The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the sixth episode of the NBC series, “Bionic Woman.”
Not too long ago Miguel Ferrer (the man behind Berkut director Jonas Bledsoe) said that he feels “Bionic Woman” is on the verge of finding its voice and will soon tell the kind of stories it should have been telling from the get go.
Since conception, the show has had its fair share of problems with Executive Producer Jason Smilovic leaving due to “creative differences” and also some high expectations to perform from NBC and has kept itself together remarkable well.
Unfortunately however, the ratings havent exactly been stellar and The List essentially hit rock bottom in terms of viewership. So if the series is about to find itself, then the sooner the better.
Overall, the contemporary edition of Bionic Woman has some very nice elements and does some pretty decent storytelling, but the whole thing is far from slick and is definitely missing something to give it the edge it needs.
In the opening installments of the series, we had a very vulnerable Jaime Sommers (Michelle Ryan) whose life had just been turned upside down, inside out and spun every way possible. The villain of the series, Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackhoff), was in an equally helpless position with the enigmatic Anthony Anthos (Mark A. Shephard) holding the only hope for her life.
Recently, however, we have had none of the good stuff, and Jaime has instead been dealing with obscure assignments and an angst-ified teenager at home — hardly compelling viewing by any standards.
Intelligence Agent Tom (Jordan Bridges) was a surprisingly entertaining addition to the series in the previous episode as he helped provide a more grounded reality based story for our heroine, but this week he doesnt quite seem up to the challenge of pushing the series forward.
The List was more geared up to re-uniting Jaime and Tom in the most romantic city in the world for a mission to retrieve a list of Berkut and CIA agents in the possession of the enemy (hence the name). In doing so however, they must explore their romance in a way that their previous cover just didnt allow.
The problem? They just arent an interesting couple to watch on screen when theyre not fighting for their lives. And theres only so much fighting you can squeeze into a single hour without it becoming repetitive.
The conflict between the CIA and Berkut was an interesting thread; however, the red tape surrounding the cooperation between the two agencies could have been tied a little tighter and given a bit more umph to make its mark.
The real joy about the tangled relationship is the fact that the CIA knows nothing of the bionics currently being tested in Miss Sommers. The fun of the episode was in watching Jaime carry out her orders with the crutch of keeping her unwanted bionic augmentation from Tom and his superiors.
Callum Keith Rennie makes a brilliant villain as he always has. Victor Booth is certainly no Leobhan, but hes close enough. Rennie has a very dark and commanding presence about him that this villain needed and helped bring to life what would have been an otherwise forgettable episode.
What Didnt Work
The first mission without Jaime (or any bionic woman) is a complete flop not just because a Berkut agent (one of the best apparently) bites the dust, but because it fails to meet the standards previously set for fights and shoot outs on the show.
On a series where the protagonist can leap over entire crowds, do backflips and kick guys twice her size into the air, where is the fun in watching a couple of strangers sitting in a room with guns in their lap?
Although there was a bit of fun by having Jaime embark on a life of death adventure with Tom, the fun of their relationship in The Education of Jaime Sommers was that each character had no idea what the other one was up to. Now that the truth is out about Jaimes affiliation with Berkut, the sparkle seems to have gone out of the relationship. The secret of bionics just isnt enough.
When Ferrer mentioned that the series was coming together, he mentioned The List as an example since this is the first occasion that Jaimes two lives come together when Becca falls into a bit of trouble with the police and is forced to call on Jonas to help.
It was good to see the two worlds coming together, but is that really all Ferrer is for on the series? Hes the hard-assed boss who should be putting Jaime in her place when she rebels instead of babysitting her sister as she asks for eight million dollars.
Alias, a series with which Bionic Woman has a lot in common, sometimes struggled with the personal stories of the characters from the intelligence community. But what kept them interesting was the way that those two lives were destined to collide thanks to Will Tippins (Bradley Cooper) investigations.
Unfortunately, Bionic Woman doesnt have its own Will Tippin, and Becca (Lucy Hale) is hardly up to the task of uncovering a government agency that has the skills to keep secrets from the entire Central Intelligence Agency … even if she has the chance to ask Jonas a few awkward questions.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
The List was written by Bridget Carpenter and directed by David Boyd. Bionic Woman stars Michelle Ryan, Miguel Ferrer, Molly Price, Mark A. Sheppard and Will Yun Lee.
Bionic Woman airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Alan Stanley Blair is the assistant news editor for Airlock Alpha, contributing from his home country of Scotland. He can be reached at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.