Dec 16, 2015

Long Live Karellen!

We all have guns!
I just watched the middle third of Syfy's adaptation of Childhood's End. After the first "episode" I was worried about how Karellen would defend himself against religious fanatics, but I did not expect Syfy to make us watch the Supervisor get blown away by a religious fanatic.

Supervisor Karellen
The Year: 2035
The religious fanatic (Peretta Jones) seems convinced that Karellen is evil. Of course, after 20 years of seeing Karellen at work, and witnessing his deployment of advanced alien technology that allows him to heal the dead (such as the murdered Milo), we must wonder: why should Karellen care about a little thing like getting shot?

SIHA 2105
Answer: because this is Hollywood, where nothing has to make sense and where profit$ are measured by the number of commercial$, $ex acts and act$ of violence that you can cram into an hour of screen time. Episode 2 of SyFy's adaptation of Clarke's Childhood's End is a jumbled mess. Leaving most of the dangling plot threads on the cutting room floor, I want to address the question: does this TV show present us with an interesting alien (SIHA: 2015)?

2015 winner: most unlikely farmer award.
Why Can't We Be Friends?
Episode 2 failed to continue showing Karellen's sense of humor, but it did reveal that he is trying to be a friend to Ricky. Why? We may never know.

Ricky (Mike Vogel) is the most unlikely Hollywood farmer since Kevin Costner didn't actually do any farming in Field of Dreams. We never see Ricky doing any farm work, but in Episode 2 he tells us how tired he is from all the corn harvesting. Right.

In the barn.
Jennifer Greggson's arrival...
Such lovely glowing eyes you have!
And we learn that Karellen has prevented Ricky and Ellie from having children. Why? Because in the future it is going to be difficult for parents to deal with what happens to their children.

All that would be fine, but then we are taken a step too far. We are asked to believe that because Ricky visited Karellen's spaceship, Ricky is poisoned. But buddy boy Karellen arrives on the farm with a vial full of a rare and precious elixir that will save Ricky's life.

Milo's SETI project.
Strike a Nerve
And then, at the end of Episode 2, our token religious fanatic sneaks into the barn and blasts Karellen with a shotgun. Karellen proves he is mortal and falls to the ground. Brother Ricky gives up the cure for what ails him and uses the rare and precious elixir to save Karellen's life.

None of this makes any sense, but it shows us that Karellen and Ricky are blood brothers and further humanizes our alien Overlord. Sorry, but after 4 hours of Karellen alien striptease I feel like we should have learned something useful about our Overlords. Thankfully my DVR and the fast-forward button will get me through this.

Is Ricky sick or transforming into an alien?
Karellen is Dead, Long Live Karellen!
Karellen, brought back from the brink of death, tells Peretta that religions are beautiful like poetry, but his message is clear: in these end times, anyone who cannot accept the end of human existence is just making things hard for themselves. He advises: "embrace acceptance". This advice falls on deaf ears and before the end of Episode 2, Peretta kills herself, literally following in her mother's footsteps.

Episode 3: will Milo go to hell?
Imagine there's no heaven
After 4 hours of show time, viewers still know almost nothing about Karellen and why he is on Earth. Or where he came from. In Episode 2, we are told that Karellen has collect 9,000,000 species from Earth, but so far he has not "collected" any humans.

Thank you, Overlords!
We are teased with the idea that Ricky might be the human who Karellen selected as the human specimen to be preserved after Earth is terminated. We have to wonder: maybe Ricky is being transformed into a form of life that can survive in "Hell", or whatever be the name of the Overlord planet where the 9,000,000 species from Earth are taken.

Next: Episode 3 (on December 16th, a birthday gift for Clarke?)
What is going on deep inside Amy and inside Karellen's Psychic Research Institute?

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