Nobody’s suggesting that life in a quarantine zone is any fun, but at least there isn’t baseball. At least there’s that. When society starts to crumble and freedoms begin to erode, the upside is that all our worst traditions fall away as well, and by that I mean there is no more baseball. Bleeding orifices? Fine, as long as there’s no more baseball. Goodbye forever, baseball.
But Containment is essentially a horror show, so this week it introduced the startling concept that even in plague times, baseball will continue. In one of the rare instances in which we found out how the outside world felt about this cordon situation, talking heads on TV debated about the appropriateness of letting the Atlanta Braves continue their season. The obvious answer was “delete baseball,” but in the world of Containment, the citizens seemed to feel that continuing to pretend to enjoy baseball would be a way to honor those trapped inside the cordon without food or communication. In its darkest reveal yet, Containment was clearly suggesting that the world is hell and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Which is not to say “He Stilled the Rising Tumult” was a good episode. It was not! Deadly boring and drowned out by the squeal of wheel-spinning, this episode found its characters give in to the heat-stroke malaise afflicting its literal hot zone. Not a lot happened, and what did happen was a snooze-fest in general. Much like a certain sport! But friendships were strengthened, child actors were hugged, and Jake wore that sexily disgusting tank top again. Never mad about that.
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This episode was all about side-quests, as its various characters ventured out into the open to achieve small-scale goals. Lex began the episode attempting to goad faux-Drudge into helping him look into the government cover-up of the virus’ origins; instead, he ended up devoting all his time to convincing a gentle old man to unchain himself from a radiator. Because, again, the world outside the cordon had decided to go about its business with an aggressive zeal, the building the man had chained himself in was set to be demolished, and he was refusing to budge because from there he could peer into his own apartment inside the cordon where his daughter was trapped. A heartbreaking concept? Sort of. But the execution was as somber and low-energy as possible. Lex looked like he was about to nod off during the man’s various monologues, proving that Lex is absolutely the audience surrogate on this show.
NEXT: More meth-heads on ATVs! [pagebreak]
Jake, meanwhile, teamed up with Katie to find a missing boy, the same one who’d been snatched from the hospital by his own father at gunpoint a few weeks back. They’d received a hot tip that the father was now dead and the boy was alive somewhere, so next thing we knew Katie and Jake were cute-bantering through various neighborhoods in the quarantine zone. They stumbled upon Katie’s son Quentin, who had snuck out of the hospital like a total rascal, and later they were all set upon by meth-heads on motorbikes, so it wasn’t like the day was a total waste. They ended up finding the missing boy, who by this point was behaving like a child Mother Theresa and feeding water to sick people and claiming “I don’t get sick.” Was he actually immune from the flu, or just a dumb child? Much like with baseball, we were just going to have wait.
When it came to learning lessons, Jana was at the front line in this episode. She and the hunk who lived on the rooftop decided to sneak down the skyscraper in order to fix the A/C, and after she declined to make small-talk with him, he lectured her on the benefits of making conversation with strangers. They had recognized the face of a corpse that fell out of a closet with a knife in him (Clue-style) and roof hunk impressed Jana with how much knowledge he had of the man’s life after having only shared an elevator with him a few times. She seemed to really take this idea of learning about people to heart, except when roof hunk casually mentioned having a boyfriend, she neglected to ask even a single follow-up question about it. Jana, get it together!
Probably the tensest plotline remained the grocery store warlord situation. Xander helpfully pointed out to the gang leader that one of his goons was sneezing blood everywhere, and, ever the pragmatist, the gang leader shot his goon in the head. Except for the part where infected bodily fluid was now all over the supply room, you really had to admire the warlord’s problem-solving skills. Things got interesting when that former cop from last week showed up asking to join the gang, and they allowed him in when he revealed he had a satellite phone. But Theresa’s mom is a free-spirit, so you better believe she snatched that phone and slipped it into Theresa’s bag before urging her to escape. Later Theresa and Xander took refuge in Jana’s office building, but in the final scene they were paid a visit by Theresa’s mother and one of the warlord’s goons holding her a gunpoint. They were all about to learn a valuable lesson about stealing satellite phones from warlords.
If we were looking for any bigger picture revelations in this episode, “He Stilled the Rising Tumult” didn’t provide many. At one point Jake informed Lex that he was in love with Katie, so, uh, cool. And now Jana has in her possession corrupted video footage that might prove the government had staged the outbreak somehow. But again, that eventual revelation was being held for another episode. Ultimately this hour felt very much like a hot summer day: Relaxed, sweaty, and something to be endured. It’s saying something when all I could do was sit and reminisce about the flash-forward scene in the pilot where tons of people get mowed down by the National Guard. When that moment finally arrives, it’ll be such a relief. Much like the start of the NBA season after the World Series ends, good things await us all.