This The Passage review contains spoilers.
The Passage Episode 8
A lot of people are about to die on The Passage as the eighth episode lets loose on its viral vampire threat before next week’s two-hour season finale. Directed by indie horror filmmaker Ti West (The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil), “You Are Not That Girl Anymore” pulls together the emotional subplots through mindscapes and flashbacks while remaining significantly creepy.
The reveal that new guy Martinez is not so much a security expert from the Department of Defense, but instead a viral inside Guilder’s mind was a surprise, but not a total shock. At the very least, it was obvious that Guilder was a character set up to be eaten or become a pawn. But most of the humans at Project NOAH are like lambs being led to the slaughter, getting drunk as apocalypse closes in. That is, except for Wolgast, Richard, Sykes, Lila, and presumably Jonas, who is missing this week.
Seeing Amy chained to her bed and sent to 4B is more disturbing than her mindscape scenes with Fanning, and that’s the point. The human life she can leave behind is full of pain, while Fanning’s world is warm, inviting, full of swimming pools, and bicycles – until the hunger sets in (and, like his newspaper headline read, “Man Bites Man”).
After all the time we’ve spent with Amy under the care of Brad, receiving guidance from Carter and temptation from Fanning, it clicks to have her ultimately on her own, choosing which path she wants to follow. As Shauna told Richards in the flashback, “You always have a choice,” and so did Amy.
While we were led to believe she was giving into Fanning’s lure, she breaks down in that tunnel like a kid might when they feel the weight of the world. And she should, in this case. But Amy pulls it together and emerges stronger, choosing not death or Fanning, but life as her own thing.
The cinematic dialogue montage where a character remembers things others have told them – typically used to reveal a twist or to forge a new resolve in the one remembering – doesn’t always work, but it does here. As important as Amy’s visions of her mother were last week, it’s Brad Wolgast’s love that gives her the power to choose. And I liked her callback to, “What are we not going to do? Panic.”
Bummer about her tooth, though.
While we spent time with Wolgast the Agent, much of the episode was about Brad the Dad sitting bedside, again, from a dying child. Considering the time we’ve spent with Amy and Wolgast, it is hard watching him tell the girl it is okay to let go instead of giving into the transformation. This man has had to have this conversation too many times.
Fanning says he is in mourning for Elizabeth, but he isn’t going soft. It was interesting to see him acknowledge that the curse of being a viral is to feel too much. I enjoyed the confrontation between him and Carter, discussing the order of the Twelve and “the universe as I have ordered it.” Yet Carter doesn’t seem like much of a match for Fanning, no matter how powerful he appears. What will he do now that he is free and clearly quite hungry?
The Passage really messed with time this week between the Amy/Fanning mindscapes, Carter/Fanning in the present and the flashbacks, and the interactions between Clark Richards and Shauna Babcock. The virals have screwed with time so much that it’s difficult to know what’s real or not (is that kiss in the elevator happening in the physical world or in Richards’ mind?).
But Babcock was correct that Richards always had a choice. Maybe he shouldn’t have chosen to take part in NOAH or should have run away with her. His choice now to stop the virals, even if it means killing what Babcock has become, is Clark’s long-delayed choice. More than simply following the mission, he is taking a stand despite the fact he cared about the Vegas girl with the crappy life.
Brianne Howey continues to be a compelling presence and is so disarming that it is difficult to know when Babcock is being sincere or not. I think she follows her own path and can both truly care about Richards but also willingly manipulate him. Is she playing him or trying to protect him when she offers “safe passage?” Let’s not forget how much hatred she has for Sykes and that it’s still a driving force for her.
Speaking of Sykes, I don’t think she’ll make it out alive next week. In fact, I expect a high body count by the finale’s end. The shot of the 4B cell doors opening, with the virals stepping out, was a classic “the monster is loose” moment. All the humans on the floors above are either a boozy buffet for the vamps or potential new recruits. Things are going to get out of hand fast.
Finally, while this wasn’t the bloodiest episode, kudos to Ti West and actor Jason Fuchs for making me squirm during the scene of Grey cutting into his wrists to free himself from those restraints. The scene was incredibly uncomfortable, made more so by the look on the character’s face and the tears in his eyes. It was convincing that he didn’t want to be a slave to Fanning, but had no choice. Overall, the show has had little use for Grey and using a developmentally challenged person as Fanning’s pawn is cheap. But this particular scene worked well.
By the way, which side of those barriers is Lila on?