Watching Taken the Miniseries (part 4)
We’ve reached the 1970’s. The kids have grown up. The project has evolved. The aliens are… still doing their thing.
Owen Crawford’s oldest son, Eric has followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the government’s UFO project, but Owen doesn’t seem particularly enthusiastic of his efforts. Last episode Anne made it clear that Sam was Owen’s favorite and it’s not quite clear why. Throughout the episode we see evidence of this over and over again. Eric is the one that follow in his father’s footsteps. Eric is the one who tries so hard to please him. But it’s Sam who he loves the most. It’s Sam who he wanted to inherit the project. It’s Sam’s birth date that keeps his most treasured secrets locked away. It’s Sam who he confides in.
At the end we learn why Owen has an irrational distaste for his eldest son. Eric is the last thing Owen sees before he dies and instead of comfort and support, all he offers is mockery and verbal torture. It’s clear that the hatred goes both ways at this point. But what came first? Would Eric have hated him so much if Owen had shown him love? Eric wanted his father’s approval at one point in time or else he wouldn’t have followed his career path. Would Owen’s final moments have been so torturous had he not chosen Sam as his favorite? Did he create his own torturous final moments? It’s certainly an interesting thing to think about.
We also get to see what Sam is up to in this episode. Now Sam’s story is the only part of the show that I really didn’t like and it didn’t have so much to with the character as it did the setting and the story. The series stretches far, but the scenes in Alaska always felt like a tangent to me. It’s unfortunate because I actually like Sam as a character, but this side story is my least favorite of the whole damn show. In a different context Sam would have probably been my favorite character. He’s a journalist (which I like to stylize myself as) and he’s determined to find the truth. He’s damn brave, too, and doesn’t back down under obvious threats of intimidation. He’s awesome. But that story man.
Sam’s journey to Alaska does carry some narrative weight, but not as much as the other characters do. We get to see an alien encounter outside of the Clarke or Keys families. And for all that the Keys’ have been through, we get to see just how much worse it could have been. They are abducted and psychologically damaged, but in some way they still have the ability to live somewhat normal lives if they choose to do so. We also get to see what an alien-human hybrid looks like when something goes terribly wrong. Lester and his brother had an unfortunate mix of traits from his alien heritage. He has the psychic abilities, but no skill in controlling them. He also possesses physical traits that make it impossible to live among humans, which is why he’s hidden deep in the forest. All in all, we get to see how terrible things could have been for our protagonists, which is important… but not very interesting to me.
Speaking of our protagonists…
Jesse, meanwhile, has traveled down a similar back of destruction that his father did. While Russell became homeless and an alcoholic, Jesse turns to heroin and drug dens to cope with his trauma. Also, like his father, he joined the military and his abduction encounters have earned him a reputation as a fearless soldier. He knows no harm can come to him so he puts himself in harms way on purpose. In this episode he finds himself overdosing on Heroin in a hospital where he meets Amelia, a nurse who cares for him and falls in love with him despite his obvious emotional trauma. They fall in love and, well, you know how that goes.
But really, man, this episode…
Another reason this episode might have bothered me so much is the startling lack of Jacob and the rest of the Clarke family. We get a mention of Tom earlier when Owen blames him for the infamous “Howdy” crop circle, but other than that we don’t see them at all. It’s really quite a letdown, to be honest.
But anyway, this is the only episode I didn’t really like so you’ve made it through my complaining. Hooray! Should be (mostly) smooth sailing from here on out.
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.