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'Containment' recap: 'Be Angry at the Sun'

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Bob Mahoney/The CW

Containment

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
04/19/16
performer:
David Gyasi, Chris Wood, Kristen Gutoskie
broadcaster:
The CW
genre:
Drama

Exercise trends come and go, but often the simplest methods yield the best results. You don’t need a SoulCycle pass to take a long bike ride, and you don’t need a CrossFit coach to do burpees. And when it comes to really building muscle, take a cue from Containment and try one of the best bodyweight exercises there is: Heaving corpses into an incinerator! If you thought Jake Riley (Chris Wood) was in good shape before, check him out after a few hours with the hospital furnace! His cremains-dusted tank top was practically bursting at the seams! [cue saxophone music]

Not since this week’s episode of Game of Thrones has the specter of death yielded such sexy results. (Naked corpse Jon Snow could get it.) But Jake’s sexy undertaker routine was a welcome change from how boring death’s been on Containment lately. Yes, a few people bled to death from their orifices in the first episode, but in settling into a week-to-week saga, the show has scaled back on the threat of the virus while we wait for that eventual riot the pilot promised. It’s saying something that nearly all of the tensest moments of “Be Angry at the Sun” had less to do with a virus and more to do with loaded guns. (The proliferation of which, to be fair, is probably the IRL most dangerous virus in America. #thinkpiece)

Until now most of Containment‘s gunplay had been restricted to cops and authority figures, but this week a local yokel and his girlfriend attempted to knock over Teresa’s mom’s bodega. The moment was shocking, but perhaps only because the citizens of Containment had been relatively polite to one another so far. Days into the cordoning of an entire neighborhood, people were still seeming pretty cool with the price gouging and inconveniences. No more! Civilization was finally starting to erode. Fortunately the bodega standoff was neutralized by, you guessed it, MORE guns, as Jake and his fellow cops intervened. But the biggest takeaway from this episode is that as more people grow desperate, the good guys won’t be able to save the day for much longer.

Because the virus had seemed pretty, uh, contained in the past two episodes, we as viewers have been looking for cracks in the quarantine (because, again, a flash-forward told us that things will get bad). This week provided one: A random hospital janitor with a bloody mouth grabbed one of the kids Katie had been supervising. But when the kid’s father showed up with, you guessed it, a GUN, that boy was taken out into the wild against Katie’s protests. They’re all still technically inside the cordon, but viral outbreaks are a game of loose ends, and an end was now very loose.

NEXT: Blackout forever? [pagebreak]

In what could be considered the official main plotline of “Be Angry at the Sun” (though Jake’s tank tops are always unofficially the main plotline), an online journalist was creating problems for the authorities by having the audacity to report on the conditions inside the cordon. This meant reports about Muslims being beaten by angry racist mobs (a horrifying and socially important plotline that Containment declined to explore further) and, eventually, the existence of a fire escape ladder that could provide a means of escape from the cordon. It shouldn’t surprise you that I’m personally pro-journalism, so it was hard to sympathize with government officials wanting to control the flow of information in any context. So the big bad journalist posted a story about the ladder, a man was shot dead for attempting to scale it, and I think we were meant to see the wisdom in Dr. Sabine’s wish to keep the people in the dark. Nope! Maybe do a more thorough escape-ladder check next time? Journalism keeps people competent, and this version of the CDC could use a lot more of that.

The horrors of the viral outbreak weren’t completely related to gunplay. In a sequence that was as hilarious as it was genuinely disturbing, every character lost cell phone reception at the exact same time. But before any of us could chuckle at how very 2016 this twist was, the dread began to set in. What if you truly couldn’t communicate with your loved ones during a crisis? It was one thing to line the city streets with shipping containers, but this communications blackout was surely the most evil thing Dr. Sabine could’ve done. We haven’t gotten much of a sense of what the outside world thinks of this outbreak situation, but I highly doubt this kind of thing would fly with the American public. How would the victims watch YouTube videos about bulldogs playing basketball NOW? No, but for real, I nearly have a panic attack when my battery dies, so I can’t even imagine being cut off during an actual nightmare scenario. Okay, Containment, now I’m horrified.

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Ultimately “Be Angry at the Sun” was a continuation of what had come before. That’s not exactly the most controversial statement to make about a serialized drama, but in this case it’s a bit of a criticism. It’s all feeling same-y to me. There’s an absolute drought of personality among the characters, and the claustrophobic atmosphere promised by the very premise is non-existent. Frankly I’m not even 100 percent sure what the scale of this cordon is. Like, we kept seeing the same stack of shipping containers blocking off ONE street, but the zone is large enough to have its own power station? Yet only one bodega? But there are 4,000 people inside? I’m confused, which is a thing I say a lot in general, but more worryingly, I’m also sliiightly bored. It could be just me though, maybe I’m just grumpy from lack of exercise. Anybody have any corpses I can borrow?

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