Welcome to the two-part end of the world! Part1/Episode 9, Stay in the Light, of The Passage, chronicles the fall of Project NOAH and the escape of the virals. To find out who lives, who dies, and who finds themselves slightly altered, read on.
We begin at the beginning, in Bolivia, 2015, with an infected Tim Fanning coming down to the end of the line before he turns. Jonas, Tim, Richards and a large tactical team are waiting in a hangar for their transport out of Bolivia. Fanning can feel that something is happening to him that’s changing him, and he doesn’t like it, but he has no frame of reference to help determine what it is. He asks Lear to kill him, and keeps asking, but Lear refuses, since he isn’t ready to give up hope.
The Bolivian locals want them to kill Fanning before he kills all of them. Fanning wonders if customs will let him back into the US, but Jonas says that it won’t be a problem, since they’re flying private. He has a team of doctors waiting for them.
In voiceover, Amy says: “I didn’t used to believe in monsters, but I do now. There were so many times that they could have turned back, that they could have said, ‘stop.’ But they didn’t. By the time anybody bothered to try, it was too late.”
In the present, the virals are trying to get through the cell block door to Wolgast, Amy and Guilder. Amy’s viral orange eyes fade back to their original human brown. Wolgast hurries them away from the door and down the corridor, but Guilder balks at bringing Amy. He noticed that the virals woke up from the knockout gas because she woke up and argues that they don’t know for sure what she is yet.
Brad tells him that they do know what she is- “She’s Amy!” Amy asks if it’s true that she woke up the virals. Brad responds by asking her if she wants to drink his blood, even a little. She shakes her head no, so he grabs her and moves on, telling Guilder he doesn’t have to join them if he doesn’t want to.
Brad finds Lila and Nichole, plus the security people who are still in the conference room. He radios to Richards to say how many people are alive on 4B. Richards tells him that the elevator is stuck on 4B, so Brad needs to get everyone to the security lobby for extraction.
Lear asks Brad how the virals woke up, since the gas should have lasted longer. Brad explains about Amy. Lear figures out that Amy is Fanning’s twelfth viral, which gave him the hive mind that he wanted. He tries to convince Richards destroy 4B now, while they have a chance. Lear knows this is the last chance to stop them before the virals grow stronger and escape the cell block, which will lead to them destroying the world.
Richards refuses to do anything that would jeopardise the humans down on 4B. He intends to give Sykes and Brad a chance to get everyone else out before setting off the bomb that will bury the virals.
While the security team tries to pry the lab door open to rescue Sykes, Amy wanders out of sight to answer Fanning’s call. He’s impatient because the rest of the family is waiting for her to lend her strength to the hive mind so they can bust out of prison. He tries to persuade her into helping by saying she’s his favorite and her wants her to meet the rest of the family. He points out that he really is the head of the viral tribe, because his blood flows through every virals’ veins. When none of that sways Amy, he yells at her, “Your family is trapped in the cell block, and we need you!”
Amy screams back that they aren’t her family, just as Brad, her real family, finds her and tells her to stay with him.
The truck driver drops Lila off about 20 miles outside of Telluride. She walks toward her destination. The security/IT guy figures out that a system wide reboot will get the elevator working again. Brad discovers that the lab is harder to break into or out of than one of the cells.
Guilder is acting as lookout near the cell block door and really wants to be somewhere else. Then the virals get quiet, which any horror film fan knows means they’re right behind you.
The system reboot turns out the lights, just as the kids on 4B hear thuds coming from above. That’s right, they’re in the air ducts.
Brad gets to do a perfect, thriller moment, “RUN!” yell, and the humans take off for the elevator, leaving Nichole behind. She gets the service weapon from the lab’s emergency kit, and, after bravely telling Richards to blow this h–lhole up, waits for the virals to find her.
The elevator is working, so the humans make a run for it. They have their first big series regulars vs virals confrontation in front of the elevator doors, as the virals crash down through the ceiling, red emergency lights flash, Brad fires his weapon at the virals, and Amy screams. It looks and sounds great for a TV show, and, even having read the books, I wasn’t sure who’d get bit, because they’ve changed up the way this happened.
Besides the red shirt security team members, the big winner was Lila, who’s snagged by Carter after a fakeout grab by another viral. Amy begs him not to hurt her surrogate mom, but Carter’s too far gone with blood lust to stop himself. Someone grabs Amy and pulls her to safety, while Brad shoots Carter and rescues Lila.
Everyone makes it past a security door, then onto the elevator. Carter and the other virals have all popped right back up after multiple bullet wounds and continued the chase.
Lila’s bite wound wouldn’t be fatal if it weren’t from a viral. She begs Brad to shoot her or leave her behind because she knows the implications of a viral bite after watching what happened to Winston’s victims. Brad pushes her into the elevator and tells Amy to take care of her. He stays on 4B, saying he’s going to return to the lab and get the cure. He can fix this!
Brad puts a new magazine in his gun then gets ready to go Rambo. He takes a different corridor from the virals, but they break through the security door just after he leaves.
Up in the security control room, Richards and Amy make Lila comfortable, while Guilder gets practical and suggests they shoot her. When Lila agrees with him, he says she’s brave, but Richards threatens to rip the moustache off his face if he doesn’t shut up.
Richards, stroking Lila’s hair: “Brad is gonna come back. He’s gonna bring you the cure.”
Guilder, standing behind him: “Brad Wolgast is as good as dead.”
Every week, I just love Guilder more. He’s the best example of the Dirty Coward trope ever. Brad just saved his life 5 minutes ago, and he’s already forgotten.
Jonas examines Amy and finds her in perfect health. He has her tell him the story of the tunnel and how she beat both death and Fanning. By the time she’s done, he has a bittersweet smile. If only Elizabeth had thought to try the same thing. Except Elizabeth had made her peace with death.
Amy asks if she’ll die when Fanning dies. Jonas isn’t sure any more, but he does know that she’s the only one who’s been able to utterly defy Fanning the way she has.
Richard radios down to Sykes to let her know that Brad is coming back for her and the cure. She starts to argue, but Clark explains about Lila. He also shares the news that the Swiss have developed a vaccine for the avian flu pandemic that the rest of the world is worried about. He jokes that now they just need her cure for the “vampire flu”.
Brad takes the long way back to the lab, which means he goes by the atrium and finds a badly injured Grey lying on the floor. Grey sees Brad and asks, “Why didn’t they just kill me, why?”
Vampire stories exist in your universe, hon. Think that one through.
Brad is a man on a mission, and doesn’t pause or respond.
Richards talks Sykes through hot wiring the airlock door circuitry. She gets it open just in time for Babcock to drop through the ceiling. Sykes doesn’t have the sense to leave through the door, instead hiding under a metal desk. Lucky for her, Babcock likes to play with her food.
They meet in psychic space for a chat, because Nichole is Shauna’s closest female friend, and she needs some advice about her new lifestyle. She’s not sure Fanning’s macho rules for viral world domination fit her feminist sensibilities, and wonders if Nichole thinks it’s possible for a viral vampire to go guilt-free. Nichole is supportive of Shauna’s cruelty-free philosophy, and gives her friend the pep talk she needs, reminding her that she’s not a psychopathic serial killer like the rest of the virals, but a victim of a misogynist society. Shauna might be just the viral to prove that virals don’t have to be mindless killers.
They’re having a meaningful, productive talk that could really make a difference to the future of both humanoid species, when suddenly, a white guy with a gun and an agenda appears and shoots Shauna several times. The peace talks are over. 😘
Brad, of course, didn’t know what he was interrupting. Shauna is still that girl who can’t catch a break, no matter how hard she tries. Brad drives her out of the lab, but even at near point-blank range, doesn’t aim for the head or the heart. She did get that one lucky break.
He radios up to Richards that Nichole and the cure are safe. Amy, who is sitting with Lila and holding her hand, is relieved. Richards tells Brad and Nichole to hide instead of taking the elevator, so Nichole takes Brad to Fanning’s cell.
She’s having some strange ideas tonight. The virals can’t get to them, but they surround the cell. That’s not exactly hiding.
Brad asks Richards to find them a way out. Voice Of Doom Guilder shows back up to declare Brad and Nichole as good as dead. He insists that they start the emergency sequence to set off the bomb on 4B. Richards looks at Lear, who says in a neutral voice that they’ve given Brad and Nichole as much time as they could. But that’s Richards’ best friend and girlfriend who are about to be sentenced to death. It’s not so easy for him to pull the trigger, now that he’s trying very hard to be a good guy.
Amy has still been sitting with Lila and holding her hand, which is the sweetest thing to see. Now, she gets up and finds a corner by herself to communicate with Daddy Fanning. He admonishes her to listen to the conversation in the control room, because it affects her. Then he apologizes for yelling, blaming his lapse on the stress of coordinating the breakout.
He explains that he’s been in the cell for 3 years, waiting to find a way out. He watched while Jonas continued to underestimate the virus and forgot that stopping the experiments was even an option. Amy agrees with him that Jonas should have just let it go and given up. Fanning tells her that they did put in a contingency plan in case things went sideways, like what’s happening now. That’s what Richards, Lear and Guilder are discussing.
The Elizabeth Protocol is a bomb that will blow up 4B. Fanning is repulsed by the name, but more importantly, it means they’ll all die, including himself, Amy and The Agent. Amy doesn’t believe Lear would hurt Brad or Nichole, but Tim assures her would do that, and more, to end his guilt and kill Fanning.
While Amy was out, the men have continued to argue. Next Amy has a visit from Carter, who senses that she’s wavering over whether to stop the bomb or set it off. He tells her that it’s lousy that she’s the one who has to do this, and there are no good options left, but either she’s sad or the whole world is. She needs to do the right thing.
Amy comes back to reality, where the men’s argument has become violent. Richards holds a gun to Lear, telling him that he doesn’t get to make the call out of guilt. Lear tries to make Richards understand that Fanning will destroy the world, but Richards probably has a viral in his head.
Amy slowly walks to the computer and sits down, looking at the screen, which says, “Initiate Elizabeth Protocol”. She remembers her best moments with The Agent, whispers that she’s sorry, and pushes the button. A 2 minute countdown clock activates.
Brad asks who pushed the button, angry that someone would put Amy at risk. Lear tells him that Amy did.
With 1 minute left, the security tech finds an old ventilation shaft that Brad and Nichole can use to get out of 4B. They run to the blind access panel and break it open. Two virals find them just as Brad pulls the panel loose. Nichole hands him the cure and tells him to give one dose to Lila and get the other to the CDC.
Nichole and Clark say “I love you” over the radio, then she shoots at the virals to hold them off while Brad climbs the ladder to the outside. Richards meets him at the top and removes the grate covering the shaft. The bomb explodes just as he reaches the top of the ladder.
While Brad brings the cure to the control room, Richards pauses for a moment of silence to think about Nichole.
Jonas introduces himself to Lila and gives her the cure. She heals within moments. Jonas is impressed that Nichole was successful, but he knows that it’s too late, and now she’s gone.
Amy apologizes to Brad for setting off the bomb. He tells her she’s the bravest person he’s ever met.
Guilder and Richards look for evidence that the virals are dead. The tracking chips aren’t broadcasting. Richards tries to contact his people in other parts of the compound, but he can’t raise anyone. Amy announces that she can hear the other virals. “They’re alive, and they’re coming for us.”
Out in the great hall of the old hotel, everyone is dead. From a window, Lear watches the virals walk across the grounds. Fanning stops for a quick check-in.
Fanning: “It’s over, Jonas. You lost. Now send me the girl, and I’ll be out of your hair forever.”
The humans who are still alive attempt to evacuate the hotel. There are virals at every exit, and only a couple dozen humans left. Richards promises he’ll get Brad, Amy and Lila out alive. Jonas gives Brad the case holding the last dose of the cure.
Jonas: “You make sure this gets to the CDC. But remember, Amy has to be your first priority. I think Fanning’s afraid of her. Someday she could be strong enough to fight him.”
The humans use spotlights to create a path out of the hotel, since the virals don’t like bright light. Once the security team has established a perimeter, Brad, Amy and Lila run for it. One of the virals catapults Richards through the air and his body hit a tree, hard. The impact breaks his spine, leaving him lying under the tree dying. It looks like the rest of the security team is lost in a blood bath.
Brad, Amy and Lila cut through the woods. They’re almost to the road when Fanning takes Amy. He chokes her against a tree, threatening her. She looks into his eyes and her eyes turn orange again. They share a vision of a distant future. He’s huddled under a tree in a field, wearing a ragged, black, hooded robe. He looks like he’s dying. Amy approaches him and says, “I’m here, Fanning, I’m here.” She slices open her palm and drips blood into his mouth. He’s barely able to lap it up. When they return to the present, he contemplates her for a moment, then leaves her.
Amy returns to Brad and Lila. They find the road just as Lila drives up in a truck, which she hands over to them. She tells them that they all have their jobs now. She chides Brad to trust in a higher power.
Shauna finds Clark, who’s still dying under the tree and creates a psychic vision of them sitting on the hood of a car, looking out at a city skyline. He asks about Nichole, and Shauna says that she died in the blast. Clark tells Shauna that she’ll have to make peace with her guilt over all of this.
Shauna asks again if he wants to stay with her. She tells him that she’s going back to Las Vegas, her home. She’s decided to follow through on her talk with Nichole, and try to live differently from the others. He could be her one person, and help keep her in line, but he has to want it. She won’t force him.
Back in reality, Clark tries to make his decision. Carter finishes eating someone, and howls in anguish. Brad, Lila and Amy drive away from Project NOAH.
Amy: “In the end, it was quick. The moment the cell doors opened, one world died, and another was born.”
The virals are the ultimate crime family and Big Daddy Fanning is the ultimate Godfather. Fanning spends the episode trying to make Amy his little mob princess. Her spot is secured by the future vision at the end of the episode. Though that vision has layers of meanings, first and foremost, it makes Amy untouchable by the virals. Amy and Fanning are bound together throughout time. He may or may not have meant it when he said she was his favorite, earlier in the episode, but she will always get special preference.
Fanning’s emphasis on the virals as a family is fascinating, because he appears to have been a narcissistic loner when he was human. He hates the human world because Elizabeth rejected him, so he wants to destroy it. But why call the replacement species a family? The virals were going to destroy the world no matter what. They didn’t need to feel like they were a “family” to do it. Will he continue to maintain control of the virals after they break out and use the family metaphor as justification for his dictatorship?
Sykes originally infected Amy in order to search for a cure-all that would work on the avian flu. It turns out they didn’t need to experiment on a child. Lila was bitten by Carter and then soon after she was given the cure that Sykes developed when she changed the direction of her research and started treating the virus more like HIV. A cure all lies in mixing a super-attenuated virus like Carter was given with Sykes new antiviral. Amy’s youth and the fact that her version of the virus was more attenuated than Carter’s kept her from needing Sykes’ new treatment, but the anti-viral will help more people. If it can be replicated, it can act as a vaccine.
Not enough Grey in this episode, though we did find out that he lived through the initial break out, so he should have survived everything else at the compound.
I need Shauna to have secretly turned Nichole and gotten her out, because their girl talk was pretty great. She would definitely keep Nichole a secret from Clark, because she doesn’t want to do a love triangle. Shauna can keep her bestie at one end of Las Vegas and her boyfriend at the other.
The way Jonas’ introduced himself to Lila seemed too pointed. It might be important in season 2 that she remembers his name.
I always adore Henry Ian Cusick. But his work in this show has been extra phenomenal. The combination of grieving his wife, both before and after her death, being a mad scientist, and the guilt of knowing he’s causing the end of the world and can’t stop it makes Lear an incredibly complex character, and that’s before you take into consideration his tangled friendship and rivalry with Fanning. Only someone with Cusack’s subtlety and sincere warmth could play Jonas and keep him sympathetic. His bittersweet smiles and looks of frustrated despair kill me every time.
In the car, Lila and Amy look toward each other, which makes me wonder if they can both hear the virals, and are silently sharing their feelings about what they’re hearing.
Amy’s vision shows a Fanning who is alone, starving, weak and afraid. Amy is strong and in control, compassionate and generous, unafraid and intuitive. It’s implied that they’re still psychically linked and Fanning called Amy for help. She’s now the caretaker, and he’s the aging parent who can no longer take care of himself.
They seem to have come to some kind of understanding over the years, probably beginning in this exact moment in real-time. This vision makes them equals, both unsure whether they’re able to survive without the other.
Fanning is a more cautious man than Lear, and he wouldn’t be willing to risk his own life by getting rid of Amy. He’d continue to use his other options, manipulation, control and incarceration. But those appear to have failed, because Fanning has lost the other ten of his twelve and Amy is in better shape than he is.
They are in a spot that’s devoid of signs of human life. We can’t tell if they’ve been quarantined to a particular zone or if the whole planet looks like this. We also can’t tell how far in the future the vision takes place.
Fanning’s hood looks like it’s rough, hand-woven fabric, suggesting it’s at least enough decades away that all of the currently existing garments are no longer usable and humanoids are making their own. It also suggests that society has reverted to a more primitive state.
For Book Readers:
Clark’s “vampire flu” comment isn’t too far off from what happens to the Eastern Hemisphere. I keep hoping that Justin Cronin will write a 4th novel that follows Michael to Europe and we’ll get that story in more detail. Apparently, it might happen. That can be the spin off series in a few seasons.
Lila was bitten by Carter and given a cure made from Amy, instead of drinking Grey’s blood. She’s not from Fanning’s direct bloodline in this version. Can she hear Carter’s anguish?
We didn’t see what happened to Guilder. It’s doubtful that anyone tried to help him, but he has a big role to play in the future. Did his buddy Martinez make him an offer he couldn’t refuse? Or will they get roughly back on track with the books, and have him find Grey and take advantage of him?
The TV series has made the vectors for the mixing of the avian flu and the vampire flu more obvious. With so much of both around, it’s only a matter of time before they mingle in a single organism and crossbreed. All it will take is an infected bird island hopping between Europe or Asia and North America.
Images courtesy of Fox.