Evening y'all! Welcome to my first Crosstalk post. Anyone watch the new ABC show Resurrection? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Obligatory spoilers warning.
Ok, so, Resurrection has aired in the Eastern and Central time zones. Mountain, when do y'all air prime time stuff? I always get lost with y'all. Pacific, you should be wrapping up (as I'm writing this), so stop reading now if you don't want the first episode ruined.
A little background on the show. It's based on the novel The Returned, by Jason Mott, and is being co-produced by ABC and a Brad Pitt-led production company called Plan B Entertainment. After watching the huge cluster that was the movie adaptation of World War Z, which Pitt's company was also instrumental in producing, take that as you will. I haven't read Mott's novel, but it is now on my radar and will be read in short order.
I'm a sucker for anything sci-fi, though, and this pilot episode definitely whetted that craving. As far as first episodes go, I think it was pretty successful. Primary characters were introduced smoothly into a storyline that did a good job of leaving the viewer with enough questions to warrant a return watch next week.
And speaking of those main characters, the cast is made up of some nice veteran actors. Omar Epps, most well remembered as Dr. Foreman on House, plays Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent J. Martin Bellamy, who unwittingly lands in the middle of the plot mystery when he agrees to repatriate a young American boy who awoke in a rice paddy in China. The boy is Jacob Langston (played by Landon Gimenez), the first “returned” that we meet. Jacob piques Martin's curiosity, moving us along quickly to the show's main location in a small Missouri town called Arcadia. There we are introduced to Jacob's parents: his mom Lucille, played by Frances Fisher, and dad Henry, played by former That 70s Show sitcom dad, Kurtwood Smith.
We learn that Jacob and his aunt died about 30 years ago in a drowning accident. And we learn just how small a town Arcadia is. Its sheriff is Jacob's uncle, (husband to the aunt who drowned with Jacob). The ER doctor who examines Jacob after he suffers a seizure is also his cousin, Maggie Langston, who was an infant the day he died. His parents' pastor is Jacob's childhood friend, all grown up. And we also learn that Arcadia is a bit xenophobic, as evidenced by Martin's attempt to look at county records associated with Jacob's and his aunt's death. The receptionist at the county records office refuses to unlock the door for him, even after he identifies himself as a federal agent.
Most of the episode is dedicated to the strangeness of the entire situation, with various members of Jacob's family struggling to accept it, and his former childhood best friend-turned-pastor even having a brief crisis of faith. But we are given a glimpse at a possible antagonist? At least the appearance of this unnamed man seems that way at first. We see him first in a short cutaway as a hitchhiker being asked by a driver why he's headed to Arcadia. He responds that he has a kid there. We don't see him again until a climactic scene where Jacob has snuck out of his hospital room and returned to his home. The strange man, walking on a nearby sidewalk, is whistling an ominous tune, causing Jacob to turn around. At that moment, his uncle and father arrive in the uncle's patrol car. Jacob runs off into the back yard and the woods behind the house, and the scene devolves into a memory of a day when Jacob and his dad had played in that back yard. It's a little unclear who is reliving the memory, though, Jacob, or dad Henry. Perhaps both?
DNA tests confirm that Jacob is biologically the son of Lucille and Henry. And the strange man who's only ever onscreen with ominous music turns out to be another returned. This time, though, he is the father of Maggie's best friend. And Martin was again on hand to see the shocked recognition of someone seeing a returned for the first time.
So who are all these people? Why are they coming back? Why don't people check the graves? Well, obviously, those are the questions we'll hopefully get answers to before ABC decides to shelf the project. We get a bit of foreshadowing that the grave question will be asked soon during a short scene outside of the family mausoleum where Jacob was interred, and also in the teaser for next week's episode. Plus, the returned seem to be limited to Arcadia residents. It doesn't appear as if this is a national, or even global, phenomenon, despite Jacob's resurrection clear across the world.
So, this recap has been fairly long. Sorry about that. I was definitely entertained throughout the episode. We'll see how the insular quality of this small town limits or frees up plot development. How long can Agent Martin Bellamy stymie the questions his coworker has? Why did he lie to her about the DNA results coming back? Or will this quickly turn into a case of the government swooping down to investigate as more returned appear? Why Arcadia? Does the name Arcadia mean anything significant, a la allusions to Joan of Arc, or of the divine? Do the returned know anything of their own purpose in returning? It doesn't appear so, yet, at least in Jacob's case.
All in all, I'm willing to watch the next episode. What did you guys think?