Synopsis: Small town teenager Foster Lee is already gripped with social anxiety before moving to a big futuristic city with her mother Irene. Exposed for the first time to urban society’s emphasis on security and terrorism prevention, it isn’t long before her schooldays are consumed by fear and paranoia; but she soon finds guidance and companionship in the most unexpected of places.
Review: This was an excellent outing that touched on a number of real-world issues. The beginning of the episode is very genteel and shows Foster’s innocence and hopefulness well. The juxtaposition of the clean ordered world and the technology that enslaves it was well done. There is a beautiful shot of Foster looking out of the window which is a poignant contrast to her fate at the story’s end.
Annalise Basso does a fantastic job of portraying Foster’s hopefulness and vulnerability at the start of this episode as well as her descent into mental instability brought on by trusting the wrong person. Connor Paolo shows his range in this instalment as the seemingly innocent “tech support” Ethan who leads Foster by the hand to her and her mother’s destruction.
There was some great realism in this episode, with the awfulness and mind games of high school very well portrayed. Algee Smith conveys the high school jock with ulterior motives with a great rebellious sneer and Foster’s shock and fear when he kisses her were well acted by Annalise Basso. I was strongly reminded of Buffy throughout this episode due to the moral ambiguity that clouded almost every decision that Foster made, as well as the gorgeous shots of the deserted school library.
Foster’s scenes with her mother, played by Maura Tierney, felt very true to life as to how teenagers and their mothers would interact. A nice touch was when Foster’s mother attempted to explain how the world works to Foster, but becomes so wrapped up her own beliefs that Foster is discouraged from telling her about Ethan’s plan. The music in this episode is brilliant. I liked the soft chimes that introduced us to Foster in her first scene and I loved the score that played when Foster carries out Ethan’s plan.
The confusion and uncertainty of adolescence are excellently shown here, with Ethan’s manipulations perhaps a metaphor for the doubts and anxieties that affect teens in real life. There are some excellent mood shifts in this installment, such as the friendly chat between Foster and Milena (Alice Lee) broken by Ethan’s urgent warning to Foster not to drink what Milena is giving her. The ending is very bleak, with Foster having lost her mind and her mother incarcerated. It is revealed that the political leader Odin (Martin Donovan) masterminded the entire sequence of events to stage a terrorist attack for the purpose of bringing in more draconian laws.
It might have been nice to see more of Odin as the episode progressed but his actor Martin Donovan performed nicely in the scenes he was in.
Overall, a very good episode with some chilling real-world parallels.
- Incidental Music8.5