Twenty years have passed since the Overlords first arrived, and four since Karellen revealed himself to the public, and everything is wonderful. It’s the golden age of man (complete with Imagine playing in the background), and all is right with the world. Except, that would be a terrible plot for pretty much anything. We need conflict, damnit! And of course, the second episode of Childhood’s End is ready to deliver just that, even if it’s not quite in the way we’re used to. I’m especially enjoying that we don’t have to wait a week at a time for a continuation of this story. It has been far easier to get invested, despite the format of the story, when we’re getting new installments night to night.
This episode opens with Milo Rodricks recording his own thoughts on life with the Overlords. He’s come a long way from the wheelchair bound kid of the first episode, and now as scientific inquiry has all but disappeared from the world as the Overlords take care of all our needs, he’s filled with questions and apprehention. From there, we quickly bounce back to Ricky, the protagonist of the first episode, as he gets his first visit from Karellen in years, something people all over the world take to mean that something big is going to happen soon. Because Ricky has not been the conduit between the Overlords and the humans for some time now, instead new character, Dr. Boyce is said to have formed a special bond with Earth’s supervisor.
The real plot of tonight’s episode got going when a mysterious room showed up in… I think? Dr. Boyce’s office building, after Karellen had warned him that something was coming. Inside the room is a device that looks a lot like a Ouiji board. Except that doesn’t raise nearly as many questions as the next scene when the Overlord’s glowing light ship thingers seem to be scanning a random family we hadn’t been introduced to yet, and leaving the women that was probed… er, scanned, waking muttering about how “we have to save the children.” Probably a good plan since her son Tom wakes up not acting at all like himself, and with some shiny new super powers of his own.
Things aren’t going any better for Ricky. Not long after Karellen’s unannounced visit to ask how Tom is feeling, his body is starting to shut down. His body had been poisoned by his visits to Karellen’s ship and his odds of survival don’t look great. Having this happen twenty years after those visits seems a little strange, but I’m willing to roll with it. Annnnd, before you know it, the episode has jumped ahead again, this time by four months. Ricky is still alive, but they haven’t been able to conceive a child. But the family of the maybe sorta kinda possessed kid has. But Jake, the father isn’t as excited about this news as his wife. He’s getting restless, bored, and isn’t as convinced that life with nothing to worry about is the way to go. And the small remaining religious part of the population is just as unconvinced, even if the rest of the world seems to think they’re a little nuts for it. We met young Peretta in the last episode, and now she’s grown up to be a councellor and now she makes her way to Ricky, eventually bonding with Ellie, which really just seems to have served to get her into the right place for the end of the episode.
At this point, my only real hangup with the series is that even though we’re two episodes in (and more than halfway through the story), I still don’t feel like I’ve really connected with any of the characters. It’s not that surprising considering the scope of the story, but more multi-dimensional characters still would have been a huge benefit to the story. Instead, we kind of need to think of the main character as more the human race as a whole, rather than trying to get attached to the individual characters. But if nothing else, this episode did bring most of the major players together for the second half. Party in Africa anyone?
Dr. Boyce lured Jake and his family (pregnant wife, possessedish son) to the party under false pretences of a job interview at Karellan’s request, but he and his wife both quickly start to feel uncomfortable. There’s no time to take off before Karellan arrives just in time to call everyone essentially useless and to announce that they’re building a kind of Earth-zoo in Karellan’s home world. This shindig does have yet another purpose though, centered around the mystery Ouiji board from earlier and the Gregson (Jennifer) baby. I can’t even begin to explain this scene, but if you’re reading this I assume you saw it for yourself. This was the first blatant scene indicating that the Overlords might not want happily ever after, after all. At least Dr. Boyce turned out to be something a little more than yet another henchman.
The big reveal of the night is that Karellen deliberately made Ricky sick in order to spare him the pain of having a child, because what is coming will be harder on those who are parents. Safe to say, whatever is coming won’t be good. And Peretta could have ended it all! She seized her chance and shot Karellan through the gut, but despite the big “bad things are coming” reveal, Ricky opted to save his life. So between Karellan’s revival and the birth of Jennifer, whatever she is… I’m very curious to see how this all wraps up.
This episode seemed to be more about questions than answers, both in terms of plots and in making us think about the bigger picture. At least Milo managed to figure some stuff out! He now knows were the Overworlds call home, but unfortunately, we never developed our own spaceships so… we’ll see how that goes? Tomorrow night, all of our questions will (hopefully) be answered as this three night event comes to an end. Considering the very introduction of the series showed the world almost devoid of humans, I’m not overly optimistic for a happy ending, but we’re almost guarenteed an interesting one.