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Threshold: Blood of the Children

“They’re just kids.”

If nothing else, Threshold does good horror. Molly’s dream sequences make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and the scenes certainly amp up the tension. Team Threshold isn’t just looking for one crewman after another. They’re fighting something within themselves, something that affects their brains and might affect even more.

While the dream sequences and exposition in this episode remind us of what is at stake, the structure is that of a procedural: for every two steps forwards, we have to take one step back. (Otherwise, the show would run out of plot.) The revelation that the signal is spreading is huge, but the problem is (so far) contained to a military school—that means we get minor resolution without ruining the Big Problem.

The military school plot was effective, creepy, and very familiar. Children with guns: a disturbing image, even if the military-school tradition is long and storied. A bunch of children being controlled by an outside, malevolent force? Equally familiar, but the trope is often used precisely because it is so upsetting. The shoot-out in the basement was tense. Not only was I worried the kids wouldn’t overcome their instinct to follow direct orders, but I didn’t really want them firing guns at all. Or holding them. At that age, they should be eating inappropriate sugary cereal and reading comic books, not facing down armed adults in SWAT gear.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, Ramsey and Lucas are starting to develop a charming repartee. Ramsey’s linguistic genius is remarkable, but it’s darn lucky that the pilot slipped into specifically regional dialect for a nanosecond and revealed his weakness. While Fenway broadcasts his resistance with weird requests, Ramsey does so by emphasizing his own “genius” enough to be truly annoying. Lucas doesn’t seem to be actively resisting the Threshold program at all, but he’s clearly uncomfortable with just how much is at risk, and his vulnerability gives us an opportunity to imagine how we would feel if put in his position.

What we’re left with is a show divided, at least in this procedural episode: Molly and Cavennaugh in the field; Ramsey, Fenway, and Lucas in the lab arguing with Baylock. Even together, though, they might not be able to fight an invasion capable of getting inside of their heads, using the semi-infectees as beacons, taking over the complete infectees, and spreading via a simple Internet download. At least young kids aren’t affected. That’s something. But obviously not enough.


• Fenway: “I wouldn’t say ‘Superman.’ They just won’t be making as many Blue Cross co-payments as you and I.”

• Fenway: “A child following you at work. Well, maybe we can just chalk that one up to your biological clock.”
Molly: “That’s original.”

• Lucas introduced the idea of food being contaminated.

• Molly keeps a change of clothes with her anytime she goes more than 20 minutes from home.

• Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy on The Vampire Diaries) was one of the cadets.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

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