Resurrection 1.01 Review: “Pilot”

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The new ABC series Resurrection premiered last night with a very intriguing plot.  As crazy as it seems, people who have long been considered dead are mysteriously returning to their loved ones.  Sounds good, right?

In addition to many new actors, there are a few familiar faces returning to TV.  Kurtwood Smith, playing Henry Langston, is probably most recognized for Red Foreman on That 70s Shows.  Samaire Armstrong as Elaine was unforgettable as Anna Stern on The OC.  Omar Epps stars as Martin Bellamy, but you’ll remember him from House M.D.

The town filling in for the fictional Arcadia, MO may even look familiar to viewers of The Vampire Diaries.  I instantly recognized the clock tower in the scene when Martin is driving Jacob to his home, and it turns out the series actually did film around Covington, GA.  If you watch closely, you’ll even notice the Mystic Grill!

Jacob Langston, an innocent 8 year old, wakes up in rural China with no recollection of how he got there.  When he finally does speak after being transported back to the United States and taken to his childhood home, it becomes evident that somehow, someway he really is the long lost son of Henry and Lucille Langston.  When I say long lost son, I mean he literally died 32 years ago.

Agent Bellamy drove Jacob to his house against his boss’s instructions to hand him over to the equivalent of child protective services, where he would have just been another kid in the system.  He believed that the boy has a family that is looking for him, but he wasn’t expecting to find 60 year old parents whose child died decades ago.

Things got a whole lot weirder when Jacob started suffering a seizure in front of his parents, Uncle Fred, and Agent Bellamy.  Naturally he’s rushed to the hospital, where his cousin Maggie serves as his doctor.  At first, she couldn’t hear a heartbeat on him when he was wide awake and speaking to her.  That was pretty creepy, but on her second try she heard a reapid heartbeat.  Hopefully she remembers all this for the future when they’re still trying to make sense of everything.  Of course they turn to science for some answers in the form of a DNA test.  That only proves that Jacob is truly, biologically the Langstons’ son.

We started to learn a bit more about how he died.  It was long since believed that Jacob fell into the river behind his house when his Aunt Barbara found him drowning and tried and failed to save both of them.  She also died that day, while Maggie was just a baby in her stroller on the side of the river.

It’s only when Maggie is examining Jacob in the hospital that she hears what really happened that day.  Apparently Jacob wasn’t the one drowning first.  He had happened upon his aunt holding on for her life when he tried to save her.  He even recalled seeing a bald man at the scene, which leads to what I thought as the only flaw in this pilot.  It seemed totally unnecessary and out of place to introduce that Maggie’s mother/Jacob’s aunt/the deputy’s wife was having an affair at the time of her death.  Unless he is some sort of god/warlock that is responsible for bringing all these dead people back to life, I don’t understand how that affair will be relevant to anything else going on.  Sure, it’s becoming obvious now that this man was responsible for Barbara (and Jacob)’s death(s), but I don’t know what part he plays in the bigger picture.

We were also introduced to Tom, Jacob’s childhood best friend who has since become a reverend.  This newfound mystery of Jacob’s reappearance shakes the Man of God to his core, but he finds it in himself to chalk this up to a miracle.  I think Tom will be an interesting character as the show goes on to pose more questions of science versus faith.

Jacob wasn’t the only person to return to his family in this episode.  We briefly met Maggie’s friend Elaine, whose father had died when she was 19.  Assuming she’s about the same age as Maggie (32), this would mean her father died 13 years ago but he also just found his way back home.

So far it’s unclear what the connection is between these returning people.  Elaine’s father Caleb creeped me out as he walked by Jacob whistling a strange tune, but Jacob didn’t seem scared off by him.  All we really know is that something weird is going on, and these people who are returning from the dead aren’t any kind of supernatural being we’ve seen before.  They may or may not have heartbeats, but they definitely have huge appetites for normal foods, as evidenced by the full trashcan of sandwich crusts that Jacob has eaten in a short amount of time.

In a preview of what’s to come in the rest of the season, it appears there’ll be plenty more “returns” around Arcadia.  The overarching mystery of how and why these people are returning has definitely caught my attention.  How about you?  Will you keep tuning in to see how these questions are answered?  Have any theories so far?

[Photo via Bob Mahoney  /ABC]

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