Wednesday, May 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Hot Zone' - Exhaustion Quickly Sets In During the Mission to Eradicate the Disease in the Lab in 'Quarantine'

National Geographic's The Hot Zone - Episode 1.05 "Quarantine"

Dr. Nancy Jaax works tirelessly to find out why the virus is behaving differently than expected in human victims. Unforeseen dangers arise at the research facility. Jaax is forced to make a choice between her family and her duty to her country.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of National Geographic's The Hot Zone.

"Quarantine" was written by Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson & James V. Hart and directed by Nick Murphy

This is the most effectively tense hour of the series so far. At times, it feels as if it would be even more claustrophobic and intense if the action never cut away from the drama happening at the Hazelton facility. And yet, the show also feels the importance of articulating the differences within the virus and those it has infected. How the monkeys in the lab are reacting is different than how the African locals did in 1976 as well as the humans who have tested positive in 1989. It's enough to make Nancy question that something else could be going on. This fear is very real. It makes everyone contemplate their own mortality. Jerry saw himself as the expendable member of the family. He couldn't bear to lose another loved one. But it also means he pushes himself long past the point of exhaustion. That is very dangerous in this environment. Peter does the exact same thing. He and Ben feel useful when they are analyzing the samples - both from the monkeys and the humans. Their concern is validated with the realization that it has spread to more humans. That's a call that Rhodes didn't want to get. However, it's still his responsibility to contain this outbreak no matter how devastating this may be for the families trapped without any clear answers. Peter and Ben don't have any further understanding of this disease either. They don't even trust the results that come back negative for both of them. There is still the predominate fear that a fever could indicate something more or that the body just knows when something lethal is inside it. Many of these people are facing existential crises. Nancy feels compelled to help wherever she can. She understands that not everything is going according to plan. The trucks were late getting to the lab because of the fear that a reporter could uncover everything that has been going on and cause even more panic. The public is already starting to suspect something. The army has one man stationed outside to prevent anyone from disturbing the facility. But all of this is also of Nancy's own making because she encouraged the story to be leaked so that her team could get in there to contain the outbreak as quickly as possible. Everyone understands that it's a race against time. They have to defeat the virus that already seems to mutating. Carter even fears that something more is going on. Not all of the blood and tissue samples are coming back with the same symptoms. That forces him to dig a little deeper. It may ultimately be suspicious that 93 monkeys are recorded when there are suppose to be 94 of them in these cages. There is a very intense moment where one cage is actually home to two monkeys. That takes everyone by surprise. It even leads to one soldier potentially being exposed. That too is very terrifying. It's so easy for the mind to go to a dark place. That fear sets in immediately for him back at the base. It's very real for the rest of the soldiers as they try to prevent this monkey from getting out of the building. They succeed in doing so. But again, this is such a traumatizing experience. There is no saving any of these monkeys. It's the humane thing to do. They have to be put down in order to stop the disease from spreading. But it could also come at a great personal cost. That pressure weighs heavily on everyone involved. Not everyone gets to be shellshocked in a neighborhood diner. Instead, Jerry needs medical attention after collapsing right when Nancy shows up at the site. That's a precarious ending. It's a little forced just to produce an intense cliffhanger. And yet, this overall hour is still very effective.