Containment – Season 1 Episode 5
“Like a Sheep Among Wolves”
Food. How many of us have half opened packets of pasta and rice stuffed in the cupboards? And a freezer full of things we might eat one day. Apparently no-one in Atlanta, despite what Hoarders Next Door and Extreme Couponing will have me believe about America.
After one week the city is out of food and that’s all anyone can talk about.
Everyone is reminiscing about their favourite food; they go about roasting pigeons in the dingy alleys to enjoying that vegetable medley of tinned peas and sweetcorn that’s been in the cupboard forever.
With people getting desperate we see a man taking clothing from a store, he says they’re to trade for food. If everyone is that hungry, I doubt he would’ve gotten far, but he’ll never get to try as Jake and his assistant apprehend him, encouraging him to leave the clothes and return home to his family, like a good citizen. Until he sneezes. Off to the hospital he goes. Easily sorted.
The outside world decides that they are going to do a food drop in 24 hours, or Day 8. Lex, naturally, is furious and tries his best to reason with Lommers, insisting that a longer preparation time is necessary to organise their troop of 9 over the wall and help avoid any chaos. Here is Lommers turn to try portray an emotional side with a crass depiction of her work in Sierra Leone and trying to feed the masses. This scene and her character would have been better without an attempt as base as this to try convey an emotion Claudia Black is obviously not very good at.
Lex on the outside tries to organise who will be operating what, and stationed where. With an offer from Officer Meese to operate the crane to deliver food, everything looks like it’s going smoothly. With a few quick jibes from fellow officers we’re led to believe he’s one of the guys.
Well, chaos ensues. Even before the gang arrive there are squabbles at the food drop zone when one of the police officers operating a crane, somehow, falls in, cutting himself. With Lex refusing to let him out, he goes up against the other Boys in Blue as they question his motives, reminding him “he has a family out here”. Lex can’t allow it. If he breaks the rules, what could that mean for everyone on the outside? Always following the rules. When the Paisley Bandana crew arrive with a forcefully recruited Xander, at the food drop zone, and outside of their allocated timeslot, it becomes apparent there will be a power struggle. Expecting a shoot-out of sorts, we are left a little bland when Jake, struggling to take control, relents.
While some food has been distributed to the starving, the gang swoop in, guns blazing and take their fair share to restock Teresa’s Mom’s store, which they now have full control over, “that’s Capitalism for you”. Given recent news, it is interesting to see the police here resisting fire. It is made clear that the authorities have little power in the Cordon, and their reluctance to act sees most of the city empty handed, leaving the viewer a little empty-handed in the process. The show doesn’t seem to want to commit to any ‘drastic’ action. Is this true of real-life? If there were an armed gang and 8 police officers in body gear, also armed, would they allow a gang to come in and take what they want? Again with the following of rules. Things are going to get a little anarchic up in here.
Katie, now on her own in the hospital, starts to unravel the events leading to Day 1 and Patient Zero after a make-shift class to explain the virus and vaccines results in more questions. After discovering that Dr. Sanders had been working a night shift, Katie is confused as to why the doctor would arrange to meet with her and her class to give a tour. Bert, the provider of the lab rats, has also unwittingly provided some clues. With some light detective work, Katie discovers that they are indeed being deceived, if not why try cover it up by removing pages from visitor books.
Finding clues in snippets overheard by her son Quentin, Katie heads to Dr. Cannerts with he theory.
Dr. Cannerts is particularly defensive over Katie querying the timelines of Patient Zero’s infection and the two who are first to die, Doctor Sanders and her partner. Dr. Cannerts reminds her she isn’t the one with a doctorate in infectious diseases, despite drawing some very obvious conclusions with the information available.
Jake continues to meet with Lex in their shipping container. They’ve even had time to decorate with some lovely bold lines of colour marking out each one’s area. Passing on his keys to Jake he asks for him to get them to Jana. Later, when the boys rendezvous, we find Lex talking about his troubles on the outside and it’s only when Jake brings it up that he asks of Jana. How strange to not have asked that first before first-worlding it and only talking about yourself and your freedom on the outside. Jake finds his M.I.A partner from earlier, who’s a little worse for wear. Despite us knowing how it all ends for those infected, the officer infected decides he must be the one who chooses his fate and kills himself in front of Jake.
Jake gets back to working in the crematorium (does he never sleep?). We’ve seen this scene before, but I don’t mind it. Jake, remembering the people he is disposing of, including the officer, continues to keep their small mementoes as symbols for those lives who are no more.
When he has to deal with the body of a small girl he saw at the food drop point, we see him break. Continuing to work away, trying to do his job, he needs to realise that he is the master of his fate and that continuing to burn the bodies isn’t going to solve anything.
After he bumps into Katie, who is still pacing the halls, she lets him in on her conspiracy. The reaction is not one we expect and it strikes as very odd considering how close they seem to have become. But Jake, the worker, asks what he can do to help.
Jana gets to come into her own this episode as we see her rather bizarrely leave her safe zone on her own in a quest to get some food from the drop zone. We see her group monitoring the rebels in the basement and miraculously she sneaks out. On her way there the Paisley Bandits (as they’ll be known from now on) stop to intimidate her. Making it back to her office block without any bother she now has to navigate her way back upstairs to the safe zone, which has me asking, how did she get out in the first place? Surely, there’s a street level entrance she can use? Darting in between stationed cars and bollards we see Jana almost make it to the lift (because that’s subtle. Seriously though, how did she get out?). Before she can make it she’s stopped by a goon. Rushing to reach the lift Jana manages to spike the man with her new house key from Lex, which buys her time to enter her pass-code into the lift. Is this the end for Jana? Of course not. She needs a man to come to her rescue, the same man she refused to help on the roof last episode.
Making it back to her office Jana and her hero are held in the quarantine zone and refuse to accept the newest addition to their family. Letting her and her new friend in would be against the rules.
The episode closes on the officer who ‘fell’ into the cordon. Using a military grade cell phone he speaks to Lex’s boss, who’s also happens to be his boss. Closing with the revelation that this man is in to do a very specific job, one that seems to have required the assassination of his family (what?!), it leaves us asking questions I suppose we hope will be answered net week.
The show continues to add in more plot twists and characters, without fully forming the ones we already have.
With society following rules, breaking rules and making their own, it’s a very copy and paste idea of what someone would maybe like to think would happen to our society in this bleak case. But I have hope. The show is doing that thing again where it is rushing the story and somehow remains relatively bland about it.
- a sweaty Jake
- Jake’s Cryface
- predictable plot twists
- Xander getting forced onto the Dark Side. He just wants to do good for his unborn kid and baby mama.