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Beyond - Two Zero One/Cheers, Bitch - Review



It is really hard to describe this premiere as anything but lacklustre. Having initially watched Beyond when it first came last January, life quickly got in the way and I ended up dropping the show. The promotion for season 2 intrigued me enough to give the show another go over the holidays, and I ended up binging the season in a week. The plot was intriguing, each episode was great in its own way and I finished season 1 very much eager to start on season 2.

One of the reasons Beyond worked so well upon its debut, was due to the binge format. It aired on Freeform as well weekly, but most people who watched did so through binging, and I think it is a show that works better that way. If you’re trying to entice the audience to tune in each week, then the episode needs to have enough depth to draw them back in and this season opener very much doesn’t have that.

My first issue with the show is Holden & Charlie. I honestly find it unbelievable that it still hasn’t been mentioned to Willa that he was involved with another woman. Luke wanted to tell Willa towards the end of last season when she came to see Holden but didn’t. Here during the second part of the opener, Holden lets slip he’s seeing a girl and his mother immediately assume it’s Charlie. Holden is then forced to correct her, reveal it’s actually Willa, and his mother decides that an introduction over dinner would be good. That of course doesn’t go well.

Throughout the two-part opener, the show is extremely keen to stress that Holden is trying to live a normal life now. Obviously, that isn’t going well. He’s still having weird dreams and seeing things, ends up making an enemy at work and struggling to control himself. There’s also flashbacks at the beginning of the premiere to Edgar and his father in a thunder storm. He is later introduced to us as an adult in a mental institution, where he sets fire to his room and asks to see Holden. If Edgar is part of the season long mystery, it would’ve been better if the opener had given him a bit more screen time. I was honestly confused at first as to whether he was the same boy from the flashback at the beginning, and it took 2 watches to connect the dots.

At work though Holden makes an enemy out of a Steven, who works at Tom’s warehouse. He takes Holden’s lack of conversation skill as thinking he’s better than everyone else. Steven also reveals to Holden’s surprise that they actually went to school together, which Holden doesn’t remember. Steven goes on to say Holden was basically a braniac who he copied work off, and he questions whether Holden is working at the warehouse so he can get bumped up the ladder. To an extent Steven’s disgruntlement is understandable and it is a long given television trope, that when a person wakes from an accident after X amount of years, they get a job at their parents company and next thing you know they’re running it. To ease the tension they decide to play some pool. This doesn’t really go well and Holden & Willa are about to lose the game until Holden cheats to make the ball go in. Steven immediately cottons onto this & questions how exactly Holden make it happen which he plays dumb on, so Steven decides to talk with his fist and starts beating Holden, and Willa has to come to the rescue to stop Holden losing control. It is honestly the most exciting part of Holden’s storyline in the first two episodes, which says a lot for how dull it is.

On the parents front, Diane and Tom are acting secretive because they’re meeting up with a Police Officer and lady from the FBI who is investigating the Church. They suggest that Diane gets back together with Pastor Ian, so that they can get information on the Church without him getting suspicious. Tom outwardly refuses at first, but after how badly things go at the family dinner, Diane changes her mind and decides to go ahead with it. Given the fact the parents are usually completely clueless and out of the loop of what’s going on with their kids in these type of shows, I actually enjoy this storyline. Michael McGrady and Romy Rosemont work really well together. We know their anguish over what happened to Holden, and more specifically that they were powerless to do anything about it. Diane is highly alert to the fact all is not right with Holden, despite his and Luke’s attempts to cover up.


Speaking of Luke, the guy needs something more to do than being Holden’s confidant and whatever is going on with him and Willa. From the end of last season when their paths collided, the two have had a weird type of chemistry. That continued in the premiere with him giving her advice on what to cook for Holden, and coming out to comfort her following the disastrous dinner. I don’t necessarily think the show needs anymore love triangles, since it already has enough storylines that it is struggling to balance. But I’ve watched TV long enough to know when shows have scenes like these between characters? Something is most definitely brewing.

And given I’ve mentioned it enough times already, let me talk about that dinner scene in episode two. It is probably one of the most awkward dinner scenes I have ever watched. After her fight with Arthur over the realm and her mother, Willa decided to take Holden up on the dinner invitation. She had earlier rejected it by pointing out that their relationship isn’t normal, and therefore they can’t do normal things like family dinners. But she was upset, seeking comfort and it didn’t go well at all. First Holden was knocked off his feet by the fact she had actually showed up. Then Willa tried way too hard to impress Diane by coming at with a story about what she does for a living, with Luke and Holden attempting to do their bit to hold the story together. Which wasn’t working well since none of them had their story straight. Getting suspicious Tom starts to pull apart Willa’s story, which led to her getting nervous and touching her glass.

In a flashback to Holden’s time in the coma, Willa was revealed to have visited the hospital and bumped into Diane. She claimed to be there visiting Arthur, and the two were soon bonding over their loved ones. Crucially though during the conversation Willa touched her cup of coffee in the exact same nervous way she touches her wine glass in the present.

It’s enough to jog Diane’s memory that she in fact met Willa whilst Holden was comatose. He’s horrified by this revelation, Willa tries to claim that it’s a small world and neither Tom nor Diane are buying this. That leads to Holden losing control again and breaking his wine glass, and in the process cutting his hand open. The dinner is brought to an abrupt end and in private Holden confronts Willa over her actions. He doesn’t understand why Willa is acting so weird. She explains she just wanted his parents to like her, and again reiterates that they’re never going to have a normal relationship.

Given the fact that Holden caught up with Jeff to ask about Charlie, it’s obvious that the tension between him and Willa is just to open the door to a triangle between Holden/Willa/Charlie, and I’m really not here for it. Charlie is without doubt one of my favourite characters. Eden Brolin plays the different layers to her so well, and her storyline was the most interesting thing over the two episodes. I was extremely grateful that her attending ante-natal classes was revealed to be a rouse to get information, because I do not want her getting bogged down in a love triangle. Her fling with Holden in the middle of season 1 was fun enough, and they could have a good friendship considering they both have abilities. But please let that be where it stops.


Other things that happened in the premiere was the man in the yellow jacket paying Charlie a visit, and their interactions are deeply amusing. Neither can stand each other but they also have a level of understanding and to an extent respect for each other. Through meeting her wife in the ante-natal class, Charlie proceeded to break into Tess’s house in her search for dirt. And because she’s Charlie, she had to have a drink of her whisky in the process. She finds the dirt she’s looking for though and hands it over to the man in the yellow jacket. Given she’s discovered that Tess is dying, Charlie thinks he should let his grievances go and let nature take its course. But he points out that Charlie is still going after Arthur, because that’s what you do when people have hurt you.

Finally on the Arthur front, he is still obsessing over how to get his machine working again so that he can see Celeste in the realm. Willa of course hasn’t told him Celeste isn’t there because she doesn’t think he’s ready to handle that, and she is right, because when she’s forced to he slaps her. The tension between them is both interesting and heart breaking. Willa is trying to cling to Arthur because he is the only family that she has left, but like Frost before him, Arthur is only focused on the realm.

The premiere is extremely slow paced and lack lustre with too much time being spent on things that aren’t really that important. To bring us back for the next episode, we end on Edgar talking to the psychiatrist and warning that ‘they’re’ coming. Hopefully we won’t have to wait until 5 minute before the end of the next episode to find out what exactly that is about.

You can watch the next episode of Beyond on Freeform next Thursday. So what did you think of Beyond? Let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments below!



 
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