The Mystery Deepens
One of the biggest gripes I had with Emergence last week was its stark similarities to Stranger Things. From the initial premise down to the climactic car crash at the end, every part of the pilot felt like echoes toward Netflix’s flagship series. Thankfully, Emergence doesn’t feel like Stranger Things this week. With a more intense focus on Piper and the shadowy group trying to abduct her, Emergence delivers a really dramatic and mysterious episode here, one that leaves things hanging in the balance, ready for next week.
We begin with Jo awakened by Piper in the middle of the night, complaining that someone is outside in the garden. Heading out with her gun, a fruitless search sees her return to bed. However, in the shadows a strange man watches the house. The next morning, Jo tells Piper to go and pick an outfit while stressing over what to do with her. Despite her being on the stairs listening to every word, Piper scrambles upstairs as Jo follows her up and talks to her about the situation.
On the job, Jo finds Benny houding the salvage yard about the wreckage of the plane. It turns out government officials had him move the plane six miles out and dump it in the middle of the ocean. It turns out he also kept the air-band radio as a souvenir. It still has an electrical charge too and as Jo switches it on, Benny tells them both it’s a “phantom frequency”; a frequency between frequencies. As they head off to discuss what they’ve found, Jo also learns no one can figure out what the card is or what its purpose is.
Back home, Piper is given a journal to record her thoughts while Chris installs cameras around the outside of the house. Up in her room, Piper has visions of the pen she’s holding turning to a bloodied knife and as Jo heads home, she talks to Piper about the card. Getting nowhere, they turn in for the night but Piper wakes up to the card pulsating. As she reaches out to touch it, it automatically magnetises to her hand. Hurrying back to bed, in the morning Ed decides to turn one of their old rooms into a makeshift bedroom for the young girl.
Meanwhile, the stranger from earlier arrives at the house while Benny finds out his apartment has been ransacked. To make matters worse, Jo finds the autopsy victims reduced to bloodied goo. Someone is covering their tracks and at the heart of this conspiracy lies the stranger, who breaks into Jo’s house and follows his scanner to the bathroom. He searches through the plumbing and finds Piper’s implant. Afraid, she screams from the supply closet opposite as the electrics in the house go haywire and the stranger slips away. Jo arrives soon after and manages to calm her down as the young girl throws her arms around the detective.
In the aftermath, Jo heads to the local impound, knowing that whoever this stranger is he’s cleaning up all traces of Piper. Approaching the wreckage of a car, the magnetic force attracts her badge and as she investigates further, she finds metal floating in the back. Soon after, the stranger himself arrives to clean up as predicted. As he gets nearer to the wreckage, Jo confronts him and a fight ensues, resulting in the stranger knocked out courtesy of a sledgehammer blow using the magnetic force.
Back home, Piper packs up for a sleepover as Jo returns home and asks her to explain what’s going on. It’s here she learns Piper may have crashed the plane herself. However, it turns out she still has the card but as she hands it over to Jo, another element of it opens up and begins pulsating a strange orange glow.
As Piper goes to bed, she weighs up her options and decides to try and shine a light on the shadowy company. In order to do that, she tells Benny to write about Piper while the salvage crew drop the car into the water. As the episode closes out, the electrics continue to distort.
Despite a questionable choice of music, Emergence delivers a much more concise and original slice of drama for ABC’s new mystery thriller. While the show is unlikely to reach the same elevated heights as something like LOST, there’s enough here for the show to shake off the influences of Stranger Things this time and start progressing in a wholly original direction.
What does this shadowy group want? What is the card and its purpose? Why does Piper have special abilities? We’ll have to wait another week before we find out more but right now, Emergence is shaping up to be quite the intriguing series.