‘You Are Here’
Following on from the show’s inconsistent start, this weeks episode You Are Here, was generally decent, yet was let down by the major issue of being shown out of order, meaning a lot of the good work went to waste.
The plot this week saw the team race to prevent the next victims of a firm using ‘smart bullets’ to kill off targets, no matter how far they run. This made for a great opening sequence, as the first target missed a train and was stopped by the police, only to be suddenly struck down by a bullet. The concept itself was for once fairly unique, without any clear homage or appropriation of any other material. A side element, involving ‘memory wipe’ centres, was very much Total Recall, but then that’s something that could easily be seen in a future society, so perhaps that’s acceptable. The support cast allowed for a human element to be added, successfully, with the character of Kira well portrayed compared to some previous supporting acts. On the whole, it was a fast-paced episode, although it was perhaps a tad too simplistic, with little focus on the background or motives of the antagonists.
Yet if there was a reason the episode struggled, this certainly wasn’t it, and instead pretty much all that was wrong with this week’s episode happened due to the executive decision by Fox (and in turn by Watch here in the UK) to completely alter the order in which the episodes have been shown. This week’s ‘eighth episode’ was actually planned as episode 2, and consequently, it doesn’t fit in the overall narrative at this stage. This is shown through two elements. Firstly, we had a small scene were Maldonado interviewed Reinhardt, the primary antagonist of the Pilot, responsible for the attack on the precinct in that episode. The huge wait means that there’s a chance viewers might have not remember who on earth he is, considering the show gets through a villain a week, and they all seem to look quite similar thinking back.
Had this been episode two, it would have shown elements being carried over from the last episode, proving that the show had more to it than the CSI ‘crime of the week’ formula. Instead, there was a reminder of something that has been shown to have no bearing on the rest of the series so far, seeing as there are very few episodes from late on in the series left to see.
The other problematic element was the effect this had on the relationship between Kennex and Dorian. In the previous weeks we’ve seen a steadily building friendship, through the great chemistry of Michael Ealy and Karl Urban, yet this week, we were back to square one, with Kennex’s angry threats to the android partner he doesn’t want, and Dorian still acting like the know-it-all version of the androids. So what was one of the best areas of the show, the character interaction that most shows struggle with, has been temporarily ruined.
This ultimately touches upon the wider issue of why the show didn’t find a strong enough core fan base, and why it didn’t get a second series, as it clearly has had an impact on continuity and the strength of the show by playing around with the order. So many fans seemed to love the chemistry between the two leads, and one might imagine this being torn apart was never going to benefit the show. The official reason given by Fox for the decision was that they felt their order better introduced the show, and that each episode was suitably self-contained, yet You Are Here would have been perfect in its original slot, with a simple yet entertaining introduction to the narrative. Long story short, only Fox is to blame for the show failing, and the order should have been something left to the show runners, and not playing around with at executive level.
Overall, the episode itself was middling – not brilliant in the same way that some episodes have been, yet not at all awful. Yet due to the scheduling, it came off far, far worse, jarring with previous episodes, and depriving the audience of the fantastic Dorian-Kennex relationship, and significantly harming the show’s momentum.