Emergence has set itself up as a show defined by its central mystery: Who really is Piper? Where did she come from? Who is searching for her? And what exactly is the nature of her gifts? Of course, this is a network drama, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to have all the answers delivered on a silver platter in its second week. Lost took six seasons to reveal its hand, and Fringe ran through a suspiciously rote first season only to drop a massive goal-shifting bombshell in the season finale, changing the entire trajectory of the series to come. So true to form, Emergence isn’t offering any answers just yet — but at least it proved that it can keep you entertained even as it spins its wheels.
Jo is keeping her eye on the shadowy threat that is hunting for Piper by following any leads she can. She wants the autopsy results on the bodies of the fake parents, who were killed in last week’s car crash, and she wants to find out what happened to the plane wreckage. Unfortunately, both angles just lead her to more questions (OF COURSE). It turns out that a local junker was called in by a government official (or someone posing as a government official) to dispose of the plane by dropping it in the ocean. But luckily the guy is known for his keen eye, and salvaged a piece of the wreckage for himself: the aviation radio, which is still tuned into an unused frequency. At the morgue, Jo discovers that the bodies have been turned to… I’m gonna call it blood slop? Which is a pretty definitive dead end as far as evidence goes. Honestly, it gave me some serious Fringe vibes, which makes me hope that the show will lean hard into its sci-fi elements in weeks to come (what if Piper is from another dimension?!).
It’s clear that whoever is looking for Piper is also cleaning up all evidence of the event that took place — and by “whoever” I mean that strange dude we see doing all these things! He broke into the morgue and stuck something into the mouths of the corpses to melt them, he lurked outside Jo’s home at night, and eventually he convinces Deputy Chris to let him into her home, where he uses a device to track… the chip that Piper pulled from her neck last week (he also sees Piper herself, but is unable to do anything before Jo’s arrival scares him away). This also leads to a showdown at the the police impound, where the final piece of evidence is stored: the car from the accident. Jo and Chris get there, only to discover that the whole thing is weirdly magnetized, pulling small objects to it (and the objects inside of it float in the air). And when the creepy dude arrives with a tow truck to haul the car away, it turns into probably the best sequence of the night as the Jo and Chris try to take him into custody. Unfortunately, their bullets and even their guns keep getting pulled to the car, forcing Jo to improvise… by letting a sledgehammer ALSO get drawn to the car, slamming the dude in the face along the way.
(For the record, the second-best moment of the night was Jo’s conversation with the Medical Examiner, who explains that he hasn’t performed the autopsy yet because his four-year-old coughed in his mouth: “I basically ate the flu, Jo.” The dialogue in this show is sometimes very good.)
Meanwhile, Piper is working with Abby, the doctor who initially examined her, to try and recover her memories. Only… there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot wrong with her memory? Certainly, her short term recall is fine, and she doesn’t seem motivated to dig much deeper. Part of this is because she’s clearly comfortable and happy at Jo’s house, and doesn’t want to leave. But what isn’t clear yet is whether she actually remembers everything and is hiding it, or if she truly is suppressing her past because it was so traumatic. Evidence is leaning toward the latter, because we see her recall holding a bloody scalpel while in her flashback a person in a containment suit starts bleeding at the neck while shouting “Don’t!” (a word she writes over and over in her memory journal, before tearing out the pages and throwing them away). And later she has a heart to heart with Jo where she admits that weird stuff happens when she’s scared, and she’s afraid that she caused the plane crash herself. But I’m a cynic, so I won’t rule out the idea that she’s intentionally keeping secrets.
As for her powers, we get another demonstration of her “make things move when she’s scared” trick, and she also is able to pull that mysterious metal card Jo found into her hand with her mind — and then she drops it, seemingly startled she could do that. And while we still don’t know what that card is all about, it does break open to reveal, like, a glowing crystal? So there’s that.
Really, the biggest news came during the previews for next week, where we learned that Lost’s Terry O’Quinn will be dropping by to tell Jo she’s dealing with something “dangerous” that she doesn’t understand, and that the show would… uh, finally answer the question, “Who Is Piper?” So maybe this won’t be a season-long mystery after all! Though really, I think it just means the show will pivot to focus more on who is hunting Piper.
Header Image Source: ABC