Episode 1 of Last Light begins with a man standing atop a desert dune with a gun in his hands. He looks around, nervously, trying to remember how he got there. A montage reveals the following information, albeit very faintly. The man was driving a car, which overturned in the desert and met with an accident. A French lady, Elena, calls out for her son, Sam, and men from the authorities approach them. Laura, another girl, calls her father on the phone from a nightclub.
Two days earlier in London, the man sits with his family as they celebrate Sam’s birthday. Elena, Laura, Sam, and Andy are a family – one boy, one girl, and the parents. The Yeats also get their picture clicked at the dinner. A Khalil keeps calling Sam, who shuts his phone. On their way home, Andy teaches Sam how to drive the car. When they reach home, men in a black car follow behind and inform Andy that Mr. Khalil al-Rashid wants him in Luzrah immediately. This summoning out of the blue is unprecedented and so it must be something serious, deduces Andy to calm down a furious Elena.
Sam is to have surgery in three days’ time in Paris and Elena wants Andy to be there. The dad promises he will be and comforts his son as well about the same. Laura asks for permission to go to Edinburgh for a “big climate march”. From the conversation, we can glean that Andy works for an oil corporation and performs a job of critical importance. Laura is denied permission and Andy leaves her in charge. Rashid is worried about the Al Shizal refinery. It has stopped working and all the systems have shut down. The scientists at the site have no clue what’s up and Andy’s molecular science know-how will have to determine what is wrong with the oil.
Mika Bakhash, a representative of the British government is sent to shadow and assist Andy in his job. The government is worried about the oil supply and has hence sent a rep. Farooq, one of Rashid’s security personnel, goes with Andy as well. Andy is also given a secure line by Rashid. Sam and Elena reach the hospital in Paris. There is chaos on the roads as they find cars burning across the streets. The exact reason for the civil unrest is unknown. Sam is blind, and suffering from pediatric onset RP. He is to undergo experimental surgery that might potentially give him vision. Elena made grand efforts to raise funds and facilitate the research.
Andy suspects some sort of contamination in either the crude or the refined product. He cannot be sure until he performs his own tests on the samples. As they make the trip, Farooq spots ill-meaning clouds over the desert and says the storm will be severe. Laura is still in London, joining the local demonstrations just as Andy asked her to. Elena meets with Sam’s doctor for coffee and sees the television news, which is disturbing. Many ships at sea suddenly lost power and sent out a distress signal. Andy reaches the refinery and does a preliminary assessment. It does not look too good. He says to Mika that he will have to take samples from all the distillates and reach the lab early the next morning.
Laura has a party at the house against Andy’s instructions and Sam’s tests before the surgery come out all good. Khalil watches the television where more bad news is incoming. An airplane crashes and 278 lose their lives. Witnesses report that the plane just dropped out of the sky. Khalil is informed by Semir that the Board has rejected his instructions. The Chairman has made himself unavailable and wants to take power from him. Khalil instructs Semir to double the security and keep his family safe. The next day, chaos in Paris grows even stronger. Due to a problem with the power grid, the government has asked the hospital Sam is in to move all critical and pre-operative patients to another spot.
This would include Sam as well and Laura is worried. Across the world, there are power outages. Mobile network is becoming patchy as well. All have reported “fuel issues”. Mika finally reveals to Andy after some probing that the British government picked up “chatter” of an impending attack on valuable oil industry assets. They think this might be it as the irregularities started to show up here. All of a sudden, two black trucks show up and push the cars taking Andy and Mika off the road. Men with guns start shooting at them and that is how the car tumbles. Andy escapes and one of the masked men from the truck approaches him. In the raging storm, Mika manages to shoot him and one other person. She gives him the gun and Andy will not be able to make it to Paris.
But, for more important things, what in the hell is happening? If indeed it is a deliberate attack – which is what it looks like – Mika is no ordinary government agent. She seems a trained, special forces type with the way she handles the gun. And why does she have a gun of all people? Things are just started to het up and it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.
The Episode Review
Overall, the first episode was everything but not “not” interesting. The series was billed as an apocalyptic sci-fi story about a man trying to save the world and his family. Episode 1 does a great job of setting up that premise but not really giving anything away. But this decision does not seem intentional.
The writing was really weak and the narration confused as to how to pitch this story to the viewers. It does not seem likely that a lot of people will return for the next episode because of this reason. Matthew Fox is solid as Andy Yeats, although his retirement ditching move might not be too wise a decision. It is nice to see the actor back in action.
The central mystery in Last Light’s story seems to be an oil-destroying bacteria, threatening to disrupt the world order. What remains to be seen is how this will come about and how just five episodes can provide an opportunity to undertake meaningful world-building.