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‘THE PASSAGE’ has much to offer rabid fans

Cr: Steve Dietl/FOX

The Passage has joined Fox’s Monday night lineup airing at 9/8p central. The series is off to a very compelling start and builds to a high octane action sequence at the end of the very first episode. The brand new series is based on a trilogy of novels by author Justin Cronin.

(Potential Spoilers Ahead: If you have not watched the episode, proceed with caution.)

What’s happening?

A “viral” threat arrives when a research mission goes wrong. Tim Fanning (Jamie McShane), a longtime friend of lead researcher Dr. Jonas Lear (Henry Ian Cusick) becomes patient zero when he is bitten by a mysterious caged creature. While the virus does boast some healing and mystical powers, it also turns humans into literally blood thirsty creatures.

Project NOAH is organized to study Fanning and the effects of the virus. The project also begins securing subjects from the prison system, offering escape from death row in exchange for joining the experiment. Leading man Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is tasked with recruiting subjects from prisons for the experiments at Project NOAH.

Age appears to be a factor in how quickly the effects of the virus take hold. Symptoms accelerate more quickly in older test subjects.  Researchers at the Project NOAH facility are now seeking a much younger test subject in hopes of giving them a longer period to find a cure.

Wolgast is ordered to bring 10 year old Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney) to Project NOAH. Tragically, Amy has just lost her mother, the only family she has ever known, to a drug overdose. Brad Wolgast is not keen on the idea of bringing Amy to Project Noah, but he continues with the assignment.

Wolgast faces a moral dilemma as he comes face to face with young Amy. Brad eventually listens to his conscience and decides to go on the run with Amy to protect her from the experimentation. They must put complete trust in one another as they face imminent danger.

Why it works

There are several factors that contribute to a very engaging experience for the viewer.

First, the relationship between Brad Wolgast and Amy Bellafonte feels genuine and believable. The story moves quickly, but their growing bond feels authentic. They form a partnership as opposed to simply Brad being the rescuer. In fact, one might say Amy is rescuing Brad as well.

Secondly, several plot points are introduced that can potentially offer rich back stories for several different characters. The introduction of Brad’s ex-wife Lila (Emmanuelle Chriqui) is fraught with emotion over a shared tragedy. We also ponder the histories of the researchers and the patients.

The series also offers a strong mysterious component. We are anxious to learn the origins of the virus, its effects and its potential for good versus evil. Staff at Project NOAH begin seeing test subjects in their dreams (perhaps better described as nightmares).

The story introduces tough questions and moral dilemmas prompting the viewer to consider how they would respond in those same circumstances. While team Brad and Amy is the obvious choice in the pilot, I suspect enough gray area will be introduced to keep the fans engaging in debate. At least, I hope that will be the case!

Finally, The Passage serves up some compelling action sequences and suspense.


What’s not to like?

I look forward to the next episode in the 10 episode run that is season one of The Passage. Check out #ThePassage to see what other fans are saying, too!