The Passage: Season 1 Review

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Episode Recaps are HERE.

Fox’s series The Passage, based on the Justin Cronin trilogy of novels, finished its 10 episode first season this week with a leap forward into the apocalypse. The series spent its first season on character and world-building during the period immediately preceding the fall of the human race, so that viewers will enter season 2, if there is one, with a firm understanding of this universe’s viral vampires and the mistakes that were made to bring about the end of the world. The challenges and rivalries that the future faces are set in place, so that season 2 can hit the ground running.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 10: Last Lesson Recap

The Passage 110 Shauna The Face of the Future

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and the virals are doing just fine. Episode 10, Last Lesson, is the denouement to the season, showing what the world looks like after the virals’ breakout, leading up to the time jump book readers have been clamoring for all season.

My episode 9 recap is HERE.

Recap

This episode picks up moments after episode 9 ends, since the two episodes are meant to be viewed as a two hour finale. Lacey picks her way through the compound, putting down anyone who’s turning into a viral with a single shot to the head.

All of those shots fired by the professional security force, and no one could figure out to shoot the virals in the head but wise, no-nonsense Sister Lacey. Never send a man to do a woman’s job. 😉

Amy’s voiceover: “When the new world began, everyone had to live with the choices they had made, and their terrible consequences, but there were moments of grace.”

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 9: Stay in the Light Recap

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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.

Recap

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.”

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 8: You Are Not That Girl Anymore Recap

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After watching episode 8 of The Passage, I don’t think any of us are that girl anymore. The suspense is ratcheting up for the season finale and the emotional lines have been drawn in the sand. Well-meaning people and people motivated by the darker sides of their nature have all made mistakes in the run up to the end of this episode. We’re going into the finale with an orange-eyed Amy, almost all of the important characters trapped on level 4B, and the virals’ cell doors wide open.

Most of the regular and featured characters will either become familiars or resistance fighters, so the blood bath among the main cast shouldn’t be too bad. But there are still many questions about how the cast will be divided between familiars and fighters.

There have been clues floating around all season, and more were given tonight.

Recap

The episode begins in Amy’s psychic apartment, where she’s reading a Wrinkle in Time and ignoring Tim Fanning. Fanning is trying to get her attention by flattering the detailed construction of the apartment. She gives in and talks to him, telling him that Carter helped build her new psychic home. From there, Fanning tries to manipulate Amy into becoming one of his followers, but it’s not that easy to draw her in. She asks him for honesty, but he talks in circles.

Out in the real world, Amy has developed the high fever and other flu-like symptoms that precede the turn into a viral. Guilder orders her moved to Level 4B. Sykes argues that she’s close to a treatment, now that she’s decided to treat the virus like it’s HIV, but Guilder basically tells her she’s delusional. She’s thought she was close to a cure with every single patient.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 7: You Are Like the Sun Recap

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The title of The Passage, season 1, episode 7 is a deceptive one. In the universe of The Passage, the metaphor You Are Like the Sun can mean that you are the life-giving center of my universe or that you are like a deadly poison. Since the sun itself is both life-giving and deadly, so it is also a metaphorical stand-in for the virus.

The focus in this episode is on the main characters’ important relationships and tragic backstories. Amy, in particular, needs to face her past so that Fanning can’t use it against her, the way he’s used their past against so many others. It’s also time for Brad, Lila and Clark to unravel their complicated history in regard to Eva’s death.

Fanning is focused on Elizabeth as the potential replacement 12th viral and someone he can win from Jonas, while Jonas is fighting the loss of his beloved wife with everything he’s got. Elizabeth needs to make the same choice we saw Carter make, between life as a viral in Fanning’s “family” or death as the person she’s always been. Though presented quietly, with dignity, her scenes in this episode are among the most powerful and moving of the series.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 6: I Want to Know What You Taste Like Recap

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In episode 6 of The Passage, I Want to Know What You Taste Like, Winston escapes and tastes quite a few people. Amy learns to use her telepathy and family connection well enough to track him.

It turns out to be Richards who was bold enough to have Lila kidnapped while she was praying in church. Since he’s having her brought to the compound, she joins the team that’s hunting for Winston. She’s just in time, because Brad is not okay with his replacement little girl growing up so quickly and working with the dark side, meaning Horace Guilder. Lila becomes Brad’s new/old handler, in order to help keep the peace.

Jonas and Elizabeth have a loving reunion, but also face the truth about her condition. Sykes remembers the friendship she and Babcock developed before Babcock turned into a semicomatose vampire without the ability to speak. Babcock resents that Sykes didn’t maintain their friendship after it appeared that Babcock was braindead.

It seems to me that etiquette would require the one with the telepathy to make the first move in that situation.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 5: How You Gonna Outrun the End of the World? Recap

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This week on The Passage episode 4, How You Gonna Outrun the End of the World?, the virals begin to show what they’re really capable of; Amy discloses that she’s developed more abilities than she’s been letting on; we learn more about the backstory shared by Jonas, Tim and Elizabeth; Dr Pet finally goes too far; and Lacey returns to her roots. This fast-paced episode moves the show from having the virals under control to watching the lab fall to chaos and violence.

Episode 4 opens with the arrival at Project NOAH of an infamous book character named Horace Guilder. He’s the long time Deputy Director of the Department of Defense, now cross-promoted to be the Deputy Director of Special Weapons. Special Weapons is the kind of department that kills you as soon as you’ve outlived your usefulness, because they don’t want their secrets getting out. It’s clear that the other characters, like Wolgast and Richards, found Guilder deplorable even before this promotion.

Guilder asks Clark what’s been going on this week, because his reports show the place turning into a mess, with Paulson, the med tech that Carter attacked when he flipped, and Simpson, dead. Wolgast tells Amy that Guilder is famous for avoiding blame and taking credit, so they’ll need to be careful what they say near him.

Brad suggests that it’s time to make their escape. They’ve both noticed that the kitchen staff keep the kitchen door propped open so that they can get outside to smoke. The staff must have disabled the alarm on the door. Brad and Amy can use the kitchen door, then run to a nearby drainage tunnel, which they can crawl through to exit the property.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 4: Whose Blood Is That? Recap

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Things are starting to get real at Project NOAH. The fourth episode of The Passage, Whose Blood Is That?, shows us the transition from human to viral vampire, as Carter flips to his new form. It also shows the insidiousness, and brilliance, of the virals’ psychological invasion of the humans stationed at the Project NOAH facility.

The humans are scientists and members of the military, who don’t believe that dreams can hurt them or that vampires are real. It’s important that they each appear to be in control of themselves to their colleagues. Scientific and military cultures dictate that they maintain those facades until the very end, no matter what’s actually going on inside them. They are the perfect group of people on which to use internal psychological warfare.

We often think of murderers as rough, violent thugs, but the reality is that many appear to be normal people in their day to day lives. Serial killers, in particular, can be narcissistic chameleons with a talent for manipulation, which they use to lure in their victims. Eleven of the thirteen recipients of Fanning’s blood are the perpetrators of multiple murders, predators in their human lives. Prior to developing their viral predatory instincts, they’d already developed the human version of those instincts and learned the ways of their prey, us.

Now, they have moved beyond being merely narcissistic, ruthless psychopaths, to become ruthless, efficient predators of humans and mammals. They are a telepathic tribe of killers who are bent on revenge and domination and who crave the blood of their prey and enemies. They are led by an evil genius with an axe to grind, and they can convert people to their cause through dreams and visions, without ever speaking directly to them.

The end of the world as we know it is almost upon us.

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 3: That Never Should Have Happened to You Recap

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The Passage and Deadly Class are tied for my favorite new shows of the season, and episode 3 of The Passage, That Never Should Have Happened to You, has only made me more excited about it. The way showrunner Liz Heldon and her team are perfectly balancing plot, character and world-building remind me of SYFY and Amazon’s The Expanse, one of the highest quality science fiction shows of this decade.

The Passage may not be a space epic, but it does tell an epic, sweeping story, just as The Expanse does, and it’s carefully arranging all of the necessary elements, while telling an exciting story. The set up for the long-term arc isn’t being rushed, even though in the present day, the end of the world is fast approaching. It’s an incredibly delicate balance to maintain, along with introducing viral vampires who need to be threatening, but not so camp that you can’t take them seriously. So far, based on the books, this adaptation is everything I would wish it to be. I’m just having a hard time not rushing them to the next part of the story!

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The Passage Season 1 Episode 2: You Owe Me a Unicorn Recap

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The Passage’s second episode, You Owe Me a Unicorn, slows down the pace a bit from the pilot’s continuous ‘on the run’ vibe. All of the main characters are represented, and many of the recurring ones, as we get to know them all a bit better. Time is still a factor, as it always will be on this show. One of the ‘passages’ referred to by the title is the passage of time, which speeds up and slows down according to our perception of current events.

Another theme which is explored this week is the issue of determining who your real friends and family are, as opposed to the people who are nice to you in order to use you for personal gain. This theme goes in some surprising directions.

Then there is the unicorn, symbolic of Amy and Brad’s dream that they can become each other’s family and live happily ever after. Dreams, visions, hallucinations and predictions are a huge part of this story. Everyone approaches Project NOAH with a dream of their own. Eventually, the dream changes. For some, the dream improves on reality. For others, it becomes a way to deny reality. For larger subset, it becomes a nightmare.

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