Summer 2015 Review: The Whispers

3 Jun

The Whispers

I didn’t know much about what type of show The Whispers was coming in, but what little I thought I knew was wrong, as was what I thought after the first ten minutes of the show. I was pretty sure The Whispers prominently featured the supernatural. Before watching, based on the commercials, I thought it was horror-based show, where fear, rather than mystery, was the enduring proposition. In the first ten minutes, I thought The Whispers was an X-Files/Fringe-like procedurally based supernatural show, with a gradual serial element they would slowly build up, while the show initially started smaller and more contained. When it came down to it though, The Whispers is yet another massive serial supernatural show bound to ask far more questions than it ever provides satisfying answers.

The Whispers stars Lily Rabe as an FBI agent who specializes in children’s cases. She’s an agent with a past, like any network police Character. She, until the events of The Whispers, was on leave for three months, mourning the recent death of her husband. Rumors spread throughout the department about her not because of that, but because of her reputed affair with a higher up in her department which preceded her husband’s untimely death in a plane crash. She investigates a case we see at the start of the episode. A little girl’s imaginary friend, Drill, convinces her to weaken a spot on the floor of her tree house and then convince her mom step on it, causing her to fall through to the ground and nearly die. Rabe, talking to the girl, thinks something’s up, and that the girl is not merely nuts, but her new partner, who clearly doesn’t trust her, is not buying her theory. She finds another similar instance in the database, where a boy, convinced by an imaginary friend, tried to blow up his mother, killing himself, and permanently scarring her. When the mother, now convalescing in an asylum, named her son’s imaginary friend as Drill, even Rabe’s killjoy of a partner was forced to admit she was onto something.

Kristen Connolly portrays a mother of a young girl who seems to meet this mysterious Drill early in the episode, and he has her playing his game which we know will likely lead to hers or her mother’s untimely death. Drill talks the daughter into cracking into Connolly’s husband’s secret government compute r files. Connolly’s husband, who was unfaithful, leading to a rift in the marriage that they seem to be trying to repair, is a top government agent of some sort, off in Africa on a mission. There he finds the ruins of a plane which was supposed to have been lost in the Arctic. The plane is in something called petrified lightning, the occurrence of which, in such quantity and formation, suggests something distinctly alien.

Milo Ventimiglia plays a strange hirsute man who faints and wakes up in a military hospital, where he speaks Arabic while unconscious, issuing an ominous warning, and doesn’t seem to remember his own name.

Everything comes together when it turns out that Lily Rabe was cheating with Connolly’s husband, and Rabe’s husband, presumed dead, was Ventimiglia, the pilot of the plane whose ruins were found in the African desert. And the end of the episode, Rabe’s son, who was rendered deaf a couple of years back, is agreeing to make a deal with the mysterious unseen Drill.

So, yeah. Mysterious, supernatural, aliens. There are bigger forces at work, conspiracies that go all the way to the top. You know the drill (no pun intended if you still remember that Drill is the name of the imaginary friend). The thing about these network supernatural serial shows (and I really need to come up with a helpful nickname for this genre) is that they tend, obviously not equally, but as a generally rule, not to worry about other elements of the show beyond the mystery; they’re plot heavy, and they load up on plot to try to hook you because you want to learn more, to find the answers to the questions asked in the premiere. They’re not particularly focused on characters; none of the characters in The Whispers seem particularly interesting. They’re not focused on cinematography or dialogue; in general the scene-by-scene care and cinematography tends to be the most obvious separator between most network shows and most premium cable shows. The acting is competent; there’s no problem there in The Whispers, though some of these shows have major acting problems. So, yeah, you better want to know more about these aliens, but there’s just not really much else to recommend it.

Will I watch again? No. I made a resolution to show extreme reluctance before getting swept up in network serial supernatural shows that are almost guaranteed to disappoint, and The Whispers isn’t close to the most intriguing of the serial supernatural shows I’ve passed up a second episode of in the past couple of years.

 

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