by Josie Kafka
“No good can come from a bomb expert with a van.”
Molly claims that “historically, the public can’t help but panic in a crisis.” And what with panic being contagious, the public shouldn’t know about the missing crewmen who have been infected with alien mojo. Plus, that would ruin the show: most episodes so far have been structured around looking for one more missing crew member. “The Burning” is no different, and it balances to crewman-of-the-week plot nicely with some more fascinating mythological developments in the lab.
Detective Victoria Russell is a fascinating roadblock whose reasons are understandable and yet obviously contrived. (Does that even make sense?) It is reasonable that she would want to avenge her partner’s death, but that desire exists to give Team Threshold a real human to interact with, have trouble with, and eventually reconcile with.
Russell also provides a contrast between local law enforcement (the small, personal angle) and the federal morass of Homeland Security and the war on terror, which are inevitably portrayed as bureaucratic nightmares whose officers lose sight of the little people as they stare with glassy eyes at the big picture. Team Threshold has to negotiate the personal, the national, and the global—and do so without letting the secret of the alien invasion get out to any more people.
That makes for some fun TV. The Laundromat scene was fun, because the idea of terrorists in a Laundromat is sort of hilarious. Park’s escape from DHS was predictable but still interesting: between that and his ability to walk away from electrocution make it clear that these infectees are adept at both the nitty-gritty of a hostile takeover, and the long-range planning of microchips and such.
Two steps forward, one step back, though. Park is “cooked,” but Lucas is transforming. Molly claims that Park’s previous technological experience was all he needed to cause as much chaos as he did, but is that likely? Shouldn’t they put two and two together—Lucas transforming and Park outsmarting a team of geniuses—and start to worry a bit more? Maybe a lot more?
And what’s the emotional toll? Cavennaugh missed saying goodbye to a dying relative because of yet another infectee problem. Some redundancy on the team might free them up for, you know, basic life and death situations in their real lives. Poor team.
• Ramsey: “What’s the penalty for withholding evidence from Homeland Security?”
Molly: “Think of it as helping, not withholding.”
• Molly: “Ramsey, I need to tap into your expertise.”
Ramsey: “I knew it would happen eventually. The answer is yes…Women always come to me for sexual release, like I’m some kind of machine.”
• Fenway: “Lucas…whatever happens, I promise I’m going to get you your very own cage, away from all the other rats.”
• Fun bait-and-switch with Russell: it seemed like Molly told her about the aliens, but really she told her about everything the aliens were doing, only ascribed them to “terrorists who live in caves.”
• Viola Davis (Victoria Russell) isn’t really a genre star, but she will be soon: she has a role in the upcoming Ender’s Game movie.
• Shallow moment (even I have them): Molly’s clothes are always great, but her leather jacket in the subway station was wonderful. I have similar coloring and I can’t wear that brownish color at all. So jealous.