Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Review - 'Containment', Episode 6 - 'He Stilled The Rising Tumult'

Things continue to progress at a slow, but steady, pace as Containment moves into its sixth episode. Picking up on plot-threads set in motion during the previous episode, Lex and Jake are now both entirely committed to uncovering whatever sinister mystery might lurk behind the viral outbreak. Of course, separate as they are by the containment wall, there is very little in the way of support that they can offer to each other – but, each is still determined to do their part.

Outside of the containment zone, Lex slowly came to realise how alone he truly is, though, as the officers under his command begin to shirk their duties in response to his decision to, basically, abandon a fellow officer who fell into the containment zone during the previous episode's food-drop. Not only that, but his own superior officer, Chief Besser (Gregory Allen Williams), is now putting even more pressure on him by announcing that National Guard had been called in as a result of the mess that the food-drop had become. Lex's, perfectly justified, response that the whole situation was really the fault of Doctor Sabine Lommers, after she had gone against his advice and attempted to rush the food drop, also falls on deaf ears, here – as, Lex is informed, that simply doesn't matter.

Knowing that he is likely to be cut out of the loop, entirely, when the National Guard take over, Lex realises that he is on a tight dead-line to get hold of important security footage. With no other options, Lex turns to Leo Greene, the video blogger who had previously caused him so much trouble. Now that Lex has come to believe that they may be on the same side, after all, he is eager to make use of Leo's unique skill-set. Unfortunately, though, Lex finds Leo in the grip of a guilt-ridden down-ward spiral after learning of the deaths of the friends he had investigating within the containment zone, on his behalf.

Lex is, ultimately, able to convince Leo to get up, and try again, though – and, the two set off to acquire the video footage which might provide proof of the cover-up. Unfortunately, another complication soon emerges as, much to Leo's frustration, Lex is unable to ignore a call for police assistance. With a tight dead-line in which to try to get what they need before the National Guard take over, and an even tighter dead-line to make use of one of Leo's contacts in order actually do so, Lex finds himself, instead, dealing with a man who has chosen to handcuff himself in a building set to be demolished.

I have to admit that my initial reaction to this new development was a certain level of frustration quite similar to that displayed by Leo. It simply felt like too overt a side-track to send Lex down, just as things were starting to come together. When Leo announced that the window of opportunity to meet with his contact had passed, I actually felt a moment of genuine anger at what had seemed to be a very contrived development.

Fortunately, though, this plot-line soon led in a more interesting direction, once Lex took the time to investigate this new mystery. The idea that this man was determined not to live this particular building because it was the only one that gave him a clear view of his actual home within the containment zone, where his daughter is currently trapped, allowed a very genuine element of emotion to enter the episode. It still felt like a blatantly obvious attempt to delay progress on their investigation, for an episode – but, at least there was some emotional pay-off to make it worthwhile.

Also, Lex and Leo were able to get their investigation back on track soon enough, anyway, when Leo was able to come up with a back-up plan. The fact that Leo's new plan involved forging a warrant, and that Lex was willing to go along with it, provided both an amusing moment between the two, and a clear sign of exactly how committed Lex currently is.

I do have to admit that, while I didn't really think too highly of Leo Greene, as a character, when he was first introduced, he did start to grow on me, in this episode. And, I think that the odd rapport between the two, as they work together over the rest of the season, should provide an entertaining new element for the series.

Within the containment zone, meanwhile, Jake's own investigation encounters a similarly unexpected complication when Katie learns that Thomas (Donielle T. Hansley Jr.), who had previously been forcibly removed from the hospital by his father, had been left alone in the city, following the death of his father and his sister's admittance to hospital. So, now, Jake and Katie find themselves heading out into the city as they try to find Thomas – with Katie's young son, Quentin (Zachary Unger), soon revealing himself to have followed out of concern for his friend.

This development proved to be a little more problematic, for me. For one thing, it just wasn't as interesting as Jake's encounter with a desperate and worried father. A tense encounter with a group of drug-addled thugs did manage to provide some excitement, here – but, it wasn't quite enough to balance out the episode's blatant lack of movement, elsewhere. On the other hand, though, this plot-line did eventually lead to an interesting development regarding Thomas, himself – but, it still felt like a long way to go to reach that point.

Having of one the show's key plot-lines be side-tracked by an unexpected development was acceptable, sure – but, with both Jake and Lex having their efforts suddenly derailed, it just felt like a bit much. At this point, it just started to feel as though Containment was deliberately spinning its wheels.

Elsewhere, though, the episode also managed to pull off some interesting blending of its various plot-lines when, with the help of Theresa's mother, Xander and Theresa make their escape from the gang-controlled convenience store where they have been, effectively, held as prisoners and hostages. Rather than turning to Theresa's grandmother for help, though, the pair soon make their way to Jana's secure little sanctuary.

I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure what to make of the fact that Xander and Jana had already met off-camera, though. While it does explain the manner in which Jana was able to get a message to Lex a few episodes ago, it still felt as though it was something we should have seen for ourselves, in order to more adequately explain Jana's willingness to help Xander and Theresa, here.

Of all the cast, though, this episode probably benefited Jana, most of all. Throughout the series, so far, she is a character who has often seemed to suffer from a lack of purpose – having little else to defined her, beyond the fact that she is Lex's girlfriend. But, with this episode, and the previous one, Jana has been given some good opportunities to become more pro-active. With her slowly seeming to move into a leadership role with her own group of survivors, it seems as though the series is finally beginning to justify the amount of screen-time that has been spent on her.

Overall, while it seems as though this was a busy episode for a variety of characters, in the end it felt as though very little of what actually took place was of any real importance. It was an episode that still featured some good character moments, of course – but, as far as the season-long central mystery is concerned, the episode was ultimately let down by some very blatant delaying tactics.

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