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October 22, 2014

'Persons Unknown' - 'Incoming' Recap

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 6th 2010 6:10AM
Persons Unknown(S01E05) I know that 'Persons Unknown' has to answer a lot of questions rather quickly because it's a 13-episode summer series and not something that will last 120 episodes like 'Lost.' But I'm still rather impressed with the pace of the show and what it has revealed/hinted at so far.

The characters have learned things, we know that someone is also watching events outside of the town, and we've even found out that at least one of the kidnappees is not what they seem, yet the show is still hiding the BIG who/what/where/why (and not in a frustrating way).

And tonight we found out that the people trapped in Mayberry 2.0 can die. ...

But it's clever of the show that this isn't simply a retread of Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' (referenced by Moira in tonight's episode -- I love it when TV characters are aware of other pop culture), where the people trapped are killed one by one. Tori was killed after she left the town in a cab -- found in Italy, oddly -- and her "spot" was taken by an unconscious woman dressed up to look like her. I'm curious to know what the hell is going for many reasons, and one of them is to find out if the people in the town have to be "replaced" for some reason if one of them is killed and/or escapes. Otherwise I'm not quite sure why they would introduce new character Erika to the mix.

And that's not all! The other twist was having the people in the town (except Joe, of course) think that Tori is still alive. Not sure why they have to be told that or why Tori's father went along with the fake video, but it's a story development that's rather delicious.

But this show is doing a lot of things right in that regard: who knows what, what character is doing this, what character is doing that. The revelation that Joe knows what's going on was big enough, but now we know he's going to protect these people (especially Janet) even if it means going against his superiors. And people like Moira and Erika now know he knows more than he's letting on.

Imagine the show if it was just these characters trapped in the town and a bunch of mysterious things start happening to them. No creepy concierge to do things for them, no fully staffed Chinese restaurant to serve them food, no reporter outside the town trying to figure out what's going on, etc.

The show would get tedious rather quickly. This format guarantees that we really won't guess what's going to happen next. I mean, if one of the major characters can suddenly leave the town and end up dead in a fountain in Italy. ...

More thoughts:

• I still can't warm up to Kat the editor. I don't know if it's the actress or the character, but I find her screams brittle and her attitude towards Mark all over the place and irritating. Giving the list of other kidnap victims to Mark at his apartment at the end was a nice step towards me liking the character, but I need a lot more than that.

• Speaking of that list, how exactly are all of the people on it connected? (Apart from the fact that they've all been kidnapped recently, natch.) Is it a huge list of kidnap victims around the world that Mark will have to investigate one by one, or is the list just the people trapped in the town? If it's the latter it seems too quick and easy (though, again, only 13 episodes ... )

• This was the first episode where I had a truly palpable sense of, "Oh, I hope the solution to this mystery will be worth it." Sure, there's been a little of that thinking with every episode -- and even before the series started -- but this episode really made me realize that there's some great stuff happening with this show, and that it would be ruined if the secret is lame or unbelievable. Though with cameras hidden in various bars and private offices, and a town you always come back to even if you do leave it, I'm willing to believe a lot of things.

• If this episode means that other characters will die one by one, I'm going to guess that Mr. Jerky meets his demise next, which will make the millionaire with the secret very, very happy.

• Yup, the next episode is on a Saturday: July 17th. The ratings are kinda lousy so NBC is dumping it on Saturday nights. Let's be thankful that this show is only 13 episodes long or we might see it vanish altogether.

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ron

I have been hearing rumors that the show is being cancelled already. Any truth of it? Im getting real tired of networks doing this to some shows that just need some time to catch on. Loved flashforward, happy town, Miami med. and a few others.

July 13 2010 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mb

I nearly fell over when I recognized Erika being played by Kandyse McClure from Battlestar Galactica (Dualla).

Kandyse is one of the most beautiful actresses on TV, and this show's makeup department did an unbelievable job of making her look like a ex-convict.

Kandyse even had the "perp walk" down. I did notice that she started to soften in the bank vault, but I'm glad that she got a role on TV after BSG.

Her profile on IMDB -> http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0565973/

July 06 2010 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I was very sorry to see the death of that cutie Tori. But I'm also curious as to the reason as to why Big Brother decided she had to die.And her father appears to be a man of wealth & power,so what do they have on him that so intimidates him that he will not retaliate even knowing they murdered his daughter.This is a really well done & intriguing TV series.

July 06 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jcoulter

OK I blew it big time with this one, convinced that the reporter was being set up with the paternity thing egg on face for that, and now Joe, sweet Joe is one of the bad guys, even if in a good guy kind of way.

It gets better. Erika is a trip and has a real feel for the hard core female inmate, though the dive out the window from unknown stories high was a bit of a stretch. I guess when you are dead, or think you are . . .

July 06 2010 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jcoulter's comment
Kai

Agreed about the window dive - As I watching I was thinking that it was just a little too far of a stretch..

I'm curious about the whole "result" expected from the bank safe scenario.. I'm assuming that result means one killing the other, but that seems a little too easy..

July 06 2010 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharon

I think they are all dead. They are in pergatory, and get replaced for various reasons.

July 06 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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