We’re immediately thrown into day 13 of a viral outbreak, watching as chaos has erupted in the streets. The National Guard has been called to keep the peace while the CDC and FBI work overtime to contain the virus and cure it before it’s too late. It’s a mess of epic proportions with a man being shot in the street when he tries to get out of quarantine. With that gunshot we’re shown how everything started 13 days before…
Here we meet our main players, the upstanding and highly competent Major Alexander ‘Lex’ Carnahan, who is having some major relationship drama with Jana. His best friend, and fellow officer, Jake is one of the first responders when everything goes pear shaped and gets stuck at ground zero. This is highly unfortunate because CDC Doctor Sabine Lommers is one hundred percent not letting anyone out of the hot zone, quarantining the entire city.
The pilot does an excellent job of establishing these characters swiftly, strongly and without too much fuss, getting straight into the outbreak, the whys and hows of its existence and, more importantly, why we should care about these people and their reactions to it. Borrowing from Sherlock the show uses social media to connect everyone who survives to day 13 and establish the little family that will probably become the heart of the series: Teresa and Xander, two young adults who waited one day too many to run away from home, with the tacit approval of Teresa’s grandparents Bertie and Micheline. Both generations end up on opposite sides of the quarantine and it’s a good bet it’ll be watching how they fight to get back to each other that will carry the emotional heft of the show.
Overall it’s a good opening episode, with its weakest spot being young mother Katie whose behavior is supposed to be sympathetic but comes across as idiotic at best; especially when it gets at least one character that we already like exposed.
True to the original with just enough creativity to make the source material its own, I give this first episode 4 out of 5 lab rats.
- Claudia Black is always just a fierce beast, yes?
- Who do you think will be dead by episode 13?
- That news crew is either going to be a help or a huge, annoying hindrance.