This week’s episode of BEYOND provides us a little more insight into what exactly is going on with Holden Matthews’ odd awakening from a twelve-year coma, brings us a couple turns you may not have seen coming, and ends on a cliffhanger that left me wanting to hit play on the next episode right away.
We pick up where we left off in episode two–Holden standing in Willa’s apartment, inquiring about where he was while in his coma. Holden wants to get his powers under control before he seriously hurts or kills somebody; last episode he almost burned down a frat house of partying college kids. Willa insists he needs to remember where he was to start controlling his powers. She explains he was in another world, though he can’t remember it in his present state. This other world we later learn is called “The Realm” and is full of wonder and “magic”–which worries me a bit, but also intrigues me. The show is, quite purposefully it seems, toeing the line between a sci-fi world of extra terrestrials being the culprits of Holden’s unfortunate experience, and one where it’s something supernatural, religious even. If they don’t come down hard on one side, (if the writers didn’t even have a definitive answer from the start) it could lead to great disappointment down the road. For now it’s working fine and keeping me guessing, but I hope to have more answers soon.
Willa insists that Holden lived outside his body in “The Realm” for the full twelve years he was in a coma, and that they need to integrate his memories of his experiences there with the ones he now has in his physical body. It seems odd to me that their next step is to inject him with a chemical only tested on mice, knock him out, inducing an apparent seizure, pour steaming water over his body to keep him from losing all his body heat, and just hoping for the best. Why doesn’t she like, I dunno, TELL HIM everything that happened and see if that jiggers anything loose in the ol’ memory bank? I guess that’s not how these things work, just seems like it’s worth a shot before all that other hoopla that almost kills him.
When Holden is put in this chemically induced catatonic state, he is “transported” to a different world–one of thick brambles, almost like tunnels, that he follows a mysterious light shining from above through. The first time, he starts getting the sense he’s being chased by something (the same thing behind the door in his visions from last week?) and runs in a panic out of a bramble tunnel into a waterfall that spits him out of some giant monster statue’s nostril. Okay. The subsequent times he is put under, he is attacked by a flock of about a trillion crows that are released from a tower in what looked almost like a modern day Earth city. No clue what that’s about.
Either way, he wakes up and does not seem to remember any more than when he was put under. Way to go, Willa.
Between all this testing, we see Holden trying to regain his normal life he left behind before his accident. He goes to the same Italian restaurant he always went to with his family on Friday nights as a kid. They fondly reminisce about the meatballs–oh the meatballs! But quickly the hard truth is revealed as Mom and Dad start bickering over Holden’s taking of the high school equivalency test, and little bro Luke can’t stand it anymore. Turns out Holden’s parents have been split up for a little over a year. They wanted to have a smooth, stable environment for their son when he woke up. Smooth move, Family! Holden storms out of the restaurant–screw the meatballs–and leaves angrily about having been lied to.
There’s other family infighting later on when Luke confronts his dad about having felt overlooked his entire life, living in the shadow of his parents’ devastation and fixation on the tragedy of their firstborn son. Luke leaves to go back to school for the new semester, and not on good terms with his pops.
Holden also runs into the girl Jamie he met at the party and made out with last episode. They’re at a sporting goods store, and Jamie takes Holden’s phone to put her number in it. When she presses the home button, she sees a text from “Willa” is on screen saying “You have work to do.” Not weird at all. Nope… Holden panics, obviously not wanting to ruin things with this girl, and says Willa is his sister, who hates media attention and shies away from the cameras–THAT’s why Jamie’s never heard of her. If she actually believes this, then I hope the writers are intending for her character to be as dumb as they’ve made her look here.
Elsewhere in the world of Beyond, we find Holden’s old friend Kevin in some unfortunate circumstances. We first see him in a desperate car chase, being pursued, while on the phone with his pregnant wife telling her to pack her bags, they’re leaving town. Eventually he’s ran off the road by his pursuer. Turns out, when we catch back up with weirdo villain Mustard Jacket (not his actual name, just the one same ugly coat he wears) he’s got Kevin tied up and beaten in his wine cellar, which he goes down to between glasses of wine while watching TV with his wife and little girl. He explains to Kevin that he was at first skeptical about what his friend Holden could do–that’s why he set out to force him to display his powers on camera in the pilot episode. Kevin has seen too much of something he’s not supposed to, and he needs to be taken care of. Mustard Jacket admits he hates killing–“Turns my stomach,” he says–so eventually agrees to take Kevin back to see his family if he’s a “good boy.”
However, upon arriving at Kevin’s house, he gets one last glimpse of his wife, and realizes that Mustard Jacket isn’t letting him go. In a jarring cut from Kevin’s look of panic, we see Mustard Jacket walking back to his truck from some thick woods–presumably where Kevin has met his demise. I know it’s probably due to not being able to show graphic violence on Freeform, but this jarring cut actually proved effective in a fun and creepy way. I am enjoying what they’re doing with this character.
At the end of the episode, we see Holden taking that high school equivalency exam. HOLD UP. How long has Holden been out of the coma? A few weeks at this point, MAYBE? I thought when they talked about the exam earlier in the episode, this would be something they’d follow up on a few episodes down the line or something. Holden has literally never experienced a single day of high school. How exactly does he and his family believe he is ready to take this test? There’s no way he could possibly pass this, unless he did grades 9 through 12 in “The Realm” which his highly unlikely to say the least.
It’s good then that he starts to have visions of the strange old man in the fire from the first few episodes and the crows attacking him to the point where he runs out mid-test. I have experienced similar panicked flashes when I am hopelessly unprepared for something as well. Holden exits the testing building and immediately meets a new dilemma, none other than…. JEFF! Kevin’s brother. He demands to know where his brother is, and flashes a gun to Holden. CLIFFHANGER!
I was waiting for this character to come back in a big way. He is, after all, the one mostly responsible for Holden’s accident. Next episode should be an interesting one, as Holden may have to learn to harness his capabilities to defend himself. We shall see.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Beyond airs Mondays at 9PM on Freeform
Paul just awoke from a twelve-year coma to discover he possesses the mystical ability to watch an insane amount of TV and write incredible reviews for all.
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor