“Can someone disappear when they’re already gone?”
Lia Haddock, intrepid reporter and main character of Limetown (played by Jessica Biel), asks this question in a sound byte that plays over her daily routine. She’s talking about her uncle Emile (Stanley Tucci) who vanished along with everyone else who lived in the eponymous town’s city limits, but for a moment there, we think she’s talking about herself. Lia’s life looks empty and feels emotionally strained, like there is a deep unrest within her that will never be calmed because she doesn’t want it to be.
We’re told she never got over the disappearance of Emile, that he’s her Samantha Mulder. We believe the show — to a point. But it seems as though Lia is more disenchanted with the modern-day world than anything else, and that the childhood memories of her mysterious (and quite possibly evil) uncle are just a mental safety blanket that her confused and anxious mind takes refuge in.
“If this is not your personal journey, then it is purely a historical document.”
Lia’s boss Gina Puree (played by Sherri Saum) tells her this about the audio news story she’s putting together about the Limetown incident — which is four months overdue. So Liz frames the peculiar and well-covered up Limetown disappearances through the story of her loss to confront it head-on, but even then it feels like that’s barely scratching the surface of a much larger issue that Lia would rather cling to than heal.
What her deal is, I can’t say. But for the sake of Limetown, which is an impressive attempt at a mindfuck show for general audiences, I’m going to play along with the “missing uncle” motivation — for now, at least.
The first two episodes of Limetown are an intriguing setup for a limited series, one that promises that everything has an answer and no stone will be left unturned in Lia’s search for her peace of mind and the hundreds of people that went missing along with it.
Yet it also hints at a dark character study for someone that has isolated themselves from reality, who obsesses over spilt milk and chooses to stay within the realm of generalized anxiety.
Translating an audio drama into a visual medium sounds tedious, but the producers of Limetown don’t approach it that way. The production crew takes all of the mental pictures painted by the dialogue and transforms them into visual poetry that creates an atmosphere you can feel for hours afterward.
In that sense, yes, Limetown is a series very much like The X-Files — full of shadowy faces. murky intentions, and muddled memories.
But will this show be more like The Leftovers and have its grand mysteries be cracked mirrors for what’s going on inside its protagonist(s)?
Either way, Limetown seems prepped to be a masterclass in exposition delivery.
By the way: I haven’t listened to the podcast by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, so I’m viewing Limetown from a so-called “fresh perspective.” So, if you feel like commenting on this and any further reviews, no spoilers, please.
Limetown premieres on Facebook on October 16.