The Messengers pilot, “Awakening,” presents a large cast of characters and reveals a mystery at its onset. The Messengers, a CW show, has been described by some as a science fiction series, and by others as a supernatural drama. Perhaps it will keep us guessing whether it’s more grounded in space or spirit, in a Wayward Pines sort of way. We were hopeful there would be mystical elements to The Messengers since social media sites for Supernatural have been promoting the show so heavily, and we were not disappointed.
Hospital employees, astronomers, federal agents, protective and expecting mothers, a TV evangelist, and teenagers—all the potential TV tropes have our heads spinning. We’re hoping it will be end up being a teen show—forget the scientists and agents. We love teen shows. Why go for moral ambiguity when you can have adolescent angst? After all, teens provide the ultimate representations of good and evil.
The Messengers starts out with a bang, dropping us right into its mystery. In Houston, a woman, Rose, shows her engagement ring to a friend. She starts to feel faint and says, “I’ve got a bad feeling.” Suddenly a man walks up to her, warning, “His name was Death and Hell followed with him.” Then he shoots Rose. The events that follow all take place seven years after this shooting.
Something has arrived from space and its blast has affected certain people in an unusual, pupil-dilating way so that they appear to be dead for a short time. As well as causing a handful of near-death experiences, there’s some dude sitting in the middle of the crater. Has Kyle XY returned to us? A seemingly random group of people across the Southwest experience this strange awakening.
Near Socorro, New Mexico, astronomers Vera and Alan are out in the field when their equipment shows an object entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Vera see the meteor hitting Earth. The blast from the meteor strike comes towards her, then Vera’s pupils dilate and she collapses. When she comes to, she calls out the name Michael. Despite her brush with death, Vera only wants to check out the meteor. Vera and Alan become suspicious when the news reports there was a solar flare rather than a meteor. When they go to the location where the meteor hit, they find it landed in the location of the first nuclear bomb test, Trinity, making them more suspicious. Vera says, “Look, this is something that somebody didn’t want us to know about,” just as all the helicopters and black SUVs arrive. Soldiers detain Vera and Alan while they take core samples. Despite Vera’s angry demands to be part of the scientific discovery, the army forces them to leave. Why they were detained for two hours and then suddenly forced to leave is the biggest mystery of all. Alan drives Vera home, expressing concern about her state. He asks who Michael is, and she tells him that he’s someone who’s been gone a long time.
In Juarez, Mexico, a federal agent, Raul, is about to be killed by the drug runners he’s infiltrated. Two other agents show up just in time to intervene. He is affected by the blast and the other agents assume he had a heart attack and died. When he awakens, he begins hearing the thoughts of the other agents, learning that they plan to kill him. Raul ends up killing the other two agents in self-defense. He begins to walk through the desert, trying to make his way to the border.
In Tucson, Arizona, a mother, Erin, appears to be trying to leave her abusive husband. She puts her daughter, Amy, in the car. When her husband Ronnie calls, she tells him, “As long as I live, never again.” When the meteor blast wave arrives, it knocks out Erin, and she crashes her car. When she awakens, she finds her daughter is in critical condition at the hospital. Erin’s jerky cop husband comes to the hospital and screams at her. Erin goes in the hospital room and cries over her injured daughter. As her tears fall on Amy, her daughter’s wounds begin to heal. When her daughter awakens, Amy tells her mother that she isn’t hurt. Realizing that her husband is going to try to take her daughter away, she decides to take Amy out of the hospital. As they leave, we see in the hospital mirror that Erin has translucent, angel-like wings. Hmmm … that’s weird.
A preacher, Joshua, is opening for his father, who is a big-time TV evangelist. While on the air, Joshua collapses and apparently dies. When Joshua awakens, his father thinks it’s a miracle he’s alive. Later, Joshua goes on the air to announce that the Apocalypse is coming. His father cuts the show before Joshua’s last words, “For I am a messenger of God,” are broadcast. Joshua’s father is not happy with his son’s broadcast, telling him that his church is about hope, not fire and brimstone. Joshua responds that it’s not his church, but God’s church. When we see Joshua through the TV camera, we can see his angel wings. Later, Joshua’s wife confesses that she was “comforted” by her TV evangelist father-in-law in a moment of weakness. Yuck. Joshua’s creepy father tells him, “Whether the baby’s your son or your brother, he’s still family.” This definitely seems like a sign of the Apocalypse.
In Little Rock, Arkansas, a teen, Peter, gets harassed in typical high school TV fashion. His friend-who-is-a-girl even sticks up for Peter. We love teen TV shows that start out with this plot. Peter is swimming when the meteor wave hits. His heart stops and he sinks to the bottom of the pool. After his swim pals perform CPR and he awakens, Peter gets accused by his guidance counselor of trying to kill himself (it doesn’t make sense to us either). When the counselor says he will call Peter’s parents, we learn that Peter is in foster care. Weird that the counselor is aware the Peter has a past suicide attempt, but not that he is in foster care. That evening Peter goes to a party where he gets bullied again by the same boy, Sam, who harassed him earlier in school. Sam starts to hit him, and Peter reacts. He ends up killing Sam, and the other boys run away. Not the kind of teen show we were hoping for. When Peter looks at his reflection in the car window he realizes he has angel wings. Peter goes to the party and tells his friend-who-is-a-girl that he killed Sam. He tells her he’s confused about everything except her, and that he must go. They kiss. That’s more like it.
Meteor Man doesn’t seem confused at all, despite having just emerged from the center of a Meteor blast. He knows what he wants—clothes. Meteor Man later shows up at astronomer Vera’s house and tells her that he knows where her son, Michael, is. He refers to her as an angel, and we see she has the invisible angel wings too. He tells Vera that she must kill a woman to get her son back. He claims that this woman has been basically dead for seven years. Not sure what “basically” dead means. Perhaps this woman has been sitting around watching Criminal Minds for the last seven years.
Journey to Houston
Raul has made his way to civilization, of sorts, and makes a call. As he takes care of his bullet wounds, we see in the bathroom mirror that he has angel wings too. Raul runs into angel mom Erin and her newly healed daughter in a store. Raul sees on the TV that he is wanted by the police and takes drastic action. He carjacks Erin, forcing her to drive him to safety. It turns out that he wants to go to Houston, where Erin and Amy already happen to be going. We also find out that teen Peter is hitching a ride with a trucker heading the same way. They are all heading to Houston.
Vera is driving somewhere—we suspect she’s traveling to Houston as well. We hear the Meteor Man’s voice telling Vera that nothing that is happening is random or coincidental. He says that everything is happening for a reason and she has an important part to play.
Joshua heads to a Houston hospital after having a vision. He sees that someone is going to kill the woman, Rose, who was shot seven years earlier. She is in the hospital, unconscious. So that’s what he meant by “basically” dead. We hear the warning he gave on TV:
“I died, and yet here I am. Why? I bring you a warnin’. The devil is here with us, in flesh and blood. He knows our secrets and our fears. And he will use them against us. He is temptation and sin. He is evil incarnate. He is Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. And I am here to tell ya, whether you believe it you not, he is coming for us all.”
The meteor man is sitting in the hospital room with the unconscious woman, Rose. His eyes turn black and then begin to glow red. Somehow, it’s more cool than scary. Just then, Rose starts to move her fingers.
The Messengers introduces us to a large cast in a relatively short amount of time. Five characters have been impacted by the blast of the meteor: astronomer Vera Buckley (Shantel VanSanten), mother Erin Calder (Sofia Black-D’Elia), teen Peter Moore (Joel Courtney), Fed Raul Garcia (JD Pardo), and preacher Joshua Silburn (Jon Fletcher). Diogo Morgado plays the Meteor Man and Anna Diop plays the mysterious gunshot victim.
We got a lot of information in this first episode—perhaps more than we would have expected. We quickly learn that the meteor blast changed each of the characters into something similar—something with angel-like wings—though some, like Joshua and Raul, appear to have special powers. Perhaps they will be supernatural X-Men. During the pilot we get to know some better than others, but we are only somewhat interested in the fates of these characters. Though some of the individual storylines haven’t been particularly engaging, we’re curious about the meteor and the angel wings. The translucent angel wings are the coolest part of the show so far. Let’s hope The Messengers story that emerges about these angelic symbols is worthy of their intriguing imagery.