I find it strangely suspicious that ABC didn’t premiere The Whispers until the summer season. Are they disappointed in their new high-concept thriller? Have they lost faith in Steven Spielberg after his underwhelming attempts (Under The Dome, Extant) at producing gripping sci-fi for a television audience? I hope it’s simply a scheduling matter, because the show’s premise is compelling enough: children of powerful government officials begin engaging in sinister (and murderous) acts under the influence of their imaginary friends (aliens?). The Whispers has quite a hook, and the cast is populated with a number of familiar faces.
Lily Rabe is an interesting choice for a lead. I only know the actress from her phenomenal stint on American Horror Story (as a nun possessed by Satan himself), so this was obviously quite the contrast. After the initial adjustment curve, I found her to be a fitting lead for the show. Rabe exudes a warm presence with the show’s family sequences, and she’s believable as a skilled agent in her professional life. I particularly loved her dynamic with her deaf son, so I was undoubtedly disappointed by the twist in the episode’s final moments. I think it would have been braver of the show to further explore the dynamic in the manner it was initially introduced. God knows we need a whole lot more diversity on television.
The rest of the cast with Barry Sloane of Revenge fame and Heroes‘ Milo Ventimiglia didn’t leave much of an impression. Both actors were relegated to looking disoriented and confused by events unfolding around them instead of assuming a proactive stance. Nevertheless, the episode’s final ten minutes linked these two with our heroine in a manner that was both unpredictable AND obvious (if that makes any sense).
The pilot wisely injected a number of intriguing mythology tidbits for the rest of the season. From Claire linking a child’s drawing to a picture of the President, to that ominous blue tree and it’s catastrophic power, there’s a whole lot of questions that are just begging to be answered. Here’s hoping the show doesn’t pull a Lost and keep us in the dark by the time the finale rolls around. Mercifully, the show will only run for 13 episodes.
Also, I could do without Claire’s annoying partner. Does every show need the cliched skeptic to question our protagonist at every turn? Ugh. Do better, show.
While it could have been far more impactful, The Whispers pilot holds enough intrigue to ensure I return for a second episode.