After being affected by the arrival of a meteor in the first episode, “Strange Magic” finds the characters from The Messengers either in Houston or on their way to Houston. After last week’s pilot “Awakening” we were eager to learn more about what happened to those affected, their fancy wings, and the Man with the red glowing eyes.
Miracle at Houston General Hospital
The Man is trying to get scientist Vera to smother comatose Rose with a pillow. Being a moral person, Vera has apprehensions. He tells her she must do it if she wants to get her son back. It turns out that Vera lost her infant son Michael in an airport when she turned her back on him for just a moment. Way to make parents of the world paranoid, CW. As Vera stands over Rose with the pillow, Rose suddenly sits up. Rose looks over at the Man and starts speaking a strange language, we’ll take a wild guess and say Enochian, and then the Man disappears. Rose tells Vera they must leave right away.
Mom Erin wants to leave the injured and now unconscious Federal Agent Raul at a bus stop. He did carjack her after all. But Erin’s daughter Amy insists they take him to the hospital, pointing to a sign for Houston Memorial Hospital at the bus stop. What a goodie-two-shoes Amy is, and what a pushover her mom is.
Preacher Joshua has arrived at the hospital in search of Rose, whom he saw in a vision. Joshua looks in a hospital room and sees the TV playing a news clip of his father denouncing him. Distraught, Joshua goes to the chapel to pray for guidance. In the back of the chapel, teen Peter is hiding out eating hospital food, after having been dropped off outside the hospital by the trucker he hitched a ride with.
Erin has brought Raul to the hospital, resulting in unwanted questions about his gunshot wound. When Erin touches Raul his gunshot wound instantly heals. Erin and Raul are both trying to avoid the police, though in Raul’s case we are not sure why, since he shot the other federal agents in self-defense. Attempting to hide, they find themselves in the chapel. Rose and Vera arrive in the chapel at the same time.
Joshua recognizes Rose from his vision. Rose tells them all that they are the Messengers, adding, “We’re the angels of the Apocalypse.” When the others hear that Rose knows their names and that they all had death experiences the day before, she gets their attention. She tells them that God is angry and they are being tested. Rose explains the meteor was really Satan’s return to earth from Heaven (what was Satan doing up in Heaven, anyways?). Scientist Vera doesn’t believe in the devil because she’s an atheist. Hey CW, stereotypes hurt! Each messenger has been given gifts to fight the devil: Erin can heal, Raul can hear thoughts, Peter has strength, Joshua has prophetic vision, Rose has the ability to understand whatever God wants her to, and Vera … well, her gift has not been revealed yet. Vera’s like the one in the restaurant who gets their meal after everyone else in the dining party is halfway through their own food. Joshua has a seizure-like vision, but before he can share it, everyone runs away because … the nurses are coming!
Raul gets back in the car with Erin and Amy. When stopped by a sheriff, Raul hears their thoughts and realizes Erin is wanted by the police for running away from her abusive husband with her daughter Amy. Raul deals with the sheriff by handcuffing him to his car. Erin drops off Raul at his brother’s house. Raul finds his brother has been taken by the people after him, but manages to escape along with his angry niece. We learn that his niece holds him responsible for her parents breaking up and her mother moving out—explaining her attitude and sarcastic thoughts.
When Vera leaves the hospital, Joshua stops her to explain that his vision included her son. Initially Vera helps Joshua in his search for a man from his vision, though she shares a constant barrage of sarcasm along the way. It turns out that the man from his vision is a veteran who lost his arm during combat, and that the Devil is looking for him too. The Devil finds him first. When they can’t find the veteran, Vera tells Joshua that she’s done, despite his warnings that he needs her, and takes off on her own. After losing his racetrack winnings to the Devil in a chess match, the veteran from Joshua’s vision becomes despondent. Joshua, Vera, and the veteran all arrive at the same location at the same time. Before Joshua and Vera can stop him, he walks in front of a bus, killing himself. Looks like the Messengers have failed in their first mission from God.
Teen Peter wanders aimlessly around Houston, seeing what could be taken as signs along the way. He calls his crush to tell her he’s all right and she tries to talk him into coming back. He tells her he can’t return and he’s got a lot of other stuff going on. Little does he know the police are monitoring his call. Et tu, friend-who-is-a-girl-but-might-be-more? Later in the evening, Peter walks up to The Last Supper Bar and Grill, and goes in after seeing they are looking for a dishwasher.
Vera and Joshua are also at The Last Supper. They are arguing as usual when ELO’s “Strange Magic” comes on the jukebox. It turns out that the whole crew of messengers have arrived at The Last Supper. Rose tells them that they need to stop the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from breaking the seven seals and triggering the Rapture. Sounds like a task that will take at least a season to accomplish. It also turns out that there is a seventh messenger still to come. Vera snarkily tells Rose that she only believes things she can see, and Rose responds, “Then you need to look harder.” They all look in the bar mirror and can see each of their translucent wings. Seeing them all with their angel wings is probably the best part of the episode, besides getting to hear “Strange Magic.” Joshua has a vision of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—it’s War.
“Strange Magic” Review
The Messenger’s portrayal of Vera as a skeptic is poorly done because they make her such an unlikeable character in “Strange Magic.” Though her underlying challenge of having faith in a God who let her son be abducted is briefly mentioned, Vera’s refusal to believe she is a messenger comes off as flippant and superficial. It’s not believable that Vera would be willing to consider killing someone to get her son back, but won’t help Joshua when he has a vision of her son. If she had been so desperate that she would murder someone, helping a preacher out for a couple of hours doesn’t seem like a big deal.
Raul and Erin make a good team because she and Amy bring some lightness to his heavy storyline. Also, Erin’s narrative will be pretty weak without Raul. We like Raul’s resentful niece and hope the breakdown of her car will lead to an awkward car trip with Raul, his niece, Erin, and Amy. Amy is likely to either be super enamored with this fiery girl, or hate her because she is being mean to Raul.
We’re desperate for a little humor in The Messengers, and at this point Peter is our only hope. Peter gets typical teen one-liners, like: “That is really trippy.” At first, when he called his friend-who-is-a-girl-but-might-be-more, we were like, “What the hell? Why call your crush? Call your parents, dude! They must be worried sick.” Then we remembered that Peter lived in a foster home and felt a little sheepish at our previous outrage. So far Peter is a bit of dud, but being that he is the only cast member that might give us the teen drama we so enjoy in our CW television viewing, we’re still holding out hope for his character.
“Strange Magic” leaves The Messengers characters with a heavy burden—save the world! We’re not that confident that they’re up to the task, but we’re willing to suspend our disbelief for now.