Reverie Pilot Review
Looking for a new show to watch? Reverie might just be your thing.
NBC’s brand new thriller from Extant creator Mickey Fisher follows Mara Kint, a former FBI Hostage Negotiator and an expert on human behavior. Kint, played by Sarah Shahi, is recruited by her former boss, Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert) to save people who have lost themselves in a virtual reality world called Reverie.
The pilot episode, Apertus, did an excellent job of introducing us to the major players and to the world of Reverie.
Like all interesting characters, Mara has a ghost, a past that haunts her, and she’s self-medicating with booze and pills. Although she was considered the best in her job as hostage negotiator, she failed to save those she loved most. In heart wrenching flashbacks we watch a horrific scene play out: Mara trying to negotiate a hostile gunman, only this isn’t just any gunman, this is her brother in law, Ray, and his hostages are Mara’s sister, Jamie, and her little girl, Brynn, who clutches a stuffed bunny. Mara tries desperately to calm Ray down, but when he hears sirens he does the unthinkable and kills Jamie and Brynn, then turns the gun on himself. Mara sees it all, and she feels that it’s her fault, that she failed her sister and her niece.
Former FBI chief, Charlie now works with Onira-Tech, a private security firm, a company which has invented a VR program called Reverie. Using their social media footprint (photos, videos, etc) Reverie allows a client to design their very own world, to resurrect their memories, even bring back the dead—a place where the impossible becomes possible. But there’s a problem—some users (7 so far, plus 4 more that show up at the end) are becoming so addicted to the world they’ve created that their subconscious minds have severed ties with reality, their bodies are in comas—they are trapped. This is where Mara comes in, Charlie wants to hire her to go in and bring them back.
Alexis Barrett (Jessica Lu) is Reverie’s creator.
Paul Hammond (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is Chief Onierologist (try saying that word out loud) at Onira-Tech, he designs the factory presets and training modules.
Monica Shaw (Kathryn Morris) works for the Department of Defense and has a strong interest in Reverie.
Dylan is Onira-Tech’s AI, a sweet, childlike voice who turns out to be the (I’m assuming deceased) brother of Alexis.
The First Client
The first client is Tony, a man whose wife, Naomi, died in a car accident. He’s been in Reverie for two weeks, and he’s in a coma. His daughter Iris and his brother sit by his bedside waiting for him to wake up, but time is running out. If they can’t get Tony back soon, he may never come back.
After Mara completes her training module in which she learns the ins and outs of Reverie (important things like “Apertus” gets you in and “Exitus” , or a Mandela symbol, gets you out), she makes her first attempt. She enters Tony’s Reverie where he has recreated his memories of a hotel in San Francisco where he proposed to his wife. Tony, who is with his wife (played by Hannah Levien who Colony fans might remember from a recent episode), spots Mara right off and hurries away from her. She chases after him, and along the way something from Mara’s past shows up, the bunny that her niece, Brynn, was holding when her dad shot her. Mara ends up in a room filled with books and doors, and a blue butterfly which lands on one of the doorknobs. She goes out that door to find the rooftop scene Tony had designed for he and his wife. Tony shows up and wants to know who she is and why she’s there. She tries to explain, but he spots the blue butterfly and all hell breaks loose. Tony shoves Mara from the ledge and just before she hits the ground she shouts “Exitus” and she is back at Onira-Tech.
Mara does some digging and finds out why the blue butterfly caused Tony to freak out-it represents that one thing that keeps us all trapped in memories, guilt. It turns out that his wife was sick, she was dying, and he had been trying to hold everything together and took some kind of a stimulant to help him keep up—on the day of the car wreck, he had taken a double dose, and he feels guilt for having killed his wife. Armed with that knowledge, Mara goes back in and confronts Tony again. In a tearful conversation, she explains to Tony that he’s in a coma and that his daughter needs him, and she also confesses her own guilt that has been consuming her for two years.
Tony tells his wife goodbye, and she tells him that he never let her down. After one final kiss, he wakes up and is reunited with his daughter and brother.
Mara returns to her home where she gets rid of all her booze. About to dump her pills down the toilet, she hears something, and suddenly BOOM–her niece, Brynn, is there, right in front of her, clutching that stuffed bunny.
My Thoughts So Far?
I enjoyed the pilot, I think the show has a lot of potential. It’s like a mashup of Fantasy Island and Total Recall. I love the themes going on here. And I remember reading that the best tv shows are situations where a new story walks in every week, and Reverie certainly has that going for it. Plus, we have Mara’s past literally haunting her. I’m looking forward to seeing where this exciting new thriller goes.
What about you? Did you catch the pilot? What did you think? Please share your thoughts.
Reverie returns June 6th, 10/9 C, on NBC.
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