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'Persons Unknown' - 'The Edge' Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 15th 2010 12:40PM
Persons Unknown(S01E02) The character of Blackham -- the clear jerk of the group of people trapped in the 'Persons Unknown' small town -- had an interesting theory in tonight's episode, even if he was mostly kidding. What if this is some reality show?

If you think about it, this show is pretty much set up like 'Big Brother' or 'Survivor': a bunch of strangers are thrown into a situation together in a particular place. 'Big Brother' has a house, 'Survivor' has an island and this show has a deserted town.

It's sort of the ultimate reality show, really. People who are truly trapped in a place, away from their families, and can probably really die at any moment (as far as we know). I'm wondering when -- or if -- some of these characters will start dying, or are they just being tested/experimented on in some way? When Janet got the gun I thought it was going to turn out to have blanks in it so she wouldn't actually kill Joe if she decided to use it. But then we saw that she shot the camera instead, a twist you probably saw coming the minute they showed her aiming the gun and then a close-up of the camera (a second obvious thing happened later when the butterfly was zapped in the invisible fence), so those were real bullets so this really is life and death we're playing with here.

Speaking of that invisible fence, why do they have to keep touching it with their hands and other body parts? Isn't it the type of fence you can just throw something at instead? Maybe a rock or a book or an empty Chinese food container. By the way, this seems like a nice town, actually. It has a movie theater, shopping, and the best Chinese food in the world. Though I think I'd either get sick of having Chinese food for every meal or spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I wonder why it's Chinese food anyway? Is there a reason behind that?

We're all looking for clues as to what exactly this place is and who has kidnapped these people. I'm not sure if this is the type of shows to give us 'Murder, She Wrote'-ish clues that we can actually figure out. It's probably a show that will give us more and more reveals as the season goes along. I wonder what we're supposed to think of the stories going on outside of the small town, this show's story structure that sort of mimics the flashbacks we saw on 'Lost' (a way of adding meat and back story to what's going on). Why show the grandmother as a creepy disciplinarian? And why does the reporter wear such weird glasses and a cloth vest?

Maybe each was brought there by a family member or friend for some reason? It was interesting to see that there are security cameras away from the small town (in this episode they were in the bar), so maybe this whole plot is bigger than we imagine.

The whole subplot with that reporter and his editor has a weird vibe about it, like it's supposed to be America but they filmed the scenes in Peru or something. It just seems ... off. Maybe it's the actors, maybe it's the set, I don't know. (Update: this whole series was filmed in Mexico, so there you go.)

So yeah, I'm still into this show. I gave up on 'Happy Town' three episodes in, but this one continues to make me say "what is going on?" And since that's what they're going for, they've succeeded.

More thoughts:

- I would have taken out those implants. Sure, trust yourself to the complete stranger who is walking around wearing a bathrobe. What if the kidnappers assumed you would try to take them out and put in something that would hurt you? But they're out and that gave us the chance to go beyond the fence. Or they could have died of infection. The Chinese restaurant is well-staffed but I haven't seen a hospital yet, so they should be careful.

- About that fence: since they drove straight away in the car and then ended up in the town again, are we to assume there's something otherworldly about this crazy Mayberry or what?

- Did you notice that the fortune cookie changed? When we saw it last week it was all on one line but tonight's fortune was on two lines. I truly doubt that means anything. I'm thinking it's a continuity error.

- What about the weird smoke that came out of Victoria's room when she opened the door? Why didn't she notice that or question it? Or did I imagine it?

- I'm guessing that Moira likes Victoria (nudge-nudge wink-wink) or maybe she's just quirky.

- Good to see the show has a longer opening with a theme song now.

Watch the full episode below!

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NBC's Persons Unknown was suppose to be a great mystery about a group of people that were kidnapped and held in a mysterious village. Persons Unknown showed potential, but is dragging out way too much and has grown boring. This was the last episode I'll watch. I'll wait until its over and let someone tell me what the plot was suppose to be about. BORING .. shame on NBC!

The marketing on this show by NBC is and was dreadful. Had the network given more clues to the show and the show's -purpose, more people would have tuned into the Pilot; which tanked. And the few viewers, like me that were hoping for something to surface to give us a clue what this series was about; be it Espionage, Murder for Hire, Extortion, Heave/Hell scenario etc, I might have returned to watch more episodes. But it gave away far too little and dragged out far too long. For my viewing pleasure, I think I'll go back and watch my laundry dry in the machine during that hour. At least I know what I'm watching

June 29 2010 at 9:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not sure if this was mentioned before, but the information on the IMDB page for the show is a bit telling. Listing how many episodes each character will appear in is making me speculate just who is going to be left and who is behind all this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1333050/

June 17 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No discussion of the night manager being able to run past the microwave fence (although he ended up back in town as well).

That "Welcome Back!" billboard was a nice gag.

June 17 2010 at 7:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm finding this a very intriguing show too & I've also given up on Twin Peaks,uh,I mean Happy Town.Not sure how the creepy grandmother will play into all of this,but she must somehow,remember last week? As she was sitting in her living room while that reporter was interviewing her it showed a pov from a hidden surveillance camera just like the ones in that unusual city.

June 16 2010 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It does feel like a cross between a Twilight Zone ep, The Prisoner & Saw!
It also reminds of the short-lived show "Drive".
We have average people from different walks of life being set in a strange situation, forced to do things they would not do in 'real life', and not knowing the 'why' of being there. Although, I think that they all have an idea of 'why'. ie: crazy mom wants your kid, dad thinks you are an embarrassment, and more to find out I'm sure. We see one person reading the Bible, the soldier praying Muslim style, the car dude just seems like a jerk/leach. The 'crazy gal' may just think this is all a part of her delusions. Joe is a mystery, it will be fun to see what his background is. I love it so far. Also can't help but believe that there is a 'mole' within the group too...we know the 'night watchman' said he's 'used to it' so, yeah, I think it's an on-going thing. Those cooks are also 'indentured' in some way. Very scary how they drove out of town, were blinded by a bright light and were suddenly back in the town. Can't wait to see what it next.

June 16 2010 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the fortune being on two lines instead of one was a continuity break (although they showed us the 2-line version in the preview after last week's ep). But the "Kill Joe" one was left with the pics of her daughter.. that was intentional.

BTW, do you think it's important that the whole town looks like it's out of the 50s/60s? Added to the manager's "used to it by now" comment, I wonder if this has been going on for years with different victims.

June 16 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show I will watch all the way to the end

June 16 2010 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the changed fortune was just something they left in her room with the gun and the picture. Not a continuity error, just them dumbing down the instructions for her (or for the audience).

June 16 2010 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"I'm not sure if this is the type of shows to give us 'Murder, She Wrote'-ish clues that we can actually figure out."

I don't think it's Christopher McQuarrie's M.O. to dish clues along the way, but I'm equally confident that the answers that viewers of this show seek won't just come out of left field, either. In other words, you can count on the ending to make sense. Whether or not it will be satisfying to those who invest part of their summer on this series is another story, of course.

Meanwhile, this program offers the opportunity to ask - and try to answer - questions that are even grander in scope than "who done it?". I'll be writing about the thematic elements of Persons Unknown here: www.personspeople.com throughout the rest of the season.

June 16 2010 at 5:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It reminds me more of "The Prisoner" than anything else.

June 15 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mb's comment

It reminds me of the original "Twilight Zone" series. I know those were vignettes and this is a series, but it certainly takes me back to that mindset.

I'm loving this show and can't wait till next Monday!

June 15 2010 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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