The Whispers recap: Broken Child
Sean reunites with Dr. Benavidez to protect Thomas from Drill while the other adults trace Thomas' past to uncover his secret.
Our heroes/concerned parents are back (and so am I—hello again, the w h i s p e r s watchers) and they’re ready to follow more crumb-sized clues tonight in the face of obstacles like: a) a mental institution’s flimsy wallpaper, b) Delaware state law removing records older than seven years, and c) a padlock over a circuit breaker in a hospital basement.
Oh, and children who are actively willing to kill.
Look, not even Harper thought she was killing her mother in the pilot way back when—she thought she was playing a game. The siblings tonight that donned that awful paper plate mask (awful because it looked like a clown, and clowns frighten me, and if they don’t frighten you, you’re totally lying) willingly took down poor Agent Rollins (who’s still alive) and Thomas (who’s not). The former was so Drill could cure her brother, yes, but the brother didn’t even mention a game when he questioned Thomas before shocking him to death.
Which means… Drill’s getting more ruthless, and tonight he showed just how ably he could outsmart the adults, despite requiring both electricity and a subset of humans (children, obviously) for him to carry out any task. I’ve been thinking that Drill’s no better than my Wi-Fi connection—as in, requires proper setup and connectivity, and human-help if it breaks—but clearly I’ve been underestimating this elusive, murderous, invisible entity. Drill knows what he’s doing.
And tonight, he tracked down Thomas and killed him. RIP Thomas.
Luckily (for us, anyway), Wes, Lena, and Claire embark on a mission to figure out Thomas’ past without him telling them. But first, they—along with Sean—bring Thomas to the hospital and reunite with Dr. Maria Benavidez, who I’m surprised to see looking mentally stable after what she had to go through with Sean. (I was also happy to see her team up with Sean again, though now I’m getting ahead of myself.) After Wes steps in to cover for Lena’s attempted murder, the Bennigans are taken to see Frommer, who’s turned out to be quite despicable. “Mrs. Bennigan, I’d say it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he tells Claire, “but we’d both know we’d be lying.” (Yeah, but at least you’d have manners.) He tells them not to keep following Drill’s trail, but of course, as soon as the foursome meet up again, they decide to do just that.
Claire, Lena, and Wes head to the mental institution where Thomas stayed for a decade, while Sean and Rollins remain in the hospital with Dr. Benavidez to watch over Thomas. The former’s mission is successful; the latter, oof. So let’s begin with the bad news: Shortly after Rollins figures out how many children are at the hospital and tries to put in safety measures against Drill, Drill finds him by using a little girl. She follows him inside an elevator and, after a minute, jabs him with a needle of chemicals that knock him out. And then there were two!
Sean has the sense to ask Dr. Benavidez where Rollins was injected, figuring out right away that it had to be a child who did it because the needle went in at his thigh. The two move Thomas away from electricity by taking him to… another place with electricity. But, as Sean confidently says, he can use the circuit breakers to cut out the lights.
Unfortunately, Drill has already moved on to his next target: Michael, the brother of the little girl who targeted Rollins. Michael wakes up from his coma, dons the horrible paper plate mask (seriously, why did he have to wear a mask? It’s not like adults can’t recognize he’s a child—even Sean would know he’s thigh-high!), and creepily stalks down the stairs to the circuit breaker. He turns the lights back on, then uses a padlock—which, really, Sean should have done.
Speaking of what Sean should have done, he also should have stayed with Dr. Benavidez. Alas, she leaves Thomas alone when she goes to investigate who turned on the lights, and Michael slips in, wearing the (ugh) mask. He asks Thomas to tell Drill how he killed “the first one,” but Thomas refuses to answer. And so, as Sean and Dr. Benavidez keep trying to get inside, Michael shocks Thomas. You had one job, adults. One job.
NEXT: Drill is a… demon?
While Drill plays It Follows with Thomas at the hospital, Wes, Claire, and Lena are uncovering plenty of clues. Back at Thomas’ house, they examine old photographs, finding one of young Thomas at the mental institution with the caption, “Remember, it takes only one candle to battle the darkness.” Claire thinks whoever wrote the message must have known Thomas’ trouble, and may have learned about Drill, so the newly formed Scooby Gang moves on to the institution itself. There, Claire tracks down Thomas’ old room, thanks to a well-placed fountain and a keen eye. (Claire, are you behind Dear Photograph?)
Examining the photo further, Wes and Claire realize there’s a drawing on the wall. They hastily remove the wallpaper to show… well, I’m not quite sure. Thankfully, Lena’s encountered a rabbi upstairs—Rabbi Ezra, who found her sitting alone feeling guilty over what she did last episode—who’s able to identify the image. He’s the one who took the photo of Thomas, and he tells them that Thomas was drawing an evil spirit, a demon clinging to his back. But Claire realizes it’s not Thomas in the drawing; it’s Eliot. Which means Eliot had been possessed by a demonic, Drill 1.0. Which then in turn means Thomas had only killed Eliot because he was no longer Eliot—his body had been taken over by Drill, and because of that, Thomas could kill him. Creeeeepy!
As the trio heads back to Thomas’ basement to look at his diorama again, we begin to see flashbacks of what happened the night Thomas killed his brother. Thomas knew lightning from the storm would strike a contraption he set up at a tree, and the huge surge of energy would destroy Drill-as-Eliot—as long as he lured Drill-as-Eliot inside first. And, well, he succeeded—to the point that Drill-as-Eliot tried to hold on to Thomas, even burning his skin with his charge, but simply accepted his fate. “It doesn’t matter, Thomas,” the possessed boy told him. “The others, they will come.”
Wes is the first to grasp how Thomas killed his brother and Drill, but Claire realizes what’s at stake. “The lightning may have killed Drill,” she says, “but Eliot—he was gone the moment that son of a bitch took his body.” In other words, the adults will have to see a child sacrificed to Drill 2.0 before they have any chance of killing him, and Claire starts crying at the spot where Eliot died. She tells the others to keep this revelation from Frommer—if Frommer finds out, none of their kids will be safe.
Too late, Claire! Frommer had been watching the whole thing. He had the Scooby Gang tailed, and immediately takes the intel to the POTUS, who’s been relaxing in Camp David. (All this alien stuff takes a toll on the leader of the free world, natch.) There, Frommer explains they’ll need to give up “the life of one child for the lives of many… quite possibly the lives of all.” Oh no. “Which is why I have to ask you, Mr. President,” he continues, “Do you think you’re capable…” Oh no no no. “Truly capable, of making this decision?” Oh no no no no no no no. The president looks out at his daughter, and doesn’t give an answer.
On a larger TV scale, well, it looks like t h e w h i s p e r s just wandered into Game of Thrones territory with this whole child-sacrificing thing. But will the POTUS go for it? (If he were a certain wannabe king in Westeros, he would. Excuse me while I go and throw darts at a picture of that guy’s face again.) We’ll have to wait until next week, but in the meantime, I’ve got some questions:
- Sean, what was so important for you to do that you had to leave Dr. Benavidez alone? And Dr. Benavidez, why call after Sean and not just remain where you were? Why are all the adults so easily duped by Drill? Drill doesn’t even have a body and can only reach up to a grown man’s thigh when manipulating a little girl.
- Did Drill-as-Eliot brand a specific shape in that burn on Thomas’ arm, or was I imagining things? It looked a bit like the logo for the nuclear reactor from early in the season, the one Sean tattoos on his arm.
- “For what it’s worth, I know how it feels when you’ve done something you wish you could take back.” Really, Claire? Comparing adultery to being blackmailed into murdering a stranger? Really?
- What about the lightning actually kills Drill? Is it just because he’s taken over a human body, and can be killed however humans can be killed? Does this mean that Eliot could have been killed in a far less gruesome way? Gah, enough questions about ways to kill possessed children.
- On that note, though, what’s the point of possessing a child if it only makes Drill more vulnerable to death? Doesn’t Drill want to stay alive?
- This hour confirms that there was a Drill 1.0, and the one wreaking havoc now is Drill 2.0. Any chance Drill has had an upgrade? And if so, will he be protected from whatever the adults try to use to kill him?
- So… I guess this means one of the children we’ve met will be Drill’s target for possession. I’m guessing the president’s daughter, but it could also be Henry, or Minx, or even Harper. Any guesses?