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Falling Water - The Shadowman/Watchers/ Safehouse/Dröm - Quadruple Review



Hello all! Sorry to get such a late start this season, 2018 has already proved to be quite an undertaking. But, I've finally managed to create some extra time for this show. For those who have read previous reviews from me, welcome back! I've missed you (and I'm working on those last few reviews I still owe you, they'll be out soon). For those of you who are new to me, that last message will likely apply to you in the future, as evidenced by the fact that we're starting this journey together four weeks in. Part of the fun is you never what you're gonna get with me, and more specifically when you're gonna get it. I say it's fun. You may say it's annoying. Either way, here we are, together, ready to dive in to a nice, Sci-fi thriller about dreams. There's nowhere else I'd rather be!

The Shadowman
The season begins by establishing where our three dreamers have ended up in post-"find the boy" times, and learn that, currently, their lives remain largely separate.
We find Tess living as a waitress with her son, James (I was all for just calling him "The Boy", but James works, too), in small-town New Hampshire pretending to be a woman named Violet. She's got a nice man named Jeremy with whom she has dream sex, a nice friend at the diner, and a creepy customer named Mark. Also creepy is the picture of a so-called Shadowman her son has drawn. He sees the man in his dreams and knows he's planning to do bad things. Needless to say, she's later unsettled when she dreams of a figure in her shed and later finds unknown footprints inside.

Taka, still in a steady relationship with Sabine, is working with his new partner, Alex, on a case where a wife was beaten to death. Her husband, Sam, confesses that he is responsible, but claims to have no idea why he did it. After Taka questions him about his dreams (which Alex 100% does not approve of and basically calls him crazy for), he decides to enter Sam's dreams, and discovers that he is being forced by a shadowy, silently-watching figure to murder his wife in his dreams. He turns to his mom for help in the dream world and is shown the shadowy figure in Sam's attic watching the bedroom below through a hole in the attic floor. After confirming this in the real world, Taka orders a team out to investigate.

Finally, Burton is still dreaming of his woman in red while also working on taking down the firm. After a failed raid he was able to get the FBI to conduct, and after a warning from Woody to stop, Burton continues with his investigation and breaks into a safe to retrieve a mysterious drive. He hires a man to analyze it, who sends over a live feed of Burton's apartment coming from the drive. He discovers a camera recording him from an apartment across the street and runs over to discover his woman in red waiting for him by the camera. What a great way to end a season opener!

Watchers
Picking up where we left off, Burton and the woman in red (whose name is actually Olivia) engage in a conversation that basically boils down to "What's going on here?" "I don't know", and ends with Olivia pleading with Burton to leave so she doesn't have to shoot him before he knocks her unconscious. He later fills her in on the human trafficking situation, and she later admits (after being caught on camera) to being hired to dream with another person as well. When they find the man dead in his office of an apparent overdose (definitely murder), she realizes the project this other man was upset about working may involve the trafficking and agrees to tell the FBI what little she knows. On the way, she expresses concerns for her safety since she was told there would be consequences if she ever made physical contact with Burton, and she doesn't think the FBI could truly keep her safe. Totally falling for what is 80% likely to be a manipulation, Burton pulls over and tells her to escape via trains and buses. She asks him to come with her (knowing full well he won't) before heading out, equipped with money and a gun courtesy of Burton. I sure hope this doesn't come back to bite him. Meanwhile, our pal Woody has been spending the episode doing his new job invading the dreams of the mayor seeking her second term in order to get close to her for some reason. He even donates a large amount of money to her campaign. Something isn't right here.

Tess spends the episode with a doozy of a time. Freaked out by someone being in her shed, she asks
Jeremy to stay over to protect her. How cute. He helps James make Tess breakfast in bed, and jumps at the chance to take James to school since they let her sleep late. He's really doing all the right things here. When Mark comes into the diner later, she notices mud on his boots and immediately starts grilling him about his life, and is skeptical when he claims to be working on a novel. He quickly leaves when she walks away and she races to follow him to his house so she can invade his dreams later. She definitely regrets this when she walks in on a dream of him holding a version of her captive in a chair before drilling into her. When she brings James home from school the next day and discovers Mark outside of her house she is immediately confrontational and maces him before learning that the dream was just the beginning of his novel and that he had come over to leave flowers and ask her on a date. Oops. Common misunderstanding! Tess begins packing to avoid a confrontation with the cops, and Jeremy makes a huge slip-up when trying to stop her. He calls her Tess. Turns out he's a dreamer too, and he has "people" who are coming to help her. She's not having it, though, and smacks him in the head with a vase before escaping.

Having the dooziest of doozies this episode would have to be Taka. After calling a team and his partner over to Sam's attic (which Alex is definitely not too happy about, and is super skeptical), Taka decides to go have another dream with his mother. Bad idea, it's quite terrifying. After ripping the seams of her sewn-shut eyes and mouth, she screams that Taka needs to stop "him" before it's too late, and reveals a not very attractive head made of clay the likes to growl a lot. He decides his mother must come home with him and Sabine, which she is 1000% not happy about, especially since he didn't ask her. They argue very loudly in the hospital, and he ends by saying his mother is coming home with or without her permission. They make up later just as his mother is being brought home and she promises to try to make it work. With Sabine actually helping out with his mother, and with a report that another set of DNA was found in that attic, everything seems to be going great for Taka. It's very short-lived. Positive: we learned that Sabine is definitely a sleepwalker, so we can deal with that. Negative: she was sleepwalking to a dream about pouring drain cleaner down a drain filled with roaches, only to realize (after being tackled) that she had been pouring drain cleaner straight into Taka's mother's mouth. That'll be a hard one to explain.

Safehouse
Getting creepier every episode, "Safehouse" opens with Tess and James dreaming together and nearly being seen by the Shadowman, who was busy slicing open a pig. Spooky. In a real-life nightmare, Burton learns that the investigation into The Firm is over, and that he is now being investigated for embezzlement as retaliation. Putting this on hold, he meets up with Tess and James to lead them to the safe-house they will be staying at. After explaining that his place wasn't an option due to the embezzlement investigation, Tess asks about Taka's place, forcing Burton to explain that Sabine is now a murderer. Tess obviously freaks out and says Sabine couldn't do something like that, and Burton insists Taka will explain when he arrives later. He isn't much help, though. In addition to his mourning, he's also trying to wrap his around what happens, leaving him with just as many questions as Tess. Thankfully, he quickly makes the connection that whatever Dreamer made Sam kill his wife could also be responsible for Sabine's...let's say "mishap".

Taka arranges for Tess to have some time to talk with her sister (he'd be fired if he were caught doing it), and we learn that Sabine had been having nightmares about an evil version of Taka's mother yelling at her while a man watched her roaches crawled out of everything. Tess has James's picture of the Shadowman handy, and it turns out that's exactly who she saw. On her way home, she notices Jeremy following her and gets the jump on him with a brick. She warns him to stop before she has to make good on her promise to kill him if she saw him again.

Taka, meanwhile, has been doing some investigating. After noticing some security cameras behind his apartment, he requests the footage (cause cops can do cool things like that) and discovers an RV that's been parking in the alley every night. Also, the RV was there the night of the murder and left shortly after the call to 9-1-1 (good show). Alex is upset to find him working when he is supposed to be taking time off to mourn, and tries to suggest he talk to someone. He begs her to run the plates, and she agrees to do it, as long as he talks to a doctor. Later, Alex calls with results, revealing that the plates on the RV have been stolen from a Buick a few weeks ago. Someone is trying really hard to cover their tracks.

At the safe-house, James tells Burton he's afraid to go to sleep because he doesn't want to see "him" again. When Burton asks who he's talking about James tells him, "I can show you." So, I guess we got over that fear pretty quickly then? I'm not sure how you could though. Burton and James dream together, and Burton is forced to walk through an attic filled with hanging pig carcasses before calling out for James. James holds a finger to his mouth to silence Burton, but Burton sees the Shadowman is already heading towards James with a knife. Burton tackles James down the stairs, and they both wake up understandably shaken. To make matters worse, Burton gets a call from an unknown man telling him to check the news, which shows that his FBI friend has "committed suicide". Things aren't going well. In the meantime, Woody has been continuing to get closer to the Mayor, which we now know is somehow to help her opposing candidate. Woody learns that her child may be an illegitimate one had with a man named Greg, which could definitely hurt her career. He looks like he might be catching feelings, though, so this could get messy. And not the fun, in-their-dreams kind of messy either!

Later that night, our group figures out that the three of them, James, and Sabine have all seen the Shadowman in dreams, and that James is the only one among them who knows how to find him. They all dream together to attempt a recon mission, but things go terribly wrong. as they roam the creepy attic filled with roaches, pig carcasses, and dead bodies, Taka notices that his mother and Sam's wife are among the hanging bodies. The bodies all suddenly wake up as the Shadowman ascends the stairs and our four dreamers are all clearly seen by him. James thinks quickly and runs to turn on the lights to wake them all up, and they are safe for the moment. Tess, Taka, and Burton deduce that the Shadowman must have killed Taka's mom because she was getting too close to figuring him out, and they all make the decision to hunt and take down this Shadowman before he can hurt any of them. Dun Dun DUN!!

Dröm
After a pretty unsettling dream, Taka uses his time to do a deep dive into their investigation, posting everything he uncovers on the wall of the safe-house. One interesting thing he's uncovered is a medical research firm known as Dröm, but he doesn't fully know its connection to everything, only that they've been paying a list of people who are also being paid by The Firm. Burton and Tess decide to pay a visit to Dröm, and they uncover something they certainly weren't expecting: Bill Boerg. Turns out he's been doing more dream research, this time on long-distance dreaming, and those people were all test subjects. One of particular interest was Lainie, an "Engineer" who has complete control over dream constructs and has recently gone missing. Tess, being a Tracker, agrees to help find her, along with Burton who is a "Skater" and can completely break through dream constructs. Always fun to learn new vocab! They find her deep in her dream, and discover that she's being held against her will somewhere, instigating a mission to find her.

Meanwhile, Woody has been on the search for our mysterious Greg. After getting a list of three Gregs, he moves his hunt to the dream world. Our first Greg was too business-y, and our second Greg was too...um...well, he was gay, so not him, but our third Greg was just right, showing an expected amount of hatred towards the mayor for someone who had a child with her. He reveals the information to the opposition, but says creating a scandal would be the wrong move and claims he can get her to drop out. This doesn't work, though. As he attempts to bring up the topic at dinner, her phone blows up, and the television in the restaurant shows a breaking news story of the mayor's affair. Uh-oh.

Taka has spent his time with Alex investigating the newly-located RV. When they find that it's empty, they start a stakeout and are eventually greeted by a rambling man walking down the street in his underwear. They try to approach him, but he pulls out a gun and shoots himself. As the police handle the crime scene, Taka notices a man in a hat exiting a nearby brownstone and starts a chase that ends with Taka getting knocked in the head. He ends up in the hospital with a concussion, and decides that now is the appropriate time to to tell Alex about dreamers. She obviously doesn't believe him and chalks it up to the meds, setting up to sleep in the room with him overnight. Taka takes this opportunity to prove it to her. When they wake up, she's convinced, and agrees to help Taka with this very strange investigation, as long as they do it by the books.


Verdict
So far, this has been a strong second outing for the show. The first season was certainly intriguing, but for most of it I felt just as lost as the characters. Perhaps that was by design, but it was certainly a bit frustrating to me at times. This season, however, we're all mostly on the same page and understand exactly what's happening. The world-building this season has been great, and learning of the different sub-categories of Dreamers is an exciting new idea that has  me interested in what others might exist. I'm patiently waiting on the Olivia story to come back around, and I really think she might be up to something. Perhaps that's just my distrust in characters brought on by years of watching TV betrayals, but we'll see what happens. I'm also pretty sure that Jeremy actually is a good guy, only because of how convinced Tess is that he isn't. Again, TV has made me not trust characters, or their judgement. All of this to say: I'm liking this season a lot more than the first, and these have been a solid four episodes of television.

How have you been enjoying the season so far? Do you think Olivia might be up to something? What are the odds I get a review of episode five out before episode six airs? Sound off in the comments below!


 
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