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Salvation -Hail Marry and Get Ready- Reviews: Just Getting Started

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***Warning- This review contains spoilers

Salvation's second season set out to prove the network's faith in this unique show was justified. And it has done just that and more. From the very first episode of the season, the show elevated its quality and storytelling giving their characters added layers, never letting up on the intrigue and intensity of the situation at hand and most of all well-written and at times jaw-dropping twists. So yes, the show proved the network did the right thing in giving them a second season, but they've done something else. They've expertly used those same tools to lay out exactly why this show deserves a third season. And with the final two episodes of the season – Hail Marry and Get Ready - they put the exclamation point on the biggest reason of all, a third season is needed because this wasn't the end of the Salvation story! Quite the contrary, this story is just getting started!

While the world around them is descending into chaos following the destruction of the railgun, Hail Marry focuses on the core strength of Salvation- the human element. The people of Salvation are quickly running out of options. They all need that last-minute miracle play to save themselves and the ones they love, their Hail Mary moment. And they each make the most of their moments, with at least one giving new meaning to the term. Darius (Santiago Cabrera) resigns the presidency and works with Alycia (Melia Kreiling) and Liam (Charlie Rowe) to save mankind. Their miracle play is the use the Ark-aptly named Salvation and ram it into the asteroid. However, to make their play work Darius must literally make a deal with the devil in the form of his Uncle Nicholas for the materials they need. The chess game on the board in front of him is nothing compared to the game Nicholas plays with Darius. The materials in exchange for his freedom. Darius has no choice but to agree but warns his uncle to stay away from Grace and Zoe. It's a masterful scene between Santiago Cabrera and John Noble, but as we have learned before Uncle Nicholas always has one more play up his sleeve. Uncle Nicholas wants the Ark, but only Darius has the launch codes to make it fly.

Meanwhile, the new government has determined the only way to stop or minimize the damage from the asteroid is to join forces with the Russians and the Chinese and fire nuclear missiles at it. Of course, this would cause widespread destruction and what can only be described as acceptable losses. People scramble to find bunkers to survive in, but safety is fast becoming a scarce commodity. Harris (Ian Anthony Dale), being the pragmatic one has come up with the perfect solution for a desperate Grace (Jennifer Finnigan) searching for a bunker for herself and her pregnant daughter (Rachel Drance). There is space for him, a spouse and dependent in the federal bunkers for government officials. So to Harris, the solution is clear, he confesses to a stunned Grace, he's still in love with her and asks her to marry him even giving her the ring he'd gotten for her before the asteroid madness had begun. He's taken the term Hail Marry to the extreme.

Grace has no choice but to consider it, doing what any mother would do, searching for a way to protect her child. She even humbles herself to go ask Darius for financial help when the world's chaos has rendered her assets useless, unfortunately, his assets as equally as useless but he asks Grace to have faith in him to find a solution. But now, after all his efforts thus far have met with failure, it's becoming harder and harder for Grace, the most hopeful person on the show to trust him. Which is ironic, in that in another great moment of this episode Finnigan and Rachel Drance, Zoe is the one who has lost hope and considers terminating her pregnancy and it is Grace who convinces her to hang on to her hope. Bringing Zoe back into the picture was a great asset to the last half of this season. The mother/daughter scenes between the two have been some of the strongest of the latter half of the season. In a previously published interview with Finnigan, she admitted that these scenes mean so much more to her now that she is a mother in real life, that it's easier to tap into the emotions they call for.

Later, after discovering the asteroid has slightly changed its trajectory, Darius realizes there is only one option, someone must be at the controls of the Ark and he elects to send himself on this one-way mission. And of course, there is only one person with whom he wants to spend the hours he has left, Grace. The wonderful chemistry between Finnigan and Cabrera bring a heart-breaking poignancy to these scenes, with Darius sacrificing himself and Grace cursing the asteroid until he reminds her if it weren't for the asteroid they'd have never met. They spend one last night together, then Uncle Nicholas serves up his Hail Mary with a play that strikes at Darius' greatest weakness, Grace. He calls Darius and in exchange for releasing his money, he offers Darius a bunker for Grace and her daughter. He knows his nephew too well, so of course, Darius agrees only to find it's a trap and dear Uncle Nicholas captures and drugs him.

In a drugged stupor Darius begins hallucinating about hummingbirds. His only hope now is Jillian (Jacqueline Byers), who has escaped COPE and the not as pure as he appears Bass Shepherd (Luke Arnold). While fleeing she sees the dazed Darius and Uncle Nicholas drive by, she immediately calls Liam to warn them then sacrifices her freedom to go back to help him. She doesn't hesitate particularly after Bass had played on her guilt and insecurities by telling her that it's her fault the world is coming to an end because she gave him the plans to the railgun. Byer has done strong work in these last episodes, perfectly capturing Jillian's remorse and vulnerability.

In these two penultimate episodes of Season 2, there is a little bit of everything that has made Salvation the outstanding show that it is. Mind-blowing twists like Bass being in cahoots with Uncle Nicholas because his father was a founding member of Q17, Uncle Nicholas and his Q17 faithful torturing Darius for the launch codes then stealing the Ark, to Harris's son, Dylan (Andre' Dae Kim) not only being alive but also being the mysterious Nero of Resyst!

Because of his capture, torture and subsequent rescue, Darius has been in a coma for 44 days and his mind is reeling trying to make sense of why he keeps seeing hummingbirds and wonders what that has to do with why the asteroid changed trajectory. The asteroid is 6 days from impact, Harris is about to launch nukes at it and most of the people of the world are preparing for the end of days. The story comes full circle when he asks and gets blind faith from Grace, Liam, Alycia, and Jillian to help him prove to Harris and the government to not launch the nukes because for some reason he believes the asteroid is not going to hit the earth! And therein lies the beauty of a show like Salvation. It has never forgotten that while it is a show based on science, science fiction, and intrigue, its foundation rests with faith, hope, and family. By remembering that, the writers have been brilliant all season with their edge of your seat storytelling. They've been masters at remembering little details like having a haunting version of the song End of the World playing in the background as a frantic Darius and trusting Grace never give up in finding a way to save the earth as they raid an abandoned pet store! And as a reward to the fans, this jam-packed hour with the world literally coming to an end gives virtually every significant character is given their moment to shine.

The addition of Kreiling as Alycia Vertou has been one of the highlights of the season. She's a character that will be necessary for a third season, and she did some of her finest work of the series in this episode. You want to cry for and with her, as she admits to Liam he broke her heart and later when the scientist in her finally gives up and encourages Liam to go be with his mother because everyone should be with someone they love at the end. She went from terrorist to noble at the very end when instead of racing with the others to put Darius' last-minute plan to save the world into action, she chooses to stay with the one thing she has left to love, T.E.S.S.

Rachel Drance brought a new level of growth and maturity to Zoe, showing us she was going to be just as fierce a mother as her own. Her final scene where Zoe says goodbye to Grace essentially telling her she wasn't a little girl anymore and didn't need her mother to take care of her, and then encouraging her mother to follow her heart to be with the one she loved was deeply emotional.

Byers brought the audience to tears as Jillian's guilt and remorse overwhelms her with Grace in her holding cell. Her breaking down when Grace tells her that Darius wanted her to know the rail gun wouldn't have worked anyway and that she wasn't the cause of the coming destruction was some of her best work of the series. She brought this character so far this season.

There was a time earlier in the season where Charlie Rowe’s Liam came close to becoming the least likable character of the season when he began to buy into Resyst’s agenda. In the end, he redeemed himself by not only keeping faith with Jillian but by also keeping faith in Darius. He was also especially good and did excellent work in his scenes with Kreiling in the final two episodes.

Throughout the series, Ian Anthony Dale has played Harris Edwards with a pragmatic stoicism, yet in this episode, he was ruled by his emotions. Every bit of the conflict he was feeling during the reunion with his son was on his face and in his eyes. There was such joy that his son was alive, and then the next moment anger at his deception and role as Nero. And that anger diffused by the son he realized was like him when Dylan tells him that he commanded his army just as his father had.

As she has been from the start, Jennifer Finnigan's, Grace Barrows was the heart and conscience of the not only the episode but the entire series thus far. In this episode every side of the Grace Barrows fans have grown to love was on display. She was the competent professional taking charge and issuing orders to a confused scientist in Antarctica; the loving mother willing to make every sacrifice for her child; the loyal friend comforting Jillian in her holding cell; the woman in love and never losing faith in the man who had stolen her heart; and finally, the bad-ass driving a Hummer through barricades at the Pentagon in a race to stop Harris from launching missiles. She has taken this wonderful character and made her, her own. In Finnigan's hands, Grace Barrows has rightfully earned her place on the list of kick-ass heroine role models on television today.

And if Finnigan was the anchor of this episode and show, then the star that soared was Santiago Cabrera as Darius Tanz. This character has grown so much in two seasons and in this episode, he carried the fate of the world on his shoulders. So many great moments as we watched Darius battle his greatest foe in this episode, his own mind. He masterfully had Darius walk that fine line between genius and madness, desperate to find the meaning of why he kept equating the asteroid with hummingbirds. Then, the eureka moment he realized it was because the asteroid had, with the precision of a hovering hummingbird, had changed its trajectory to avoid the slugs from the railgun, then changed it back. And ultimately, he saved the world by uttering four words to Harris to stop the nuclear launch, the writer's last and perhaps greatest twist,
"It's not an asteroid."

It was only fitting that season 2 of Salvation came to a close with a shot of the core cast- Jillian, Liam, Harris, Grace, and Darius- standing outside watching as Samson hurtled closer to Earth only to stop and hover, like a hummingbird. They're here, now what? And that, dear readers, is why we need a third season of Salvation – the story they're telling is just getting started.

What did you think of the season finale of Salvation? What was your favorite scene? Discuss in the comments below.

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