Previously on Containment, “I to Die, You to Live”
“Our biggest enemy is fear, and it’s coming from him.”
What people get when there’s a viral outbreak, what they understand most, is that there will be death. A lot of it will be implied, seen off screen, mentioned as an aside, as a statistic. Unless there’s an R rating, viewers won’t get to see a lot of it.
In episode three of Containment, the viewers got to see plenty of death, peripheral and collateral.
With the cordon sanitaire extended indefinitely from its original time scale of 48 hours, tensions arise on both sides of the divide. With blogger Leo Greene’s colleagues inside the city capturing footage on what’s really happening and passing it on to his website, intheperimeter.com, the federal government, represented by Sabine Lommers, is anxious that Major Lex convinces Leo (Trevor St John) to cease and desist. Too much information can be a bad thing. The mission is ultimately unsuccessful, because when Leo posts a possible escape, the authorities on both sides order a take down on anyone attempting to climb up that ladder and jump over. One man does indeed try, but he’s gunned down by an officer from within the cordon (who promptly hands over his badge, obviously tired of this shit already). The cracks on both sides are beginning to show.
And when a distraught and armed father leaves the hospital with his child, a boy that had a close encounter with an infected janitor, signs that the virus will not be contained within hospital walls are plainly visible.
Meanwhile, Jake (Chris Woods) is given the tough job of cremating the bodies of the infected, making sure to carefully label their ashes with whatever possession they have. He and Katie (Kristen Gutoskie) continue to share some decent scenes between them, and in all fairness, the chemistry between them is good.
Jake has a busy episode this week, because when he’s not burning bodies, he’s putting an end to an attempted armed robbery at Teresa’s mom’s store. The would-be criminals scatter quickly enough, but I suspect it’s not the last we’ll see of them.
Major Lex (David Guyasi) has to make do with what police he has inside the cordon. Lommers (Claudia Black) won’t allow him extra reinforcements: a decision Jake is uncomfortable with, as many of his recruits are just that – recruits. He has to do with extra ammunition and guns, but no manpower. Jana (Christine Moses) calls out Lex on his earlier promise that the cordon would only be for 48 hours. Knowing that it’s now indefinite makes everything awkward, especially when Jana and Suzie lock out their male colleagues for not wearing protective clothing when looking for food.
The full scale of what’s happening on the other side of the cordon is becoming all too apparent. Leo’s blog doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to showing the real picture. Muslims are being victimised because those caught inside think the virus is a result of bioterrorism. Bodies lie on the street, and even Leo’s colleagues aren’t immune to the effects of the virus. Civilians are being shot down for trying to escape. The situation will only get worse. The question is: will it get better? Major Lex hopes so, as his attempt to calm reporters and television viewers proves.
What happens at the end of the episode will only heighten paranoia and fear, the very fear Lommers wants to assuage. The federal government can’t control what images come out of the cordon, so they have just one option: cut off all kinds of communication, Internet access included. What happens next is going to be crucial for everyone, regardless of where they are.
This is a strong episode. The stakes have risen for all of the characters, who now find themselves caught in all sorts of dilemmas, both professional and personal. Lex’s cut short conversation with Jana at the end of Be Angry at the Sun leaves us with little idea of how it’s going to go for them both. Likewise Jake and Katie. The attempted escape scene was tautly played out and though I knew a shot would be fired, I wasn’t sure who was going to fire it.
Containment is finding its rhythm now, and it will be intriguing to see how the individual elements are played out, and how they’ll fit together at the end. Now that there is radio silence (with the exception of communication between the CDC and Dr Cannerts), I think certain characters will take risks, necessary and otherwise, to be with their loved ones. Roll on next week.