We all know the term “Chekhov’s gun” refers to the presence of a loaded gun guaranteed to go off before the curtain falls in Act One, but it can also refer to any number of other dramatic threats. “Chekhov’s Mentos and Diet Coke,” for example, or “Chekhov’s rabid cat holding a switchblade in its paws.” Basically, don’t even introduce these things if they won’t pay off later. But while potential threats come in many forms (guns being the most tired and basic), one can argue the most ancient dramatic device is “Chekhov’s pregnant lady.” In this week’s Containment, it was the latter that finally exploded onstage. (Not literally.)
“A Time to Be Born…” was a remarkably on-the-nose title for this week’s episode. Ever since Teresa nervously rubbed her giant tum-tum during her first minutes onscreen in the pilot, we’ve been waiting for her to give birth already. It was finally time! As TV viewers, we’ve each seen roughly 100,000 childbirth scenes by now, certainly enough to declare birthing scenes mighty cheap and clichéd — yet Containment still made this one affecting. Aside from the lack of a proper hospital and the addition of a deadly virus, Teresa’s labor faced surprisingly few complications. A little bit of screaming, a little bit of panicking, but sometimes all you need to bring life into this world is a soothing indie-pop song and the comforting words of a dreamboat hunk in uniform. If Jake and Jana decided to open a midwifery business, I would probably watch a show about it.
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After last week’s long-promised riot, this was the week Containment was supposed to move in new and unexpected directions. Aside from a chilling final moment, alas, this episode ended up being more evidence that there simply isn’t enough story to fill 13 episodes. Teresa’s childbirth provided a momentary thrill, but the overall thrust of the episode involved Lex and Leo’s investigation into the conspiracy surrounding the outbreak. The big revelation was that Patient Zero placed a phone call to Nantucket shortly after his initial infection… and guess who owns a home in Nantucket? Dr. Sabine. So even though Lex and Dr. Sabine had spent enough quality time in isolation to forge a tentative friendship, the implication she was behind this outbreak (or was at least covering up its origins) was enough to send their delicate rapport out the window.
NEXT: A foreboding cough