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: 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.

Levi Meaden Talks Aftermath and More (Interview)

Aftermath - Season 1

Levi Meaden is starring as Matt Copeland on the SyFy channel’s apocalyptic science fiction drama, Aftermath.  Working alongside James Tupper, Anne Heche, Julia Sarah Stone and Taylor Hickson (who will feature in a Mike’s Film Talk interview shortly) Levi plays  the eldest son of a family struggling to survive the “End of Days.”

Meaden is a pleasant chap who was fun to talk with and he spoke highly of his colleagues on the show. He also emphasized how much he and his onscreen siblings got on like a family off-screen

Levi has been steadily working since 2012 and has been a regular on The 100, The Killing, and Olympus. He completed work on Incontrol, which we mention later and is slated to appear in the Pacific Rim sequel Pacific Rim: Maelstrom.

Michael: Hi Levi. Thanks for stopping by for a chat today. I’ve got to tell you that I love what your character brings to the show. He’s had a very impressive arc in the series. So what drew you to the part?

Levi: Thank you! I grew up as a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan as a teenager. I always loved the apocalyptic/post apocalyptic genres; like Mad Max…So the chance to run around with  guns and to  fight monsters just seemed like a lot of fun.

Michael:  Yeah. It looks a like a lot of fun.

Levi:  So I saw that aspect of it and thought, “Yeah let’s do it.”

Michael: Brilliant! I’ve got to ask you. Are you anything at all like your character, personality wise?

Levi:  Well, he’s certainly more of a football player/jock, which I certainly was not while growing up. He definitely has more of an affinity for guns and fighting than I do. Those are the differences, but, there is an  intensity and an underlying  “quick to anger” side to him that we both have in common.

Michael: Speaking of guns. Did you have to undertake any special kind of training?

 Aftermath - Season 1
Levi Meaden as Matt Copeland using a shotgun…

Levi: Not really. I’m already pretty familiar with shotguns as most of my family live on farms. I did go to the shooting range to get familiar with the different weapons, like the Glock and the shotgun,  just so I had it fresh in my head. Getting into the frame of mind of “fake shooting it for real.” 

Michael: Well it worked. Your character seems very competent.  You and Anne Heche looked quite proficient with the weapons.

Levi: Yeah, well initially we were very careful around the weapons but as time went on we got more relaxed as we got more familiar with them. 

Michael: I know we sort of broached this briefly, but what is it like working on the show. The subject matter is rather grim…

Levi: Yeah. Well we shot at such a breakneck pace that we really did not get a chance to get hung up on the grim moments. There were a lot of them (grim moments) and sometimes it did take a little bit of a toll on us. We liked the fast pace as it got us past the “grossness.” 

But it was kind of fun. There were so many stunts that we either took part in or watched and a lot of driving and shooting. Shooting the show at such a breakneck pace meant that things happened so quickly that the energy really translated to the screen.

Michael:  Yes it very fast paced. I’m guessing here, but is a lot of the work green screen? Is that hard to work through?

Levi:  Actually we were lucky. We didn’t have a lot of green screen. A lot of it was as practical as you could possibly make it.  The Quetzalcoatl, or the dragon as most people keep calling it…

(Sidenote: Many of the creatures that the Copeland family encounter are from different cultures. The Quetzalcoatl is from the Aztec culture and it does indeed, look a bit like a flying dragon.)

Michael: Yes, I’m guilty of that. I keep calling it a dragon as well…

Levi: Well that bit was pretty well laid out. We had parameters set out and we had a mark to show where the thing might be. So it was not too difficult. I’ve done green screen before and while practical FX take the challenge out of it, the green screen does become an acting exercise after a while.  It’s all about channeling your imagination to provide a realistic reaction to something like that. 

Michael:  Your character has actually evolved quite a lot in a short period of time. You mentioned it earlier when you said he (Matt) was a bit quick to anger. He does seem to be getting a handle on that. Where do you see Matt going next?

Levi: Well a lot of the storyline has him embracing that anger and the darkness allowing him to become a protector for his family. He also has to learn where to draw the line and not become like the evil he is fighting against. He’s already crossed that situation in the show and I think he is motivated a lot by retribution and getting revenge for what’s happening to his family.

The challenge for Matt will be getting back a part of himself that allows in some happiness which will make him less grim  and allow him to stop beating himself up so much. He has to learn how to draw back that anger.  

We’ll see him kind of embrace that a little bit more. Somethings will come in and allow him to alleviate his guilt.

Michael:  I’ve got to ask you. I’m a huge fan of Anne Heche and James Tupper.  What’s it like working with them?

Aftermath - Season 1
Levi Meaden, Anne Heche, James Tupper and Julia Sarah Stone.

Levi: Well, when they were together they brought this high energy to the scene, it was like that when they were apart too, but when they were together they really brought it. They also kept things simple and got the ego out of the way to server the story. 

It was also interesting to see how they would work out a scene and kind of turn it. Making the most out of a  scene’s impact and then watching them in the scene taking back and forth and creating the sense of a real partnership.

Michael: They have a splendid chemistry on screen, as do you all. The chemistry between all the characters is really impressive.

Levi: Thank you. 

Michael: You’ve been working steadily since 2012. Most of your work has been in television but lately, you’ve started doing more films. Are you starting to have a preference?

Levi: You know it all depends on the project.  They’re very different mediums, although they both involve storytelling. You know, working long term on a television show is fun because you get to work on your character for months. And that is such a blessing, it is so great.

In movies though, you kind of have the entire arc of the story and your character and where you’re going to go  so you really kind of plan for that and build those moments in.  And you then find the best way to tell that story and how to make that character’s journey more interesting. 

They are both the same beast, so to speak, but I do love doing the indie film thing once in a while because you get to experiment and have some fun. You get to push things and kind of do your own thing a bit more. I miss getting to do that. Maybe after Aftermath is finished…

Michael: I see that you’re down for Pacific Rim: Maelstrom, the sequel. Have you started working on that at all?

Levi: Yeah, we’ve started a little bit. The filming hasn’t started yet but things are gearing up and getting ready to go. I’m still waiting for some small things to get worked out and if Aftermath is brought back for another season, that will keep me  pretty busy. 

Michael: Brilliant stuff, let us know how that all works out. Being a huge fan of the first Pacific Rim, I cannot wait to see what the sequel will do.

Levi: I know.  It gsoing to be pretty exciting. 

Michael:  Have you heard about Aftermath being picked up for a second season?

Levi: No, we haven’t heard anything yet. 

MIchael: I’m actually going to be talking to Taylor (Hickson) tomorrow. Is that anything you’d like me to pass on to her.

Levi: [Chuckling] Tell her hi and that she needs to give me back my Bowie t-shirt.

Michael: I have to ask you, in regards to the parents in the show. Joshua seems quite low key, although he is coming into his own as the series progresses, and Karen, the mum, is very “Rambo-esque…”

Levi: Yeah!

Michael: Are they anything like their characters when they’re not working?

Levi: Yeah, you know a little bit. Everyone was pretty much, I think, cast to type so that they are to a degree like the characters they portray. Like James is super insightful, quiet but direct and   to-the-point.  Anne is just a firecracker so yeah, they are similar to their characters. 

Michael: Brilliant stuff. That has me pretty much wrapped for today. Is there anything you want to mention? Like upcoming projects?

Levi: Yeah. I’m in a film called Incontrol that will be coming out in a few months. It’s on the festival circuit at the moment. It’s a thriller about these kids who find a machine that allows them to enter other people’s consciousness  and control them like an avatar. And they start getting addicted to it like a drug.  So that, Aftermath and Pacific Rim II.

That concluded our interview with Levi Meaden.  Incontrol is a Canadian film due out shortly  and it does sound very good. Pacific Rim: Maelstrom has a projected release date of 2018 so keep your eyes peeled for the first one and pencil “Maelstrom” into to your diary.

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Levi and his onscreen sis, Taylor Hickson.

 

In the meantime, fans of Levi’s can see him weekly on SyFy’s Aftermath. The series aries on Fridays and there are two episodes left in this season.

As mentioned in the interview Mike’s Film Talk will also be talking with Taylor Hickson, who places Levi’s sister on the show.