Leading off an epic and grand scaled finale in last week's episode, we see the end result of Michael's "thinning" plan. Emphasizing on the mass amount of death and tragedy on the island, we get these great shots of the infected people outside laying dead on the ground reminding that even with Michael's genocidal plans, there is still the dangerous pathogen going around. We see the shock of the CDC team and especially Ann as men, women and children lay lifeless in front of them. The best part of the opening is arguably with Michael's narration of the situation leading to him telling his men to kill off everyone else that's alive. The way that the scene transitions to Kyle crying over the young girl that we saw in the last episode as well as Anne breaking down in tears during the
sound of Michael's evil words was well executed. It really showcased the fact that even through all of their scientifical knowledge and investigations, our CDC team has never came across someone as powerful and ruthless as Michael (really spotlighting him as a great villain). There's a great line in there where Michael currents Landry by calling it "purifying" instead of "killing". I always enjoy when the villain of a story has their own version in their mind of what they're doing as being right. It adds weight to their words as well as an interesting edge to their character overall (kudos to the writing of this character).
Remembering Julia's mission given by Madam Durant to find Michael, we flash forward in the future to see her undergoing her search. Although done quickly, I really enjoyed watching her leading her own story (so to speak). My favorite thing about this season so far is watching certain characters basically lead their own series in a sense. We have the Alan fugitive story, the CDC team island cult story, and finally the Julia Ilaria story (not to mention a few others). There's a balancing act happening behind the scenes with the writing of these different stories showing their significance. Alongside other things that are worth praising about the show's direction, I find that this balancing of story arcs is done exceptionally well. Not too sure if the show gets enough credit for doing so as many television series and even big name films suffer from having too many characters onscreen. Its also worth pointing out that the visuals of the abandoned and worn down structures on the island looked amazing. With my background of playing video games, I almost expected Julia to go all "Tomb Raider" on some unexpected wildlife, but we'll leave that to the online fan fiction (someone's probably writing it at this very moment). Either way, it's always a pleasure to see her character face off against the many obstacles on her journey (one interesting obstacle coming up in the review).
Back to the present day matters at hand, it's great to see Alan and Sarah sort of patch things up. I'm beyond happy that the writers didn't linger on them arguing as it honestly would've put an unnecessary strain on the show's already fulfilling character drama. There's enough conflict to go around with secrets being revealed left and right leaving no space free for these two to become enemies. Like I said in my past review, Sarah is simply going through an emotional joyride with the baby situation, so I do understand a few hiccups along the way with her characters. I'm just hoping she doesn't make a high staked decision that gets everyone killed or something because of stressed out mind. I'll be the guy in the background yelling "Just give her a damn baby already you cynical bastards!" After everyone finally meets up in the hall for probably the worst family reunion ever, we're introduced to our new character of the show, Lt. Commander Winger. I'm not too sure how much we'll be seeing of her, but it's always great to see people on the outside of the circle looking in (the circle being the island situation). Her shocking reaction to seeing the hall of death (as I will unofficially call it from now on) as well as Peter telling her that the pathogen had nothing to do with it was refreshing.
We've been so deep within this island and its many mysteries that the idea of how insane it can all look from a fresh set of eyes is interesting. Coming to the rescue for Peter as he seemingly is the only one with enough knowledge to stop the newly discovered spreading pathogen, Lt. Commander Winger basically decides to take him with no exception. After Alan decides that Sarah should go along with Peter despite her personal unfinished business on the island, we get an unintentional hilarious moment (or at least I think it was). I loved Winger's reaction to Alan giving orders asking "Who the hell is this?" Again, it's always interesting to get an outsider's view on everything as only we the viewers know Alan's leader-like place in everything. Bouncing off of my comments with Julia being a powerful female character, it's interesting to see how much of a commanding presence Winger will have on the show. The reason I bring this up is the simple fact that through my personal experience of watching many television series, the majority of the women characters are usually there for either sex appeal or for the "damsel in distress" role. Not to say that every show treats their characters as such, but it is a very widely used tool and I've never agreed with that mindset at all. That's why I'm always interesting to see where they take characters like Sarah and Julia in the future. As I said, I'm not sure how long we'll be focusing on Lt. Commander Winger, but I do hope that they utilize her authority and power in a proper manner (wasn't a big fan of the Constance Sutton character in Season 1).
Her character aside, we also get to see more development on Peter and Ann's relationship together. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the two may end up together (might be stretching it a bit too far there), but I do feel that he respects her as someone who was brainwashed, mistreated, and lost everything. Ann is such a tragic character when you boil everything down that has happened so far in the season, but we only feel for her character mostly through Peter now. With this in mind, I do hope that we can see her rescued off the island and somehow start a better life, but I fear that she may be considered a lost cause to everyone else. This is where Peter starts showing some redeeming qualities as a caring figure, but I know the moment will arise where his dark secrets become present (another brotherly confrontation might do that). Speaking of secrets (although not really a secret per say), I rather enjoyed the moment where Peter tells Anne about Michael being an immortal and the fact that there are hundreds of others in the world. Also through Anne, we get a better understanding of Michael's god-like image to his people as simply being his seemingly exclusive immortality. Although Sister Agnes and Amy touched on that idea, it was Ann's comments in this episode that brought it full circle.
Speaking of Amy, I was quite surprised to see my vision of Amy from the past episodes come to life in full form here. Not only does Amy trick Michael in thinking that he could begin "planting his seed in her" (such a twisted and creepy thing to even think about), but she actually gets the upper hand and captures him. Not the way that I would've imagined him to be defeated, but it completely made sense. I've always stated that Amy was a potential dangerous character, but Michael locking her up almost destroyed that image. Perhaps I may have underestimated her myself forgetting that Landry has been lurking in the background as Michael's henchman. Even before he gets's ultimately overthrown by her, the man still delivers these great one liners of how powerful he is. Statements such as "Armies have tried to kill me and failed" along with others were just the icing on the cake in there one on one moment. After he starts listing ways that she could fail at killing him, I began to wonder myself what her master plan was and then it hit me. Right before a drop of comment landed by him, I started to consider that an Immortal's worst fate is to be buried alive. Watching Michael actually show fear for the first time as Amy's men begin covering up the pit's opening (a fitting place for him as well) was such an entertaining scene. Michael is only as powerful as his manipulation to his people (a cult leader's handy tool) so to see him yelling out to Amy as the light in the pit become smaller was quite entertaining indeed. Amy at that point takes on the mantle as the powerful villain with great one liners as she tells him "I'm creating a monument to you". while her men cover the opening. Although there is this powerful scene where Michael's final words to her is that no matter what, she will become dust (her inevitable mortal death) and he will one day walk over it when he is released. Although Michael is locked up with no one to manipulate under his tool belt, he still manages to strike her with the fact that his immortality makes him the winner in the long run. Of course this directs the attention to the final scene of the episode, but we'll get there in a minute.
On the list of characters revealing secrets to others, we get another one this episode with Sarah finally telling Kyle about her immortality after their conversation about Michael possibly being one himself. I'm glad they brought the attention back to that book that Kyle took from Michael's library as I honestly forgot about it myself. What I especially enjoyed about this that I don't think the series has ever shown before is an immortal actually proving to someone about their power through physical proof and experimentation. With Kyle not accepting her words even after showing him her silver eyes, Sarah basically goes down the list of difficult to prove healing situations. Gotta love when she eats the infected honey calmly saying "delicious". We've only seen her depressed about everything for the majority of the season, so it's nice to see her (at least to a small degree) have some fun with her immortality. It's also fun to see Kyle flip out when she eats the honey as well (can't blame the guy). I've always laughed of the idea of Kyle figuring out things in the worst ways possible on the show such as the infected honey, the children being manipulated by someone else, etc. This one just adds to the list as the first harmless discovery that he came across. Also we get a hint of the relationship that Kyle had with Sarah constantly caring for her well being just to find out that she easily survived it all with her ability. I couldn't tell whether or not this scene was implying feelings that Kyle had for her being more than a partner, but it definitely lingered on the two a little longer than I expected. Kyle at this point is one big question mark when it comes to certain things, but this one I'll have to assume that he actually had a thing for Sarah (or perhaps more of a brother-sister relationship at the least).
Being interrupted by gunshots outside, the two hurry outside as we see Lt. Commander Winger's men shooting at the infected. It's interesting how much a militarized force can change the horror element of a zombie or infected epidemic. We've seen how terrifying it would be to be around these infected people with that one scene involving Sarah protecting the children from their infected father, but here we see the infected running away from the gunshots. I wouldn't want to make an official stamp on the idea of the infected having no threat whatsoever now in the series as Season 1 proved that guns can only go so far against a herd of them. I'm speaking on a particular scene when the Vectors completely massacred some military officials in a hallway. That being said, this is an entirely different virus, so anything is possible at this point. With Winger giving the CDC team the chance to find a cure through performing an autopsy on the gun downed infected, we get a major sense of urgency on them having to evacuate the island. One thing this show has done rather well this season is successfully bring forth the intense fast paced feeling that something terrible is about to happen. Its as if the entire show has a time clock labeled "Apocalypse Coming" and we're just watching these characters struggle to get things done before the clock hits 0:00. It factors in that adrenaline rush feeling that well executed action and science-fiction films have in their climatic moments. Actually considering Julia's story, the apocalyptic clock thing isn't as far fetched to use as an example at all.
As Winger's men get Alan and Kyle set up for the autopsy, there's a short, but intense confrontation between Sarah and Amy. Something that I've been expecting to see go down as we see the fire in Sarah's eyes after Amy tells her that she's in charge instead of Michael. There's so much intensity packed in this one scene mainly because Sarah has always been seen as the innocent heartfelt character going through rough emotional times, but I'm almost certain that given a few more seconds together, Sarah would've possibly shot her out of pure anger. This baby will either become the force that pushes her character forward or backward in her morality. Although Sarah is shown as being the level headed character on the show in terms of decision making, we've seen other characters such as Alan go down a dark path. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. As for Amy, you can tell by that sleazy grin on her face that she feels fearless and powerful over everyone at this point. Where this overconfidence leads to is another "wait and see" situation so I'll do just that.
Following with the autopsy, Alan reveals to Kyle a little more on Sarah's origin of being immortal (which we already saw in Season 1 of course). It's funny yet again how Kyle finds out about something as his face was priceless after Alan revealed that he knew already. As Winger enters in asking about their reports causing a conflict of interest within the group, Alan finally decides to throw in the towel on the whole situation. It was at this very moment as well as another scene in an older episode that I realized how much Peter is kicked aside with his knowledge. After Peter threatens Sarah that she would be kicked off of his team if she follows Alan, she basically tells him that he was merely holding Alan's leadership spot for him. As much as Peter seems like the untrustworthy member of the team, one must recognize how under appreciated he is with Alan's shadow over him (something that the two constantly fight over). Out of all of the many character conflicts on the show, that's the main one that I like for them to completely squash and bring peace to. You're basically watching a potential powerhouse dynamic duo constantly battle with each other and it honestly sucks for lack of a better term to see. Perhaps that's the point of the show in this case which is to show what happens when two talented high egos enter a room. Eventually Sarah talks him out of abandoning everything in this week's most emotional scene in the episode. We've only had a tiny handful of moments with the two actually being together, so it's nice to see him deciding to continue on with everyone else just so she can find their baby (that baby is becoming the key to many things it seems).
Now sitting in Michael's office (now hers), we see Amy flourishing her new leadership position as she orders her men around to simply rearrange the furniture in the room. As Ann walks in, Amy tells her that she removed Michael out of the picture making her the new leader. Of course opposed to this, Ann lets her know that even if she thinks she can run things on her own, she will never replace Michael and never become what he was (speaking about his immortality). Without directing any attention towards the ending scene just yet, I really liked how this new direction of leadership from Amy points towards a very questionable future. We know she's manipulative, intelligent, and cunning, but we still don't know what type of leader she will become which is only stated as being destructive by Ann. Also with her being the new leader, where would her own mother fit into everything (would be a strange mother-daughter relationship at that point). Amy has officially become this sort of plague in the background of everything that has happened in the season so far slowly making its way through everyone. Now that she reached where she wanted to be, there's that "now what?" feeling that's lingering in the air. Also let's not forget the frame of Michael placed on the wall that Ann sees before she leaves. Its the smaller details that I have a lot of fun pointing out and that was definitely one worth mentioning.
Back to Julia's story, after finally finding Michael buried in the pit, she releases him to assist her in her mission. From the moment they showed his name engraved on the pit, the music cued this sort of "evil villain reveal" feel to the scene which I very much enjoyed. It was as if Julia was unknowingly summoning an ancient evil force (which I guess Michael does fit the bill with that description) from the gates of hell. Also of course having the facial hair of a cave hermit, he looked like a bad idea to let out just from a visual stand point. After Julia helps him out, we see him stumbling to gain balance as he questions her about his release. After Julia tells him about a child that she came for that could help with the illness that has plagued the immortal race, Michael takes advantage of her situation leading her to a cliff which he claims to be the location of the child. After tricking her and almost pushing her to her death, Caleb shows up (out of nowhere by the way) and slices his head off completely. Talk about an unexpected death scene. I mean I knew Michael would eventually get killed off, but this was in no way close to what I thought. Caleb being a character hardly explored on the show, I almost forgot about him so him being the one to kill Michael was beyond surprising (with Hatake's sword as a bonus). I am more than curious to see what will happen between the two in the next episode as I feel I deserve a major explanation on his character. Either way, the death of Michael leaves an empty space labeled "Awesome Powerful Villain" so the question is, "Who is going to fill that spot?" Sure Amy will be the obvious answer at the moment, but I have a feeling someone else is going to show up to take that spot whether in Julia's timeline or in the present day. Remember we still have Ilaria in the background with their world domination plans.
Ending off the episode we see Sarah's continuing pursue on finding her baby as she questions Amy in her new office. Amy reveals to her that instead of aborting the baby as Sarah believes, they actually induced labor forcing the baby out of her. Confused by Amy's statements, Sarah watches as Amy unlocks a compartment revealing Sarah's living baby in a canister. Now out of all of the visual fx that this show has thrown at me, this is by far the most impactful. I honestly had to do a double take realizing how amazing the visuals of the baby looked alongside the glowing blue liquid around it as it opened its silver eyes revealing to be an immortal. Michael's genocidal event was an emotional grand finale, but on a visual level, this one took the prize for me. This show does not cease to amaze me with their big character moments (especially in this season). Overall, this was an exceptionally well crafted episode with big significant moments ending and beginning the path of certain characters. I am more than excited to see what the next episode brings (a sign of a great show getting better).