Things seem to be getting stranger and we get more questions in this week’s episode. For starters, we get to watch Balleseros burn the field of frozen monkeys. Much to his surprise, they begin to scream as the flames consume them. We find out Balleseros has a way of communicating with someone off base, but just who is he talking to? And who is Dr. Hvit, who Balleseros is supposed to get off base along with himself?
For this episode, Balleseros is clearly supplanting Hatake as the show’s bad guy. Not surprising, considering that in four episodes he’s concealed important evidence from Alan about the virus, blew up the station’s communications dish, and murdered Doreen and then tried to dispose of her body by feeding it to the rats. And he erased the security tapes and their back-ups. He gets found out by Alan and Daniel, but it may be a bit too late. Dr. Hvit turns out to be a frozen head in a capsule kept in “The White Room”, which we learn is an inside joke among the researchers at the base. “Where’s the White Room?” Alan asks, and Duchamp answers, “We’re all in the White Room”, a reference to the Arctic environment outside. Balleseros knocks out Daniel, and he and Alan have a confrontation. Balleseros knocks Alan down and unclips his life-line and kicks him down a hill. In the end, it seems Balleseros doesn’t get away after all, as Daniel reappears and stabs him with an ice pick, and leaves him bleeding in the snow, taking back Dr. Hvit’s head.
Things seemed to rely a bit too much on coincidence this episode, as well as convenient timing. The show has stretched credibility before, with Sara’s bizarre decision to keep an infected woman in her room, security guards announcing in a loud voice about crazed Vectors on the loose, and scientists who should understand quarantine protocols fighting against them. Alan had been warned by Duchamp not to get his life-line unclipped otherwise he would be lost outside. And yet, he seems to easily find his way back inside, and reveals to Duchamp Balleseros’s nefarious activities. Sara ends up helping the woman to commit suicide, but only after the woman nearly becomes a Vector and attacks her.
Other things didn’t mesh well, either. Alan knocking on Sara’s door after she’s injected herself with morphine, and then berating her for getting high and telling her to sleep it off seemed out of place, as well as their talk at the end of the episode about how both are driven by their work, and Sara tells Alan she’s been using morphine to combat severe migraines. While they served some sort of human moment I suppose, both scenes just felt off to me.
Meanwhile, down in Level R, Julia and Jaye encounter a wounded Hatake, who has been stabbed. They need to get him to a triage lab on the opposite side of the level. Naturally, Hatake knows a secret passage that will get them there. In true horror fashion, said passage is pitch dark, as all of the lights have been broken out. Hatake sense a trap, and when rats appear he worries what they’re running from. Turns out it’s a Vector, and for a moment, it seems that Jaye has been killed. Julia checks Hatake’s wound, and sees scars on his back. When she questions him, he tells her a story of a fire in his house in Kyoto that killed his daughter. They reach the triage lab, only to be attacked by a Vector and saved by Jaye, who somehow arrived there before them. Turns out there is a good reason for this. We’ve already been told one symptom of the virus is hallucinations (you see where this is going, don’t you?). While not entirely surprising, as it was something that I suspected in the last episode, Jaye was just a figment of Julia’s imagination. Hatake even gave us a clue, as Jaye didn’t register with him when Julia came across him. It was presented well enough to work for the episode, and provided one of the night’s better twists.
The show, despite some of the coincidences and conveniences and some of the unbelievable moments, did have some good scenes. The bloodied rat crawling out of dead Doreen’s mouth was a nice icky touch, and Alan finally growing suspicious and showing some cracks in his veneer were handled nicely. And once again, the show ended with a cliffhanger tantalizing enough to bring us back next week, with Peter seeming to respond to the treatment being given to him by Duchamp and Alan. And we still need answers to some questions. Who is Balleseros and Hatake working for? Why is Sara so dumb when she’s supposed to be one of the CDC’s brightest? Who is Dr. Hvit, and why was his head frozen and kept in a capsule outside?
We may find out next week.
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