Is this just a High School drama with older characters so it’s not as weird when the teachers sleep with the students? I think it is!
TV shows are sold on their pilot; that needs to contain all the things which the Network execs, and focus groups, like to make it to series. So, the second episode is the first opportunity they have to course correct any of the sweeping generalities, presumptions, and flaws of the pilot and bring their true master-plan to the screen. The problem here is that there is no master plan. There is no arc. There is just a high school drama and it so easily didn’t have to be.
We’ll get to the multiple flaws and bigotries, but I want to start with Alex Parrish; our protagonist. Our incredibly good looking protagonist. She is amazing looking. I can’t take my eyes off her. She’s gorgeous... how is she planning to go unnoticed? Walking through the streets of NY, she will draw the eye of a good swath of the population. When they announce she is a suspect, I noted they didn’t put up her photo which I thought was odd. Then I realized, well, if they put up her photo then she’ll be found within seconds, thus bringing this farce to an end sooner rather than later.
Despite being a high school drama, the core of the academy side is using very basic game theory and game design in order to tell a very basic point. Now, I’ve written in the past about how games and game design can help writers become better at their jobs because of numerous reasons. Here, the games they create, essentially a LARP, is incredibly weak.
At the start they are asked to identity a plot which was conceived off in some rooms (also remember that there are forty-plus recruits, and three rooms each having about four people in them. You do the math). The first issue is that they aren’t told the information which led them to those rooms. In a normal case, there would be leads and sources and reasons to focus on those locations. These are not provided.
They are then told that one (or none) of these threats is the most pressing... but they are not given any further information to substantiate which may be of the greatest threat nor do they offer information they have found as evidence for one threat being more pressing than another (there is also a good dose of High School were the recruits cleave to their own projects instead of looking to the potential of others).
Parrish discovers the answer by... essentially... cheating. She reviews all three locations before determining a commonality between all three. In the real world, she wouldn’t have access to the three sites to determine which was more pressing; it would be a determination based on the evidence which led them to the site and the evidence which was gained from that one site.
As a game, it was both badly conceived and poorly executed.
As I predicted last week, we have new cast members; a gay analyst and a former cop recruit. Or... the gay transfer student and the competition for the affections of the cute guy. I don’t think that either of these are the terrorist but, then I don’t think anyone is the terrorist. I don’t think the writers know who the terrorist is either. Each of the recruits are lying about something... but that’s just fodder for a lie-of-the-week structure.
- In the last episode, Booth said he didn’t expect to be going undercover at the academy. In this episode, it is shown that he knew his “mark”, Alex, was an academy recruit. Where did he think he was going undercover?
- How does Alex know that Booth was the one in her apartment? Why is she then surprised when she sees Booth enter the apartment on the surveillance camera feed?
- What possible assignment could require the twins to pass for the other?
- “Is there such a thing as a gay virgin?” - of course there is! Also... just because there are two gay people in a room, doesn’t mean they will automatically hook-up. Options might be limited, but they’re still human.
- Why can’t all three teams investigate all three locations? What new information do they have to determine which threat is more pressing?
- Why would you have two bomb making locations?
- How did someone cut through two walls without her noticing?
- Why does Booth need to make people think she’s guilty in order to help her? Also, how does Booth not know it was her who shot him if he doesn’t know who shot him?
Gotta say, it’s gonna be tough getting through the next two episodes.