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Spring 2014 Review: Resurrection

24 Mar


I just finished watched the first season of a French show called The Returned (actually the French words for “The Returned” (Les Revenants) but you get the idea) about a small town in which people start coming back from the dead at the same age at which they died and with no memory of what happened between their death and their resurrection. Resurrection, which Wikipedia assures me has no connection with The Returned, has an almost eerily similar premise (In fact, Resurrection’s pilot is named “The Returned,” named after a book titled “The Returned” which makes it even harder to believe the appearance of these two shows within a few months of each other is just coincidental).

Resurrection starts with the appearance of an eight-year old American boy appearing out of nowhere in China. It turns out he’s Jacob Langston, who drowned 30 years ago in his hometown of Arcadia, Missouri, a relatively small town out in the boonies. Everyone struggles to accept that he might by the real thing and not just an impostor, coached up with Jacob’s memories for some undisclosed reason, particularly his parents, for whom his death understandably remains a sore subject even so many years after the fact. His mother is quickly willing to believe while his father finds his unexpected return from a watery grave far more difficult to come to terms with. When the DNA test matches up, the residents of Arcadia and Customs Agent Marty Bellamy (Omar Epps) who was pegged with the responsibility for the boy when he came in from China, face the fact that they have no explanation for the reality of the situation. Besides Jacob’s parents, there is Jacob’s uncle, whose wife also perished with Jacob, and Jacob’s one-time younger cousin, Maggie, now a doctor. Additionally, Jacob claims that the details of his and his aunt’s death differ from what everyone believed at the time, and may have been more sinister and less accidental.

The episode ends with the return of another Arcadia resident, the father of Maggie’s best friend, indicating that this resurrection is not a one-time phenomenon. People are coming back, and no one knows why.

That’s pretty much all that happens. Kid comes back. Relatives struggle with the revelation that this could actually be the kid they had written off as dead thirty years ago. Confirmation that he’s for real their kid. Friend’s dead father shows up.

It wasn’t revelatory or great by any means, but it was actually better than I thought it would be, which is still a relatively rare phenomenon, especially in network television. Mentioning that this was because my expectations were so low is an overly harsh backhand additional to that compliment. Perhaps unfairly, I had conflated Resurrection in my head with Believe, and after a largely negative experience with Believe, I was relatively pleasantly surprised after watching Resurrection.

Exactly as I felt after the first episode of The Returned, I have no idea where this is going, but it feels more like a typical post-Lost serial mystery show rather than the unique unlike-anything-else feel that The Returned gave off. Particularly, Resurrection doesn’t have the underlying haunting feeling that pervades The Returned. Fortunately, it also doesn’t have the air of crusaders-on-a-mission that permeates Believe.

The mystery is medium level on the intrigue scale. Less happens than in most first episodes of serial mystery shows, making it harder to take a stab at what direction the show is going with. Much more epic shows, in comparison, like Terra Nova, Revolution, and The Event, all went through much more premise information in the initial episode. The set up isn’t quite interesting enough to hook me in, and nothing about the setting, style, or writing, was noteworthy enough to demand following up, but the sum total was pretty decent, and I could imagine the show painting a fairly interesting mystery.

Will I watch it again? Probably not. While its plot was very similar to The Returned, it lacked the style and mood which made the first episode of The Returned more compelling in comparison and there are only so many TV hours in the day. That said, I could imagine a world in which Resurrection is actually pretty good, and even having that possibility exist is an underrated state of affairs.