The Whispers recap: What Lies Beneath
Wes discovers a clue in the desert, while Claire finds another one of Drill's young recruits.
Another week, another t h e w h i s p e r s. Will it finally be the week for us to find out Drill’s identity? With an episode titled after one of my favorite creepy Michelle Pfeiffer films that promised all the answers in the promos, well, I had high hopes.
And we came close. So close! Thisclose, as in the approximate amount of close Wes got to the glowing rock at the end of the hour. So #WhoIsDrill? Drill is a rock. (Drill is a mineral?) Drill is a glowing rock. Drill is an alien-like lifeform inside a glowing rock in the middle of the Saharan Desert capable of manipulating children thousands of miles away via an amnesiac Milo Ventimiglia covered in tattoos in order to absorb crazy amounts of energy—a summary that I hope is also your understanding of what this show just revealed, or I’m officially going insane.
At least we answered the big question with a new question: What is Drill? (Thanks, Claire!) After last week’s near-meltdown of the nuclear plant, Wes’ team has figured out what Drill wants, as the friendly neighborhood invisible entity managed to trap the energy of the meltdown—equivalent to “four Hiroshimas”—for future use. To find out whether that use will be for evil (it probably will), Wes has Sean take a polygraph test. Sean, however, can’t answer a single question, because aside from his visions and tattoos, he knows absolutely nothing about what Drill wants.
But Wes isn’t convinced. He plays bad cop and interrogates Sean himself, provoking the poor guy by telling him he’s faking his amnesia. And that makes Sean angry. “How many times do I have to say, ‘I don’t know?'” he asks Wes. “Look at me. I have nothing.” (Nothing but a bad haircut and a desperate need for a shower! Who’s with me? Never mind!)
When Sean quiets down, he finally tells him what he does remember about the past few months. He remembers waking up in the desert with that giant piece of fulgurite stuck in his back (gross), making the decision to keep living so he can find answers (smart), and discovering he could receive instructions on his next steps from Drill (unfortunate). And just as he tells Wes this, his polygraph chart spikes.
Not too far from Sean’s holding cell, Claire and Henry have been checked for radiation (they’re clear!), and head home, where Claire immediately hires a security team to install cameras to her home. (Because that’ll help you catch an invisible entity…?) Henry’s confused about why Sean didn’t come home with them, but Claire promises him things will eventually get back to normal. Too bad Agent Rollins has the worst timing in the world: Midway through Claire’s heart-to-heart with her son, he shows up to tell her she’s been taken off the case and to hand over her files. Claire only asks to be kept in the loop in return.
Instead of waiting for Rollins to keep her satiated with updates, she visits Wes. She proposes that it’s not a “who” they should be looking for, but a “what,” as far as Drill is concerned, and then asks Wes to let her visit Sean. Wes hesitates, but brings her to her husband, who looks thoroughly uncomfortable at the arrangement. Claire doesn’t mind; she tells Sean who she is, and then offers him a packet of photos showing happier times between them, as well as super cute photos of baby Henry oh my gosh. Sean asks her if they were happy. She answers by telling him they were married, which is exactly the kind of evasiveness that drove their marriage apart. But no matter: Sean seems to respond to her story of how they met, and even takes pride in how he swept her off her feet. “I like that story,” he says. “He sounds like a good guy.” Claire tries to hold his hand, but he shakes head, admits he still doesn’t remember a thing, and proceeds to break everyone’s hearts.
While this is happening, Wes notices the odd patterns in Sean’s polygraph results and something in his mind clicks. He scrolls through his phone to find the photo of the crash site with the fulgurite, and when he compares the two, he realizes the patterns outline the shape of the crash site. One clue down!
Countless more to go. Somewhere far away, another young boy starts receiving a message from Drill. He’s putting something together, something that looks like a bomb, with its wiring and haphazard construction, which makes him Drill’s most handy recruit yet.
NEXT: What’s up with Minx?
While Claire, Wes, and Sean have been dealing with secrets and lies and w h i s p e r s, Lena’s been dealing with Minx. Sure, Lena grew closer with Wes when he came back home after last week’s nuclear adventures, and stood her ground with insisting on staying in their house with Minx. But even though Lena insists she’s not helpless, she doesn’t know what’s going on with her daughter.
And what exactly is going on with Minx? When Lena brings her to the playhouse, Minx seems happy about her parents’ reconciliation, but then goes off to find her friend and w h i s p e r while looking suspiciously over at Lena. Lena, who finds out from her friend that Dr. Rosen was killed in a car accident (RIP), grows worried about Minx again, but finds her daughter innocently talking to another little girl. Lena’s job doesn’t get any easier when Wes calls to tell her he’s headed back to Africa to look at the fulgurite. After he discovered the pattern’s similarity to the crash site, he figures out that it’s what’s underneath the fulgurite that matters—something else is feeding the eruption.
Claire’s also making headway on her end. Sean walks her through many of his tattoos, pointing out that the places he ends up are often sources of energy, as well as sources of destruction, leading to casualties and injuries he hasn’t figured out how to prevent. Claire notices a tattoo that reads “AS33″—a combination of letters and numbers I definitely thought read something far more vulgar at first glance—and deduces that it must represent the element arsenic (atomic number 33), because Claire’s just that smart. Which makes me wonder: Did Dirll mean for Sean to get captured so Claire could figure out his next tattoo clue?
Nope. When Claire fails to find any locations housing vast quantities of arsenic, she heads home—where she realizes that “AS33,” positioned the way it is in the tattoo, represents not arsenic, but Henry’s baseball team. And the player who wears the number 33? A boy named Ethan, the boy from the earlier scene building the explosive. He’s figured out how to rig it, per Drill’s instructions, placing it inside an innocuous volcano project. Claire figures this out, but when Ethan’s mom comes home and Claire learns that Wes has left for Africa, she realizes it all could be a trap. What if Wes is the target of all this craziness?
Claire tries calling Wes, but it’s too late, so she calls Lena and warns her of what might be happening. Lena retrieves her gun—a call she makes after several disquieting scenes of her in her own house, with no protection—and places it at her bedside table. Wes, without any of this stateside knowledge, simply moves forward with his plan to find out what’s underneath the fulgurite. As his team removes the petrified lightning from the Pit of Doom, people begin to gather to watch the process, unnerving Wes (and me, for that matter). Just as they hit the heart of the Pit and begin to take out what’s buried there, several things happen: Sean’s body convulses and he w h i s p e r s, “They found it.” Claire gets watched by Rollins, per the Defense Secretary’s instructions. And finally, the object from the Pit of Doom affects the electricity at the site and casts a bright blue light on everyone surrounding it—including Wes. Which means…?
Who knows? But with that, we’re left with one more piece of the Drill puzzle. As well as this week’s Stray Thoughts:
- Lena and her friend make it back to her house to drink wine and talk about Minx’s changes—how she rolls her eyes, has adopted a new attitude, and even sneaks out of the house. “She’s changing,” Lena says, making me realize that if the show had played this scene early on in the pilot, I would have though Drill was simply an extended metaphor for puberty. Teenagedom isn’t that terrifying, as alien as it may be to young parents. (This from someone who has never been a parent.)
- The series seems determined to make us like Rollins again. He helped Claire get more time so she could save Henry last week, and this week, he pushes slightly back on the orders to follow Claire.
- Claire: secretly so good at chemistry she has the periodic table available on her phone so she can zoom in and show us all that arsenic is in fact atomic number 33.
- While I am still a bit frustrated we’re five episodes in and haven’t gotten a definitive answer on #WhatIsDrill, I am happy to be proven wrong with my theories. I’m also happy to see the fulgurite make a return this episode—the computer-generated shots of it look 1000 times better than the shots last week of the nuclear plant.
- Minx Truth Bomb of the Week: “What are you doing? You’re embarrassing me.”