Wild Card (2015): Jason Statham Vs Milo Ventimiglia (Review)

Jason Statham in Wild Card Poster

“Wild Card” is a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds film “Heat”. Scribed by one of the most prolific and award winning screenwriters in Hollywood, William Goldman, the first film suffered from a fractious atmosphere on set and a so-so reception from the public and critics alike.  Director Dick Richards and Reynolds had a falling out on the movie and Burt broke Dick’s jaw before firing the director.

Jason Statham worked on adapting the film into “Wild Card” over a long period and drafted Brit director Simon West into helming the project. The collaborative effort paid off with an entertaining re-imaging of  Burt’s original film.

There are a number of familiar faces in the movie – Anne Heche, Hope Davis, Stanley Tucci, Sofia Vergara and Michael Angarano to name a few. But it is Milo Ventimiglia who Statham’s  character goes up against who almost steals the show. While the actor from Derbyshire, England may be the star, there is no denying that Ventimiglia “gives good bad guy.”

On the small screen Milo is cast, more often than not, as the hero. In “The Whispers” he was the pilot who shrugged off the alien influence to help save his son and in “Heroes” he was the guy who wanted to save mankind.

Big screen Ventimiglia makes great villains. In the 2008 film “Pathology” Milo was not the nicest chap in the world and he is a real piece of work in “Wild Card.”

Statham is Nick Wild, living in Las Vegas and hiring out as a bodyguard, shill and good all rounder, the jack of all trades and soldier of fortune is a tough nut who will take a fall for the right sort of money.  A friend; Holly (Dominik García-Lorido) is picked up by Danny DeMarco (Ventimiglia) and his two bodyguards. She is sexually abused and beaten severely. She wants Nick to help her get some payback. 

Meanwhile Cyrus Kinnick (Michael Angarano) breezes into town and wants Nick to show him around the casinos and keep a protective eye on him.  Nick does some sniffing around and learns who Danny is and agrees to help Holly. He also starts to do the Cyrus job but then backs out. 

As per usual with any Statham film, the movie tough guy has some great choreographed fight scenes and easily lives up to the audiences expectations in terms of stunt fights and action.  But despite the crowd pleasing athletics, there really is nothing new here.

A performance that, apart from the stunts, could have been phoned in detracts from the overall entertainment value of the film . Most of the action takes place around Fremont Street (the old strip) and focusses on The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. A number of second unit shots establish that Statham is driving around Vegas, with other newer casino’s visible in the background, as well as the famous Caesar’s Palace.

It is Ventimiglia’s mafia sleaze that makes the film. He is slimy, despicable and not above lying to save himself, but not his bodyguards.  All smarmy overconfidence and snotty attitude the actor makes a brilliant villain that the audience feels free to dislike from scene one.

Stanley Tucci plays “Baby” a local “made man” who officiates over Vegas squabbles and makes the most out of a small cameo.  Angarano does well with his role of the rich guy looking for some intestinal fortitude and Davis; as the dealer Cassandra,  does more with her eyes than most actors can with their entire bodies.

While nothing to write home about, it after all just another remake, “Wild Card,” aka “Joker,” is a firm 3.5 out of 5 stars in the entertainment department.  With just enough of Las Vegas to make it sell but perhaps too little of Statham doing his action man routine, the film fails to pull in a higher entertainment factor.  Available on Amazon at the moment it will satisfy Statham fans and is well worth the time spent watching it.

Gotham: Prepping for Season Two

GOTH__VillianPublicity_RGB_V7_hires1
As September 21 rapidly approaches and the season two premiere of Gotham waits to air, it seemed prudent to revisit the back end of season one. Prepping, if you will, for the start of  the second installment of “Rise of the Villains.” Rather interestingly, it seems that the removal of Falcone as the King of Gotham, leaving Penguin to stand on the edge of the pier loudly shouting that “I am the King of Gotham” while surrounded by a thunderstorm, has indeed left the city wide open for this season two of the “big bad” rise.

Looking back at the final few episodes of season one, it is amazing just how much was crammed into the last few episodes.  One serial killer called The Ogre, played with stunning menace and disturbing charm by Milo Ventimiglia, The Dollmaker aka, Dr. Dulmacher, Barbara Kean turning into a homicidal maniac, the return of Fish Mooney, Nygma’s move toward becoming the Riddler and Loeb’s little secret. Of course the big power play for the crown of Gotham underworld ruler changes heads as well.

Gotham-ep122_scn44_37012_hires1
Dr. Thompkins and Barbara Kean, when trauma counseling sessions go bad…

Crime runs so rampant in the first season of Gotham that even the big guy overseeing all the action in the town, Falcone, tires of the day-to-day struggle and decides to step down.  The return of Jim Gordon, back from his security detail at the Arkham Asylum, saw many things escalate and most of these came to a head in the last five episodes of the season.

Guest stars included Ventimiglia and Jeffrey Combs (who played Dr. Dulmacher’s office manager) and Dash Mihok (who as Detective Arnold Flass gets his comeuppance) but sadly did not have any Diz and the Fam tracks to drop for the show’s soundtrack. The appearance of horror genre favorite Combs was just brilliant.

At one point, the girl/woman Selina Kyle (played by Camren Bicondova) got to “grow up” twice. (Three times if one counts her decision to kill Reggie by pushing Alfred’s old Army chum and attacker out of the shooting gallery window for Bruce.) Once at the Wayne Charity Ball and again after Fish Mooney got hold of her. The latter was quite shocking as suddenly this little vixen was really grown up and carrying a shotgun.

Gotham-ep122_scn29_38622_hires1
Selina Kyle ALL grown up…

Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is driven over the edge after the woman he adores is mistreated by her new beau. The future Riddler takes things into his own hands and disposes  of her brutal new boyfriend and as she begins to piece things together Nygma loses his cool.

Gotham-ep122_scn47_38439_hires1
Cory Michael Smith as Nygma

On top of the side stories; The Ogre, Ed Nygma’s move toward becoming the Riddler and the death of Reggie, as well as Fish Mooney’s escape back to Gotham, there was Bruce Wayne caring for Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and trying to get the goods on Sid Bunderslaw. When young Wayne is caught in Sid’s office, with the empty safe, Bunderslaw has a chat with Bruce and offers him a cookie.

Another Wayne employee,  Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk) comes to escort Bruce back to his tour guide and Fox drops a hint to the young man about his late father, Lucius calls Wayne Sr. a stoic.  This prompts Bruce to search his father’s office at Wayne Manor where he finds, at the very last of the final episode, the entrance to the “bat cave.”

Gotham-ep122_scn46-3r_hires1
Bruce Wayne and Alfred searching the office…

The biggest moment in season one was the final struggle for control of Gotham’s underworld. A triumphant Fish Mooney springs a trap on Falcone and as she keeps Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Oswald Cobblepot and Falcone captive, Don Marconi comes in to talk sh*t and claim the crown.

Just before Marconi comes in, Fish tells each of her prisoners what their fate will be. Amusingly, Bullock is given a pass. Gordon tries to talk the “new” and grownup Selina into helping them. When Marconi arrives and starts trying to put Mooney into her “rightful” place, it does not take long for her to respond in a very final way.

Gotham-ep122_scn31_38955_hires1
Fish about to put Marconi in his place…

Once Mooney puts a shot into Marconi’s forehead, things heat up and apparently Selena passed that knife of Falcone’s on to Bullock. He helps everyone get loose and as the two factions, Fish’s troops and Marconi’s, brace each other, Oswald makes his move.

Gotham-ep122_scn37_39628_hires1
Oswald Cobblepot taking out the competition.

As the first season ends, Penguin roars his triumph (while sending Fish Mooney to an apparent watery grave) and Bruce finds his destiny. Things are now ready for act two of Gotham. The second season airs Monday, September 21. Fans who want to catch up, or prepare for the next offering from FOX should head over to Hulu now before the last five episodes go away.

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: A Hollow Man (recap and review)

Sean, Claire and Thomas in The Whispers
Last week in The Whispers Sean and Claire went on the run after apparently “killing” Drill and Frommer ordered Jessup to kidnap their son. In A Hollow Man, things heat up as all roads lead to a man named Thomas. Secretary Frommer proves yet again that he is a man drunk with power. The rock being destroyed almost sends him over the edge and he initially threatens Wes Lawrence with charges of treason.

Jessup ignores his orders and takes Henry to Claire and Sean, although Bennigan punches his wife’s former partner at first. After their son is returned, Claire starts to tells Henry that Drill is dead. To their shock and dismay, the boy tells them that the alien entity is not dead, he just spoke with him. Sean tells his wife that regardless of whether Drill is dead or not, they all need to stick together.

Wes tells Lena that Drill is dead and once he explains the time frame, his wife responds that she spoke to Drill around an hour before he came home. Lena then confesses that she had been playing with Drill via Minx. They go into their daughter’s room and Wes asks Minx about Drill. She tells her father that she was pretending all along, that she was not playing with Drill. “I was just trying to make you feel better mommy,” she says. Lena is upset that her daughter is lying to them.

Wes prefers to believe Minx, as this backs up what they did at the black facility. He recommends they all get some rest and talk about it later, Lena looks shocked and is visibly disturbed.

Claire and Sean are in a motel room. They put Henry to bed and Claire plugs in the untraceable phone that Jessup can reach them by. As she goes into the bathroom to clean up, Sean and Claire talk about the last time they shared a hotel room together. The memory consists of food poisoning, laying on the bathroom floor of the other hotel room, and talking. Claire asks what Sean wants and he reveals that he wants them to be a family again.

Jessup calls his former partner. He has been going through the case studies from outside the FBI database that Claire ordered about kids with invisible friends. One child, in the files, reportedly had a friend named Drill who spoke to him as well. The kicker is that this took place in 1982 and the entity is referred to as a “malevolent” presence.

Wes calls Claire to relay that he is working on Frommer. She tells Lawrence that the secretary is the least of their problems, “Drill,” she says, “survived.” Wes stammers back that Lena tried to tell him the same thing. Bennigan tells Wes about the address they have for the 1982 lad and Lawrence immediately calls Lena to relay what he’s learned.

Lena is huddled in a closet and Minx tells her mother that she is sorry she lied to “daddy” but Lena was not supposed to tell anyone about their games. Minx also points out that Drill is mad at Lena and her mother responds that they should not be friends with Drill any longer.

Minx tells her mother that Drill has an important message for her. Downstairs, the two sit either side of a coffee table and Lena has some letter squares in front of her. She asks why Drill cannot just tell her what he wants. “Drill says it is a secret message,” Minx replies, “just for you.”

Minx also says that if Lena does what the letters say, Drill will give her what she wants. Lena rearranges the letters and the first three are K-I-L. She grabs the tiles up and after Minx asks if it is fun, Lena says no and that she will not be playing…ever.

Claire, Sean and Henry reach the address for the boy from the case file. Mr. Harcourt, the boy’s father, answers the door. When he learns it is about his older son (Thomas), he asks the FBI agent to leave. The agent responds that she is there as a parent and Claire explains that their son Henry talks to Drill, Harcourt replies that his son’s imaginary friend was called that and she tells him that Drill is real.

Secretary Frommer is grilled about what happened at the nuclear plant by Capital Hour, a news based program, and the man says that he will not comment on rumors. Wes comes in to tell him that Drill is not dead s they thought. Frommer is not pleased and fires Wes, he takes away Lawrence’s clearance and takes him off the case. “Go home,” Frommer says, “and look after that family of yours.” A not so thinly veiled threat from the king of douchebags.

At the Lawrence home, Minx has been sent to the roof by Drill, the entity has told the girl that there is a kitten there. Lena sees her daughter on the top of the building and a sparking electric wire is just over her head. Asking if Drill will leave them alone if she does what the tiles requested, the sparks stop and Lena agrees to his task.

Harcourt explains about his two older sons and that he worked as an astronomer at NASA in 1982. His sons were fascinated about a narrow band radio signal received from the Chi Sagitarii star group that he told them about. He tells the Bennigan’s that his son Thomas came in two weeks later and said that the alien who sent the signal was here, in his head.

Claire asks what Thomas did next and Harcourt reveals that he killed his brother Eliot and that Drill told him to do it. Wes arrives home to find Lena gone and he goes upstair to speak with Minx. He puts cameras and other equipment on his daughter’s bedroom floor and tells her that he knows Minx lied about Drill.

After Wes tells Minx that there are to be no more secrets in “this family.” She tells Wes that he needs to know what Lena is doing. “I think she’s gonna do something bad,” Minx says. Meanwhile Harcourt tells Sean and Claire about Eliot’s death and Wes discovers that Lena has taken a gun.

Harcourt brings out some home movies of the two boys and the bit that Sean and Claire watch contains footage from the day of Eliot’s death. In the movie the two boys head to the pond, Eliot goes first and just before Thomas starts through the fence to Hanger’s Pond, he faces the camera and mouths “I’m sorry.” Claire spots it and shows Sean.

Claire calls Jessup and asks if there are any other addresses for Eliot or Thomas. He finds one for Eliot and Bennigan explains that Thomas has taken on his brother’s identity, it is a coping mechanism and that they will find him there. Sean and Claire go to get Henry and drive to the address. The projector showing the home movie flickers, Drill is there and he burns the film with Thomas on it.

Wes comes in to see Jessup and after telling the FBI agent that Frommer is not pleased with him, he asks Jessup to help him find Lena. He realizes that his wife is going after Claire and Sean because “that’s what Drill wants her to do.” The Bennigan’s reach the address and ask Henry to stay in the car and lock all the doors.

Sean and Claire go into the house and find that there is no electricity in the house or electric appliances. They find a door with a symbol that Sean recognizes. Claire does also as she saw the same thing on the tree house where Harper’s mother fell. The door leads to a basement and the two find a replica of the pond with two figures meant to be Thomas and Eliot.

Thomas sees the Bennigan’s in his basement and Claire says they just want to talk. Lena is still heading to the address and she stops at a gas station. Wes leaves a message on her cell phone telling her not to do what Drill wants. A small girl knocks on Lena’s window and asks if she is okay, Lena says yes. The small child’s voice changes, “Then why aren’t you doing it?” she asks. Lena is confused and asks “What?” “My friend says you need to hurry. You’re running out of time,” the child replies.

Wes and Jessup are rushing to intercept Lena who is heading toward Sean and Claire. Thomas thinks that the Bennigan’s are from the hospital and Sean explains that he is just like Thomas; they have Drill in common. This opens the man up and he asks how they found him.

Outside the house in the car, Henry watches nervously as the car door lock goes up and down and overhead electrical lines spark. Thomas explains that mankind called Drill. He tells them that the 1,703 nuclear tests done between 1945 and 1982 acted as a beacon to Drill’s planet. Thomas says that the message his father got at NASA was the reply to earth’s beacon.

Drill was sent out to interact with mankind and could only talk to children. Thomas tells them that he knew what would happen if the Drill succeeded. He asks Sean when Drill stopped talking to him. Claire explains that Drill is talking to their son and Thomas says that it is not possible. He realizes that Henry is talking to “Drill 2” another one sent after he killed the first one.

Just as Sean and Claire begin to question Thomas, Lena comes in (Wes and Jessup are seconds behind the woman) and takes a few steps down the basement stairs. Wes and Jessup rush in the house while Lena begins firing the pistol. Claire shouts, “No!”

Thomas is shot and apparently dying. Claire rushes to learn how Thomas killed Drill and Wes tries to help stem the blood flow. The person that Lena was meant to kill all along was Thomas. It looks as though she has succeeded and now the secret of how he killed Drill number one is lost.

In this week’s episode, the writers have neatly and cleanly wrapped up Drill in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial cling film. The year 1982, the death of Thomas’s brother Eliot (Elliot), which is also the name that Thomas assumed when he left the asylum, and the whole “phone home” theme that has been an underlying theme with the children from almost the beginning of series come together beautifully.

This was edge of the seat viewing along with a nail biting finish. All the suspense and tension makes this the apex segment of the series thus far. Kudos to Lily Rabe and Kristen Connelly for their stand out performances in this episode. (Only Rabe can stand there and look so horrifically fascinated in front of the camera.) Jay Paulson as the grown up Thomas is riveting, full stop. It was also very nice to see John Billingsley from Star Trek: Enterprise as Thomas Harcourt’s tortured parent, another spotless portrayal.

Drill’s real face has been revealed at last. His coldblooded attempt to harm Minx proves that his intentions are deadly towards everyone, not just adults. Sean has always known this, as does (Did?) Thomas. Sidetone: The last part of The Whispers where Thomas is shot occurs during a rainstorm. Just like Drill’s death in another rainstorm took place years before. Is this karma, kismet or just the entity being ironic? The Whispers airs Mondays on ABC and continues to excel as top notch science fiction and drama.

The Whispers: Whatever It Takes (recap and review)

Wes Anderson with Minx in The Whispers
In the last episode of The Whispers; The Archer, Drill showed just how powerful he could be, Sean touched the boulder and remembered everything, Frommer proved that he may be just as big a threat as Drill and Lena learned that she too could “play” with the entity through her daughter. In Whatever It Takes, this week’s episode of The Whispers, everything has been cranked up in terms of suspense and the entire episode is “edge of the seat” viewing.

Sean does remember everything and relates it to a presidential board of inquiry. Wes Anderson tell the president that the entity has to be classified as alien and Bennigan tells the assembled group that it will do “whatever it takes” to destroy mankind. Anderson explains to the president what they have learned about the the entity called Drill: It talks to children, travels through electricity and can be seen through heat imagery and that it is trying to get to the rock. Wes also tells the group that they will contain the object with a magnetic field.

The president decides he needs to see the rock.

Bennigan warns that the DoD have no idea what they are dealing with. The president’s daughter Cassandra has been contacted by Drill and she asks to play a game on her mother’s phone while they are returning home. When the first lady and Cassandra reach the end of their journey, the girl leaves her “doll” in the presidential vehicle.

Frommer threatens Captain Bennigan again, this time spelling out that if he does not cooperate in tests that he will be put in prison for the rest of his life for treason. The president and Anderson go the the facility storing the rock and he decides that the thing should be protected. Wes and the president share a patriotic moment.

Sean comes home and Henry is overjoyed. They have a touching moment where the boy tries to tell and show his dad everything. The president and Wes talk a bit more as Cassandra’s father finds the doll in the official car. Lena and Minx are playing with Drill and when Anderson comes home the game stops. Claire and her husband share an awkward moment and Sean ends up sleeping on the couch. Later, Wes calls to see how his former lover and her husband are doing. He warns Claire to be careful and as Sean uses his wife’s tablet his ankle protrudes from under the covers and he is wearing a tracking device.

Cassandra gets her doll back and the first lady asks about her cell phone. When the grownups leave the bedroom, the girl goes into her closet with the doll as the lights flicker. The next morning an excited Henry runs downstairs looking for his father. Sean is making pancakes and their short encounter ends on a sour note when the boy asks Bennigan to promise he will “come back.” When the captain does, Henry replies, “I don’t believe you,” and leaves the room.

Sean has to tell Claire about Frommer’s “offer;” prison or guinea pig. Wes warns Lena to be careful of what she says around Minx in case Drill is still there. He tells his wife that he cannot tell her too much about the rock or what they are doing for the same reason.

Bennigan and Dr. Tully talk as she begins her study. He compares mankind to ants and explains that the entity will kill the earth’s denizens unless she helps. Claire goes to Wes’ house to say how unhappy she is with the choices given to Sean. She tells her former lover that the rock should be destroyed and Anderson questions her motives. He agrees to let her see Sean.

The scientist and Sean discuss the rock and he tells her what he has seen in the blue light. His revelations are disturbing and as he talks to the woman, Claire has her partner Jessup bring her a FBI flack jacket. She modifies the jacket to put several items in the lining. Wes stops by to see Minx on his way out of the house and she is watching the Justus doll on TV and Anderson recognizes it. As he talks to his daughter, she tells him she likes the television show because the presenter knows how to talk to kids…apparently like Drill.

Lena asks Minx if Drill is there as she wants to talk to him. Her daughter replies that he is not. He is, she says, with a new important friend. Lena asks why the friend is so important. She later rings Wes to tell him about this new development and Anderson suddenly understands the relevance of the doll being left in the presidential vehicle.

He searches Cassandra’s room and finds the first lady’s cell phone in the closet, the Blackberry had a tracking application downloaded onto it that showed Drill where the rock was. Sean gets the scientist to understand how dangerous the rock is just as Wes realizes that the thing is a type of cell phone for Drill. Claire is at the facility to see Sean and takes the items that she secreted in the vest, in for her husband.

Frommer learns from Jessup about the vest and he realizes where Claire is going. When she gets in, the doctor joins Sean and Claire to destroy the rock. Tully orders the soldiers out of the rock containment room and instructs the other two on how to set up the magnets. The trio begin to rapidly set things up as Drill travels closer to the building and the object via electrical lines.

The three rush to finish as Drill arrives at the facility. Frommer alerts the soldiers who come back in. Tully refuses to stop and is shot. Wes comes in just as the electricity shuts down and Drill has reached the rock. The object begins to glow and Anderson tells the soldiers to stand down. He also orders the area evacuated.

Sean tells the DoD agent that Drill is in the rock and that Claire needs to leave the area. He explains that he forgives her for the affair and that she needs to leave. A hysterical Claire is dragged out and Sean activates the magnets. The rock implodes and then explodes shattering the glass where Wes and Claire are.

The two rush down and find that Sean has survived the blast. Anderson gives the couple his car keys and tells them to run, he says he can fix things but it will take time. Meanwhile Jessup is outside the Bennigan residence and Frommer orders him to take Henry. Minx comes in and wakes her mother. The child tells Lena that Drill knows she wants something from him and that he wants something from her. Minx sighs and then says, somewhat disturbingly, “Maybe you can make a deal.”

This week’s episode of The Whispers has been the best yet. The suspense of the action and the plot line meant some pretty white knuckle moments were called for while waiting to see how things were going to turn out at that blue rock. There were a couple of “lump in the throat” bits; Henry welcoming his beloved father home and Sean “forgiving” Claire as he prepared to possibly die saving the world.

Of course Drill has survived and as Bennigan warned everyone, the thing is a lot more resilient than they know. Frommer has managed to plumb new depths as resident baddie, versus Drill who is the non-resident baddie, and Jessup is being forced into a very bad place.

Lily Rabe continues to impress as the torn and guilty FBI agent who now has her husband back. Milo Ventimiglia was brilliant in this episode as was Barry Sloane. Perhaps a moment of silence is in order for poor Gwynyth Walsh as Dr. Tully; shot for believing in Captain Bennigan’s visions.

The Whispers continues to not only be one of the best shows on television but is also proof that ABC may just nip the other networks at the post with a winning lineup of shows. The series is currently running neck and neck with at least one other winning program on offer. Miss this brilliant show and miss some very exciting television. The Whispers airs Mondays on ABC.