Watching Taken the TV Miniseries (part 2)
The second episode of the series is titled Jacob and Jesse and, indeed, we get introduced to the two character that propel most of the early episodes of the series forward. If you haven’t watched the second episode, you should go do so before reading the review as it will be a minefield of spoilers for this episode. Once you’ve seen it, however, come on back and let’s talk!
We start out right away with Jesse Keys, the son of Russell Keys, being abducted just like his father was. This doesn’t mean that they’ve stopped their pursuit of Russell just yet, however. Even though he’s run away and is riding the rails, the aliens find him and abduct him as they please. It’s unfortunate that the first time father and son are reunited are on the examination tables aboard an alien spacecraft, but when alien contact has affected your life to the extent that it has Russell, that is sadly par for the course. For Russell, this is an absolute nightmare. He resents the aliens taking himself, but now that they’re taking his son he is more determined than ever to evade them. The whole ordeal is tragic.
In this episode we also see what the Crawfords are up to. Once again Taken is making nods to key pieces of UFO history. Area 51 is actually a real place at Groom Lake, Nevada where they test new aircraft like the B-2 Bomber, which is shown flying over the runway in the establishing shot. UFO enthusiasts have theorized that that is where they took the craft that crashed at Roswell, storing it in a huge hangar known as “Hangar 18” on the base (which people now photograph with extreme telephoto lenses from a nearby ridge). The hangar in the episode looks just like the hangar photographed by Area 51 enthusiasts who have trekked out to the Nevada desert. So good job, producers. That is some fabulous set design.
People attribute much of the technology that came about in the 50’s and 60’s to “reverse engineering” of things recovered at the crash sight. Crawford’s quip about velcro is an allusion to this. The episode offers more nods to the base with the buses with tinted windows (completely blacked out in the episode, as is the common misconception) that locals and now tourists frequently see driving down Groom Lake Road onto the base. The amount of nods to actual UFO history in Crawford’s scenes is astounding and enough to make people that read about this stuff squee with delight. At this time I’d like to remind people reading this that you don’t have to believe in aliens to be interested in UFO history. But anyway, moving on…
And at this point in the episode we also meet Jacob. Ah, sweet darling Jacob. Or creepy super powered Jacob, depending on which side of him you get. He’s everything you’d expect a half alien kid to be. He’s got issues showing his emotion, strange psychic powers, and haunting eyes that can apparently scare the crap out of bullies with direct eye contact and a bit of a psychic push. Meanwhile, Sally has become involved in a UFO believers community in an attempt to contact Jacob’s father, continuing the romance that was introduced in the first episode. As I said in my last review, their romance is one of my favorite things about the earlier episodes. Her longing for John and her love of Jacob really tug at my heartstrings.
So where we are 20% through Taken. The plot has emerged. The characters have developed. You’re starting to Google UFO history…. or, well, maybe that one is just me, but anyway. The point is, it’s clear that this story is going somewhere now. How are you enjoying the ride?
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.