Well, I needn't have worried in last week's review of Zero Hour's pilot episode that the show might run out of its special brand of batshit insanity too soon. As the second episode proves, Zero Hour has crazy to spare, and the crazy is reproducing itself like Tribbles, at a terrifying rate. Tonight's episode "Face" proved the show has the crazy to last all season long, and as a connoisseur of bad, stupid, and poorly made entertainment I feel like Zero Hour is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. Crazily.
We start where we left off last week, with Anthony Edwards' Hank having just seen his own corpse, in a Nazi uniform, on a Nazi submarine (Dead Nazi Hank being one of those 12 New Apostles who were supposed to prevent the apocalypse, but this isn't mentioned at all anymore). White Vincent, a.k.a. the Evil Nazi Baby all grown up, arrives, gets in the sub, takes Hank hostage, is completely nonplussed at seeing Frozen Nazi Hank-sicle, and says he's going to kill Hank to put him out of his misery. He also grabs a pocketwatch out of Hank-sicle's pocket. Because the first clock has led to this new clock, see?
Of course, Beck the Terrible FBI Agent is also in the sub, and, after grabbing a random journal that will luckily be of incredible significance later in the episode, decides to shoot White Vincent in revenge for him killing her husband. White Vincent points out that if he dies, Hank can kiss his wife Laila good-bye (metaphorically). Beck, being a Terrible FBI Agent, doesn't care and plans to shoot him anyways, despite her job, the law, all morality, and the life of an innocent woman on the line.
Hank finally manages to convince the FBI agent not to effectively murder his wife and examines the pocketwatch. It has a series of dots on it that obviously make up a constellation, although everyone is too stupid to immediately realize this. Hank takes photographs of the pocketwatch (inside and out) and then he and Beck lead White Vincent out of the sub. White Vincent, being the only vaguely competent person on this show, has rigged his truck to explode, and in the confusion steals their plane and takes off.
Then everybody's back in NYC. Hank and Beck have an argument –- about whether Beck should shoot White Vincent the next chance she gets, thus effectively killing Hank's wife -– upon which they agree to disagree. Back at the spacious offices of Modern Skeptic magazine, the crew reunites... including Father Mickle! You know, the priest who had his throat slit by White Vincent last episode. Turns out he's okay! Just a total severing of the larynx! No biggie!
Anyways, the brain trust looks through the pics of the pocketwatch and quickly surmises it doesn't and couldn't work. Arron, the Shaggy-looking of Hanks' two preposterously close junior employees, remembers the cheap glow-in-dark stars he had on his bedroom ceiling as a kid, and eventually realizes it's a constellation. That constellation is Cepheus, which combined with the time and date the pocketwatch is permanently stuck on, lead one to Chennai, India. How did they come to this conclusion? Because, on March 6, 1938, apparently Chennai, India, was the only place in the world you could see the Cepheus constellation. This is due to the giant sphere that surrounds the earth, which prevents everyone on the planet from seeing that sky, except for a single holWHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE.
Really, Zero Hour? Really? Do you even know what you're saying, or do you have a Da Vinci Code Mad Libs you're filling out for these episodes? I don't mind, I'm merely curious.
Okay. So Hank travels to India; meanwhile, Rachel decides to see if she can get Frozen Nazi Hank's book from Beck for addition clues. After revealing the incredibly creepy detail that Hank apparently found her in an orphanage, took her in, and eventually gave her a job at Modern Skeptic magazine, Rachel does get the journal from Beck, who manages to extract Hank's destination from her as well.
Armed with the book –- and since Arron can of course speak German because of a German girl he had a "Freshman Badminton Class" with –- THIS IS TOTALLY REASONABLE PEOPLE –- we get some flashbacks to Nazi Hank's life and its all nonsense until it mentions "Zero Hour" again. This reminds Rachel and Arron that hey, maybe they should look into this "Zero Hour" thing they've been hearing so much about, and after a detour to the Nazi War Criminals Library (which does not actually exist, probably because it sounds like a library that caters specifically to Nazi war criminals) they discover a creepy collector who has newsreels involving the project, except it doesn't really involve the project, it involves Nazi Hank making a 6-year-old Hindu girl a New Apostle.
THIS IS THE CRAZIEST FUCKING THING I HAVE EVER HEARD OF.
It's like the show wasn't even made on our planet. So you're telling me, Zero Hour, that the Church –- notoriously open-minded as they are –- made a tiny Hindu girl a New Apostle without so much as a "Hail Mary"? No Baptism, no actual faith in Jesus required, here, just watch this box for your entire life? I am stunned. If Zero Hour had turned into a puppet show and spent 10 minutes shouting at me, personally, in ancient Sumerian, I could not be more baffled (and that's not even mentioning the insanity that Arron and Rachel's search for "Zero Hour" info –- and the newsreel labeled "Zero Hour" — leads specifically to Hank's next immediate clue and reveals nothing about Zero Hour).
Beck shows up in India and agrees to not murder Hank's wife. The two team-up to find the now 80-year-old Hindu New Apostle, who says a lot of shit, most of it boiling down to if Hank keeps looking for the clocks, i.e. his wife, he's going to cause the Apocalypse. Of course, Hank has no problems with this, content to spend an extra 0.005th of a second with Laila before the world blows up or whatever. Sorry, everybody else on planet Earth!
Hank and Beck get distracted by a gunman they think is White Vincent, but it's actually another Rosicrucian Hindu who helped Hank find his way to the old woman before, now for no apparent reason. White Vincent takes this moment to shoot the Apostle, grab her clock and take off, although not before Hank gets to see his wife Laila, tied up and screaming in the back of Vincent's car.
If the premiere of Zero Hour was a 10 out of 10 for insanity, "Face" has already broken the scale. Nazi libraries? Constellations only one town in the entire world can see? Rosicrucians turning 6-year-old Hindu girls into Apostles? Zero Hour clearly has no sense of any kind of reality, and that's its strength. It's stupidity is so massive, so baffling, that it's kind of charming –- the fact that no one in the writer's table said, "The Rosicrucians choose a 6-year-old Hindu girl to be a New Apostle? Really? Really?" makes me want to give them all a hug.
Warning: The premiere had dismally low ratings, so it's unlikely that we'll even make it until the end of the season. For those who might be concerned that the show's inevitable cancellation means we won't get answers to the show's overarching plot, I can guarantee those answers would make no sense anyways. So just enjoy the ride.
• If it wasn't clear before -– and it wasn't clear to me until tonight -– the New Apostles were given "secrets" and these "secrets" were the clocks, which do nothing except lead people to other New Apostle/clock pairs, until you get to the last clock and it points to the big box which had been buried under the cathedral that can supposedly start the apocalypse. I think.
• This is stupid on about every conceivable level, although it's less stupid than telling all 12 Apostles the secret and giving bad guys 12 chances to find it.
• What was the deal with the fake-out with White Vincent, Laila and the lye? I was going to actually respect the show if it had the balls to kill Anthony Edwards' wife in episode 2, but no, she's going to be kidnapped for God knows how long. However, based on next week's preview, we may get an indication why Vincent is keeping her alive. Or the characters may just raise it as a question themselves, which is still kind of impressive for them.
• That business with Hank adopting Rachel? That could have been so easy. "Oh, Hank and Laila adopted and raised me, and now I work at my step-dad's magazine!" But no, Rachel explains it as "Hank took me in and gave me a home and job and I refer to him by his first name" which leaves the obvious interpretation that Hank is sexual deviant praying on the young and abandoned, and gives them shelter and cash for daddy-dom sex-play.
• The Hindu thing aside — and that's a pretty big fucking aside — why give a clue to the apocalypse box to a 6-year-old girl? If you're that unconcerned about people finding it, why not give it to a kitten or a flower?
• Why did the Rosicrucian Indian priest shoot at Hank? Are the Rosicrucians trying to stop Hank from starting the Apocalypse? Again, I have to ask: If the Rosicrucians didn't want the clocks to be found, why did they even make them in the first place?
• I'm curious how the Rosicrucian pitch meeting for this idea went. "Okay, everybody has a clock. Each clock has a clue that points to the location of the other clock, so everyone needs to go to these specific locations... and stay exactly there for the rest of your lives. No, I know it's hard to understand, but this will really help, I promise."
• If you're an angel, and your job is to turn the world's rivers into blood, and all you do is get a local fishery to gut all their fish on one shoreline, you are one lazy-ass angel.
• "Freshman Badminton Course"? Seriously? Was "Introduction to White People" already full up?