After an undeniably uneven first season, Reverie reached a satisfying conclusion in its finale, “Point of Origin”, building on the show’s recent, more character-focused approach.
“Point of Origin” re-joins Mara after she insinuated herself into Ray’s comatose imagination at the end of last week’s penultimate episode, “The Key”, where she was able to work through her guilt over Ray’s suicide attempt. Part of me wishes we’d had the revelation of her complicity a little earlier in the season, so that her grief had more time to percolate and Ray’s ultimate “forgiveness” had a little more emotional punch – it’s hardly like there wasn’t room for it. But this has been a season-long subplot that was resolved fairly neatly, so beggars can’t be choosers.
Alexis, meanwhile, returned home to her parents, which is the first glimpse we’ve had of them in this first season. While her standoffish attitude has always been explained as a symptom of her twin brother’s death, “Point of Origin” supplied an additional component; that her parents, so determined to protect her and her obvious genius, essentially tried to paper over the cracks left by Dylan’s death with a faintly obsessive devotion to Alexis and her success. It’s a relatable response to loss, I think, and it explains a lot about why Alexis is the way she is – on some level she believes that her parents blame her for what happened to Dylan, and because they never address it, she never received real confirmation that they didn’t.
One person who does blame Alexis for something is Oliver Hill – although, in fairness, he seems to blame everyone for all kinds of stuff. After kidnapping Alexis and trapping her in Reverie, his plan is to burn down Onira-Tech, which is a bit petty. On some level, though, I liked that about it. Oliver has never been characterised as any kind of madcap supervillain. He’s a tormented man with a brilliant, unreliable mind. His problem has always been that he can’t apply that sizeable intellect to real-world social situations; his relationship with Alexis, say, or his position within Onira-Tech. His Reverie, like his brain, is haunted by ghostly apparitions that burst from doorways and roam the halls.
One of the small moments I liked in “Point of Origin” was how Mara and Alexis were able to break out of Oliver’s Reverie by battling against the programming with remembered sensation; in this case, the turning of a key in a lock, an action that the average person performs thousands of times. The push and pull between reality and virtual reality has always been a theme of Reverie, and it has reliably cropped up multiple times throughout the season. This wasn’t the best instance of it, but I appreciated its inclusion all the same.
I could quibble. Oliver’s arson plan required him to infiltrate Onira-Tech disguised as an air conditioning repairmen, which seems a bit unlikely given how the entire building was on lockdown and most people in there know who he is, and Alexis’s trite anxieties about having potentially created a monster in the technology didn’t seem entirely in-keeping with her personality. But whatever. For once, Reverie delivered a happy ending that felt earned, and after a first season that at several points felt like it wouldn’t amount to anything, “Point of Origin” proved that NBC’s optimistic sci-fi show had a destination in mind after all.