Containment – Season 1 Episode 8
“There is a Crack in Everything”
Readers have the pleasure of me covering Containment this week as Natalie is away. We’re now comfortably past the midpont of the season and things are starting to progress towards explanations as well as some sort of conclusion.
You’ll have seen from Natalie’s reviews over the past few weeks that she doesn’t love the show but likes aspects of it. I would say that generally speaking I’m the same. There is a lot that is good in here but I feel that having 13 episodes is too much as the writers are dragging the concept out. At one point I thought this was only going to run for 6 episodes and I can’t help but think that it could be a really tight and tense story over such a limited running time. Instead we get far too many characters and a plot that has been dragged out.
This episode starts to provide some answers on the cause of the outbreak and drops a significant hint that there is more to this than meets the eye. Back in the first episode it was believed that a Syrian man was patient zero and the virus spread from there but now it seems to be more deliberate than that.
Cannerts is the guilty party in all this. He was responsible for infecting patient zero and even created the virus. It was engineered by him despite having no way to contain it. When I think about the mechanics of this revelation it all starts to make sense. For one thing it completely explains why he happened to be in the hospital when the outbreak began and it also explains the recipient of Burns’ mysterious phone call before he put himself in Quarantine.
That isn’t to say that Cannerts meant for this to happen. It seems to be quite the opposite as it’s clear that he is entirely dedicated to getting rid of this horror that he helped create. His decision-making is somewhat suspect though considering he has allowed the authorities to go ahead with blaming the Syrian man for bringing it into the hospital instead of simply owning up about his involvement and supplying the relevant people with some much needed information. Basically he is allowing everyone to believe that this is a deliberate attempt at Biological Warfare rather than a simple mistake. Fair enough the consequences for Cannerts would surely be dire but they will definitely be worse once it comes out that he has been lying this entire time.
It is only a matter of time before he is found out as Lex and Leo are firmly on the trail -as are Katie and Jake- and are heading down a path that can only end with the truth coming out. I found the scenes with Lex and Leo to be a bit too heavy on the exposition as I can’t help but think there is a more organic way for the investigation to go than the convenient information dropping in their lap as well as Lex’s handy reinstatement at a critical moment.
The whole Cannerts situation is complicated by the inclusion of his colleague Dr. MacIntyre (John Atwood) who also happens to be Lommers’ husband. What a small world they all live in! There are hints that Dr. MacIntyre might shoulder more of the responsibility for the outbreak than Cannerts does but it is unclear at this point. MacIntyre could be an innocent party in all this but having him appear at this late point in the narrative suggests to me that his intentions aren’t entirely noble.
One theme this episode hammers home is that of hope. It all seems to be going well when it appears that Thomas is immune and it becomes important to sneak him out of the Cordon so that he can be studied to find a cure much more quickly. This causes everyone to relax a little and start planning for their future again but since this is only episode 8 it can’t be as easy as that. It turns out that Thomas isn’t immune and can still infect people which means that letting him leave the Cordon would also take the virus with him. Naturally that wouldn’t be a good thing so it’s a race against time to stop him. It is realised but not before Lex and Lommers are exposed which means they have to wait 48 hours to see if symptoms manifest. My thinking is that Lommers will exhibit symptoms and that will force her husband to consider his position. Why else would he be introduced at this late stage?
I can’t help but feel that Thomas is being set up for a tragic end as the episode clumsily beats the audience over the head with his innocence. The night before he is due to leave he lies awake scared and has Katie put his mind at ease by telling him that his super power is bringing people hope. Usually things are laid on so thick before a very tragic outcome.
The whole plan to sneak Thomas out is fairly ill advised and not made any easier with Lee (Miles Doleac) sticking his nose in and deciding what is best for the situation. Lex wants to make it as quiet as possible without drawing attention to what they’re doing. His belief is that people won’t see the hopeful side of the plan and simply view it as an opportunity to escape so it makes sense that he wants to keep attention away from it. Lee ruins that by stationing armed guards in full view of bystanders and using a very loud saw to cut a door into the shipping containers. People react as expected and see a way out so the situation is very problematic for next week.
I like how the theme of hope fed into some of the individual character stories the strongest here was Katie and Jake who start to consider what life outside the Cordon could be like. Their romantic connection has grown organically over the course of the season so far and Chris Wood has excellent chemistry with Kristen Gutoskie so their connection feels real as well as endearing. There’s a tragedy to their romance as they both crave human companionship and a physical connection but it’s too risky at this point. The scene where they connected through the shower curtain was beautifully done and sums up the closeness as well as the distance in their relationship perfectly.
Some of this didn’t work as well as it should have though. Jake’s boast about turning his back on his responsibilities for a few days only to back-pedal when Katie seemed offended felt forced. Jake is a young man and a womaniser where Katie has more complex problems like childcare and debt to deal with so turning her back on those for even a little while isn’t an option. Jake apparently didn’t mean to include her with his responsibilities but how could it not? It’s interesting that Jake is willing to settle down with her and it makes sense that their relationship would grow quickly in a crisis situation but the artificial misunderstanding here didn’t really work.
The potential hope also extends to Xander and Teresa who look forward to raising their baby together. Teresa seems surprisingly unaffected by what happened to her mother last week but I do really want to root for them since they have had the odds stacked against them since the season began. They do represent a sense of innocence in the midst of all this chaos.
I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about Jana’s role in the episode. Having her try to use a bricked over undeground tunnel to escape the Cordon felt like busy work for he character and feeds into the overall sense that this show has gone on far too long. Now the writers are just looking to give the characters things to do. This also extends to Burt and Micheline with the added complication of her leg wound which also feels pointless. I was actually onboard with how endearing they were but this just feels unnecessary.
A worthwhile episode in moving the plot forward by introducing some complications that add depth to the overall story. The theme of hope was explored fairly well with Katie and Jake’s scenes being the most effective in showing that as well as their deepening relationship. It’s hard to shake the fact that many of the characters are engaging in busy work which indicates that this show has too many episodes that the writers need to burn through.
- the theme of hope coming through strongly
- depth added to the overall story
- the development of Jake and Katie’s relationship
- some characters engaging in obvious busy work to fill time
- clumsy complications added for Jake and Katie