Aftermath: Whispers of Immortality – String Theory (Review)

 Aftermath - Season 1

While the final episode of Aftermath ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, the storyline follows a logical conclusion. It is hidden amongst the weird and wonderful characters that the players meet up with, but it is a solid line of reasoning nonetheless.

It is all about string theory.

The season has been full of mythical creatures from other cultures along with scientific anomalies, like wormholes and time differences, that have also affected events and people in this verse.

Initially it seemed that the series was all about the “End of Days” aka the apocalypse.  However, with the skin changers, flying demons and man eating plants the world was not just ending but changing to include “boogeymen” from every ethnicity on earth.

In “Whispers of Immortality” Moondog  gives us a bit of backstory. Like the prophets of old, the man headed out into the desert.(On a sidenote: Kudos to Ferreira for being a hip physicist version of Wolfman Jack. The man rocks it with that voice and his character’s attitude.)

After 12 years in the Mojave, Bob’s wife declares him dead and the DJ/prophet knows a lot about string theories and how they are affecting the world.

In essence, the final answer is that gravity waves are forcing all the dimensions into one path. “The one is many and many are the one” is not just a mantra by a few people  it is the key to what is happening to Earth.

These waves have forced all 11 dimensions to occupy the same timeline. Ergo, it seems, that dimensions are not just variations on one time, one culture, but many. (See what we did there?)

We also learn that the bullet given to Karen by the dead woman in her vision, that later turned into a rock, is a key to the Delphi. (Nice touch with the “Delphi Cafe” being the oracle’s hangout. The crowning glory was the pinball machine being the actual “fortune teller” and not the waitress.)

The keypunch computer cards are finally put to use. When the cards are finally put through the reader, a machine that they imply was last used in 1979 but the keypunch system was still being used in the very early ’80’s, they get their answer.

For those who are not overly religious or not at all, the fragmented message is one of hope. “The End of the World Is Not the End of the World.” It takes the trio a little time to work out this new bit of evidence.

Joshua, the Adept, is the one who makes the connection. He tells Dana and Moondog that in each culture there is a tale of the world ending but, in essence, it does so for a new beginning. In other words, each culture has their version of a “Noah” scenario.

The finale of Aftermath kept up the pressure. Matt is copied by a shape shifter, they are getting smarter it seems, and Dana steps right out of her comfort zone to save her dad and the card reading machine.

When Junkman gets the drop on Moondog and Josh, while a group of bystanders turn the scene into a cacophony amid all this madness, Dana approaches Junkman from behind and shoots him in the arse.

Moondog asks why she shot the man in the nether region and she responds that it is not lethal but is still debilitating. Dana is right, her lack of a deadly response takes the homicidal Junkman out of commission.

Karen learns from the oracle that “she is the price for what she wants.” In essence, the mother must sacrifice herself to save her family and kids.

(One bone of contention here: This feels all too much like the “death is your gift” plot device from Buffy the Vampire Slayer season five. The meaning is exactly the same, in the Joss Whedon season finale that year, Buffy Summers must die to save the world and Dawn. In this episode, Karen must sacrifice herself to save the family and the world.)

On top of  string theory being the answer to all the phenomena that has been hammering the planet and the people on it, those wormholes are also part of the solution.  Using the tesla tower to attract the holes above the station allows those giant moon rocks to be sucked out of the air before destroying the world in that area.

Of course the downside is that Karen, after repairing the tower’s power supply, is also sucked up into the giant wormhole above her. Brianna swears that they will find their mum but…

Sure, the canary lady’s husband was sucked up in Portland and returned to her here, but if this proves to be what Brianna is thinking there is one small, or very large problem.

If Karen is spat out someplace else  those huge earth destroying moon rocks will also be ejected.  Mrs. Copeland’s chances of landing safely and alive are, pretty much, non-existent.

Uh oh.

Still, as finale’s go, Aftermath gave the viewers one that pretty much tied up all the plot threads. It also allowed each player to reach some sort of definitive arc.

Performance wise Anne Heche killed it. Mad props to Ferreira, Stone, Hickson, Meaden and Tupper are also in order.  Each actor gave a performance that was truthful and on point.

Whether or not Aftermath comes back for another season is still up in the air. Their viewing figures are not bad for SyFy and could well allow the network to greenlight a second season where finding Karen could be the main plot point.

Aftermath  started out with a slow measured method to its madness. This did not detract from the show’s all encompassing tale of a family striving to survive the apocalypse.

It gave viewers a strong matriarchal character, in Karen, and allowed the other female members of the family to evolve into strong characters as well.  The men, both Levi and Josh, represented male figures who were not afraid to acknowledge that women should be seen as powerful equals in this new  world.

Aftermath “Whispers of Immortality” was an excellent end to this fascinating look at the end of the world.

Cast:

Guest starring Kaaren de Zilva as the waitress and C. Ernst Harth as Junkman.

Aftermath: Now That We Talk of Dying – RV Man (Recap/Review)

 Aftermath - Season 1

Aftermath shifts gears somewhat in “Now That We Talk of Dying.” The storyline boils down to “RV Man” meets Bob Black with some other peripheral strangeness taking place.  As moon rocks strike the earth, with more on the way, the Copelands struggle to pinpoint the radio transmissions from Moondog.

Matt and Sarah, the girl he saved in the previous episode, continue to get closer, although she initially resists his efforts to turn them into a couple. Later she will save Josh yet again, it was Sarah’s Tetra that saved Copeland earlier when he had the fever, but the mantle of hero does not rest easily on the girl’s shoulders.

Karen, Josh and their girls meet a young man named Bennett who believes he is in 1972; Vietnam. After the A1C shoots an RPG at the family, they convince him that they are not dangerous. Brianna takes a picture of the 20 year old soldier on her smartphone. Later, this photograph will stop the older Bennett from shooting them again.

Time, explains Dana, is shifting around. She noticed it earlier when she and Martin were together. She mentioned then that time was different, it was slower. Shortly after, it sped up and now time has changed again.

Two government men are looking for Moondog. The DJ seems to know what is happening and they want to stop him and take over his communications tower.

They speak to the woman whose husband disappeared in Seattle but returned.  She talks about Josh, RV Man, and Dr. Simmons. She also repeats the mantra:

“The one is many, but the many are one.”

The two men recognise this from Moondog’s transmissions and they head off to find the doctor, RV Man and the DJ.  Dana and Josh actually have an idea of what is happening with the time/space issues. Later when the Copelands meet the two government men, Jones and his colleague have killed everyone they have questioned except the woman with the dead canary.

In this episode time is very fluid. Bennett appears three times, and is a different age in each one.  He shows up in an electrical store as security and the Copelands explain that they saw him when he was 20.

After this interaction, the two government men meet Bennett as an older man and they shoot him.

The leader of the two; Jones, has lost his family and believes that Moondog is causing all the problems. He also believes that the man is not from a different time at all.  Later it will appear that Black can seemingly move between times at will.

Moondog broadcasts from a Tesla tower and Josh follows the signal when he hears that Black wants to meet up with an “Adept.” This is what Josh’s dead father called him when he was suffering from the plague.

It appears that Josh may well be able to influence the events of “the end of days” with a little help from Moondog.

Aftermath this week separates the Copelands when Josh is taken by Jones and his colleague to find Moondog. At the Tesla tower the family meet a man who claims to be Black. He is taken with Josh to find the real DJ and he dies when Jones shoots him.

Oddly, Moondog is in an RV just like Josh’s. The vehicle is empty when one of the government men search it. Later Black exits the RV and saves Josh’s life when Jones goes to shoot Copeland.

After Brianna, Matt and Dana are disarmed by the agents, Sarah proves to be adept at the bow and arrow. She takes the bow left by the faux Bob Black and joins Karen and Matt as they chase after the two government men.

Apart from one close call with a skinwalker, Dana is possessed by one until Brianna saves her, this episode leaves the myths of Revelations behind and focuses on the space/time aspect of the world’s end.

The family wind up together for a moment but are separated once more when Sarah runs off. Matt goes after her and Brianna joins her brother. Karen, Josh and Dana stay with Bob Black after he saves Josh’s life.

Aftermath - Season 1
Louis Ferreira as Bob “Moondog” Black

By the end of the episode, the family are separated again and Josh joins Moondog in the RV.

Director Leslie Hope (she also played Dr. Gloria Douglas in the series) keeps the action zipping along while focusing on the things that make this episode important. There are still many questions that need to be answered but it seems that at long last we will learn what an “Adept” is and what it can do.

Ferreira makes a great entrance and this “Wolfman Jack” soundalike, sans the “heavy dudes and chickies” patter is spot on as the “cool” time-savvy DJ.

This penultimate episode seems set to turn everything on its head and it will be interesting to see if the family get back together before the earth is bombarded by more moon rocks.

Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in and see what the Copelands do next.

Cast:

Guest starring Victor Zinck Jr. as Larry Bennett and Aaron Craven as Jones. 

Aftermath: Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones – Josh (Review)

 Aftermath - Season 1

After Josh learning that he is an “Adept” “Where the Dead Men Lost Their Bones” shows that whatever else he might be, Joshua knows something important.  Aftermath manages to up the stakes quite a lot in this episode. The disquieting nature of Josh’s ailment, fighting off the effects of the fever, and that huge vortex in the sky manage to increase the goosebump quotient quite a lot.

Initially, it seems that Josh’s visions are specific to his experiences and the recent events that have affected his family. The re-appearance of Audrene, the TV reporter last seen in Seattle, adds another interesting aspect of the end of days.

The woman who traveled to the town the Copeland’s are now in is captured and inspected by the local “Doc.” He decides she is not a threat, no signs of the plague, and Audrene is released.  The reporter knows something. “Many are the one, ” she says.

Josh has been murmuring “The one is many,” something that was written on the wall of the hospital in episode 10.  This mantra is half of the equation and later when the two meet up, Audrene is convinced that Joshua knows “what all this means.”

This episode of Aftermath is unsettling. The family splitting up, twice (the second time when Brianna leaves Dana alone with their father, as well as the very nature of the town keeps the viewer on edge throughout.  The two men who snatch up newcomers for the town’s veterinarian to inspect for fever are disquieting as is the news that “fever heads” are executed.

Brianna runs into trouble when she breaks off on her own. A group of teens jump her, take her gun and make her their prisoner. She tricks the trio into taking her back to the house where Josh is meant to be. Brianna tells the leader; Maize, that there are drugs back at the house.

Levi, finds a teen hanging by her neck, the girl tried to commit suicide after having to shoot a friend. Sarah is connected to the small group who have taken Brianna prisoner.   The two converge at the house when Levi returns with Sarah who has Tetra.

There is a brief standoff that ends when Karen returns.  There is almost a repeat of the wholesale slaughter of the camp but Dana stops her mother from killing the trio of street kids.

Josh is rescued from execution by Audrene. She recognizes the mantra that Copeland is repeated over and over. Later she will be sucked back into the vortex as Karen holds her husband down.

The small amount of Tetra starts Josh on the road to recovery. The family listen to Bob “Moondog” Black and he mentions “the one is many” and Josh realizes that the D.J. seems to know something.

Meanwhile, the debris from the moon is drifting to the earth and will soon be caught up in the planet’s gravity. Moondog transmits that the after effects of the explosion will reach the earth in two days time.

So far this series has managed to keep things interesting. The inclusion of mythological creatures and deities from other cultures has broadened the scope of “the end of days.”

The focus of each episode has been more “within” than “without” and this episode of Aftermath has zeroed in on some of the more peripheral events. The “destruction” of Seattle, or rather, the de-population of the city’s inhabitants, now has more significance than just the news segment where Audrene freaks out before the signal is lost.

It will be very interesting to learn just what Moondog knows.  There are two episodes left of the series with next week’s episode being the penultimate one of the season.

The vortex, which seems to be consuming and regurgitating people somewhat randomly, is impressively scary.  Clearly this is not part of the “rapture” as one character believed in this episode, if it were, no one would be returned.

Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in and see what befalls the Copeland family next.

Cast:

Guest starring Crystal Balint as Audrene, Sarah Dugdale as Sarah, Murry Peeters as Maize, Milo Shandel as Doc and the voice of Louis Ferreira as Bob “Moondog” Black.

Aftermath: Episode 9 and 10 – Hard Truths and Adepts (Review)

 Aftermath - Season 1

It was all too tempting to label episode 9 “The Barbarous King” as “Trouble in Paradise” just for the locale of this segment.  While there were some excellent revelations and a reluctant family reunion of sorts, this week in Aftermath we learned more about Karen’s lineage. There was also some character evolution in the family Copeland.

The survivors run into a  road block where a grizzled ex-biker is demanding a toll from the family to cross through his territory. To his followers, the biker is known as Ewan. To Karen he is dad.  The capable woman introduces her kids to the bandana wearing chieftain, “Kids, meet your grandpa.”

There is no love lost between father and daughter and the old renegade is in the “tetra” (or medicine) manufacture business.  He swears that he has gone “legit” but Karen is not buying it.

Josh stumbles onto the truth of the matter, Ewan is making substandard medication and people are dying.  He caught snooping and, after being bopped over the head with a shovel, is given peyote and death sentence.

As usual, the villains in this apocalyptic world underestimate Josh. Even as he trips out on the hallucinogen, Copeland kills his executioner easily.  The male head of the family is becoming quiet adept at dealing out death.

He learns from his dead father that adept is exactly what he is.  Josh’s young father reveals that he and his family are all “Adepts.” They will, the vision says, survive because of this “trait.”

Meanwhile Brianna, Dana and Levi go on a job with Ewan’s right hand “Rafaela” and Raf.  they go to a bar for a delivery of ethanol and after a few drinks, Dana drops some hard truths on her sister. She finds out that the Brianna gave her non-alchololic drinks and rips her sister a strip for lying to her.

After their argument, Brianna leaves and is stopped by a skin walker. The woman steals the truck and returns to the bar looking like Brianna.  Levi is discovering that he has an unpleasant side to his personality.

The eldest sibling takes after his Grandpa Ewan and the locals at the bar fear him.  Back at the camp, as Josh is being set up for the kill, Karen goes with her dad to check on the kids.

As they arrive, the real Brianna returns and fights with the skin walker. Karen aims at the two figures fight on the floor and it is Dana who kills the imposter. The kid who hates guns just used one to save her sister.

Episode nine revealed some hard truths about the Copeland clan. A lot of what makes Karen tick is revealed in this episode. She obviously takes after her father in the “tough” department but did not inherit his nefarious streak.

At the end of the episode, as Josh is coming down off his trip, he begins coughing and Karen sees that he may have blood coming from his mouth. This is a symptom of the “fever” and it looks like Grandpa’s offer of the Tetra was not an idle offering.

Aftermath - Season 1

Episode 10 of Aftermath “Hieronymo’s Mad Againe”sees a family of four, bar one, dead and “stretched” and Josh is still coughing out blood. Karen starts searching for Tetra in earnest while her husband’s condition worsens.

Josh is hearing voices and interacting with people who are not there. Dana finds a Tetra box and the family head off to search for the drug.  First, however, Karen takes Josh’s gun and Brianna reminisces with Matt about video games.

As the women in the family search the pharmacy for Tetra, Josh is handcuffed in the RV and he tries to communicate with Matt. He tries to give his son some reassurance but his speech is riddled with nonsensical words and phrases.

In the hospital pharmacy, the women are not alone.

An man infected with the plague, aka fever,  jumps out to attack the three Copeland women,  but another woman (Willes) shoots the man dead. She asks the trio for help with the wheelchair patients on the upper floor.

The women are asked to leave their weapons in the lobby as the patients are frightened of guns. Partway up the staircase, Brianna and Dana are sent to collect the  Tetra while Karen and the woman proceed further up the stairs.

Josh’s symptoms get worse. Oddly enough, he begins to have intuitive flashes, matching the times of death (of the three corpses found at the start of the episode) and the destruction of Seattle. As he verbal skills deteriorate further, Matt takes his dad for a drive.

The wheelchair  bound patients are a ploy. Karen discovers that the elevator works just before the woman knocks her out cold.  When Karen wakes up she learns that the “patients” are dead, and have been stuffed, and that both her girls have been locked in on the second floor.

Dana and Brianna try to break out as Josh’s condition worsens. Karen, who has been drugged, is on the roof with the woman and as they watch, the moon is hit by a number of asteroids.

The woman starts coughing blood and as the moon sends debris into space, the fever infected woman tells Karen, “I don’t know how I feel about that.” She is referring to the blood and not the parts of the moon which will obviously start raining down on earth.

Josh has another vision, “The One is Many” has been written on the wall by the missing boy.  Brianna and Dana get out of the second floor trap that the woman set and Karen is given a paralyzing agent.  She learns that Ewan, her father, killed the woman’s family and stole supplies from the hospital.

The trio of Copeland women manage to kill the woman and escape with antibiotics but there is no Tetra.  Josh is still having  visions and Dana tell the family that the debris from the moon will hit in about two days.

This episode of Aftermath has been the most macabre of the season. With “Kathryn” aka “the Woman” wearing the face of the patient she kicked down the stairs, (a bit reminiscent of Otis in The Devil’s Rejects) this whole segment was about as twisted as can be.

As both Taylor Hickson and Levi Meaden pointed out in two separate interviews with Mike’s Film Talk, all the family are going through some intense changes in the show. The last two episodes have indeed proven that the entire family are changing as the season progresses.

It seems pretty grim for Josh right now, but his condition seems to be more focused on visions of some sort versus the wholesale madness that most fever heads seem to suffer from.

Karen is still the strong member of the family, but the Copeland clan are rapidly catching up. Brianna finishes off the crazy in the hospital, that Karen shoots first with her hidden weapon.  Dana has also gotten tougher.

Aftermath is upping the stakes in each episode.  The show’s theme has changed somewhat from “mythical” creature of the week to the family surviving each obstacle placed in their path.

Show creators Glenn Davis and William Laurin have turned this apocalyptic series into an addictive experience.  

Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in and get caught up in the end of the world as we know it.

Cast:

Guest starringTimothy Webber  as Ewan, Dani Alvarado as Rafaela and Christine Willes  as Kathryn.

Aftermath: Madame Sosostris – Who Are You? (Recap/Review)

Aftermath - Season 1

Aftermath “Madame Sosostris” picks up where the last episode ended. Aunt Sally is dead and the hordes of skinwalkers have been defeated. After Karen lights the funeral pyre for her sister, the Copeland’s agree to split up and get supplies and information.

As the family prepare to leave the Alamo, tremors shake the area. Booner tells them that this happens all the time.  Joshua and Karen decide that now Brianna is back they want to go home.

Joshua takes Brianna and Devyn to find an old colleague; Gloria Douglas,  who predicted everything that has happened.  Dana, Karen and Matt all head off to a summer campground to get supplies.

Booner is reluctant to let the family leave but sends two “shooters” to tag along and gives them another vehicle.  Jane accompanies Joshua and Martin goes with Karen.

As Martin and Dana have already bonded, this pairing up works out perfectly. The two potential lovers sit in the back of the pickup truck while Matt and Karen sit in the cab.

Joshua takes the RV to Memphis Pacific College and tells Brianna and Devyn to stay inside. Copeland enters the facility looking for Douglas and some answers.

Back at the campground, Martin and Dana go to the counselor’s cabins to look for supplies. Karen and Matt go to the main complex to do the same. Dana talks about how much she loved the camp and getting away from her family.

In the woods outside the camp, former female prisoners dressed in orange jumpsuits and carrying weapons, hear Dana and Martin talking. They have staked the camp out as being their territory and they advance on the interlopers.

Joshua begins to search for Professor Douglas when he hears the faint sounds of someone talking. He finds Douglas learning to speak Spanish. She is not overly welcome but not quite hostile.

Back at the camp, Martin and Dana stop in the middle of gathering  supplies to make use of the barn. The two decide that they cannot wait any longer to consummate their relationship.

At the college, Devyn is acting odd. Brianna goes to check on him and is rebuffed.

Dana and Martin are making out in the barn when a man-eating plant vine grabs Dana by the leg.  She thinks that Martin is tickling her. The vine begins to drag her away. Martin pulls a knife and hacks the thing off of Dana.

Joshua talks to Professor Douglas while he looks for her research materials. Suddenly Douglas attacks Joshua with an axe. The woman lets out an inhuman scream and chases him down the stairs, axe in hand.

Just as she is about to kill him, Jane, one of Booner’s shooters kills the thing. It melts away and Joshua explains that it is a shapeshifter.  He tells Jane that it can take on the shape of anyone it can get close to.

Jane surmises that Douglas must be nearby. Joshua continues his search.

Dana and Martin escape from the man-eating plant. Just as Martin realizes he left his gun behind, they are confronted with two of the orange suited women with weapons of their own.

The convicts threaten to shoot the couple and Dana warns them about the plant. They ignore her and one of the women is dragged under a cabin. Her colleague shoots under the building and is completely freaked out by her friend’s death.

Dana and Martin escape.

Karen and Matt team up while the rest of the prisoners look for Martin and Dana. Joshua finds the real Douglas and she is not as welcoming as the shift changer was.

Copeland and Douglas share a history together. The prophesies he wants now were used by him and his colleagues to get the professor fired years ago. She is not in an overly forgiving mood and initially offers very little help.

Outside the building, Devyn runs out of the RV and wants to shoot himself. Brianna stops him but only just. Something is wrong with the boy from the religious commune.

The convicts capture Karen and Matt. She tries to reason with the three women but they tell her that Dana and Martin are dead, killed by them. Karen goes berserk. She throws a knife at one convict and takes a weapon from another.

Aftermath - Season 1

Furious, she kills all three and empties the clip into the last woman. Dana arrives at that moment and is horrified at what her mother has done.

“Who are you” she asks Karen.

In the RV, Brianna hears a knocking on the door. Joshua asks her to open it. Once he gets inside Brianna learns that this is not her father but a shape shifter. It tries to kill her.

Devyn intervienes and kills the thing. The farm boy is able to kill the creature because he has been infected by a skin walker. Brianna says nothing about this  new development and hugs Devyn.

Douglas confronts Joshua about getting her fired and finally tells him that everything he needs to know is in a shoebox. She also tells Joshua that the building is rigged with explosives and that he has one minute to find the box and get out.

He finds the box but the building does not explode. Douglas tells him that Mount Rainier is going to erupt soon and asks him to kill her. He cannot but Jane has no problem shooting the professor.

In these days, Jane says, if someone asks for that, you do it.

Joshua, Brianna and Devyn head back to the camp. There they learn about the convicts and Karen killing them all. Devyn comes out of the RV armed and he talks about the skinwalker and tells Brianna that he cannot fight it off any longer.

Matt tries to intervene and is knocked over by Devyn. Just before he shoots himself he tells Brianna that she was right, love is stronger than anything.  Putting the barrel under his chin Devyn pulls the trigger.

Brianna throws herself onto the boy’s dead body and sobs.

This episode of Aftermath was about the continual evolution of the Copeland family.  All the experiences faced by them so far has changed each member of the family.

Certainly the people around them are changing. The ones not taken over by skin walkers or other demons are also adapting to this new, temporary world.

Karen is tougher and will kill whomever threatens her family with no hesitation. Dana has been traumatized by Karen’s change. Joshua is also becoming a stronger character, proving that while Karen may be the “soldier” in the family he is no slouch in the protection stakes. Matt has also been hardened by events.

Brianna, however, has endured a lot of things that her family know nothing about. Her separation has changed her as well.  Devyn’s death has affected her deeply making her the most vulnerable of the group.

Dana’s question, “Who are you,”  to her mother could be applied to every member of this family fighting so hard to survive. They are all turning into new version’s of themselves.

Anne Heche continues to convince as the no-nonsense mother who will gladly kill to save her brood.  Taylor Hickson also knocks it out of the park with her depiction of Brianna.

Aftermath is an ensemble piece where everyone holds their own and  the show has been  blessed with guest stars like Wayne Brady and Leslie Hope who step up  and match the series regulars.

(On a sidenote: This episode title, which refers to Professor Douglas, is “Madame Sosostris.” The name comes from the T.S. Eliot poem The Waste Lands.)

Aftermath airs Tuesdays on SyFy. Tune in to see what weird and wonderful things the family encounter next as they face the end of the world.

Cast:

Guest starring Wayne Brady as Lamar Boone and Leslie Hope as Gloria Douglas