Hungry Christine/Mel Loves Ruby
Episode 1 of Fantasy Island begins with Christine Collins receiving some bad news. She grins and bears it… at least until she heads on-air anyway.
As a morning anchor, she loses control, goes completely off-script and uses a whole bunch of doughnut analogies. “Looks like someone needs a vacation!” Her colleague chuckles nervously, setting up a nice little prologue.
Well, that vacation takes place on a mysterious island where dreams come true. This island is run by a woman named Elena Roarke. Her family have guarded this place for generations and she’s determined to change her guests for the better.
First up is Ruby and Mel Akuda who touch down along with Christine Collins. Given Elena can grant any wish (within reason) the only thing Christine wants is a big ol’ buffet. The mysterious woman fulfill this wish, giving her all the food she wants without gaining a single pound. Well, naturally she begins scoffing her face.
Elsewhere, Elena catches up with Ruby and Mel. Ruby has cancer and she wants to be healthy again – at least for a few days anyway. Having heard enough, Elena hands over a map which lead the pair to a waterfall which makes the pair younger.
Elsewhere, Christine takes a trip down food memory lane. As a conveyor belt of different food shows up on the table, a wedding cake sees Christine start to regret her wish. Through a series of flashbacks we see she used to be called Crystal Joe and live in a trailer. Landon is not exactly a loving father, calling her fat and offering to fix her teeth.
That hunger that she’s feeling is from a life of unfulfillment, and it seems Christine is using this food as a way of trying to stave off the hunger she’s feeling in her life. When Landon shows up at the island, he antagonizes Christine. Having heard enough, she smashes a glass across his head.
Alone, Elena contemplates her own emotions. She’s sad for Ruby and is finding it hard to be emotionally detached from her. Well, a big party takes place that night where Ruby ends up getting a tattoo on her back.
That evening, in private, Mel admits he knows the truth about Ruby. She made her choice all those years ago but it’s clear she used to love a girl called Meredith. Mel knows this and smiles sadly.
On the back of all this, Elena offers to keep Ruby at fantasy island indefinitely to help out. It seems like the island has chosen her (hello, Lost!) but it’s also a one-person offer as well. Mel lets his wife go, letting her live her own life now and not live for other people.
Meanwhile, Christine lashing out against Landon – or at least the subconscious version of him – is enough for Christine to let go of her anger and fear. She eventually leaves the island too, determined to be happy and make the most of her life. As she steps on the plane, Mel also leaves, saying goodbye to his wife for the last time.
The Episode Review
How many times do you want to say Fantasy Island in one episode? Hammering home the idea of any wish can come true, the exposition and cheesy montages early on really undermine what eventually turns into a rather engaging second half of this chapter.
The two subplots here are a strange hodgepodge of ideas though that are never really given a chance to actually develop in a satisfying way.
Ruby and Mel could have been a good examination of old age and what it means to live a life with someone. Instead, we get this lesbian angle which is absolutely fine in itself but also undermines the gravity of this cancer diagnosis if she can just cheat that by staying young and on this island. And could she really just leave her husband so easily after all this time without even shedding a tear?
The Christine subplot is a little better, although still not great as there’s no consequences to her eating all this food and scoffing her face. There’s no underlying danger or moral lesson here beyond actually facing your fears and confronting your past. Or, in a more literal interpretation, physically harming the person antagonizing you.
Either way though, the episode gets this series off to a bit of a rocky start, although it remains to be seen where this one will go in the episodes to come as there’s definitely potential here.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|