Threshold: Outbreak

“We’re looking at the tip of the iceberg.”

The previous episode, “The Crossing,” emphasized the personal tragedy of an alien infection but ended with a great cliffhanger: the food supply has been infected with the alien virus. What’s the chance of both Adams and Lucas eating infected food? Well, that depends on just how much food is infected. And that’s a big, big problem.

Newbie Daphne Larson, botanist genius, is a fun addition to the team. She adds a nice dose of sex appeal, as Fenway would clearly agree. Her idea about growing “spare” human parts on plants is horrifying, but she’s clearly the right person for the job of sussing out the food infestation. At first, Molly’s plan to deal with the outbreak seemed rather untenable in this day and age of global food. But the revelation that the food came from a farmer’s market narrowed down the scope considerably. Beware locally sourced tomatoes!

Fenway and Caffrey’s discussion about blame included some hard truths: both blame themselves even as they try to blame each other. Fenway blamed the protocols, but I’m not sure why: Lucas didn’t get infected because of strict rules. He got infected because the rules weren’t strict enough. Is it horrible of me to say that Lucas’s infection is even sadder because he’s the only person on the team who has a significant other? It’s a tragedy when lonely people die, too; they just have fewer mourners. As Ramsey said, “Life is way out of line on this one.”

As is the new, hands-on head of the NSA. His decision to cut costs led to the infected produce, led to Lucas’s illness, led to Adams’s death. Threshold doesn’t tend to portray bureaucrats positively, and this is not exception: the alien war will be fought by the unsung heroes, not the penny-pinching honchos who want all of the glory and none of the blame for 200 or so infectees.

Luckily, no one has to shoulder any real blame for Lucas. Ramsey got over his grief and remembered how to be a friend, and Fenway realized that, if a tiny dose of the alien signal could act as a vaccine, then a slightly larger dose acts as an even better vaccine. I don’t think the science really works out on that one, but whatever. I really like Rob Benedict, so I’m happy Lucas isn’t dead.

But what’s up with his dreams? That guy was clearly from another time, which indicates that the aliens haven’t just been here once before (as we saw in “The Burning”) but have come to Earth to deliver their message more than once.

Contingencies:

• Fenway: “No, I’m not advocating violence!”

• Daphne: “Can’t they do pretty much anything on calculators these days?”
Ramsey: “But a calculator doesn’t have my considerable charm.”

• Daphne: “I’m sorry. I’ve only been a secret agent for a day.”

• Manning claimed that the radiation from two colliding neutron stars will strike Earth in six years. It’s that sort of thing that makes me wish this show had continued (with a bigger budget): impending apocalypse + alien infection = truly awesome TV.

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

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