In the end, nothing could defeat the status quo

By Price Peterson
July 20, 2016 at 02:01 AM EDT
Tina Rowden/The CW
S1 E13
type
  • TV Show
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As long as we’re quoting apocalyptic poetry here, what’s the one about ending not with a bang, but a whimper? I’d Bing it, but I just watched the series finale of Containment and I’m too drowsy. Just between you and me, the series finale of Containment was not great. After two previous episodes that bordered on wonderful, this thing swerved right back into the Not Worth Your Time zone and concluded not with the kind of definitive ending you’d expect from an “event series,” but with more of a wishy-washy setup for a second season that will never come. Oh well.

For those wondering: No cure was found, nobody escaped the cordon, and the government still doesn’t have a plan to evacuate non-infected persons. On the other hand, Dr. Sabine is now maybe in trouble for corruption; Lex is now trapped inside the cordon as well; the elderly couple committed suicide (romantically); and several citizens are now covered in Katie’s cremains after Jake scattered them off the hospital roof. The word “finale” should be used loosely here. Containment might be over, but the story will forever feel as frustratingly anticlimactic and incomplete as ever.

You’d be forgiven if you assumed last week’s thrilling penultimate episode might lead to a finale centered around our heroes’ exciting escape, but no. Instead, this episode picked up two days later and found Jana, Suzy, Teresa, Xander, and Quentin bickering in the sewers as the National Guard imploded every tunnel they entered. Exactly how was the destruction of important Atlanta infrastructure a great idea on the government’s part? Unexplained. But there our heroes were, wiping dust from their eyes and openly critiquing the corrupt cop attempting to lead them to freedom.

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But we were correct to assume Lex would be their final obstacle, and before we knew it, he was in also in the tunnel, fretting over whether to let Jana and her friends escape. And despite Jana’s poignant jangling of his apartment keys and a promise to finally shack up with him, Lex ultimately decided to lead the disappointed crew back into the cordon and live there with them! This series was obviously meant to continue for many more seasons, but unfortunately, one can now only fantasize about all the riveting Lex plotlines he’d have sleepwalked through!

NEXT: It took a miracle

Back at the hospital, Jake and Dr. Cannerts attempted to cure the warlord’s infected brother, but despite Lil’ Thomas’ willing donation of most of his blood, their efforts failed. Sensing victory was near, Dr. Cannerts and Jake decided they simply needed to find someone else with that special antibody, which leads to Jake ham-fistedly attempting to lure scared pedestrians into blood tests they didn’t particularly want any part of. In a moment I’m sure the writers thought would be very powerful, he resorted to reading the names of dead people into a bullhorn, which effectively shamed everyone into wanting to help. But despite the one-in-a-thousand odds of finding someone with that special blood, Dr. Cannerts found the guy almost immediately. And, you guessed it, that guy was A PRIEST. And thus, a choir of angels groaned in unison.

Outside the cordon, Lex found himself on the receiving end of some questioning by Internal Affairs. Dr. Sabine was now in the process of fully discrediting him, but she didn’t really succeed, as he simply walked out of the interview and went back to work. Fortunately, though, he’d enlisted his own father to track down Leo and finally leak all their intel about Dr. Sabine’s misdeeds to the press. Gotcha, lady! But again, aside from the TV pundits seeming annoyed at the whole scandal, not a lot happened to Dr. Sabine except her being led away by bodyguards and a promise of a full investigation. So, uh, cool? Who was in charge now? Unclear.

Also, the old people put cyanide in their red wine and committed suicide. Which meant that, yes, their entire reason for being on the show was to provide pathos and likability where the other characters and plotlines did not. Rest in peace, old people.

As for Jake, the extremely boring but cute lead hero (played by an actor who was once genuinely funny and dynamic on The Vampire Diaries), he got the final voiceover summing up the non-accomplishments of those around him. But if we take at face value that this was only ever intended to be a 13-episode miniseries (LOL), then what, exactly, was his arc? He went from a rascally one-night stand enthusiast to a corpse-incinerating widower? Yes, he boldly proclaimed his love for a dead single mother, but he failed to get Quentin out of the cordon just as he failed to find a clean-looking henley. And I’m sorry, but if I ever got cremains on me because someone threw them off a rooftop, I would not be happy about it. As if life in the cordon wasn’t bad enough!

Containment was not a success — not just because it failed to find viewership, but because it never really developed a sense of urgency or personality. At this point in genre TV storytelling, a simple viral outbreak is only a half-idea. We’ve seen zombies and rage viruses and fantasy elements that maintained a sense of confusion and horror, but in trying to be a sort of grounded YA Homeland, Containment could only ever be underwhelming. It certainly had its moments, and the end of the season offered inspired glimpses of humanity, but this thing was ultimately a sad snooze — which is truly saying something, considering it was a show about people bleeding from their face-holes. When it comes to TV, there’s no deadlier virus than boredom, and in that regard Containment was probably a little too contagious.

Containment airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on The CW no longer.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 1
Genre
Premiere
  • 04/19/16
Status
  • In Season
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