Believe it or not, I go back and forth with Resurrection. Sometimes, it has really good ideas. Other times, it simply implements what it’s been doing since the show began. As we near the end of season two (this season got an extended run of thirteen, over the eight of last season), Resurrection has been branching off from its initial plotting extensively; finally, the show has decided that it’s not in its best interest to continue to treat each new returned like it’s a special event. Instead, “Miracles” takes a closer look at the new group that’s forming to combat the returned, led by Elaine’s brother Ray, called the True Living; and “Forsaken” allows more room for the Rachel-Pastor Tom development that’s been simmering throughout the season.
“Miracles” takes that dude Deputy Carl, the guy that’s been on the outskirts of Resurrection for the last couple of episodes because the show has attempted to mold him into someone important, and actually gives him something to do. Once he’s recruited to join the True Living, he takes it on as a mission to get back at the returned, because they’re just not wanted. In a way, this is really the same kind of thing The Leftovers is doing, with similar events; the True Living paint crosses on the doors of the returned, and everyone is put on high alert.
Even if it does feel familiar, at least it’s a step in the right direction, giving Resurrection a direction as it attempts to navigate its plot. While little answers have been given – now humans can get sick like returned people, and we don’t know why, and stem cells help get rid of it! – the developments help to break up the monotony of a show that likes to make the Langstons a number one priority, even over the main conceit.
Take, for example, “Forsaken”’s focus on Henry’s attempts to reopen his furniture factory. The importance of this development is hidden from the viewer: the show wants us to wonder about what Kirk has in store for the business, especially because Margaret clearly knows about Kirk from her past with the fire. Resurrection is frustratingly feeding us clues about what went – even involving a vision from Rachel, whatever that means – but in all honesty it’s better than what the show has been doing.
More than that, there’s a real pathos to the ending of “Forsaken,” after the True Living attack Pastor Tom’s church with tear gas, attempting to rout out the returned. Tom gets hit by Carl’s car, and he peels off, leaving Tom to die in the parking lot. It’s a grim moment that rarely occurs in Resurrection, but it’s a welcome event despite the sad murder.
That’s because “Forsaken” does the legwork beforehand. It sets up the tension, giving Tom, Rachel, and Janine most of the plot about the baby and Janine’s obsession. It’s really fucking easy to hate Janine – she’s kind of awful, and Resurrection isn’t trying hard to change the viewer’s mind on that score – but at the same time, there’s a weird symbiotic relationship working between the three of them. With Tom out of the picture, who knows what kind of weird shit Janine will get up to.
Notice that my review of Resurrection this time around has an air of positivity around it. That’s because the show is moving in the right direction, getting away from stale plotting about the returned and moving toward something more interesting. As the show nears its finale, I’m hopeful that Resurrection will hit on something meaningful about otherness and belonging – with the new involvement of True Living, there’s at least a semblance of conflict.