The Hunt For Piper
Emergence and Prodigal Son started the same week back in September last year but their trajectory couldn’t be more different. The latter started off pretty weakly and has grown into something far more engrossing and engaging over the weeks whereas Emergence has suffered some pretty poor plot twists and pacing across its own run-time to reduce it to something that lacks a real identity and energy, despite some promising signs last week.
This week unfortunately fails to really bring the series back to where it was early on, as the show attempts desperately to tie everything together with some plot twists and half-baked character motivations that feel like a far cry from what we saw way back in September when this one began. Episode 11 of Emergence begins with the shady Helen meeting with a random robot and stabbing it through the neck, snatching its orange orb in the process. Meanwhile, Jo and Ryan drive to see Abby, asking for her help in picking apart the android and doing an autopsy for clues.
After a stressful day, Jo goes to bed and in the morning learns that Mia may have been contacted by Piper regarding the radio signal. Determined to decipher the binary code, they all agree to call on Emily’s expertise.
Jo shows Emily what they’ve found and it’s enough to pique her interest and head in to take a look. She suggests using the dead android to channel the binary code through its main-frame, given it’s essentially a super-computer. It works too, and as Emily opens up the backdoor she tells Jo she can connect her to Piper. Just before she goes under however, she tells her to look for the gold book; a place where Piper’s thoughts and memories are. Here, she can modify all her memories and bring her back. Desperate to see Piper, Jo straps on the VR headset and dives into her memories.
Meanwhile Alex heads in to speak to Chris about the signal. An enthusiastic Alex hasn’t come alone however, and he introduces his old buddy Francis who talks to them about the liquid metal they’ve seen and offers up some suggestions to try and get to the bottom of it all. As they head out for drinks after, Francis offers Alex a job and suggests he think about it.
Piper and Benny arrive at an abandoned diner and talk about Jo, before Helen reveals herself to them and tells Piper not to be afraid. Not long after, Jo dives into Piper’s memories where she learns the girl is trying to fix Benny and turn him back to the good side again, which is why she’s with him. Jo refuses to allow her to do that though and pleads with her to come back. As she throws the gold book into the fireplace, Piper kicks Jo out of her memories.
Helen uses Piper to hack into a facility and immediately kills the security guard there. She threatens Piper soon after, prompting her to crush the villain behind a stack of metal and rush out the facility with Benny. Back at the station, Chris shows Jo the energy fluctuations he’s found and it leads them back on the trail of Piper, who reveals the truth to Benny about what she’s been doing and implores him to look for the real Benny deep inside.
Midway through their conversation, Jo catches up with Piper but Benny holds her up at gunpoint. She tells Piper to run but the girl refuses to. Just before Benny pulls the trigger, he manages to stop himself from succumbing to his impulses, before Jo knocks him down with a crowbar and brings Piper home. That evening Alex and Jo talk, where he reveals the truth about his job offer to her.
Ryan takes Emily back to the station but en-route starts using what happened to her advantage to blackmail him. However, on the road they’re ambushed so he grabs a gun and tells Emily to run through the woods. However, Helen shows up just as Ryan is shot dead and corners Emily where the episode ends.
Perhaps we’re in the minority here but Emergence’s lack of cohesive storytelling is really holding this one back from feeling more consistent. The early days of espionage, spy dogs and layering mystery feel like a lifetime ago and since then, Emergence has gone full-steam ahead with its AI storyline, changing its own ideas and genre (not to mention lead antagonist) several times. With more of a vibe reminiscent to Channel 4’s Humans now, Emergence feels like a completely different show than it did when it aired last year and I’m not sure it’s wholly for the better.
Quite how this one will end next week remains to be seen but with an inconsistent pacing and a myriad of jumbled ideas that feel designed for cliffhangers and twists rather than a consistent story thread, Emergence unfortunately looks set to whimper over the finish line rather than bowing out on a triumphant roar.
|Emergence is available to watch on ABC Network. Feel free to click here to check this show out!|