Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sami on Childhood's End 1.2


Childhood's End is a three-part mini series airing between Dec 14-16 2015. This was part 2.

Guys, the show about lost me this episode. I love me some scifi, but I really really dislike when scifi gets itself into a philosophical debate with religion--there is literally no way to win, no way to prove either side, and it winds up being a bunch of jerks being jerks at each other.

That's what happened this ep.

There's another time-jump, and now it's several more years in the future. Milo is a scientist in a world where science, as they keep saying, is dying*, and he's not giving up inquiry. The newspaper people are gone, replaced by a groundskeeper who happens to have a wife about to give birth to a demon-baby named Jennifer of all things, and a rich guy who has been collecting up animal samples for an Overlord zoo that is of course not at all creepy, despite being totally creepy. The girl who was leading the youth-faith group before is now an adult councilor (also a dying breed, as they keep telling us), brought in because Jennifer-the-demon's big brother keeps having night terrors and screaming fits and tossing people across the room with telekinesis.

And here's where it loses me.

A kid telling stories of visiting a hell-like place and developing weird force-like powers is not enough of a concern for a family also having a demon baby that took them by surprise because the dad was sleeping on the couch the night it was conceived. He's a little like "um, what's going on?", but he's not really seeming scared or disturbed, and he's not doing research or looking for others with the same problem, or seeking advice other than sometimes talking to Jones and sometimes kicking her out of his house. And the mom is not concerned at all, and spends the whole middle of the episode being totally fine with two creepy demon kids.

Even after Jones's bent-up cross (that almost strangled her on it's own) seems to fend off the alien pod as if they really were the actual demons they look like they are.

Meanwhile, Ricky-the-farmer, who was fired from being the liaison, is dying of some terrible unknown disease, and the aliens aren't doing anything to save him, despite all he did for them. He's also still having encounters with his dead first wife, despite it being like almost twenty years since she first showed up, and that was already five years after she died and he was engaged to someone else. Ellie isn't having any of this, but she doesn't seem able to do much about it, and her whole story is hinged around her wanting kids like everyone else has, and them not being able to. Which brings back Karellan.

See, he made Ricky sterile specifically so they wouldn't have kids, because he knows what's coming next, and he didn't want his only human friend to suffer whatever that is...but he doesn't tell them what it is, nor did he ever warn them or do anything about it other than sterilizing the dude. Which is enough to convince Jones, who has made friends with Ellie, that he needs to die.

She shoots him, and she's totally not fried by a pod like the guy who shot Milo was, and he's not healed by one like Milo was; it takes Ricky giving Karellan his only cure to save him, and Jones jumps off a building because she's lost her faith--even though she has wrestled her life with the meaning of her mother doing the same thing, and it's dumb.

But back at the totally-not-creepy-why-do-you-keep-saying-that Animal Collection Place, a new room with a Ouija board device builds itself in minutes, and the mother of Jennifer-the-demon-baby uses it to communicate with someone by way of the most obvious tower of light ever. That allows Milo to decipher a letter he'd been missing and decode something vague that leads him to studying demonology texts**, and he figures out where the Overlord homeworld is.

That stuff was kind of cool, but there was still that icky mingling of science and religion with no clear stance on either.

This whole chapter felt...diverted. There were no free-the-earth things, and there had been no resolution to that story in Part 1. There was less than no indication of what any of this demon-baby stuff was. Karellan seemed to be playing both sides of the things happening, but neither side was clear enough to tell what was meant to be happening, and he wasn't around enough to make it clear that he even had a plan.

And...Okay, you know when all the way through Lost, we were told that it wasn't supernatural, no matter what it looked like, that there was a scientific explanation, and then at the end it actually WAS supernatural and there was no science? It's feeling like that. It's like it was set up like an alien invasion, when really it was Rosemary's Baby, and no matter how cool it looked, it's a disappointment because that's not the story they said they were telling.

There's still a third part, and so there's two more hours to bring it back around to where the story makes sense--where people are acting like people and not prop devices, where the aliens are actually aliens and not arguments with god given faces, and where there's a point to this wandering middle. I'm hoping it comes back. I really liked part one, and I didn't like part two, like, almost at all. I want to like part three--that's the one that will decide whether the whole six hours were worth it, so it's got to be good!

What did you guys think of it? Am I missing something? Share in the comments, or come talk to us on Twitter!


*I don't like that idea. I don't believe that just because we met an advanced species, all the scientists in the world will just go "whelp, I guess I'm unneeded now" and go become gardeners or something, and never even try to catch up. The aliens will know stuff they don't, so the logical and scientific thing to do would be to fill in the gaps, answer the questions you've been chasing, and then pick up where the aliens left off and keep going. The show is unclean about whether that's what happened or whether the Overlords actively shut down the whole process, but it's acting like it's the first one despite one half-assed mention of the second, and it's dumb. We have a scientist main character; SHOW science being systematically shut down the way you showed war and inequality being shut down!
**Not even looked at scientifically. Ugh,
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