Emergence Recap: Nothing Is The Same

October 9, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
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“2 MG CU BID” takes Emergence in a distinct sci-fi direction and drops a MAJOR revelation about Piper.

This recap of Emergence Season 1, Episode 3, “2 MG CU BID”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

In just its third episode, “2 MG CU BID”, ABC’s Emergence has revealed its most compelling secret. Piper (Alexa Swinton), the cute little girl rescued by Jo (Allison Tolman) at the site of a mysterious plane crash, is a robot.

This isn’t altogether unexpected. As Jo’s ex-husband Alex (Donald Faison) insists multiple times throughout Emergence Episode 3, Piper is a special kid. She can move things with her mind and tamper with electronics and decipher airband radio codes. At the end of the pilot episode, she dug a fancy tracking device out of her neck with a box cutter.

But what is unexpected is that the show has played its hand so early. Most network mysteries are keen to remain tight-lipped. The theory is that the human need for an answer to every question will keep an audience coming back each week. The reality is that it often doesn’t. Emergence, with its atypical heroine and unconventional family dynamic, has already positioned itself in a faintly unique space. “2 MG CU BID” proves that the show intends to stay there.

The revelation about Piper’s identity recontextualizes everything. All the dramatic questions we were already asking now need to be asked in a slightly different way. Is Piper dangerous? What’s her purpose? Is she entirely an AI, or does she have some sense of humanity? How are we supposed to think and feel about her?

Emergence Episode 3 goes some way towards answering who’s responsible for Piper’s creation: Richard Kindred (Terry O’Quinn), the enigmatic billionaire CEO of Auger Industries, a clandestine technology firm that has been conducting unethical experiments in secret automated black sites patrolled by robot dogs. We don’t know much about him yet, except that Benny (Owain Yeoman) investigated him for a year and turned up nothing.

What we don’t know is why anyone would need a robot kid in the first place. Piper obviously has a purpose. She — and its implied others like her — exist for a reason, but that reason remains elusive. It’ll presumably be next on Jo’s agenda, along with, one assumes, deciding whether to share what she knows about her with the people she loves and trusts, who thus far are in the dark. What we can say for sure is that Auger Industries have the intention of reclaiming their property, and the resources to do it. But can we consider Piper as “property”? And more importantly, will Jo? Of all this show’s tantalizing questions, I think that’s the one with the easiest answer.

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