Warning: Full spoilers for the episode follow.
Containment’s second episode didn’t improve much over the premiere, especially as far as character development was concerned. Nevertheless, “I to Die, You to Live” came with several intriguing developments — enough that this installment was marginally more engaging than the last — most notably the addition of one Elizabeth Franklin (Powers’ Emma Elle Roberts), who turned out to be tied to Patient Zero before the quarantine was issued.
Indeed, the storyline interconnectivity this week was stronger this time out, as Lex, Sabine and the rest of the CDC tried to determine whether Elizabeth was inside or outside the cordon. For example, the party Teresa was invited to gave us our first hint of Elizabeth’s location, along with the scene of Teresa’s friend coming to visit her in between rounds of spin-the-bottle. And while the obvious kiss on Teresa’s cheek was an immediate red flag, it did give us a familiar face to possibly worry about being infected (or two, if you count Teresa’s unborn baby).
Meanwhile, this episode did develop Lex a little more, while also infusing a bit of racial tension, as a video blogger referred to Lex as a patsy, or “Major Mouthpiece,” mere hours after making him a “black hero” figure with his video. So far, said race element has only just been introduced, but I’ll be curious to see how it manifests between Lex and Sabine. After all, she did say that Lex had a “good face,” which could be hinting that the blogger was right about Lex’s new public persona.
However, beyond those two subplots, this episode was pretty bland, and not a whole lot happened. For instance, Jake, who was at the center of these events, only seemed to want to brood, complain and punch walls rather than actually do something of note. I mean, I get why he was miffed at Lex for basically sending him into the belly of the beast, but his job is to assist people, which is why it was hard to sympathize with him, because he was constantly whining about how “psyched” he was to be helping. Katie the teacher was right: he was acting like an 11-year-old, and not in an endearing way (if there even is one).
But as annoying as Jake was, at least his storyline was somewhat interesting. By far the most eye-rolling subplot this week was Jana’s, wherein she pretty much just sat around the Bitscan offices while judging Suzy and Dennis for their affair. Not only were these scenes longwinded and borderline unnecessary, but they didn’t even really develop the characters at all. Honestly, the same could be said for Katie’s storyline too — the main highlight there being one of her kids’ moms calling her incessantly to check in. Well, that, and I guess she’s now slightly suspicious of Dr. Cannerts — and rightfully so, apparently.
Again, while this episode did a good job of escalating the threat by (potentially) spreading the virus across the entire quarantine zone, the characters and their personal stories remain stagnant and unexciting. I also feel like we haven’t reached the height of this outbreak (at least I hope we haven’t), so perhaps things will pick up when the people inside the cordon start to learn the truth about their situation. If anything, those shipping crates now blocking them will likely stir up some excitement.