Ask any etiquette expert and they’ll tell you: Nothing ruins a social gathering like the sudden invasion of crazed meth-heads. It doesn’t matter what the occasion — a wedding, a birthday party, a fundraiser for the Governor’s re-election — there is almost no scenario in which the sudden arrival of crazed meth-heads will improve anyone’s night. But the same could be argued for a quarantine zone during a viral outbreak: Meth-heads will ruin that, too! But while the characters of Containment learned that the hard way this week, the show itself benefited from a sudden burst of energy. Meth is a hell of a drug.
Speaking of manners, Containment is a very polite show. Yes, it would simply love to bring us the post-apocalyptic zombie carnage of The Walking Dead, but perhaps just for a few city blocks and let’s call it the flu. It’s basically the gentleman’s zombie show. But even if it declines to go full-blown 28 Days Later on us, “Inferno” still managed to corral several disparate characters into one claustrophobic space so that they could fight off invading villains by any means necessary. The best means, of course, being EXPLOSIVES. Even better, “Inferno” managed to weave in a genuinely sad self-sacrifice moment and by episode’s end the characters were forced out of their comfort zones and into the narrative wilds. And it was about time.
Picking up where last week’s episode left off, the gang in the data recovery center attempted to deal with the gunman currently holding Theresa’s mother hostage. Jana and company intended to comply with his commands, but their transaction was interrupted by aforementioned gang of bloody-faced meth addicts who were currently Die Hard-ing their way upstairs in search of any chemicals to huff. The tweakers’ motives were almost cartoonishly ridiculous, which somehow worked to make them less predictable and therefore more frightening. A scene involving meth-heads stalking through the building’s air conditioning vents (complete with Jana fending them off with an improvised blow-torch) had echoes of John Carpenter’s The Thing and Assault on Precinct 13, two reference points I never expected to see on The CW.
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It’ll never not be entertaining to watch characters attempt to survive action-packed scenes like these, but the added character development of watching them become heroes only added to the show’s enjoyability. In this episode Jana’s character arc quickly went from standoffish wet-blanket to Linda Hamilton-esque BAMF, while Jake finally got to embody the grizzled bad-ass he’d been merely doing an impression of all season. The stakes never flagged, particularly after Jana beat a man to death with her satellite phone, and later her surly office-mate was murdered with a hatchet and his corpse sent up the elevator propped on its feet. “Inferno” had actual horror movie moments scattered throughout and it was a joy to behold.
NEXT: A tragic death