Signs Of Life
Back for another week, Amazing Stories returns for a less-than-amazing slice of science fiction that leaves more questions at the end than it perhaps should. On the one hand, the episode itself does well to really bring you into this world, with a rising tension and plenty of drama across the 50 minutes but when the credits roll, there’s an overwhelming feel of disappointment as the lack of answers leave things on a slightly downbeat note, despite the feel-good ending.
Episode 4 of Amazing Stories begins with a woman named Sarah awakening from a coma and immediately put on a stretcher and taken away. At the same time, we cut across and see her daughter Alia working as a waitress. Hearing the news about her Mum, she rushes to the hospital. Only, her Mother simply tells her she needs to make a call and doesn’t seem to recognize her own daughter.
The next day, Alia greets her Mother again but she can somehow now speak Spanish. Soon after, a man named Wayne arrives and talks to Sarah in private while Alia watches from afar. He asks whether Alia will be a problem but Sarah simply brushes it off, telling him it’s “Nothing I can’t handle.”
Back home, Sarah starts searching through Alia’s things as fragments of her memory return. When she falls asleep that night, Alia hears her whispering numbers in her sleep.
Picked up by Wayne, Sarah heads away in secret to a strange building and they comment that it won’t be easy to break in. Sarah meets back up with Alia and they head to the dance studio together, watching the ballet dancers perform.
When they return home, Cody happens to be inside the house and as he talks about skipping town due to the money he owes a drug dealer, Sarah stands in the other room mouthing every word he says.
On the rooftop, Sarah confronts her daughter about her conversation with Cody. It’s here Alia opens up to her Mother and admits that she didn’t graduate – she got kicked out of school. After thanking her Mother for help, day turns to night and Alia starts to grow suspicious of her Mother, who happens to have a journal full of strange writing about “A Stone.”
Desperate to learn the truth, Alia starts investigating the strange numbers her Mother has been mouthing and finds Wayne’s family. It turns out Wayne also woke up from a coma and happened to be mouthing math equations, just like Sarah. It doesn’t take long before we learn the writing about “a stone” happens to be in reference to “Alexandra Stone” and the building she and Wayne have been watching is holding her captive.
Alia confronts her Mother about what’s happening and Sarah apologises, telling her she doesn’t need a Mother. This immediately sends her across to Cody, where she asks him to follow through on their plan and leave town.
Sarah and Wayne save Alexandra and at a field, she de-materializes and bounces off the satellite dishes into the atmosphere. Sarah decides to head back and see Alia instead of leaving this plane of existence, her ties too strong, as Wayne regretfully de-materializes too and bounces off the dishes into the atmosphere.
Sarah returns to Alia and saves her daughter but unfortunately winds up shot in the process. Alia revives her Mother and whatever was inside her evaporates into the atmosphere, leaving her real Mum behind. As the episode closes out, Sarah and Alia return to their life before the coma with Alia finally able to see her real Mother again.
Signs Of Life is the perfect episode to encapsulate some of the issues this anthology series has had across the weeks. There’s some nice ideas in here but they’re jumbled up in a number of cliched or tired ideas that have been done numerous times elsewhere – and with more competency. The cliched scene of Wayne standing and stopping traffic has been done so many times now, right the way back with Magneto in X-Men and more recently with the underwhelming Emergence. That’s before even mentioning Stranger Things too.
The whole government official angle and the strange trio of beings that materialize in the sky feels really half-baked, thrown to the backdrop in favour of the mother/daughter relationship, which is the strongest part of the episode. There are certainly some stand out moments here though but when the credits roll, this is unlikely to be a very memorable episode, with too many moments that bleed into the background.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!