Between episode 3 review: Crossing Lines

In Between's third episode, those trapped in Pretty Lake are attacked by tigers, spiders and dialogue that only George Lucas could trump...

This review contains spoilers. 

1.3 Crossing Lines

Before I get into the third instalment of Between, I want to correct something I said last time. I’d said that the conversation between Chuck and Gord was about football, when it was about ice hockey. A better look at the ‘Dukes’ logo on Chuck’s jacket revealed my mistake, sorry.

I’ve just got to the end of Crossing Lines, and I’m feeling distinctly upbeat that this show is now half over. That said, the past 42 minutes were particularly dire in terms of entertainment, as Between moved effortlessly between a set of characters without generating the smallest morsel of viewer connection between them. It’s hard to imagine a less likeable collection of self-obsessed characters.

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But before we get to that, having found some reaction to child deaths in the previous story, the writers decide to throw in yet another one to open the proceedings.

The whole tiger-on-the-loose subplot in this story reminds me in so many ways of the classic Kim vs. the Cougar from 24. Except, in this instance, the tiger has an entire shed of cows to munch on, but instead insists for plot reasons to irrationally stalk a scrawny 12 year old girl.

There was so much wrong with this sequence that I won’t even go into it, but it had zero tension from the outset and less by the end.

Once the tiger’s target child had been eaten, the show jumps to Wiley and Adam, who are developing some sort of small club based on manic personalities. Their first conversation in episode one had some spark and zip about it, but this one seemed to be like an old gramophone record being played at the wrong, slow speed.

What Jesse Carere thinks he’s doing with his Adam character I’m not sure, but he’s mumbling so much that he’s making Brando seem coherent. Half the time I couldn’t work out what he was saying or if it was significant. I suspect it wasn’t.

As a distraction to that, Jennette McCurdy had inadvisably used the wrong size false eyelashes, which she then used all the way through the episode. They look like spiders attacking her face, which, given the entirely self-centric nature of her character, seemed only appropriate.

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After a single kiss, Adam teams up with Wiley, and they hatch a plan to escape by cutting a hole in the fence that no longer seems patrolled. I’m impressed with the (CGI) fence, because if Pretty Lake’s quarantine zone is 10 miles across, then the fence would be more than 31 miles long (according to Pi). Putting up one that long in just a few weeks would be a major exercise involving thousands of people and tons of equipment. And, even more to seed the area beyond it with antipersonnel mines as they soon discover.

The person who wrote this scene obviously has never seen an antipersonnel mine go bang because at the range they detonated one they’d both be quite well perforated. But I didn’t much notice that because I was still in awe of how bad the continuity was with the cutting of the fence. In case you didn’t notice – the hole was a completely different size and shape from the one they made when they went to go through it.

Elsewhere in illogical decision news, Adam is supposedly a genius, but deciced the best place to cut the wire was in the middle, giving him a nice spike to climb over and under. That, combined with his useless method for checking if a fence is electrified, makes him a frinkin idiot in my book.

The rest of the running time was taken up with the tedious-in-episode-one subplot about how the Lotts hating anyone who isn’t rich, but by accident disliking Ronny who probably deserves it.

There isn’t much to enjoy in any of this, because Chuck Lotts isn’t remotely admirable, and he’s got a two-timing girlfriend and a useless entourage full of folk who can’t correctly carry a gun. And, on the other side, we’ve got drug dealing petty criminal Ronny, a person so stupid that he actually went back into Pretty Lake when it was quarantined, and Pat who does nothing other than stick up for his brother irrespective of what he does. I’m not rooting for either side, and would be quite happy if they wiped each other out in episode 4.

I’m not sure where Justin Kelly (Chuck) learned to act, but tilting his head at an extreme angle doesn’t make him seem more serious, just odd.

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But, what’s really begging to ranker with me is that we’re told that Adam is a genius, but he seems oblivious to the BS they’re been fed from the outside. Surely, if this was an epidemic, they’d had a hazmat medical team in the town examining those who haven’t died? The idea that something is in the air is laughable, given that people didn’t die in an order that impacted those with an outdoor lifestyle, and the wind would have dispersed it outside the exclusion zone within hours.

They’re all in this town to die for whatever government conspiracy BS reason the writers come up with in episode 6. In the meantime, the viewers will be the ones dying, mostly to get to the end of this dismal lesson in how not to make compelling TV.

Read Mark’s review of the previous episode, Who’s The Boss, here.