Posted April 3, 2014
By VICTORIA HERNANDEZ
The new drama “Resurrection,” is full of mystery and promises a solid hour of entertainment to conclude the weekend. The pilot episode does a standard job of introducing the characters, setting up plot lines and establishing themes.
An eight-year old boy wakes up in the middle of a rice field in China. The opening scene is serene, but as the boy realizes he doesn’t know where he is, tension builds.
He wanders into the local town amidst the chaos of the local people. The boy’s bright red sweatshirt stands out against the dull colors of the clothing the Chinese townspeople wear and it contrasts the yellow landscape. This sweatshirt turns out to be the only key to the boy’s identity.
The boy, played by Landon Gimenez, is picked up by local law enforcement and they find out from the name written on the tag of the sweatshirt, his name is Jacob. The sports logo on the jacket is from a small town in Missouri.
J. Martin Bellamy, played by Omar Epps, is in charge of finding out where this boy’s home is. Marty, as he’s called, can’t find any answers, but he befriends Jacob with a Donkey Kong video game on his phone. The quiet boy writes “Arcadia” in the notes app of the phone and Marty asks if that is his home. The boy, with big brown eyes, nods yes.
The opening scene alerts the audience that it will need a suspension of disbelief to enjoy the show. The opening seems random, and the boy is humble and unassuming, not much to build a show around. But the head scratching is not enough to turn away.
Marty drives Jacob to his home in Arcadia, Mo. and an older couple answers the door. Marty asks if they are missing a son and they are confused because they explain to him their son drowned 32 years ago. Jacob sneaks out of the car, comes up from behind Marty, and cracks a joke about a frog in a blender. Instantly, Henry Langston’s eyes widen and his wife, Lucille, gasps. It is their Jacob indeed.
Lucille, played by Frances Fisher, accepts Jacob fairly quickly. Her smile is full of joy and she happily makes her son as many grilled cheese sandwiches as he wants. Henry on the other hand, played by Kurtwood Smith, is much more hesitant. His deep eyes and furrowed brow are perfect for his thoughtful character.
The setting for the rest of the show is true to the small-town aura. In reality, Arcadia has a population just under 600. Everybody knows everybody. The homes are nestled among the woods. In the show, Marty is slow to be welcomed as a newcomer. Epps does a very good job with his character, earnestly trying to do what’s best for the boy while remaining cool, calm and collected trying to navigate the chaos everyone else is experiencing.
As Jacob meets the other people in town, he puzzles everyone. There are a handful of awkward moments when each character meets Jacob, but nothing too unbearable. There is a good use of flashbacks to show each person’s memories of Jacob. The community dearly loved him. The doctor, Maggie, is his cousin and he says she looks like his aunt, who supposedly died in the river with him.
When the local pastor, Tom, comes to the hospital, he introduces himself to Jacob, to which Jacob replies, “That can’t be your name. That’s my best friend’s name.” The apparent miracle of Jacob coming back from the dead challenges the young pastor’s faith. Mark Hildreth struggles to make his character believable. He often stared into space while pondering the possibility of his childhood friend returning from the dead. Tom has the possibility of being a really likable, relatable character, but Hildreth fails to connect with the audience.
It will be interesting to see as the season progresses what the show says about religion, faith and God. It is hard to tell from the first episode if the tone will be hopeful or sarcastic. There is a strong possibility the main theme of the show will be to believe in God’s goodness and truth even when it transcends common understanding. However, there is a fine line that can be crossed into mocking the belief in an all-powerful, all-sovereign, all-good God.
There were many questions posed in the pilot episode of “Resurrection.” Where did Jacob come from? How did his aunt really die? Will his father ever truly embrace him? What will happen to the faith of the pastor? How will his faith affect the rest of the town? How long does Marty hang around? The first episode did a fantastic job of hooking viewers and leaving them wanting more.
And there is sure to be many more twists and turns. The debut ends abruptly with a plot twist when one of the minor character’s father returns home in dramatic fashion. The suspense of “Resurrection” should definitely be worth an hour of time to close the weekend.
- Show: “Resurrection”
- Network: ABC (WPLG Local 10 Miami)
- Airs: Sundays 9 E/8 C
- Run time: 60 minutes
- Starring: Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith, Frances Fisher, Landon Gimenez, Mark Hildreth
- Rating: PG