Romance is just another word for “obstacles.” Think about what makes all the great romantic stories compelling: Not the first kiss nor the final kiss, but all the problems lovers must overcome in-between. Problems like bad timing, family disapproval, bobcat maulings. The more formidable the obstacle, the more justified the passion. Because Containment is a series on The CW, it’s therefore legally obligated to feature two young people falling in love despite the world crumbling around them. But “There Is a Crack in Everything” was the episode that finally figured out that in order for Jake and Katie’s relationship to truly make our hearts ache, they must be kept apart. What a difference a shower curtain makes!
If we’re being honest, it had been pretty difficult to care about a romance that’s been all but guaranteed since the beginning. From the pilot onward there was zero chance that two maximum cuties like Jake and Katie wouldn’t soon be hugging around the waist while an Ed Sheeran song played. But, again, it needed to be complicated. She’s a single mom; he’s a runner; she has a chemical imbalance; he doesn’t seem to launder his tank tops. These obstacles were a start, but nothing too compelling. Then this week they encountered their most formidable and frightening obstacle yet: the prospect that they might soon get to leave the cordon. It’s like that dread when high school graduation nears and you just know that many of your best friendships might not survive when you’re no longer forced to see each other every day. Were Jake and Katie solid enough to stay together in the real world? The fact that they hadn’t even touched each other yet only compounded the feeling of doom that had begun to set in.
But then that shower scene happened. If you’re like me, you borderline laughed out loud at first. Of course Jake’s taking a sadness shower — it’s such a classic angsty hunk move. But when Katie appeared on the other side of that shower curtain and they started making out and caressing each other through the curtain it was somehow bizarre-looking and emotionally devastating. (And, yeah, steamy.) It might be weird to fixate on such a small moment in an otherwise large and wonderfully executed episode, but this small moment was one of the most inspired things Containment‘s done yet, if not one of the most inspired scenes in recent TV history. What a weird, sad, rich moment.
Another huge thing “There Is a Crack in Everything” had going for it was a simple change of scenery. We didn’t have to endure any scenes in the bodega nor in the data recovery center. Now that Jana and Suzy and Rooftop Hunk had decided to make a run for it, their plotline became 1,000 percent more compelling. (Just shows how crucial it is for leads to be proactive risk-takers.) Add to that the idea they had found a secret cave tunnel (in a church!) and their attempted escape route had an almost Goonies-esque inventiveness. Unfortunately a possible gas leak prevented their adventure from devolving into Descent-level thrills, but let’s give credit where credit’s due: I care way more about these people than ever before. Just please don’t let them spend several more episodes in a sterile office environment. Not even marauding meth-heads can make that place seem interesting anymore.
NEXT: Bad blood [pagebreak]
The main story line of this episode was the question of just how the tyke Thomas had avoided infection all these weeks. At first Dr. Cannerts believed him to be immune, and the CDC prematurely demanded that Thomas be extracted from the cordon (quietly, so as to not induce widespread jealousy) and studied. But a literal champagne toast to Thomas’ immune system was interrupted when someone who’d been exposed to his bodily fluids suddenly SNEEZED BLOOD onto everybody. Blood sneezing is one of the worst things to have happen during a champagne toast, but this particular situation was made worse by the revelation that Thomas wasn’t actually immune, just simply asymptomatic. It’s just too bad that Dr. Cannerts hadn’t thought of this sooner, like, for example, before Thomas touched Lex and Lex touched Dr. Sabine. The incident was a real face-palmer, but I love the idea that these two powerful figures are now going to be forced into quarantine.
Which, fair enough! They kinda deserve it. As we learned this week, the CDC and Dr. Cannerts are starting to look mighty shady when it comes to the provenance of the virus. We knew Patient Zero was definitely not that ill Middle Eastern immigrant, but it turns out it was a handsome businessman who’d been hooking up with one of the hospital nurses. (Morning nookie at a hospital is maybe not as sterile as one would think.) After Leo and Lex did some digging and hacking and whatnot, they discovered that the nurse’s lover had received a package from Dr. Cannerts himself in the days leading up to his infection. But what exactly was going on? And did it honestly matter? Like, sure, it might be nice to know who caused this outbreak, but it’s still so shocking to me that there hasn’t been a way to extricate people from the cordon yet. The virus only takes two days to show up, yet this was Day 12? So many people could have been cleared by now! Anyway, yeah. Conspiracies.
As an ensemble show, Containment still gets to round out its episodes with smaller character beats. Like, Grandpa Bert has always been more about providing a jovial presence than actual important story lines. But dang it if the sweet, sad storyline about his Parkinson’s-afflicted wife is not one of the more devastating things on TV. This episode found the two pretending to have an upbeat date night only to see her take an unfortunate spill and get a nasty gash on her leg. Hasn’t this woman been through enough? It’s almost unfair how much I care about her well-being. Don’t do this to me, Containment!
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Ultimately Containment is a show about literal barriers, and barriers are Drama 101. We all might think we want ease and comfort, but those things are almost never as interesting as stress and difficulty. We’ve needed to see these characters scramble and get desperate, and “There Is a Crack in Everything” is the episode where things began to unravel in a pleasingly exciting way. Whether it’s engaging in a romance or just wanting to be entertained, we all love a good challenge. I don’t know about you, but after eight episodes I’m finally ready to start getting physical with Containment through a shower curtain. What a feeling!