Recap: Intruders, “Time Has Come Again” (1×03)

I think I’ve figured out what the biggest barrier preventing me from fully buying into Intruders is: I’m not invested in Amy and Jack’s marriage, and I don’t care about its potential dissolution. Dropping the viewer into the relationship at the moment of its disintegration (due to Amy’s possession-in-progress) was a ballsy choice, but the fragmentary flashbacks aren’t enough to give substance to their backstory. We know how Jack, Gary and the long-deceased Donna are connected, and this episode fleshes out Richard and Marcus’ relationship, but Amy remains a free-floating enigma.

The structure of “Time Has Come Today” is interesting because on the one hand, you have the domestic melodrama bottle episode starring Amy and Jack, and then you have the slightly batshit crazy creepy child horror story starring Madison/Marcus, Richard, and the unlucky Karen. Each drops some more clues for us, but they show no sign of intersecting anytime soon.

Of the two, I find the race to Seattle the more engaging. Marcus Fox is a creepy as hell, both in and out of his Madison form. He’s not one of ‘them’, per se; in fact, ‘they’ wanted him dead, and it’s only through the furtive and well-compensated help of Richard Shepherd that he’s able to live again. Characters who are out and out evil can be a lot of fun, especially if they’re trapped in the bodies of adorable children, and Madison/Marcus certainly has her charms. Her speech tonight about the premiere performance of Mozart’s Ave verum corpus in 1791 is one of the episode’s highlights; it turns out a previous incarnation of Marcus was in that orchestra. And who wants to bet that he had something to do with the death of the young girls in Vienna?

Richard, in addition to being rather unhinged, is also rather rebellious, or so Marcus tells us. We don’t have much insight to Richard’s mind, so we don’t know whether he acted on greed or curiosity or impulse, but it turns out that he agreed to privately shepherd Marcus through his resurrection. Richard’s urge to kill Madison/Marcus is now more understandable – especially seeing the brutal way in which she murdered Karen – but we’ve yet to find out why.

I find the pace at which information is being doled out in the Richard and Madison/Marcus storyline highly preferable to the snail’s pace in Amy and Jack’s. It might be the deliberately obtuse way the writers script references to their past. I think it’s supposed to pique our interest, but since no real people talk that way and answers are slow to come, it’s frankly just aggravating.

Amy is back in Birch Crossing, and everything is back to being not normal at all. Jack is drinking again, and remembering when Amy listened to music other than big-band jazz. Amy is smoking again, and is ready with a well-crafted lie for every one of Jack’s fairly reasonable questions about her whereabouts. We learn that the couple had a baby who died, and that Jack shot three people in a darkened house in LA, after which Amy was the person who saved his sanity and his life. Jack begs her to now let him save her.

Amy’s interest in being saved varies with the entity controlling her body. Amy-Amy makes love to John in an attempt to reconcile; Possessed Amy shoves him off and falls asleep on the the other couch. Possessed Amy swears she loves and needs Jack; he’s her shepherd (say what now?). She also strokes her arms in her sleep, perhaps reminiscent of playing the violin – could Possessed Amy have been a musician once like Marcus? Amy-Amy wants to leave Jack, separate to save him and embrace her destiny, but not before she actually breaks down and tells him her truth about how you can come back, using the exact same words found in Madison/Marcus’ journal. This attempt to bring Jack into her world with complete honesty is the most unexpected thing about the scene, but of course Jack only hears crazy when faced with the truth.

John Simm is outstanding in this series of scenes, grappling with anger, frustration, love, loss, confusion, despair, and the trauma residing in his memories. He has an acting range surpassing most others on the show, and while I’m not invested in where his character is now, I’m hoping to get there.

Odds & End

– Pronouns are brutal when it comes to writing about this show. I’m going with the one that matches the physical manifestation of a character at a given time.

– What was up with the random scene of the neighbor woman pulling the gun on Jack?

– Jack cloned Amy’s phone before giving it back to her. I’m a fan of his consistent cop-brain.

– Gary comes back and tells Jack that Amy is doing things far worse than having an affair, but the episode ends before we find out exactly what he knows. For the first time, I’m looking forward to the next episode.