The Whispers: The Archer (recap and review)

Claire questioning Drill's kids...
By the end of last week’s episode of The Whispers: What Lies Beneath, the big blue rock has been dug up at Mali and Wes was taking it away, now in The Archer, Lawrence touches the blue glowing part of the huge object and it shocks him, knocking to the floor. when Wes stands back up, his eyes are full of excitement, something has changed in the DOD agent.

Later, he refuses to share information with Claire and she decides to get information about Drill from another avenue; the children. She does not share her idea with her former lover. Frommer proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a petty and dangerous man. He learns of Claire’s plans and tells Wes, forcing him to interfere with her experiment. Frommer approaches Captain Bennigan and when he feels disrupted by the pilot warns him that the last person who showed him so “little respect” spent the rest of his days in “Gitmo.” The DOD head has slid into the lead as a character that viewers will love to hate with little effort.

Claire asks the parent of “Drill’s kids” to let them convene at the FBI building, where Agent Bennigan’s boss insisted the event take place, and all agree except for Wes’ wife Lena, who refuses to let Minx attend. Later in the show, Lena hears Minx talking to Drill and hears her daughter tell the entity that Claire does not like him so she does not like her. Lena is disturbed by this news.

As the kids turn up for their talk with Claire, she arrives to find that someone has put cameras, heat seeking equipment an recording devices in the room. Her boss asks who approved this and it is revealed to be Wes, who took action after Frommer’s talk. The children are uneasy, as are their parents and it takes all of Claire’s persuasive power to convince them to continue.

During their meeting, Wes, Claire and the other adults learn that Drill is not alone, that he misses his family and he is looking for food. When the alien entity learns what they are doing he visits the children and Bennigan, when he enters the room, via the electricity, his image is captured on the infrared displays.

The room where the kids and Claire encounter Drill, locks and is plunged into darkness. The image envelopes a little girl first and then Henry. Bennigan’s partner Jessup Rollins and some soldiers break into the room and after the lights come back on, the girl says to Claire that Drill has a message for her. “Drill says you will not win,” the child says in that eerily grown up and creepy delivery normally reserved for Lawrence’s daughter.

Lena ask Minx if Drill will play with her and after an experiment, Lena tells her daughter that she is a good sport even if she is an adult, and after a short guessing game, Drill says Mrs. Lawrence can play with him and Minx. The little girl is overjoyed and Lena is clearly terrified.

During tests on the blue boulder, where it is learned that the core consists of materials that cannot be identified, it begins to emit a frequency. At the exact same time, Sean Bennigan starts banging on the glass observation panel in his door. Wes goes to meet with Sean and brings Claire. The DOD agent takes the Bennigan’s to the rock.

On the way, Sean and Wes talk; discussing Minx and her connection with Drill which prompts the pilot to say that they share something. Once they reach the blue rock and Sean touches it, he falls to the floor after being enveloped with the blue glow from the object. He raises to his knees and reaching out to his wife says, “Claire.” He also looks at Wes and says he remembers…everything. Now the pilot knows just how much the two men have “shared.”

This episode of The Whispers has cranked the tension and the suspense up very well. The children, for the first time in the series, showed a collective, and individual, fear of their invisible friend. Drill become more threatening overall because of this. On the opposite side of this alien entity, it also gave Sean back his memory. It is obvious, however, that this was not done to help Bennigan, but to aid the rift between Wes and Sean. Something that will no doubt help Drill to divide and conquer in order to get back to his family.

The children in The Whispers are stepping up their game, as actors, and matching the adults in terms of performances. Lily Rabe, Derek Webster, Milo Ventimiglia, Barry Sloane, and Kristen Connelly are all convincing in their respective roles as are Kylie Rogers, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf and Abby Ryder Fortson. David Andrews as Frommer is still knocking it out of the park in terms of being the new “big bad” from within.

The Whispers is “must see” TV and airs Mondays on ABC. Don’t miss this science fiction and thriller masterpiece.

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.

The Divide (2011): Claustrophobic Chaos

Directed by Xavier Gens (Hitman) and written by Karl Mueller and  Eron Sheean, The Divide stars Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Rosanna Arquette, Lauren German, Courtney B. Vance, Michael Eklund, Ashton Holmes, Iván González and Abbey Thickson as Wendi.

The film opens with German looking out a tall rise building’s stairwell window watching things that are flying through the air and landing on the ground, exploding. A crowd of people are on the stairwell and they are all rushing to get out of the building.

Seven of this “crowd” make it to the basement door which is being closed by Mickey (Biehn). He yells that there is no more room, but the seven survivors push their way in. Mickey then locks the door.

Mickey explains that he is in charge and they need to follow his orders if they want to survive. When the group first arrive they are distracted by noises outside the door. Soon after a group of men in bio-hazard suits force their way into the basement.

They are armed and they focus on Wendi (Thickson) and take her forcibly from her mother Marilyn (Arquette). After two of the men leave with the now inoculated girl in a bag the remaining men go through the basement to kill the rest of the group. Devlin (Vance) beats one to death with a steel pipe and Mickey stabs the other to death. Collecting their guns, Mickey again asserts his leadership role.

Josh (Ventimilgia), aided by Bobby (Eklund) and Adrien (Holmes) puts on one of the bio-hazard suits and goes out the door to see what is going on. When he gets outside he finds that their building is attached to a sealed tunnel which leads to a lab. There he finds Wendi stored behind a closed-door with a glass window on it and an air tube taped to her mouth.

The world is burning.

Josh is spotted as an outsider and has to flee; he shoots two of the other men in the bio-suits, drops his gun and runs back to the basement. Once he gets inside, the people outside the basement weld the door shut. Now that the group are sealed in, the already strained relationship in this disparate group of survivors falls apart.

Mistrust, paranoia, and psychosis are the rule of the day and there is a race to see who will die from radiation poisoning and who will die of violence instigated by each other.

Xavier Gens has started the film in a hurry. The bombs dropping, the mass panic, the people desperate to save themselves and their loved ones all happen quickly. So fast, in fact, that when the few people make it into the basement we are not sure who they are.

A nuclear holocaust, The Divide tells us, makes for strange bedfellows (or basement buddies) and just as in real life, we don’t know who we’ll be sharing that “last” shelter with or if we’ll even get along with them or like them. In keeping with the theme of strangers “helping” strangers, we know very little about any of the survivors.

In this little scenario, the apocalypse has put everyone under the care of the building superintendent, Mickey. He is not pleased to see these folks encroach on his safe haven. Obviously a bit of a “survivalist” Mickey, it seems, has been preparing for this kind of thing since at least 9-11.

Throughout the course of this film we are privy to murder, rape, attempted rape, torture and a lot of tension and violence. Watching this film may make you want to make sure you are armed when you find that little hidey-hole to hunker down in; especially if you have to share it with a group like this one.

This is a thought-provoking film. It asks the viewer to think about how far they would go to save themselves or a loved one. It touches lightly on taboo subjects and just how much we don’t trust strangers.

Gens tells us that not getting turned into an instant crispy critter might actually be worse than dying in the initial conflagration. Like rats that become too crowded in lab experiments, the occupants of the basement turn on each other. It doesn’t help that one (Marilyn) lost the plot when she lost her daughter and that Bobby and Josh are two giant ass-holes on legs.

The two men are as full of attitude as you can possibly be and not be in prison. You get the feeling that these two had probably been in the middle of knocking over the local 7-11 when the bombs began dropping.

Milo Ventimilgia seems to be making a “new” career of playing downright nasty characters. His Josh is the polar opposite of his nurse-turned-super-hero, Peter Patrelli in TV’s Heroes. He was a pretty unpleasant chap in the 2008 film Pathology and he is even more despicable in The Divide.

There’s no saving the cheerleader here.

Michael Biehn does his usual good job and it was especially nice to see Rosanne Arquette again. The last thing I’d seen her in was Pulp Fiction and while I’m sure she has been busy, I just haven’t seen her on-screen for ages. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Ms Arquette; ever since I saw her in Desperately Seeking Susan.

Everyone does a great job in the film and the whole thing looks like it should. In case you were wondering the apocalypse will be dark, dank, and dirty. Food will be in short supply and you probably will not like the folks you wind up with. The movie is grim and utterly devoid of humour; which, if you think about, probably would not exist in great abundance.

Checking on IMDb, they gave it a 5.8%. I’m not arguing that this figure is wrong, but despite its dirty message, I found that it was a difficult film to watch. The only character I actually felt sorry for was Arquette’s, but that did not last long; once she ventured off into the darker reaches of her mind, I could not maintain my sympathy.

Lauren German  as Eva was the only other female in the group and she seemed too wishy-washy and  self-centred for me to really connect with and while I did not “like” Biehn’s character I could at least understand where he was coming from.

I watched this on Netflix and that is just what I’d recommend anyone else do. A more depressing and disturbing take on surviving a nuclear holocaust might be out there, but if so, I haven’t seen it. Watching the film’s descent into claustrophobic chaos is like watching a slow filthy trolley on its way to hell.

My one big tip about watching this movie is if you aren’t in a good mood don’t watch it. I think if you were depressed before the film started you might just need therapy after watching this downbeat film.

Survivalist Mickey…