Between: Love Hurts (Recap/Review)

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The latest episode of Between, number four actually, was titled Love Hurts, it could have been called Lonely at the Top, as Chuck learns to his chagrin by the end of the show. The segment this week was all about making bad decisions or making friends with the wrong people. Wiley, learns that hooking up with Ronnie was a very bad idea when their “hunting trip” turns into an attack and almost being raped.

The new mother gasps out that the whole town “knows you’re not right in the head and raping a girl is the only way you’ll get one.” When he starts to punch the girl in the face, his sister comes up and knocks him out with a shovel. Ronnie learns the hard way that his version of “wooing” a girl is not the right one.

Before Wiley’s close call, two young lads steal a car from Chuck’s dad’s car lot for a joy ride. The instigator, a little beanie wearing case of attitude, wrecks the car and Chuck’s cops have to chase the two down. As punishment the mouthy lad, who was the one who stole the car, is strapped to the town flagpole in the freezing cold. When his friend calls Chuck back because the beanie-boy is shivering, the rich kid gets a face full of spit from the recalcitrant little thief.

Adam has not given up on investigating the death of Chuck’s sister Lana. He finds evidence that points to Ronnie’s big brother, Pat. He then learns from his only suspect that not only was Chuck’s sister supplying Ronnie with drugs to sell, but she was in the middle of killing herself when Pat tried to stop her.

Chuck, who has leaned that Pat might have been responsible tries to corner him in the bowling alley, guns blazing. Adam stops the rich kid and hands him Lana’s suicide note.

Ms. Sullivan, who dreams about her birthday and the death of her fiancee spends the actual day away from the school. She helps Wiley’s sister, who is the only one running the town creche and in the process upsets the devoutly Christian girl by letting the kids play in, and mess up, the church. Later she goes to the bar with Adam to split a pitcher of beer.

The little car thief almost dies from insulin shock while being tied up and Chuck feels bad. On top of learning that his sister killed herself, he does feel pretty isolated as the self-proclaimed leader of law and order in Pretty Lake. Mark makes a deal to run the bar with Chuck’s former girlfriend and he insists that they should serve beer to little kids.

When Chuck shows up, Mark lies saying it was her idea. As the “legal” customers who are left sit in the dark candle lit bar, the electricity comes back on. At the same time the lights come back, Mark is captured by the female prison officer and Ms. Summers dies, blood running from her mouth.

These two events open up possibilities. Viewers now have to wonder just what the prison guard’s role is in the deaths of Pretty Lake’s grown ups as she enlists Mark’s help and tells him that freedom is his only by acting as her eyes and ears. The second incident, the teacher’s death, seems like it could be linked to the power coming back on.

Between as a series seems to be as doomed as the older denizens of Pretty Lake. In Love Hurts, it is not just the over 22 year-old residents who are dying, but those who can act. So far the show has specialized in casting kids who would have trouble channeling their way out of a paper bag.

Jennette McCurdy is most likely counting herself lucky that the show does not really revolve around her too much. Despite the twists and turns of the plot, the show is not overly convincing in either plot or acting. This one can be considered a miss, not even passible as children’s telly.

‘Between’ Episode 2: Who’s the Boss (Recap/Review)

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Episode 2 of Between, titled Who’s the Boss, starts on day 14 with almost 7,000 dead adults. The Canadian Prime Minister tells the children in the quarantine zone that they must burn the bodies before the fence comes down. Adam survived the soldiers shooting at him when he attempted to escape and Wiley is not interested in the baby at all.

As interesting as this series could be, thus far it fails to convince. The “poor kids” are in a feud with the rich family who apparently own every big business in Pretty Lake. In the fortnight that things have fallen apart in the community, the streets look like a war zone. Abandoned vehicles, bicycles, rubbish, and shopping trolleys fill the streets.

The kids still text, tweet and Facebook each other in order to meet and exchange information. There is a murderer running about and Lana; the rich kid’s sister, has been shot and left in the woods. The killer tried to make it look like a suicide but M.I.T. Adam quickly worked out that it was not. Someone hacked off Mrs. Marshall’s finger to remove an expensive ring and Amanda almost burns down the supermarket.

Despite all the things going on peripherally; murders, theft and bad feelings between certain factions, Wiley is almost burnt to death after mistakenly being put in the “dead” pit and Adam finds what he believes to be the start of the killer plague, the dead are collected and set on fire per the PM’s mandate. According to her, the fence will come down as soon as the dead are disposed of.

Mark (played by Jack Murray), apparently the only prisoner under the age of 22 in the local jail, has been let loose and he repays the equally young prison guard by knocking her out cold. The Pretty Lake kids all help in lighting the “adult” bonfire. The viewer is meant, by this time, to feel badly for the surviving children but instead, one wonders about the lack of cohesion in the story.

There are too many questions unanswered that no one really cares about. The inclusion of a murder in the mix, signposts clearly that the newly released Mark will be accused. Of course the two “redneck” brothers may become the first suspects considering the existing animosity between the two families.

It seems that communication is beginning to be shut down, or at the very least controlled, when Frances gets a call from her auntie (who is outside the quarantine area) and mid-conversation the signal breaks up and fails. The main problem with Between is the lack of agency interaction. There are no CDC types running around (or the Canadian equivalent), no biohazard suited technicians ever appeared to help the locals deal with all these unexplained and age targeted deaths.

Sadly for Jennette McCurdy, her character was saved from a hideous death and now she will have to limp along with this show until its conclusion. The one thing that could save this series would be characters that one can really get behind and empathize with. Annoyingly, everyone, even Goody-Two-Shoes Gordy, are not given the chance to be fully developed and become someone we really car about.

The rich kid’s family, even with the seemingly obligatory “handicapped” sibling just seem like a variation on a stereotype. The best that can be said of the show so far is that McCurdy has been allowed to cease her Juno impression.

29 May 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

‘Between’ Canadian Version of ‘The Tribe’ With Jennette McCurdy as Ellen Page

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While at face value Between looks like a Canadian version of the New Zealand cult television series The Tribe, but with Jennette McCurdy as an Ellen Page Juno clone, it is different. Certainly the plot is very similar, an unidentified plague or virus starts killing off the adult population, age 22 up, and only youngsters are left to figure out how to survive.

On another level, just the apparent specificity of the age where the virus hits feels very like the Gone series of books by Michael Grant, but only in this area. There are no signs of mutating teens in this new show.

There is, however, a brilliant modern day touch where teenagers are tweeting one another over their smart phones as they attempt to deal with the sudden deaths of parents, grandparents, and so on. The screen flashes the various hashtags of #prettylake and #staystrong. One message claims quite succinctly that “they r lying to us.”

The series premiere episode, titled School’s Out has Pretty Lake, a small rural community suddenly hit with a string of mysterious deaths. The afflicted all begin drooling blood and then very quickly expire. All the dead are over the age of 21.

One student, Wiley, is heavily pregnant. Her water, as pointed out helpfully by her older sister, is about to break and the younger sister handles her awkward situation with wisecracks and a sort of “gallows” humor. When asked what she’ll do after the baby is born, she replies that she plans on continuing her role of disgraced preacher’s daughter.

By day five, information that is posted regularly via text on the screen shows the death rate has reached the hundreds and is escalating. The Canadian Ministry places Pretty Lake under armed quarantine. Prime Minister Miller, in a special broadcast to the denizens of the town now under lock and key, tells all those involved that it was a hard decision to make.

By the 10th day, the death count is in the thousands and M.I.T. teen Adam, who is also interested in Wiley, has hacked the official government database to learn that no one under the age of 22 has died. Events move forward and by the end of the first episode, Wiley/Juno gives birth, two lads almost get coated with driveway sealer for stealing a truck, Adam may or may not be dead and the inmate, in what seems to be Pretty Lake’s county jail, just misses being executed by another con.

Between may have a bit in common with The Tribe, but in reality, only the idea of minors surviving a plague hitting adults is the same, along with the mysterious cause – not a virus according to the two medical specialists from the Ministry. The show’s use of the Internet and smart phones makes the scenario current and should enable the series a chance at survival.

Former Sam & Cat star McCurdy will have to expand on her Juno act, Ellen Page need not worry about Jennette replacing her in other roles, to keep the audience interested in the new mum of Pretty Lake.

Thus far, the show is fairly interesting, despite the Under the Dome and The Tribe feel to the series. Hopefully this Canadian thriller will do better than the Marley Shelton science fiction series The Lottery which never quite found its audience despite being a brilliant show. Time will tell if Between proves to be interesting enough to find a following.