Tuesday, October 29, 2019

REVIEW: 'Emergence' - Jo and Kindred Increase the Severity of Their Attacks on One Another in 'RDZ9021'

ABC's Emergence - Episode 1.05 "RDZ9021"

Jo is determined to prove Kindred was behind the attack on Benny and April. Meanwhile, Piper experiences intense, confusing visions.

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.

"RDZ9021" was written by Brant Englestein and directed by Patricia Cardoso

Jo and Benny are the ones truly leading the charge regarding the investigation into Richard Kindred and Auger Industries. They are aware that Piper is a synthetic A.I. that the company has been testing for years. Benny actually meets her here and understands why Jo feels such a connection with her. But it's dangerous to be pursuing this investigation. Benny's life was hanging in the balance after he and his hacker friend, April, were shot. April dies. Benny survives. He makes it all the way to Jo's house to get medical care instead of relying on a hospital. That proves that he is firmly aware of just how expansive Kindred's influence is in this world. He is capable of getting in anywhere simply by manipulating the technology that has become so prevalent in society. That makes him walk around with a superiority complex. He understands that he has the ability to do essentially whatever he wants. He appears to be living his life far away from whatever the rest of society can imagine as being possible nowadays. He has the ability to create a virtual reality simulation that targets Piper and allows him to have private conversations with her. He can go into the police database to make it seem as if the vehicle used in a murder was conveniently stolen several weeks ago. Jo believes she is building a solid case against Kindred. And yet, her evidence doesn't seem all that convincing when she presents it to the district attorney. Again, it comes across as if Kindred controls the world. He doesn't have to play into Jo's games if he doesn't want to. He is essentially deciding who lives and who dies though. He is the one controlling the fates of so many people. In an instant, he can dramatically change Alex's life by acquiring the company he works for and laying him off right away. Jo understands how all of that is connected and is retaliation for her arresting him previously. That's the way that Kindred operates. He has the confidence knowing that he is playing a game that most people can't even conceive of at the moment. That extends to his conversations with Piper. He sees it as a valuable tool that allows him further insight into what is going on with this project even though he doesn't have complete control over her life anymore. He can still get to her in a way that Jo can't suspect or fight back. That is scary and ominous. No one seems safe in this world. Of course, Kindred isn't the only source of despair for this family. Ed's cancer is back and more aggressive than before. That is devastating and almost leads to a serious car accident. That confirms to Mia that Piper does have powers. That's not a huge revelation. But it should be fascinating to see if they can develop further to make her even more powerful in this world. Again, that can be complicated because it depends on who is guiding her through life. If she has the right influences, then she can be a symbol of good despite her synthetic nature. If malicious intentions drive her narrative, then she can once again be destructive to so many people trying to do the right thing. That's the core drama at the heart of the show. It's not the only source of narrative tension though. The show also follows Jo trying to build a case against Kindred so that she can finally arrest him with charges that will stick. It's difficult. It almost gets Benny killed. He acts a little more irrationally here. That's because he is desperate after losing his friend. But that corner of the story mostly seems to be introducing new avenues of intrigue instead of offering too many character details that help all of this resonate in a way necessary for the audience to remain engaged. It's probably important that Kindred killed his former partner. But time is better spent on Jo figuring out how to protect Piper while helping her make sense of a world that only grows more mysterious and deadly with each passing day.