As the pieces of the puzzle start to come together, Emergence returns for another episode that sees us spiral further into the android-centric story, this time with a Terminator-esque spin on proceedings. With light characterisation for Helen and a story that tries to tie everything together that we’ve experienced over the past 4 months, Emergence rockets along at breakneck speed for part 1 of its season finale.
Episode 12 of Emergence begins with Helen inviting Emily out for dinner where she gives her a proposition. She wants Piper’s abilities to be replicated and as Emily leans over and slashes Helen across the neck, it turns out she has the power to regenerate. Helen smiles regretfully and tells her she’s failed and will now have to work on Justin’s code instead.
Jo phones the FBI trying to get hold of Brooks but after a fruitless call, heads into work where she speaks to Benny about what Helen’s end-game is. Benny pleads with her to see reason, going on to explain that he was programmed to do everything that’s happened between them. Jo receives a cryptic call to head into hospital where she finds Brooks in the hospital bed. Deciding to intercept him before the FBI do, she teams up with an orderly to smuggle him out the room away from the officers. Given Emily was in his custody and now she’s not, he suspects there will be serious repercussions to his actions. Before he allows himself to be captured, Jo and Brooks wind up kissing during their escape.
After giving himself up, Brooks is interviewed by one of the officers there until he slips away, hurrying back over to Jo and talking to her about what he’s learned. It turns out the FBI have multiple files on her but he remains incredulous around quite why that’s the case. Soon after, they run into Helen. Or, at least they think it’s Helen. It turns out it’s actually her creator Loretta. As they stand in the parking lot talking, she tells them the AI was created thanks to them intercepting a top secret transmission and Helen was the first AI. The AI have been making her own AI after she murdered everyone in the lab that fateful day.
Thankfully, Loretta has a kill-shot and is willing to trade it in exchange for Piper’s source-code. After some deliberation, Jo then regretfully agrees to her deal and she’s given a needle that’ll kill the AI instantly. Meanwhile, Emily manages to slip away with Justin but, realizing that he’ll always be Helen’s to control, she apologises and leaves him alone. As it happens, all of this was a clever simulation and as he awakens, Helen stabs him through the neck and seizes his disk.
At the police station, Chris opens a package that holds Piper’s disk and realizes that she may be trying to trick Loretta and Helen while Brooks and Jo arrive at the lab and come face to face with Helen, who uses her telekinetic powers to blast the room before dissolving into ash. However, she quickly forms back into a humanoid shape again as Brooks and Jo run away. As Helen stalks them, the episode ends with things wide open for the finale.
With an faster pacing and a breathless 42 minutes that sees the story up the stakes, it almost feels like this has been done to try and hide some of the flaws with the writing. Why would Brooks be surprised the FBI have so many files on Jo? Wasn’t he the one who collected those files earlier in the season by investigating her? If Benny was programmed to do everything that’s happened, does that mean he’s also being programmed now to help Jo?
Compared to the methodical and careful pacing early on, Emergence’s change into a much more fast-paced action thriller feels a little unnaturally delivered and it’s a show that hasn’t been helped by multiple start/stop moments involving its main antagonistic threat and week-long breaks. Still, the second part to this finale is up next and while this is still a perfectly enjoyable ride, it’s also one that seems to have lost its way over the back-end to this series.
|Emergence is available to watch on ABC Network. Feel free to click here to check this show out!|