After all the questions raised in the promotional videos leading up to the Intruders premiere, you’d be excused if you were expecting some answers to the central mystery during the inaugural outing. After all, the trailers already had us asking a multitude of questions. Your expectations, however, are wrong, but that’s actually a good thing.
Honestly, it’s unfair of me to claim we weren’t given any answers. We were given plenty, just not anything directly surrounding this body-jumping business going on. We learned early in the episode that a young woman named Donna killed herself in 1990 after apparently being possessed by one of these souls.
Like many others, she fought the existence of a second person inside of her and ended up slitting her wrists in a tub after leaving a note for Gary Fischer that said, “I’m not Donna.” When she was looking at a high school yearbook earlier in the scene we also learned that she either knew, or at least went to school with, Jack Whelan and Gary. How these connections play into the larger mythology we have yet to learn, but I am certain of one thing: Nothing we’re shown is a throw-away or accident. It’s all important.
We also learned that these possessions, for lack of a better word, seem to take place on the host’s birthday. More specifically, it seems that being in the presence your birthday cake is possibly a trigger of some sort. Before Donna killed herself we were shown a brief glimpse of her birthday party. Amy Whelan celebrated her birthday just before she started acting strangely and disappeared. Also, young Madison O’Donnell is sitting in front of her 9th birthday cake when she gets up and runs out of her house, also possessed, but by someone named Marcus.
Apparently infrasound, low-frequency sound below that of human hearing, plays a key role in this ability to become virtually immortal. We’re told this through a series of events surrounding yet-to-be-seen Acoustics Engineering Professor Bill Anderson. His family was killed and in a separate incident as was a Lone Gunmen-esque conspiracy theorist who had learned from Anderson that low frequency sound was somehow important to immortality. James Frain’s Richard Shepherd did all the killing, and at one point revealed he was one of the immortals, this secret society known as Qui Reverti (Latin for “That Return”).
So, really, we learned a lot about the people and elements of the mythology. We just didn’t get any answers to the mystery, but to have answers so early on in the series would be no fun at all. The act of piling on more questions while character building in this first episode drew me in more than answers ever could have. Now that I’m a bit more familiar with the main players, the questions are all the more compelling. I’m dying to know more.
The premiere episode, She Was Provisional, lays the foundation for a slow, tense drama that plays it close to the vest. Answers will be forthcoming, just not in any hurry. The tone was somber with an underlying tension that kept me uneasy the whole time. I’m pretty sure that was intentional and bravo to Mr. Glen Morgan for bringing back an entertaining discomfort I’ve rarely felt since The X-Files.
The mostly muted colors of each scene and eerie score provided by the always excellent Bear McCreary only served to enhance the tension and uneasy feelings. The acting was impeccable, but given the cast that’s not at all surprising.
What was surprising was just how effectively nine-year-old Millie Brown can play her same-aged counterpart, Madison, and the older, male Marcus who intruded into her life. The cat drowning scene where she switched from Madison to Marcus and back to Madison again was incredibly horrific. Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany better watch her back; she has some serious competition in the pint-sized Brown.
That kid freaked me the hell out. I can’t wait for next week.