Cause When The Feeling’s Right, I’m Gunna Run All Night
Fox’s latest sci-fi thriller The Passage gets off to a promising but somewhat predictable start. Despite a lot of expository laden dialogue and only a fraction of plot development, the chemistry between orphaned Amy and rogue agent Brad looks to be the driving force for this vampire-centric story.
The first episode opens and closes on the same frame, with narration from a young girl called Amy Bellafonte sometime in the near future filling us in on what’s happening in present time. Before we learn more about this girl, we cut back a few years to a cave expedition with a group of explorers, led by Dr. Tim Fanning and Dr. Jonas Lear. When Tim is attacked by a strange creature, what follows is a mad scramble to escape and save his life.
It’s at this point where we change locations and see a group of scientists, including Jonas, grimly discussing a viral outbreak and the horrible side effects that have been inflicted on Tim as a result of being bitten. After a brief biology lesson, it’s decided they need a child specimen to formulate a vaccine and it’s at this point in the story where we meet Amy Bellafonte.
After seeing a snippet of her tragic backstory, we catch up with our protagonist trying to survive in a rough foster family. When a group of agents, including conflicted Brad, come to pick her up, intent on taking her back to the science facility for experimentation, an unlikely bond between Amy and Brad results in the plan going awry. This happens to be the driving force for much of the episode and together, they go on the run to evade the authorities after he has a change of heart.
Alongside this growing bond is an equally strong connection, albeit one not quite as uplifting. Back at the lab, scientists begin complaining of horrible, vivid dreams about the vampiric creature. Writing this off as cabin fever, we’re left with a faint glimmer of sickening glee as the vampiric Tim Fanning sits in his cell watching the other scientists. Given the little amount to go on with this plot, it’ll be interesting to see how The Passage deals with its vampires. Especially given the way these blood-sucking fiends have been desaturised in recent media.
In terms of production value and cinematography, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy or outstanding here aside from the aforementioned inclusion of the same shot at the start and end of the episode. There’a a fair amount of exposition though and some of the characters feel a little two dimensional at this time, especially conflicted best friend Clark, but it’s early days yet and this could soon change in the foreseeable future.
The Passage may not blow anyone anyone away with its opening episode, but there’s enough here to keep you watching next week to find out what happens. With the right characterisation we could be looking at a very memorable pair in Brad and Amy and this is really the driving force for much of the episode. The vampire does feel like a genuine threat and the viral storyline works well with this but with little to go on, we’re left with scraps of guesswork until next week’s episode. A good, albeit slightly formulaic opening, The Passage is worth a watch but if you’re not sold on its pilot, you’re unlikely to return to this one in a hurry.