The Whispers: Game Over Season Finale (recap and review)

LILY RABE as Claire Bennigan

With one deft move, The Whispers has turned into the Village of the Damned meets the prequel of The 4400 although one gets the impression that these missing are never going to be coming back, at least not in a recognizable form. Last week’s episode was a gut wrenching race which ultimately the grown-ups lost.  Minx was saved from extinction, just. Wes may have gotten his daughter back but the president’s girl, who is now Drill, got out that message and the family is coming for a visit…and a bit of takeaway.

At the beginning of the episode Henry and Minx bond and he apologizes for  being a bad friend. Minx asks to learn sign language so she can say Drill should pay for what he has done.  Drill, née Cassandra, is in a cage placed in the middle of a darkened room. The scene borders on surreal black comedy.

Drill, in the body of the president’s daughter and using her voice, tells Claire Bennigan that Cassandra was  dead, “The moment I took her. What you see here,” Drill says, “is nothing more than a suit. A husk. Does that make you feel bad Claire?” The thing that makes the scene both blackly comic and surreal is the lisp. Kayden Magnuson (the young actress playing Cassandra) is apparently missing a tooth in real life, ergo the lines become “more than a thuit, a huthk. Doeth that bother you…”

The lisp is not over the top, but just enough to make the scene suitably creepy yet comic, to a huge degree. During the same conversation, Drill then, using that same lisping delivery, provides a bit of unwanted feedback on the parenting skills, or lack thereof, of Earth’s parents.

Claire tells Drill, in response to his finger wag for not thanking him for all the “good things” he has done, i.e. Henry’s hearing, Sean back, et al., “You corrupted our children.” Drill’s reply is scathing:

If parents paid more attention to them, I wouldn’t have been able to. But they’re always alone, watching TV, playing video games. So who’s really corrupting the children, Claire?

Wes joins Claire. Drill tells the two adults that they would have won, if they had sacrificed. They were not willing to sacrifice the child at the building. Drill tells them that if they had killed the boy, during the blackout, he would have been unable to reach his friends and they would have won. Drill then tells Wes that his wife would also still be alive. Wes reacts badly.

“Don’t even mention her,” Wes says angrily. “Or what?” asks Drill, “you’ll kill me?”  Claire says that it would be  a shame for Drill to miss his friends after he had done all the work. Drill responds saying that he has not yet done all the work.

He berates Claire for not listening and Drill then reminds the two adults, “If you want to win the game, you must be willing to sacrifice.” With that pronouncement, Drill moves back to the seat in the cage and self-destructs, destroying Cassandra’s body.

*Sidenote* This was a brilliantly creepy scene and the glowing eyes really did pull one right back into that English village with all those blond-haired genius alien kids.

Wes is stunned and asks if Drill just killed himself. “Why would he do that,” Wes asks Claire. “He wouldn’t,” she replies, “Not without a reason.” Seconds after her line, the children, who had all been acting normally, go silent for a moment. Drill is now in all the kids.

Henry and Minx begin packing things up, communicating without talking. There is an issue  with the flashlight and after an unspoken command from Minx, she gets the device and puts it in her bag. Another child is seen spiking her mother’s glass of wine with pills. Another lad, Nicholas, has “locked” his mother in her room, he too has a bag and is leaving the house.

Jessup gets a visit from his significant other Tamara who is carrying his baby. She talks him into leaving his desk at the FBI and spending time with her.

*Sidenote* At first it seems like her odd behavior may be down to Drill controlling her unborn baby which is controlling her. Right after she talks Jessup into leaving with her, Claire goes to check on three kids by the side of the road and she is approached by a group of adults…since the grownups have men as well as women that theory was wrong, as is proved later.

At the Department of Defense “1982 Drill” is mentioned. Ron Harcourt tells Sean Bennigan about the signal received back in 1982 from the first Drill and Harcourt tells Sean that he got an answering signal when this Drill sent out his message. Henry comes in and tells his father there is a strange woman staring at the house. The woman and a group of other adults take Sean and Henry asks if they are ready.

Drill, it turns out, is using his friends from 1982. Claire and Sean are being held captive and their guard is the woman who approached Claire by the roadside. It transpires that “once a friend, always a friend.” Drill keeps his contacts. They may have been children before but Drill never leaves, lying dormant so to speak.

At the DoD Frommer learns that Drill’s friends are coming. Massive amounts of blue glowing rocks are heading to Earth. Harper has a adult friend of Drill’s taking her to where she needs to be. Jessup sees Harper and approaches the two asking about who the lady is. As he gets back in the car, Tamara sighs and tells Jessup she really wishes he had not seen Harper.

Wes comes looking for Claire and Sean, along with Minx. He finds the signal that Ron Harcourt was showing Bennigan and he finds Ron…dead. Wes grabs the laptop and leaves the house. Frommer is shown the approach of Drill’s family. There are so many, he confuses them with stars…at first.

Wes goes to his house looking for Minx and Henry when more of Drill’s grown up friends arrive to take him. Wes fights them off and as he is leaving the house Anderson calls Jessup. The FBI agent answers the phone and tells Wes he is in a trunk, “I think its mine, Jessup says. Henry shows up at a cordoned off area and a policeman asks the boy where his parents are. “Where they can’t cause any further trouble,” Henry smiles.

Anderson finds the Bennigan’s and Jessup. He also sees a marked map on the wall of the building. He takes a picture. He helps Jessup get away from Tamara. Sean gets loose and the woman who has been guarding them starts to kill Claire with a knitting needle. Wes shoots the woman before she can shove the thing in Claire’s neck.

Wes tells Sean and Claire that Henry is with the bureau. Suddenly the world is infused with blue light, Claire says, “They’re here.” They ask Henry where Minx is and he replies that she is “Where she is supposed to be.”

Frommer tells Anderson that they are sending a warhead into space to detonate a massive EMP to neutralize the rocks. Wes asks his boss to wait and Frommer does not. They send the warhead up and it is a “direct hit.” The blue light is extinguished but they have not won. Henry reveals that Drill’s family are still there.

Claire and Henry talks via sign language. He tells his mother that the message is a question, “Are you ready?” Sean then realizes that they misunderstood Drill’s mission, he was not after Earth, but Earth’s children. Bennigan then deciphers the marking on the map that Wes got a picture of.

Henry takes them to Minx and he then goes to his spot, each dot on the map was where a child needed to be. Wes heads toward Minx and Henry leaves his parents to be in place. Once he steps on his mark, blue lights come down and envelop each child. Wes rushes to Minx but as he reaches her she is “dissolved” and pulled up into the light.

Claire reaches Henry and pushes him out of the light and it is she who gets taken by Drill’s family as Sean and Henry watch. Wes has lost his wife and Minx. Sean has Henry back but Claire is gone. The three survivors stand in the dark forest as newscasters report thousands of children have been abducted all over the world.

The final line of dialogue is “Where are our children?”

ABC has produced a cracking show which has been “edge of the seat” viewing from the very first episode. After last week’s white knuckle ride, it seemed that the finale might just be anti-climatic. This was not the case as the show’s producers upped the ante and kept the pressure up till that last frame.

It is to be devoutly hoped that The Whispers comes back for a second season.  While it seems that the children might be gone, in their present form, forever, there is that question of what will happen now that Claire took Henry’s place? Not to mention that cryptic message from Drill, via Harper, about domination.

Grade ‘A’ performances from all the leads and the child actors in the show have made this a brilliant offering. Rabe, Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia, Kristen Connolly, David AndrewsKylie RogersAbby Ryder Fortson have all performed brilliantly in this series. Special kudos to Derek Webster as Special Agent Jessup Rollins. He and David Andrews both got their character’s arc down pat. Mad props for young Magnuson as Cassandra, even without the added FX to her voice in this finale, she sold it, lisp and all. 

The Whispers has been a treat, great storyline, excellent cinematography, top notch acting and a completely immersive experience. Great television. For those who missed the season finale, Hulu has the finale for viewing, along with other episodes.

The Whispers: The Archer (recap and review)

Claire questioning Drill's kids...
By the end of last week’s episode of The Whispers: What Lies Beneath, the big blue rock has been dug up at Mali and Wes was taking it away, now in The Archer, Lawrence touches the blue glowing part of the huge object and it shocks him, knocking to the floor. when Wes stands back up, his eyes are full of excitement, something has changed in the DOD agent.

Later, he refuses to share information with Claire and she decides to get information about Drill from another avenue; the children. She does not share her idea with her former lover. Frommer proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a petty and dangerous man. He learns of Claire’s plans and tells Wes, forcing him to interfere with her experiment. Frommer approaches Captain Bennigan and when he feels disrupted by the pilot warns him that the last person who showed him so “little respect” spent the rest of his days in “Gitmo.” The DOD head has slid into the lead as a character that viewers will love to hate with little effort.

Claire asks the parent of “Drill’s kids” to let them convene at the FBI building, where Agent Bennigan’s boss insisted the event take place, and all agree except for Wes’ wife Lena, who refuses to let Minx attend. Later in the show, Lena hears Minx talking to Drill and hears her daughter tell the entity that Claire does not like him so she does not like her. Lena is disturbed by this news.

As the kids turn up for their talk with Claire, she arrives to find that someone has put cameras, heat seeking equipment an recording devices in the room. Her boss asks who approved this and it is revealed to be Wes, who took action after Frommer’s talk. The children are uneasy, as are their parents and it takes all of Claire’s persuasive power to convince them to continue.

During their meeting, Wes, Claire and the other adults learn that Drill is not alone, that he misses his family and he is looking for food. When the alien entity learns what they are doing he visits the children and Bennigan, when he enters the room, via the electricity, his image is captured on the infrared displays.

The room where the kids and Claire encounter Drill, locks and is plunged into darkness. The image envelopes a little girl first and then Henry. Bennigan’s partner Jessup Rollins and some soldiers break into the room and after the lights come back on, the girl says to Claire that Drill has a message for her. “Drill says you will not win,” the child says in that eerily grown up and creepy delivery normally reserved for Lawrence’s daughter.

Lena ask Minx if Drill will play with her and after an experiment, Lena tells her daughter that she is a good sport even if she is an adult, and after a short guessing game, Drill says Mrs. Lawrence can play with him and Minx. The little girl is overjoyed and Lena is clearly terrified.

During tests on the blue boulder, where it is learned that the core consists of materials that cannot be identified, it begins to emit a frequency. At the exact same time, Sean Bennigan starts banging on the glass observation panel in his door. Wes goes to meet with Sean and brings Claire. The DOD agent takes the Bennigan’s to the rock.

On the way, Sean and Wes talk; discussing Minx and her connection with Drill which prompts the pilot to say that they share something. Once they reach the blue rock and Sean touches it, he falls to the floor after being enveloped with the blue glow from the object. He raises to his knees and reaching out to his wife says, “Claire.” He also looks at Wes and says he remembers…everything. Now the pilot knows just how much the two men have “shared.”

This episode of The Whispers has cranked the tension and the suspense up very well. The children, for the first time in the series, showed a collective, and individual, fear of their invisible friend. Drill become more threatening overall because of this. On the opposite side of this alien entity, it also gave Sean back his memory. It is obvious, however, that this was not done to help Bennigan, but to aid the rift between Wes and Sean. Something that will no doubt help Drill to divide and conquer in order to get back to his family.

The children in The Whispers are stepping up their game, as actors, and matching the adults in terms of performances. Lily Rabe, Derek Webster, Milo Ventimiglia, Barry Sloane, and Kristen Connelly are all convincing in their respective roles as are Kylie Rogers, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf and Abby Ryder Fortson. David Andrews as Frommer is still knocking it out of the park in terms of being the new “big bad” from within.

The Whispers is “must see” TV and airs Mondays on ABC. Don’t miss this science fiction and thriller masterpiece.

The Whispers: What Lies Beneath (recap/review)

The Whispers Still from What Lies Beneath

Last week’s episode of The Whispers; Meltdown ended with a nuclear disaster being swallowed up by a big blue light and Sean Bennigan reuniting with his little family. In What Lies Beneath Sean, Claire and Henry all test negative for radiation poisoning and the former pilot cannot remember anything about his past.

At the end of the episode intro of this week’s What Lies Beneath, a curly-haired boy is working on something with wires and electrical components; all of which are attached to a couple of sticks of C-4. Looking up at the camera the boy smiles and says, “Don’t worry Drill, it will be done soon.”

Under questioning from Wes, Sean does recall pain and having big rock on his back and knowing that if he does not move it he will die. He also relates later, to Claire, what many of the tattoos on his body mean; some are “disasters” where many people died and others; like the tree house, are more intimate in nature. Claire comes in to question her husband and as they talk she brings out pictures from their married life together. Sean still remembers nothing and does not know who she is.

Claire points out a small tattoo on Sean’s midriff, “As 33” and asks about its significance. Sean replies that he does not know that one. Later, it is revealed that this is the element for arsenic. Fearing that this means another disastrous event orchestrated by Drill, the FBI start searching for missing stockpiles of the chemical element and find nothing.

Before Claire talks to her husband the organization are desperate to learn what all this is about. The “containment” of the nuclear meltdown and who is behind it has them worried. Wes says that the only person who knows is Sean and that they must get him to talk. Lawrence gets the rock story out of Sean but he cannot get to the truth and Bennigan points out that it is clear the two men were not friends before and that “this isn’t over.”

Earlier, Wes insists that Lena and Minx have to leave since Drill picked their daughter because of him and his job. His wife refuses and for the first time since the series began it looks like the two may be mending their broken marriage. Claire’s partner shows up to collect the files from her on the case, she can no longer be an active part of the investigation and he turns out to be a bit less of a jerk than he first appeared. In the last episode he actually helped buy Claire some time, although as he says, that information is not in his report.

Lena learns that Minx is still working with Drill, Claire tells Wes that the entity is not a “who” but a “what.” Mrs. Lawrence freaks out when Minx goes missing at another child’s birthday party. Wes gets an idea from his secretary, Renee, that the solution is beneath the structure in the desert and Claire makes a connection about the As 33, it is not a reference to a chemical element, it is about a boy on Henry’s baseball team.

Wes goes to the site of the crash and forces them to dig up what is underneath, the site representative tells the DOD rep that whatever they find belongs to his country. Later, when the thing is discovered, the rep backtracks in a panic telling Lawrence that he can have it, “What ever it is, it’s yours. Just take it.” Oddly, when the digger blade strikes the blue glowing rock, Sean grabs his mid-section in pain and murmurs, “They’ve found it.”

By the end of the episode, Claire has tracked down “As 33,” and it is the boy seen earlier making the bomb. The child is Ethan, who is Renee’s son and he is is talking to Claire when his mother Renee comes in. Like the other children that Drill uses the boy explains that the entity does not like grownups. Back at the crash site, the blue rock causes power surges in the lights around the area and it seems that the whole thing is about energy as surmised earlier in the episode. Wes stands staring, transfixed, at the glowing object.

The Whispers is maintaining its stride and moving on at an excellent pace. Milo Ventimiglia, Barry Sloane and Lily Rabe are into their characters firmly and are carrying the plot forward with depth. Hats off to Kristen Connolly as Lena, she may not have a lot of screen time thus far but her portrayal of a mother torn between being potentially embarrassed by her child becoming “one of those kids” and her fear that Drill is still pulling the strings is a testament to her acting abilities.

Kudos to the writers of the series who continue to deliver a script that is taut, convincing and full of clever “spot on” dialogue for the characters. David Andrews, as Secretary Frommer is rapidly becoming the character you want to hate on general principles alone. Frommer has replaced Derek Webster’s Agent Rollins as resident douche admirably, despite his claims of legitimacy, he does not come across as a man to be trusted. The Whispers airs Monday’s on ABC and can be watched on Hulu as well.