From returns for the second episode of its thrilling, terrifying second season and the mystery and horror just keeps getting juicier.
I love that last week’s premiere picked up the ending of Season 1 without missing a beat. There’s no awkward time jump, no weird retcon of what happened previously. The new characters can be explained by the arrival of the bus (and the clever addition of Colony House in Season 1, which allowed us to accept that many nameless, faceless extras were part of the community that we didn’t have to keep close track of).
This stands in stark contrast to Season 2 of Yellowjackets, which I’m also reviewing at the moment. I won’t spoil anything, but the first season of that show remains one of my favorite seasons of TV ever, and Season 2 is just a massive letdown that feels completely different in almost every way.
Thankfully, From Season 2 just keeps doing what Season 1 did: The mystery of the strange town (and beyond the strange town) and the apparently diabolical Faraway Trees, and the shapeshifting monsters who sleep beneath the surface, is deepening. By the end of Episode 1, almost all of our heroes were in grave danger. By the end of Episode 2, some of that danger has passed, and some of it has grown.
Let’s recap this episode briefly:
- Much of the episode takes place in the diner where Donna, Kenny and Kristi try to keep everyone calm. Kristi’s fiancé is upset and the two argue, because of course there’s no good way to explain where she’s been and why she never came back. Other newcomers are also upset, and the brash guy grabs Kenny’s gun and tries to get outside, but is distracted by a knock on the door. Donna bashes him in the face with her shotgun. Julie, meanwhile, is desperate to go help her dad—especially when they start to hear screaming from outside.
- Last week, Jim was pinned under the collapsing house along with a guy from the bus and Tom, the bartender. This week Tom and Jim have to work hard to keep the poor guy quiet so that the monsters don’t kill them all. Everything seems to finally be okay when the poor guy dies, but then a monster shows up and kills Tom. Jim keeps miraculously calm and silent and lives through the night.
- Tabitha and Victor found their way out of the catacombs just in the nick of time last week, and make their way to a parked truck, where they hide in the trailer, which Victor has stocked and supplied with furniture and some old snacks. One thing it doesn’t have is a talisman—until that is, Boyd shows up. They get a fourth arrival when Elgin arrives, pursued by a handful of vampires. They let him in, warily, just in the nick of time. Since none of the three have been back to town since the bus arrived, they have no idea what he’s talking about. Victor says he doesn’t trust him, but Boyd points out that they’re all still alive.
The Tip Of The Spear
Speaking of Boyd, our town Sheriff has gotten himself into a world of trouble. He’d climbed out of the well last week only to find an old man chained to the wall asking Boyd to put him out of his misery. (I’m still not sure how the guy kicked the rope down to Boyd, but we’ll just ignore that small detail). We learn from the old-timer, Martin, several important things.
- The town is just the beginning: “I always the town was the worst part, and then I went through the tree,” Martin tells Boyd. “You go one place, go out the other. Sometimes you get stuck, sometimes you get trapped. That’s when they get you.”
- The monsters are just the tip of the spear: When Boyd shows Martin the talisman and says “They won’t be able to hurt you” the old-timer replies: “You think those things that come out of the forest at night did this? They’re just the tip of the spear.” Boyd changes the subject—in too much of a panicked hurry for us to get any more answers.
- A music box signals the coming of something: Martin tells Boyd he has until the music stops playing to get away. Boyd sees a music box with a twisted ballerina spinning as the music plays gently. He does not try to get away, instead choosing to stick behind and help Martin, a fellow ex-marine.
- When the music’s over, Martin changes: As Boyd struggles to free him, the old-timer takes on a new way of speaking and says, “You ever wonder if Abby was right?” referencing Boyd’s now-dead wife. Boyd is shocked. “What’d you say?” “What if it’s all just a dream?” the man says, and then collapses. When Boyd helps him up he sees the wriggling in the man’s arm. The music stops. “We’re out of time!” Martin shouts and then grabs Boyd. “My blood is your blood now,” he says, slashing Boyd across the arm with his long fingernails.
Boyd is now infected with whatever the old man had inside him, but he manages to get away. When they leave the truck, he sees the things wriggling beneath his skin—and so does Victor, who looks at him with fearful suspicion.
The vampires end up getting a number of the newcomers, but everyone else makes it back safe—well, except for Boyd, who is now possessed or infected by something. Jim is still pinned under the collapsed house, but he’s alive.
We don’t get to see two of my favorite characters this week. Jade and Ethan are up at Colony House, which isn’t shown at all. We also don’t get to see what’s happening with Sara, who we haven’t seen at all this season since she and Boyd were separated by the Faraway tree in the Season 1 finale.
The big, crucial bit of information we learn is that the monsters in the town are just one of many horrors. We sort of guessed that when Boyd and Sara found the spiderwebs, but now it’s basically confirmed. There are the skin worms, for one thing, but there’s more to it than that. The voice on the radio, for instance, can’t have been one of the monsters since they sleep during the day. Something powerful caused the house to collapse.
What that is remains to be seen. The fallout of the night’s slaughter, the arrival of more mouths to feed, and the things in Boyd’s arm—all new challenges for our heroes to overcome and new mysteries for them to solve. Will Jade and Victor finally get to talk? Will we learn more about Elgin’s dream, and why he has a connection to this place? Will he see the same visions that Jade sees? And will we learn what causes certain people to end up here—including the bizarre “coincidence” that brought Kristi’s fiancé to the town?
All in good time, I suppose. So far this show has done a great job of teasing out each storyline. I just hope they have the story as mapped out as possible so that the answers we do get are satisfying in the end. This is very much a Lost-like and fans of this genre have been burned one too many times.