Tuesday, October 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'Emergence' - A Mysterious Illness Hits Piper Which Forces Jo to Get Definitive Answers in '2 MG CU BID'

ABC's Emergence - Episode 1.03 "2 MG CU BID"

A mysterious illness takes hold of Piper, while Jo and Benny investigate a powerful tech mogul, Richard Kindred. As Piper's health deteriorates, Jo weighs accepting help from an unknown source. Alex works to decipher a radio frequency code from Piper's plane crash. Ed has a follow-up oncology appointment.

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 ABC's Emergence.

"2 MG CU BID" was written by David H. Goodman and directed by Peter Leto

The "Who is Piper?" mystery has been central to the storytelling so far. And now, the show is already giving the audience some answers as to her true identity. Jo finishes this hour learning that this young girl is actually a form of artificial intelligence. A programming reset is all that it takes to cure her of a mysterious illness. Piper was seemingly on death's door suffering from hallucinations and seizures. But implanting a device onto her arm is all it takes to ensure she is right back at Jo's house to enjoy movie night. It's as if nothing truly happened to disrupt this family dynamic. It's terrifying but also satisfying. It makes it clear to the audience that the show will answer some of these big questions sooner rather than later. In order to do that though, it does have to sacrifice some of the character beats that have been more inherently interesting from the first two episodes. The characters and world building are much more interesting than anything relating to the actual mystery. The show is still throwing many cryptic details into the proceedings as well - like the message Alex and Piper decipher from the radio frequency. But this hour also establishes a prescription that Piper needs to take daily as well as who is supplying that information to Jo. The big bad is introduced in the form of Terry O'Quinn's Richard Kindred. He is a very successful businessman whose secret experiments may have created Piper and led to the plane crash that caused all of this in the first place. He immediately presents as angry and rash when he realizes that Jo is deceiving him. However, it's his assistant, Emily, who proves to be the most useful source of information. She is the one with empathy towards Piper. Before this point, it seemed like this secretive organization was hunting down Piper because of the abilities she has. And now, it's clear that Kindred is simply trying to retrieve the technology he sees as his intellectual property. Jo has stolen it. It's his right to reclaim it whenever he deems necessary. Of course, the narrative has already proven how far this company is willing to go to cover its tracks. It will hack hospital equipment to ensure one man overdoses on morphine. That isn't an accident. Abby may also profess that she needs answers in order to properly treat Piper. However, Jo barely has any understanding of what's happening in this world either. It's clear that things are amiss. It's lethal and dangerous. Jo wants to believe she has a strong sense of authority in this world. But she is also dealing with a mystery that continues to grow more and more complicated. She doesn't know whether or not to believe Emily when she quickly makes it seem as Piper is a robot. To Jo, this is a young girl she has welcomed into her home. And now, Piper presents as something new altogether. That is information that Jo is keeping to herself at the moment. No one else in the family knows. That may strengthen her bond with Benny because he believes it to be true immediately. He knows that it has technically become possibility especially for companies that have been running these secret experiments for years. Kindred doesn't even see Piper as an ongoing liability. She probably will be because Jo is on the case. But all of this is bound to shake up the narrative in a significant way. Piper isn't like any other girl in this world. She has powers that she doesn't fully understand. She has empathy as well - seen in the moments when Ed talks about his cancer. As such, it should force a dialogue about how much one should react to this news and believe in the state of this young robot's life. That can be a fascinating angle to explore in the future. Again, it still seems a little too defined by the mystery of it all. But every hour still has these character flourishes that ensure that this is a family the audience should still feel comfortable spending time with each week.