Containment Pilot Review

The following review contains numerous spoilers.

I got a sneak peak at the pilot for Containment at Comic Con and it looks promising.

Containment, as the name suggests, is the story centered on attempts to contain a massive outbreak in the city of Atlanta. It’s unclear at first exactly what the nature of the disease is, and the pilot opens with a scene of lawless chaos and extreme violence several weeks after the beginning of the outbreak before pulling back and showing us the early days of the disease.  It’s admittedly something of a cliché at this point, but like many clichés it continues to be used in outbreak stories because it works. The forshadowing serves to add tension as the characters slowly but inexorably get drawn into the nightmare the audience knows is coming.

The story veers into a less satisfying cliché when the feds and local law enforcement lock horns; too much time is wasted in several predictable scenes where they indulge in the usual posturing and sniping. The noble cop chafes at the invasion, the fed dramatically informs him that he’s not seeing the big picture, etc. These interactions drag an otherwise very enjoyable and interesting show down.

The titular containment is revealed towards the end of the pilot: the cordon sanitaire. The name itself evokes the imagery of third world countries besieged by diseases only marginally stemmed by international relief organizations. It is at this moment that the lines are drawn, and the previous hour was spent introducing the audience to the characters who are to be torn apart by the barrier. The images from the beginning of the show don’t bode well for the loved ones on the wrong side of the cordon.

The cast is refreshingly diverse as befits a show set in Atlanta, and aside from the trite interactions between the feds and local law, most of them have plenty of chemistry.

Overall Containment is a solid effort and I look forward to seeing what direction the show takes.  The biggest mystery is how the devastation teased in the opening scene can be sustained for the duration of an entire show; the body count looked fairly high and the disease has to be contained to a large degree lest the show outgrow its own name.

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