather than the morally complex character they’re probably going for. Right now I’m hoping he’s this season’s surprise death. I’d rather have Nestor take over as sheriff.
*😢😢 Flashforward– Another great ABC show that was taken from us too soon. Seriously, kids, enjoy this show, but don’t get too invested. As a genre show with mediocre reviews and ratings, we’ll be lucky if The Crossing gets a second season.
Images courtesy of ABC.