by Josie Kafka
“The end of the world as we know it.”
The success of this episode is largely due to James Frain’s turn as a man who thinks he is a prophet and discovers he is not. In lesser hands, that story could be trite, but his journey from faith to horror was sad, not silly. The toothy lettuce, on the other hand, was nightmarish.
Reverend Lavory interpreted the glass forest of his dreams as a message from God about the end of the world and the potential for humans to move to the next (religious) step in their evolution. He told Caffrey that she was searching for answers, but he is just as searching: the perpetual quest for meaning that is the hallmark of a man of faith.
Lavory’s mistakes, such as seeing Sontag as a code for “Sunday,” were understandable. And his interpretation of the tripartite fractal pattern as both mathematical and faithful was rather touching. Most importantly, he connected with Molly, who appears to have some faith of her own. She feels burdened by the guilt of shooting down the senator’s plane (which included her dissertation advisor) and would probably welcome a salvationist perspective on the alien threat, if one were possible.
But it’s not. As Ramsey pointed out, if this is the end of the world it’s not one he’s going to fight for. The results are too horrifying, from creepy emotionless superhumans to lettuce with teeth. Lettuce with teeth! Lettuce with teeth! Eww! Threshold has consistently teased us with the possibility of the alien virus moving to the food supply, and I’m impressed that they took that leap so early on. But still, eww!
Molly’s dream—was it a dream? A vision of the future? A vision sent by the aliens to scare her? A residue of her guilt? She’s starting to worry that her plan just won’t work, and will perhaps cause even more damage than another, more open approach. She got some reassurance when her tracking-chip idea turned out to be a good one (nice continuity, by the way).
The Threshold team also discovered the North Korean sub that pursued the Bighorn, as well as the changes that the signal continues to make on the ship. As Lucas said, “Bioform the people, terraform the planet.” He said it in the previous episode, too, so we know it must be important. And terrifying, because I can’t stop thinking about that horrible lettuce.
• Ramsey: “People have been predicting the end of the world since the beginning of the world. So far, exactly none of them have been right.”
• Guy: “The Kraken? From Clash of the Titans?...I mean, the Kraken is a dark presence.”
• Caffrey: “We are not trying to silence you. But if you don’t cooperate, we will take you into custody.” She didn’t seem fully aware of the contradiction there.
• Baylock: “You sure this is the Bighorn? You went all ‘excited puppy’ the last three times.”
• I loved Molly’s complicated Threshold-like plan for her dog-sitter. I subject my cat-sitter to the same thing.
• What were they thinking, with the soft-rock montage of Threshold employees photographing, bagging, and tagging toothy lettuce?
• James Frain (the priest) has been in FlashForward, Invasion, Fringe, True Blood, 24, and The Tudors. Among other shows.