“Downsizing” is a major step up for INCORPORATED. This week’s episode we finally get some much needed character development. As we jump back and forth between two different time periods, we get to learn more about Ben/Aaron (Sean Teale). We also get much, much more of Elizabeth (Julia Ormond) and Julian (Dennis Haysbert).
So we start off with Aaron twelve years into the past where he’s still a mischievous adolescent running around in what are FEMA controlled Red Zones. He just witnessed his dad kill himself due to guilt over contributing to the environment’s collapse. It’s weird how this is just glossed over and you’d think this would have a major impact on Aaron. But since the show moves on very quickly from it, so will I. We see him con people for money as well as using hacked retina googles to get extra rations. By doing this we meet a young Ilana (Lescia Andrews) as well as how Aaron met Hendrick (Damon Herriman). Now that it’s established, yes, Aaron truly does love Ilana who in this time makes out of the Red Zone with Aaron promising to find her. After conning Hendrick, the two meet again and Hendrick offers up an opportunity.
Picking up from last week, Aaron aka Ben Larson is feeling the pressure from above as the investigation into his boss comes raining down on his head. Meanwhile, Laura is trying to help (Allison Miller) Aaron/Ben’s boss’s family in their situation as the family now faces exile into the Red Zone. Back in the Red Zone, Theo (Eddie Ramos) must fight for Terrence (Ian Tracey) once again.
I’ll admit while we got much needed character work for Aaron/Ben and some decent moments of suspense as Aaron’s whole ruse could come crashing down any second, it is still hard to care for this guy. We see him destroy his boss’ life in order to move up and get Ilana, but at what cost? Seeing his boss tortured and his family broken up was pretty harsh. That stacks the odds against him to be honest in terms of the audience trying to see his goals accomplished.
Same goes for Theo, whose storyline this week was a real throwaway one. I do however like that they don’t make a big deal out of Theo being gay, as the show keeps it moving. But having him now be Terrence’s lap dog for cheating during his cage match seems forced. Terrence I know is supposed to be scum, but it would’ve been in his best interest to tell Theo to throw the fight instead of what transpired.
Alison Miller continues to do some good work with the only likable character Laura. It was a smart contrast to show that while Ben wrecks a family, Laura tries with all her power to help the same family her spouse is destroying. What exactly happened with Laura has to be shown sooner rather than later as there’s only so many times I can watch her mutilate herself. And seeing as we wasted some time with Theo this week, hopefully next week we can give Theo a break and let Laura have the spotlight and develop her character a bit more.
Julia Ormond and Dennis Haysbert are doing top notch work with two “villains” who are trying to get to the bottom of an unlikely betrayal. Haysbert’s Julian is not buying Aaron’s story of his boss’s sudden and unusual betrayal to the company. He provided the best scenes of the episode on a will he/won’t he find out about Aaron and his manipulation to the executive position. Ormond’s Elizabeth this week was conflicted as I feel she clearly knew that Aaron was responsible for what’s happening and even goes so far to warn him that taking an executive position is unwise with secrets, but seems to be protecting him for her daughter’s sake, as to not make their relationship even more strained.
It’s interesting to note that Aaron’s co-worker, Varik (Aaron Poole), now has the secret files that Aaron had to hide under the table. We all know that he’s gonna screw him first chance he gets. So, it’ll be interesting to see where exactly this goes even though I’m not exactly rooting for Aaron to come out on top either. I feel bad for Laura, who is being deceived by her husband who now I’m not entirely sure if he does truly love her. All throughout watching “Downsizing” I couldn’t help but think that she was the victim. She thinks her mother is the true villain, when in reality it’s her husband. And as Hendrick told Aaron in the break room of Spiga, what’s his plan once he gets Ilana out. What does he tell Laura? I’m afraid for her, as she fragile as it is. It’s not a matter of if, but when she does, she might kill herself. And that happening might bring Spiga’s full force down on Aaron.
So while yes this was a better episode, we still need more in terms of caring about anyone outside of Laura. Our characters seem cold in the way that they act and operate and the writers need to figure that out first and foremost. With that, they need to do something better with Theo and jettison Terrence or else this storyline is gonna drag this show down more than it needs to. Aaron, I wanna root for you but you’re making it hard man.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
Incorporated airs Wednesdays at 10PM on SyFy
A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is an indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop) .
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Brandon Norwood | Contributor