The Whispers: Homesick (recap and review)

Henry looking very suspicious
After the death of Lena last week in The Whispers it is no surprise that Homesick opens with her funeral/wake. Claire, Sean and Henry arrive late and Wes tells his former lover point blank that it is not appropriate of her to be there. The Bennigan’s leave, but not before Henry drops off a homemade card for Minx.

Wes is grieving and angry, later he breaks the mirror in the bathroom and Minx comes in. She tells him that she feels bad and that the medicine that grandma (Dee Wallace who gets mentioned but does not appear in the episode) gave her did not work. Minx passes out in Wes’ arms and he takes her to the hospital.

Once there he learns that Minx is not alone in feeling ill, the waiting room is full of sick kids who all have fevers and headaches. The Whispers suddenly looks alarmingly like Village of the Damned just without the blonde hair. Like the 1960 film, these children all share something, not a hive mentality, but they are all friends of Drill.

Dr. Maria Benavidez pulls Wes aside and takes Lawrence and his daughter away from the waiting room. As Minx is is being pulled into the MRI machine, Maria tells Wes that the kids began “streaming in last night.” All are exhibiting the same symptoms and Lawrence tells her that they all know Drill. She reveals that the children share something else, Drill has “marked” them somehow, put a “signature” in their brain.

Wes calls Claire and explains about the brain signature and has her bring Henry in to see Dr. Benavidez. Sean, Claire and Henry arrive and as they speak with the doctor the hospital lights begin to crackle and flicker, Drill is there. They ask Henry and he says that Drill is not talking to him.

Claire follows the flickering lights to an exam room where Harper sits alone. The two talk. Bennigan asks if Drill was there and Harper says yes. “He said not to worry,” Harper tells Claire, “We’ll all get better as soon as…” “As soon as what, Harper?” Claire asks. “As soon as he finds Orion.” Harper says.

Wes convinces the President to take all the children and place them in quarantine. He explains about the marking in each child’s brain and that the entity is using it as a “symbiotic” connection. The president agrees to the action and they round up all the kids who are suffering the “Drill” symptoms. Alarmingly, there are a lot more children who have Drill in common than the adults initially thought.

While Jessup searches for “Orion” or a variation on the name, parents are told that there is an encephalitis outbreak. Kids are brought in and scanned, if they have the Drill “mark” they are separated for isolation. Wes realizes that Henry Bennigan is not among the children being scanned and he orders that the boy be picked up.

Typically, the men sent by the DoD go over the top in taking Henry. Wes arrives to calm things down. After Henry is taken, Claire and Sean reach out to other parents whose children have been quarantined. Sean theorizes that since the kids are now being controlled Drill is attempting to force the adults to help him.

Dr. Benavidez voices her concerns about the isolation and Wes reassures her. The children are suspicious of Minx since it is her father who is running the quarantine. Later, the doctor is talking on the phone while she examines brain scans of the kids. She notices something and after muttering that “this is not possible” someone comes in the room. Benavidez yells for whoever it is to stay away. There is an electric crackle and Dr. Maria Benavidez joins Lena as the next Drill victim.

When Maria’s body is examined, they find a “burn mark from a child’s hand.” Wes tells Frommer this who is not too happy at this latest development. The mark means that Drill has possessed one of the kids and that he is one the children in the quarantine. The kid’s symptoms have gone and the doctor’s computer has been “fried.” Frommer changes his tune when he realizes that Drill is in the camp. as he realizes that they now have the alien “in custody.”

Wes asks Minx to tell him if any of the kids are acting strange. She asks him to get someone else to help as the other children believe she is a spy for the adults, something that will become an important plot point later on. Wes brings in Claire to talk to the kids and to flush Drill out.

Claire explains to Frommer that she will be “talking” to the children in such a way that any “tells” (a way to see who is lying and who is not) will become apparent . While she questions the children, there is a long montage where we see several kids reacting to the conversation in different ways.

Harper becomes hostile, Henry doubtful, Minx (as usual) scarily adult, and Silas is terrified. The sessions are set up into a question and answer system. Claire will start, “I fear…” and the child will finish the sentence. One comical bit has Claire saying, “I dream…” and Harper finishes, “That you will stop asking these questions.”

While Claire looks for Drill, Sean grabs the older man who has been following the Bennigan family. He turns out to be a reporter named Daniel Getz and Maria has been talking to him. Later the man reveals to Sean that Benavidez told him to contact Bennigan if anything happened to her.

During Silas’ conversation with Claire, the boy is clearly terrified. He knows which child Drill has possessed. Claire talks him into looking at photographs and merely pointing (Drill told Silas that he would hurt his mother if the boy revealed who he was.) As Claire puts pictures on the desk between them Silas shakes his head until four pictures, two of which are of Henry and Minx, are put down.

Silas becomes agitated and before he can react the facility alarms go off. The children are all herded out of the building and into a fenced enclosure. Silas is approached by several kids, Minx and Henry included. A little girl comes up and pushes Minx she either pushes her back or grabs her and pushes her. When the girl is checked out, she has child’s handprint burned into his arm.

When asked who injured the girl all the children point to Minx. There is one problem with this little scenario however. Minx may have pushed and grabbed the child but it appears that Henry had contact with the girl as well.

This was a brilliant episode and it moves toward the season end quite satisfactorily. The focus of Drill being one of the kids, (On a sidenote, this feels so much like an evil E.T. It even has Eliot’s mother in the show!) is a great move and feels eerily reminiscent of those “children as bad seed” films of the 1950s and 60s. The misdirection at the end of the episode was brilliant.

The show’s storyline and its emphasis on Minx practically screams that this is the kid that Drill has picked to be his “vessel.” However…the Lawrence kid has been creepily adult from day one, she needed no help from the alien to be less child-like. As the “interrogation” by Claire continued, the evidence seemed to variously point to Harper, Minx, Silas and Claire’s own son, Henry.

Smart money should be on Henry as Drill. He exhibited two “tells” during the Q&A session. Watch the scene where he talks about Minx’s mother…They are there and it is clear that Drill is trying to make Henry answer correctly and its not working. Suspicions of Henry aside, one has to resist the urge to scream at the screen, “Look at their index fingers!”

When Silas was looking at the pictures of his fellow “inmates” the camera followed a child’s index finger being inserted into an electrical plug-in as sparks flew and smoke drifted lazily from the socket. Drill may use electricity with impunity, but the little body he is inhabiting will not be impervious to coming in contact with the stuff.

Homesick, which is obviously referring to the quarantined kids, also refers to Drill after a fashion. While he could be described as homesick per se, Drill is desperate to “phone home” so his fellow aliens can head to earth and take over. After all, his planet’s “future” is “bad” so they need another place to call home.

Kudos to David Andrews as Secretary of Defense Frommer. Despite having very little screen time this week, he still manages to convey that sense of major douche-age and that he will gladly flip the switch on a little person with no regret. Andrews brings big chops to the table and should be given a gong from someone come award time.

It was, however, the little people themselves who rocked it this week. Abby Ryder as Harper (this young actor has never disappointed in terms of performance), Kylie Rogers as Minx (Lawrence may just be the new Dakota Fanning), Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry; he was downright menacing, once or twice, and “new kid on the block” Teo Briones was amazingly good at being terrified and concerned for his onscreen mother.

Kristen Connolly was missed but unfortunately she had to go…Her character dared to defy Drill and this is the other reason that Minx cannot be the possessed child. That girl’s face at the end of last week’s episode was full of hate and anger, Minx is not Drill’s friend any longer.

The Whispers airs Mondays on ABC. Do not miss the last two episodes of this brilliant season.

The Whispers: Darkest Fears Review

Minx and Lena in The Whispers
The Whispers last week ended with the man who killed the first Drill being murdered by the new one. Not before the parents learned how to destroy the alien though and in Darkest Fears Wes Lawrence becomes more than proactive in his hunt for Drill and the goal of killing the entity. The way to take Drill out was highlighted in the previous episode; once he possesses a child, Drill can be killed.

Secretary of Defense Frommer briefed the president about how to kill the alien and he made it clear that the prospect of murdering a child did not bother him in the least. Frommer has always been a despicable character, threatening Sean and attempting to kidnap Bennigan’s son Henry. As cold blooded as Drill is, Frommer (perhaps because he is a human monster) beats the entity hands down in terms of the willingness to do harm.

A young boy, Nicholas, has no friends and his father does not understand or like him. Nicholas’ dad has the one thing that Drill needs, codes which he will use later on. The alien is getting weaker as the energy it is consuming lacks the nourishment needed to survive for a long time period. It is explained that Drill’s eating electricity is like a human trying to sexist on celery.

Claire and Wes come up with a plan to use the Washington D.C. power grid to trap Drill and starve him to death. Drill has made friends with Nicholas Brewster, whose dad has the DSN Code Key list. Henry is ill. The boy has continual headaches and Sean takes his son to the hospital for Dr. Maria Benavidez to examine hm.

Minx is to be taken on a cruise by her mother Lena, on a ship there are no electrical lines for Drill to travel over. The plan impresses Wes and both parents believe that Minx will be safe. Frommer explains to the president about Lawrence’s plan and he approves it.

They begin their plan and start shutting down power grid sectors in order to force Drill into their trap. As the agents, the president and Frommer wait anxiously, without any sign of the entity showing up, Claire gets off a brilliant zinger against the douche that has the commander-in-chief’s ear. After complaining about crime reports coming in from the first blacked out areas, Frommer says, “Question is, how long do you stand around at the dance till you realize that you’ve been stood up?”

Claire responds, “Maybe you should tell me sir…My dates always showed up.”

Touché.

While this was very satisfactory (on a sidenote,David Andrews really has channelled his inner arsehole to play Frommer) this was a light moment before the storm. In short order Drill is trapped, as are Sean and Henry in their return trip from the hospital, as are Lena and Minx, who were meant to be on their way to the Caribbean cruise. Both pairs move to get back home.

Lena tries to call Wes but gets a constant busy signal, after a cab driver refuses to take them into the city, explaining that it is in a gridlock, a kindly older gentleman offers to take them back. Sean works his way out of the blackout induced traffic jam and just as he and Henry share a Peter Pan quote, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning,” a car comes speeding out of nowhere and hits their vehicle.

The FBI and DoD joint plan to trap Drill works. As they verify that Drill is trapped in an old school, Wes and Claire realize that a child is in there with him. Meanwhile, Sean gets help from a fierce acting stranger who assists him in removing a trapped Henry from the wreckage of the car. Lena and Minx are dropped off home by the kind older man. After Lena tries to pay him (he refuses the offer) and then thanks him for not being a crazy, we learn he is something much worse. While it is not spelled out, this chap being there to assist the Lawrence’s was not a coincidence or serendipity. Before driving away, the man takes out a notebook and all the main players names are on it; Claire, Lena (misspelt as Lene), Minx, Sean, and so on.

At the school, Wes and Claire chase down Nicholas and confront Drill who is with the boy. With no source of power, the entity attempts to possess the boy and Wes jumps forward to save Nicholas only to be knocked off his feet. Once Drill appears to be in the child, Frommer demands that the president kill the boy and the alien. The president hesitates as Wes tells him that they should find another way and put the power back on, allowing Drill to escape.

Lawrence appeals to the father side of the president who decides that they will not kill Drill by killing Nicholas. Later the man asks his Secretary of Defense if Frommer thinks he did the wrong thing. Frommer answers categorically that he knows the president made the wrong choice. As predicted before, the leader of the DoD would have no problem slaying a child for the “greater good.”

Wes promises Drill that he will hunt him down and not stop until he has killed him. After his emotional rant, the electricity crackles and fluctuates. Back at the Lawrence home, Lena calls out to Minx that chocolate sundaes are coming up. Minx is in bed already and as Lena goes to check on her, water is shown flowing steadily from the refrigerator’s ice maker.

The floor is covered with water and a barefoot Lena goes to the fridge and, with one foot in the fluid, she touches the door and is electrocuted. Drill has responded to Wes and his threat by punishing the man with his wife’s death. Unfortunately he has also punished Minx who stands outside the house crying and glaring up at the sky later while inside the Lawrence home, Wes cradles his dead wife and screams.

The Whispers has made another turn into a deeper darker area. Last week and the week before were both deadly in nature, a backstory of child murder and the follow up being another child murdering the now grown Thomas Harcourt. In terms of violence and “self defense” Drill has (pardon the pun) taken off the kid gloves.

The episode title of Darkest Fears is very appropriate. Two darkest fears, if not more, are broached. The, almost, murder of a child being possessed by Drill, their inability to kill the entity, Henry almost dying (on top of his health scare), and Wes losing his wife to an extremely vengeful Drill. On top of these issues is another, newer one. Who is the “kindly” gentleman with the list?

Perhaps the darkest fear of all is the one where the adults, Claire in particular, feel they cannot talk to the children as well as Drill can. The entity accuses Bennigan of lying to the children and not telling them the truth. Drill actually does this by telling the kids what they want and need to hear. Certainly he rewards them if they perform as asked but he just a quickly becomes deadly when things do not go his way.

Kudos to Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence this week. This episode was his showcase full stop. Can there be anyone who did not get emotional when Wes desperately cradled Lena’s unresponsive body saying “it’s alright, it’ll be alright” and then screaming? Powerful stuff this and worthy of an Emmy nod surely.

The death of Kristen Connolly’s character is a blow and now it seems there will be a race to see who can be the biggest monster, Secretary of Defense Frommer or Drill. It feels like the alien has made a huge miscalculation in killing Minx’s mother, this young lady was eerily adult-like in her thought process already, it is not too unbelievable to think that young Ms. Lawrence may be instrumental in Drill’s death.

The Whispers airs Mondays on ABC and this compelling science fiction thriller continues to draw the viewer into a fascinating and frightening world.

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.