Title: Episode 4: Cost Containment
Director: David Grossman
Writers:(created by) David Pastor, Alex Pastor (written by) Chris Downey
Starring: Sean Teale, Allison Miller, Eddie Ramos, Julia Ormond, David Hewlett, Dennis Haysbert, Damon Herriman, Elena Khan, Denyse Tontz, Stephanie Belding, Pedro Miguel Arce, and more.
Duration: 43 minutes
Is it a novella, or a science fiction series? Watching episode 4, Cost Containment, its hard to tell, but the science fiction took a backseat in this episode.
This weeks episode of Incorporated, despite the window dressing of all the high tech future gadgets seemed more like a soap opera on a spanish speaking tv channel, not because of the language, but because of the narrative and the melodaramtic manner it was depicted.
The main twist about the show, the fact that the lead character leads a double life of well-to-do-corporate-guy-on-the-rise Ben Larson (Sean Teale), is in reality Aaron, a sleeper agent sent to infiltrate the corporate world, adds very little to the show’s appeal or serves to make it more interesting. There is of course, the requisite amount of tension and suspense that he might be caught at any moment but that gets old quick
In fact, the show has conveniently supplied a character that suspects something about him is not quite right. Spoiled rich kid, and nasty jerkface, Roger Caplan (Douglas Nyback) who is using his father’s resources to try and set a trap of our hero.
The show relies too heavily on our interest in the day to day lives of its cast of characters instead of supplying events that would lift the show out of its soap opera mindset. The first three episodes didn’t seem this two dimensional, cliched, and unimaginative. The residents of the Red zones spend their time, longing for a better life for themselves and their families, and there’s nothing wrong with that unless you keep using that as a storyline repeatedly like a cliche borrowed from Dickens. There’s people that take an interest in whether those striving for a better life by winning corporate scholarships, actually win those scholarships or fail. these fixers do it for different reasons but mostly for money and the comforts it affords.
We are given glimpses of the criminal element at work behind the scenes and how it works to lift up some and alter the course of others for the worst, This includes the sister of Theo (Eddie Ramos), Elena (Denyse Tontz) who is up for a scholarship. If she wins it it means good things for her and her family, but when she doesn’t it means working as a corporate companion in one of the executive pleasure clubs. A fate worse than death that didn’t sound so bad when the corporate rep described it.
This week’s episode spent an inordinate amount of time on Ben and his wife, Laura’s (Allison Miller) decision to have a baby. At first their decision was depicted as a futuristic process picking the gender and other qualities of their future child in a process similar to picking a new car and what options are available, but after Ben suggests they have a baby the old fashioned way, it settles into a story about him not really wanting to have a baby because he is not who he says he is, and taking some sort of male birth control to prevent his wife from getting pregnant. The episode spent a lot of time on this stuff.
It occurs to me that maybe its intentional. That the the show’s creators are trying to attract a demographic of novella fans to this series, because it certainly seems that way. Personally if this series doesn’t make some changes fast it has mostly lost its appeal for me as a science fiction series that’s worth my time to watch. The series has six more episodes to change my mind.