REVIEW: Emergence on FOX is an intriguing new mystery that leaves us wanting more
FOX’s suspenseful new mystery Emergence is the latest import from across the pond, and it’s a doozy.
Starring Fargo‘s Allison Tolman in the lead role of police chief Jo Evans, Emergence starts with a plane crash and the discovery of a mysterious young girl (Alexa Swinton) at the scene. As Jo races to put together the pieces and uncover the real identity of ‘Piper’, she realises she may have stumbled across a dangerous conspiracy.
Emergence has the mystery format perfectly right. After finishing the first episode, I have so many questions that have me itching for the next part, and probably the one after that. The first episode is fast-paced, revealing just enough information to pique one’s curiosity and leave one wanting more. It starts with an incident that sounds simple enough, and a little girl who seems perfectly healthy, but by the end of the pilot has spiralled into something much more.
Part of what’s so good about the series is its focal character, police chief Jo Evans. In just one episode, Allison Tolman delivers multiple facets of Jo Evans. At work, she’s a fierce and respected police chief. At home, she’s a maternal, caring parent, still reeling from a break up with ex husband Alex (Donald Faison). She’s a shrewd investigator with what seems to be a decent judge of character. This handling of a character’s personal and professional balance draws one in to the story, and makes her curiosity and anxiety our own.
The handling of the science fiction elements of the show is also well done. It fits slickly into the modern setting of Long Island’s Peconic Bay. Whatever Piper’s secret is, we’re not discovering it in a hurry. There’s lots to talk about from a short 43 minute episode. What is the truth behind that plane crash? Who is Piper? Why is she wanted, and who by? Who is the investigative journalist Benny Gallagher (Owain Yeoman)? How much of all this is Piper aware of, but not telling?
It’s a promising first episode, filled with intriguing questions and a fascinating lead character, with a hook that will leave one wanting more.