This The Passage review contains spoilers.
The Passage Episode 7
No, you’re crying. That’s the takeaway after an action-lite, character-driven seventh episode of The Passage that packs an emotional punch, and made us all weepy in a great hour of genre television.
This is a show about viral vampires, but “You Are Like The Sun” reminds the viewer that guilt and grief can also act like a disease that can eat us up on the inside, and has the potential to transform us into monsters. And the choice to take a breath and tell this heavy, emotional story late in the first season is a bold one that pays off.
Let’s talk some of the revelations. Brad and Lila Wolgast’s daughter Eva was shot in a botched liquor store robbery gone wrong. As if that’s not big enough news — after it was teased she had an illness — Brad falls into a depression, his marriage crumbles, and he follows through on a revenge plot to kill the shooter. It came as no surprise that Eva’s death would put him on a course straight to Project NOAH, but I was legitimately shocked he pulled that trigger.
And it landed to watch Brad go from a loving soccer dad, having a pretty balanced life, to falling apart. It is easy to see why he’d detach, and take a job recruiting Death Row inmates for NOAH, and it clicks all the more why Amy broke through to him. But the episode also showed how selfish Brad had been, taking on all the guilt, but not allowing Lila to process her own regretful “What Ifs?”
It has taken me a while to warm to Lila, but Emmanuelle Chriqui won me over this week. Lila is more emotionally equipped to deal with adversity, while Brad (who is still a softy) brings the physical strength. The chemistry between Chriqui and Mark-Paul Gosselaar finally clicked, and it’s easier to see why their characters may be a couple. And you have to appreciate her line, “Also, vampires are real, so that’s cool.”
(So long, Lila’s fiancé, wherever you are.)
Not enough praise can be heaped on Saniyya Sidney for her performance as Amy. She is a powerhouse who consistently delivers with nuance, and emotional complexity. Amy has a wild spectrum this week as she grapples with the transformation she’s facing (“I’m afraid I’m a monster”) while the guilt that has been devouring her finally breaks loose. Any person would hate themselves if their final words to a loved one was “I hate you,” and Amy takes on the blame of her mother’s relapse. This was honest, and hard to watch the girl face it.
The end scene as Amy encounters her mother in the mindscape, and is allowed a proper goodbye is heartbreaking. I don’t know how one walks away from that without something in their eyes.
It was a good choice for the show, and Amy, to reject Carter’s intense tough love approach in favor of Amy’s mom’s message of love. As much as I enjoy the Amy/Carter scenes, and appreciate what he’s trying to do, he is indeed acting like a bully. And I am quite happy that she could remember her mother as a loving person, and not someone defined by addiction (foreshadowing how Amy herself will not be defined as a viral?).
While it’s not exactly subtle, it was impactful for Amy’s mom to hand her the matches, and tell her she will light the way – and act as a bright sun to burn Fanning’s butt. This is kid is weaponized now, and can literally open the door to take on Fanning.
I am also beginning to appreciate Clark Richards. Not simply because he has chosen the side of the angels, but he is finally making sense as a guy driven entirely by his mission. He buries his emotions so deep, and has finally cracked open. The part he played in enabling Brad to kill Eva’s shooter, and his subsequent recruitment of his friend into NOAH (everyone needs a mission) gnaws at him. I like that he’s trying to be human, and is awkward at it. The beat of him giving Amy potato chips as an act of kindness is both honest, and incredibly funny because of course that’s what Richards thinks she’d want.
At least Richards knows his horror movies and finally calls out the obvious Overlook Hotel comparison. Maybe that’s why Babcock likes him. Speaking of Shauna, she gets one scene tonight, where she shares that she’s having actual feelings for Clark. That’s bad news, even if it is a human hangover. It is also bad news for Fanning that Babcock is picking up on his sentimental side. Human emotion makes him weak, and I wonder if we’re seeing the seeds of mutiny already being sewn when she points out that the virals are losing the upper hand.
Whatever is left of the human Tim Fanning may be officially expunged now that Elizabeth has chosen Jonas, and death, over la vida vampire. I am guessing that came as a surprise to him. So let’s expect even more wrath from Timmy boy.
Even though we haven’t spent much time with Elizabeth, played by Jennifer Ferrin, I found myself rooting for her and Jonas. Ferrin and Henry Ian Cusick are believable as an adult couple facing tragedy. The frequent reminiscing about their past together might otherwise feel forced, but considering Elizabeth has been “gone” for so long — and is about to die, on her own terms – it worked. Sykes’ teary-eyed exit from Elizabeth’s room was a nice touch, as the realization of what she hath wrought continues to settle in.
This episode did not let up with the gut punches, did it?
Finally, it’s worth mentioning Guilder, and his weird mustache. I am enjoying how James Le Gros plays him as almost meek. Guilder is a mid-level manager, a bureaucrat in drab colors, who is smart, but not as clever as he thinks. The guy is trying to save his job, and he’s not acting blatantly evil (well, aside from ordering hitjobs on Brad and Lila), but he’s dangerous. He is an interesting foil because of course he’s bringing about bad things. After his charm seemed to be working on Amy last week, it was satisfying when she called out his lame game, and said, “Screw you, and your weird mustache.”
Although, what’s his angle related to Jonas Lear? Why allow him to keep Elizabeth in her room, and continue to grant him security access while revoking it from Sykes? Is this a plot hole or does he and new guy Martinez have plans for Dr. Lear?
Overall, this was a great episode of The Passage as we head towards the end of the season. It wasn’t the bloodiest, fastest, or most action-packed installment, but it clicked in all the right ways. And made me care more about the stakes moving forward.