Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Review - 'Containment', Episode 10 - 'A Time To Be Born...'

After the tension and drama of the previous episode, there is a definite sense of relief as we move into the tenth episode of Containment. However momentary it may prove to be, there is a strong sense, throughout much of this episode, of a lightening of the show's typically grim tone that manifests itself in a variety of ways.

First, we have Katie, who ended the previous episode on a very depressing note – leaving us with every indication that her moment of panicked concern for a child's welfare exposed her to the virus. Here, though, there is a clear element of hope to be found in the fact that she has yet to display any of the typical symptoms of infection, even as she approaches the end of her quarantine period.

Also, while it might still seem like a step backward for for Jana and her rapidly shrinking group to end up back at the data recovery centre that has been their home since the outbreak began, it still also manages to come as something of a well-earned reprieve, after everything that they have been forced to endure. And now, with Teresa and Xander once more sharing this secure little sanctuary once more, it seems as though they might be able to safely wait out the worst of the infection.

As a side-note, with regard to this particular group of characters – it is definitely interesting to note the way that a change in context can alter the way that I see both them, and the situation that they find themselves in. For much of the first half of this series, I viewed the time we spent with this group of characters, safely tucked away in their little sanctuary, as a tedious waste of time. But, now that they have had first-hand experience with the horrors of this viral outbreak, I find that I just don't mind spending time with them, nearly as much. Jana has managed to grow on me, as a character, in a way that I just didn't think possible when we first met her, back in the first episode (unfortunately, the same can't really be said for her best friend, Suzy – but, I suppose we can't have everything).

Outside of the containment zone, too, we have Lex and Dr Lommers emerging from their own period of isolation, determined to present a unified front as they work to re-establish control after the previous episode's riot. The National Guard's misguided decision to send soldiers in to the containment zone may have created many more infected – but, there is still some small element of hope to be found in their new-found respect for each other, and in their continuing determination to do whatever is necessary to protect the city.

But, of course, things aren't quiet as bright and optimistic as they appear to be, at first glance. Katie may not have displayed any signs of infection, just yet – but, with Dr Cannerts revealing the existence of a new strain of the virus, which takes longer to appear, things aren't quite so optimistic. Lex and Dr Lommers newly forged alliance is almost immediately called into question when, upon reconnecting with Leo after his period in quarantine, Lex learns that all clues now seem to point toward Lommers, herself, as the figure behind the attempted cover-up that they have been investigating. And, finally, with Xander locked away in his own self-imposed period of quarantine, now is clearly the best time for Teresa to reach a point that every member of the audience must of known was coming – as she suddenly, and very dramatically, goes into labour.

Given everything that has happened over the past few episodes, it probably felt necessary to slow things down, here – to give the audience, and the show's cast of characters, a chance to catch their breath, and to reevaluate the situation. Of course, while it might have felt necessary, it was a decision which left us with an episode that was, quite simply, never going to be as exciting as what we have seen, previously. I probably wouldn't go as far as to say that the tenth episode of Containment was dull, or disappointing – but, there was a definite sense of an episode set on spinning its wheels, for a little while.

It was great to get some movement on the season-long conspiracy plot-line, of course – since, now that there seems to be a bit of a lull in the action and tension of the past few episodes, there is finally time to give this plot-thread some proper attention. I also found that I definitely appreciated the shift in focus back onto Dr Sabine Lommers – as, I have always found her to be the show's most interesting character. Placing her at the centre of the attempted cover-up felt like the perfect way to raise the stakes on what had, admittedly, felt like a somewhat directionless plot-thread, in the past. There is obviously still more to be uncovered, here – and, now, I am actually genuinely interested in seeing where all of this leads.

As for the rest, I can only hope that, now that the tenth episode the quieter moments that it seemed to think we needed, the pace will pick up once more as we move toward the rapidly approaching end of the season (and, the series as a whole). Judging from the very grim note that this episode managed to end on, at least, that certainly seems to be the intent.

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