The CW’s Containment Pilot TV Review from NYCC 2015. Containment, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot is the beginning of a different type of show for the network as we move away from superheroes and the supernatural in favor of a survival story where the citizens of Atlanta are in quarantine after a virus gets spread in over a day. Created by Julie Plec, this is a different project for the writer who has been involved with other shows like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. It’s something that we have never seen on the network before and does well to set up the story.
What works in the pilot are the characters as they face everyday problems like us and it feels raw thanks to the amazing cast. Another strong quality from the show is the devastating sense of fear as we see these people realize that there may not be a future for them at all if the virus isn’t contained. This would already start a battle between the authorities and the citizens as they try to find a way to survive.
The whole cast has done a wonderful job with their chemistry and interaction with one another. David Gyas brings on an incredible performance as Lex Carnahan, a captain on the police force who gets caught between being the authoritative figure of the town and being part of the people. Lex is already facing problems with his fiancé Jana (Christina Woods), who has a commitment issue moving in with him. After his murderous turn on The Vampire Diaries, Chris Woods returns to The CW as an officer and Lex’s friend Jake Riley. Woods tackles a different character from his past roles and it amazes us in how he can adapt to a different environment in his character. Once he gets stuck in the hospital under lockdown, we see how aggressive he can be when he’s stuck in a tight spot. During his stay in the hospital, he befriends schoolteacher and single mother Katie Frank (Kristen Gutoskie). After seeing these two together, it’s only a matter of time before they get involved romantically during a crisis. Claudia Black rounds out the cast as renowned doctor Sabine Lommers, who is leading the government’s efforts to conceal the virus. When we meet her, it’s as if she knows more than she’s letting on regarding the virus. Even telling Lex to enforce the quarantine on Atlanta’s citizens can cause chaos and panic. It’s possible we may see her more in a villainous light as the season progresses.
What gets troubling though is with a huge pool of characters, some of them may not survive and it tends to happen to the people we just started to know. We may end up caring for these characters, but at the same time, they are living in a world where no one can survive. The dialogue can use some work because some of them felt forced and exaggeratedly written. There was a lot going on in the pilot during the first hour, maybe a bit too much for us but hopefully it slows down a bit in the next couple of episodes.
Containment’s pilot episode was thoroughly entertaining and exciting to watch. The show itself feels cinematic in scale and approach, thanks to David Nutter directing it. While there were some confusing moments in the pilot due to the rough dialogue, there’s still enough going on to keep us invested in the show for a couple more episodes. Hopefully Julie Plec and her writing staff don’t stretch the plot too thin as this series can probably last a couple of hours. If it does well, the network can add Containment in their alignment of diverse shows among an extraordinary line-up.
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