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Believe - 1.02 "Beginner's Luck" - Review - The Roll of the Dice

Our second episode of the series begins to open the scope, give us more insights, and still make time for another heart warming story, as Milton Winter and his team take a little bit of a back seat and Dr. Roman Skouras, his team, his project, and the FBI take the forefront

"Beginners Luck" was directed by Believe's more recent joining executive producer Jonas Pate, as co-creator Mark Friedman left the series for creative differences shortly after the Pilot, but still holds some writing credits on the first few episodes according to IMDb. Jonas Pate might be recognized by fans for many of the series he has co-executive produced and directed. Some of those credits include series Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Prime Suspect, and the more recent crime drama Deception.

Our second episode of the series begins to open the scope, give us more insights, and still make time for another heart warming story, as Milton Winter and his team take a little bit of a back seat and Dr. Roman Skouras, his team, his genetic project, and the FBI take the forefront.

To start with in the last review and preview of the "Pilot" I felt Roman Skouras (Kyle MacLachlan) came of a bit flat, but this episode makes up for it by allowing the focus to be a little bit more on his side of the Bo dilemma. Opening scenes include a senior FBI agent assembling a team to help Skouras locate Bo, whom includes FBI agent Elizabeth Ferrell (Trieste Kelly Dunn) and FBI agent Martin (Matthew Rauch), but the FBI and other law enforcement is not the private citizen and humanitarian award-winning Skouras' only asset, as he also hires a missionary to hunt down Bo named Marcus Gregor (Erik LaRay Harvey).

Agent Ferrell is also asked to visit a facility owned by Skouras apart of his genetic research in which she witnesses the abilities of another telekinetic being named Sean. Sean is able to assemble a lion out of lego-like building blocks, but is furthered when various materials from who knows where begin to assemble a large scale version right outside Sean's window! Skouras tries throughout the episode to get agent Farrell to understand that Bo is no ordinary child after issuing an amber alert.

Meanwhile Bo and William Tate feel the affects of the amber alert, as Bo has to use her gifts first to distract a police officer about to discover them on the bus by making his car to move backwards and where they are forced to stop in Atlanta, New Jersey, where Tate has Bo help him win the game of craps at one of the local casinos by having her control the dice! Jake Mclaughlin too gives a better performance with more of Tate's personality shining through the episode. From pushing Bo back onto her side of the bus seat, to using her to win money that she pretty much gives away, to really watch him try and protect her from Gregor at the gas station, to succumbing to a false defeat with Milton's team disguised as police officers, to having Bo fall asleep on his lap at the very end of the episode, gave McLaughlin a lot of emotions to play with and I felt that he did them all well.

Johnny Sequoya too continued to be a treat to watch, as she challenges Tate's motives, but also continues to reach out to others in need, who also in return unknowingly help her and Tate. It was a nice touch to see Bo play and meet Casino waitress Bonnie and to watch her play with her son Jesse and where Bo leaves the money behind so that they could have a better chance at being able to afford new experimental treatments that could save Jessie's life!

We were also introduced to to Zoe (Kerry Condon) who comes off as either an major assistant to Skouras, a potential love interest, and/or a blood relative. In scenes where Roman watched footage of a younger Bo play with Milton Winter, I was struck with something motherly about Zoe's interest in Bo. We have no idea who Bo's mother is and if Zoe could possibly be her, but if that's the case it seems odd to think of sophisticated Zoe ever being with the seemingly much more vibrant and immature William Tate, but the episode did make a point to have Tate mention his parents and Tate's inability to get along with his own father. So one theory I might offer is that maybe Roman Skouras is Tate's father. Another is that Zoe is Bo's mother and Roman is Zoe's father. IMO having Roman be biologically related to Bo in some way would be a smart move, because it makes Roman's interest in Bo and disinterest in Tate much more personal. It makes him a much more complex villain to watch and really the same can be said for Zoe.

There was also a lot of interesting character dynamics introduced where I think Ferrell won't always be willing to side Skouras (and/or the law) and where Channing (Jamie Chung) had to push Winter away from his faith to logically come to Tate and Bo's rescue, and where I'm not so sure Zoe will also always go along with Skouras, let alone the possibility that Skouras or Zoe could be biologically related to at least one the runaways, and where some of Skouras other assets may screw things up more than they help, including other characters with strong kinetic abilities such as Sean, which I suspect Skouras will send out within the next couple of episodes...

All in all I think the second episode was a better episode than the pilot, simply because we get more information and step into a richer a world. It also helped that Marcus Gregor, whom at the moment has replaced the animated and over the top Moore, and whose militant behavior comes of more threatening and believable than the previous hired assassin, --although I would like see the character at least get killed or learned what happened to her for continuity's sake. I also thought the episode was able to balance it's mixed genre elements much better.The episode felt much smoother and less disjointed. I am most certainly looking forward to the next episodes.

Bad Robot Factor
Each week after my review I will bring this section relating to many things Bad Robot in relationship to the episode, as I feel certain Bad Robot often makes a point to reference themselves with similar characters, subject matter, riffs, easter eggs, aesthetics, contrasting situations, & occasionally shared pop cultural references. So this section is to explore the possibility of those things, which may provide some and insight speculation and at the very least food for thought and/or trivia. I also think it's just fun to be able to reminisce!

So last week I suggested that I see elements from Alias, Fringe, and Lost.
This week the elements of Fringe and Lost remain, but there's now also a dash of Super 8

More Than One of Everything
Again more than Alias the kinetic ability factor is more in line with things we have seen in Fringe and the cortexiphan subject. A drug was used to tap into a genetic ability (as character Walter Bishop says early on he believed that humans once naturally just had these abilities. And it should be noted that being a food and beverage connoisseur that Walter was an avid fan of milkshakes!) that allowed for various kinds of kenesis. Although so far a drug is not involved, and as we see in Bo's case, the ability can come at a much younger age, we also again see there is more than one of everything and that Bo might have to go up against some of her own kind throughout the course of the series.

Note: Banshee alumni Trieste Kelly Dunn also guessed stared on Fringe in the episode "Midnight" as Valerie Boone. Valerie became a spinal-fluid-sucking vampire as punishment for her husband Nicholas trying to leave the scientific terrorist organization ZFT. Boone is also the name of a LOST character and Valerie a name of an Almost Human character.

He's Making A Model
In the film Super 8 the kids from fictitious Lilian, Ohio during the summer of 1979 experience a train crash where an Alien named Argus, that some division of US Air Force have misused, is freed by a former scientist, Dr. Woodard, who became kinetically linked with Argos and is trying to help Argus go home. The character Joe Lamb also kinetically bonds with Argus and soon discovers that the white Rubik cube blocks or "Argus Cubes" are how Argus is able to kinetically make a model and gather materials in which he uses the water tower as a base to create a space ship.

Sean's abilities in particular are very similar to this idea. Also Super 8 features a horrific scene with the hungry Argus at the gas station and we may find Milton Winters a similar kind of character to Dr. Thomas Woodard in wanting to help Bo, despite that Woodard seemed unfriendly to kids and ultimately took his own life to save Argus.

Gambling Man

To me William Tate seems disgruntle and at first not very good with kids and who's past consists of a criminal background. This immediately had made me think of Tate much like a James "Sawyer" Ford-like character, who's devious and resourceful con-man, but really is able to eventually be a good person. Just imagine if little Clementine would have had these abilities...

Some trivia: Matthew Fox originally tried out for the role of Sawyer, but at that time the character was a bit a bit more of a shady,greasy, snazzy, Las Vegas tycoon, rather than a southern redneck con man.

Additionally whatever Zoe's relationship is with Roman, I was also reminded of Lost with characters Charles Widmore and his research assistant he called Zoe and their quest with Desmond in the final season. (Desmond became Charles Widmore's daughter's husband). Charles Widmore also send a mercenary team to the Island (season 4) to capture Ben Linus and kill everyone else. It's hard to forget one of Lost's most deadly assassins and unempathic characters, Martin Keamy. (He killed Alex execution style right in front of Ben).

Phantom Limb
A couple of Bad Robot characters end up with missing limbs. I quickly caught a glimpse of Tate's left leg in the bathroom scene and he too has a prosthetic leg or at least a left foot. Nina Sharp (Fringe) and John Kennex (Almost Human) also have missing limb, but are replaced by advanced technology as both of those series have futuristic elements. John Kennex, who's also missing a leg, is also a bit disgruntle and accused of not being good with kids like William Tate.

And briefly Skouras' missionary Marcus Gregor shares his first name with Alias CIA agent Marcus Dixon and characters in Star Trek Carol and Alex Marcus.

About the Author - Darthlocke4
Laura Becker (Darthlocke 4) is a long time commentator, TV addict, and aspiring writer participating with other fans on SpoilerTV. She writes reviews and analytic type articles. Some of her other interests include philosophy, cultural anthropology, reading, drawing, and working with animals, as she grew up and continues to work on her family's horse farm.

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