The climax of last night's Resurrection was Pastor Tom's beautiful trainwreck of a church service. It was a mess we all knew was coming, and yet it still wasn't the weirdest reaction to the returned that we saw last night.
Church Fight — coming soon to daytime TV — was such a mess that I'm giving Pastor Tom his name back. Not because he's making better decisions, but because everything's gone so badly for him that I just feel bad about hitting him while he's down. But before we get to Church Fight, there are a few smaller plot points we need to keep track of.
Spoilers . . .
Dr. Maggie called in Doctor Eric Ward, of the National Institutes of Health, to consult on her whole "people returning from the dead" problem. Agent Marty's still worried about the government giving Jacob the E.T. treatment, and he's not on board with Ward's involvement. Ward, for his part, has analyzed the information Dr. Maggie sent him and found that there's a constant ratio between where the returned are showing up and how long they've been dead. Does it mean anything yet? No, of course not.
I do like that Team Medicine took the time to rule out cloning and holes in the multiverse as explanations. Good for them.
Ward wants to examine Jacob at his NIH lab in Maryland, and, again, Marty is not okay with that. Ward explains that he doesn't want to experiment on Jacob, he wants to take care of his well-being and make sure he doesn't disappear like Caleb did. That's what he says — but in a later conversation with Maggie he's all about being on the forefront of science and how huge an opportunity this is, so put a little red flag on Ward.
Meanwhile, Kurtwood Smith continues to have no regard for my feelings and delivers another powerful performance in a very short scene. He tucks Jacob into bed and the look on his face when he hugs Jacob is unreal. He tells Lucille that he doesn't think he can lose him again. So he thinks they should go to Maryland with Ward.
Weirdest moment of the night goes to Sheriff Fred's poker game. Gary's missing, as he's still pissed that Caleb killed his cousin with a hammer. The cover story for Caleb's disappearance into the ether is that he escaped, which I understand is really all they can say, but has really angered everyone. You know, since he came back from the dead to steal and murder.
At the poker game, the host (who I think is a deputy?) shows Sheriff Fred the hidden room full of guns he has. He says he can help Sheriff Fred if he needs to get around protocol. The words made no sense, but I'm pretty sure he was saying that they should just send the returned back to the dead.
Now the main attraction: Turns out that either I was wrong, or Rachael's lying, because she tells Pastor Tom she's pregnant with his child. To his credit, Pastor Tom realizes that he has to go to his wife with this information.
There is no one in this triangle who has it easy. Of course Pastor and Mrs. Tom have been trying to have children for three years. Mrs. Tom cannot envision a just world that would prevent them from having children but give one to someone who threw her life away. From her perspective, you can see how Rachael is less a miracle, and more some sort of evil.
On the other hand, when she accuses Pastor Tom of still loving Rachael, her side falls apart. She died, he moved on. So what if he still carried a bit of a torch for his dead fiancée? She was dead, and he was able to love again. No one could have foreseen that she'd come back.
AND THEN AGAIN, Pastor Tom not only lied about Rachael leaving but kissed her. There's no getting around that.
All of this puts Mrs. Tom in prime position to be preyed on by Helen, that church board member who wanted to ban the Langstons when Jacob returned. And Helen is determined to be the leader of the mob chasing the returned around with crosses and holy water. Helen gets Mrs. Tom to spill the beans about Rachael and the baby.
Helen's visit to Rachael does have to effect of putting us on Rachael's side. Helen fires out "You are destroying his marriage and his position in the church?" "Do you think he's going to leave and help you raise whatever it is that's in your body?" and the always classic "You're a snake in the garden dragging him down into the dirt." She tells Rachael to go back to wherever she came from, and when Rachael refuses? Helen warns her that she's to blame for whatever comes next.
More credit to Rachael: When she can't get in touch with Pastor Tom, she gets Marty on the phone and tells him to get to the church. She also gets points for ignoring the fact that Marty only cares because the Langstons will be at the church. I'll deduct no points for the fact that she called the most useless person in this show. She has no way of knowing that.
Now, the second Pastor Tom walks out, we all know what's going to happen: Helen's going to reveal everything about Rachael in the most embarrassing way possible. And yet, Pastor Tom goes out of his way to tee her up. It's a glorious shitshow.
Because Pastor Tom's decided the best way to assuage people's fears is to turn his service into an open forum.
SO DUMB. He's a well-meaning puppy that whatever's returning people from the dead likes to punch in the face. His best friend and his fiancée, he just can't catch a break.
When someone asks if Jacob's a miracle, Pastor Tom says that he wishes they'd start with an easy question. HAHAHA, that is the easy question. Jacob's an adorable eight-year-old who didn't do anything wrong and was returned to parents who, as far as we know, are above reproach. The hard questions are a) Caleb, the asshole who used his daughter to kill and steal and b) Rachael, who committed suicide and therefore was returned from a fate she chose.
Of course, Pastor Tom calls Marty to fill the town in on what they know. Which is hilarious, as Marty gives Jon Snow a run for his money in the "knows nothing" category.
Caleb's dick moves are the next round of questions. courtesy of Gary. He's on Team Kill the Returned, as Caleb killed his cousin. The comment that his cousin wasn't a good person either starts a brawl in the church. Pastor Tom regains control of his church, only for Helen to say that he's been a big, fat liar. Now, the smart thing would be for Pastor Tom to preempt Helen or to say nothing. But he goes with "I have nothing to hide, I have been truthful and steadfast in my belief that no one gets turned away from this church."
And then Helen drops the Rachael bomb, which Pastor Tom admits is true. Helen declares that Pastor Tom is not her Pastor, and the service ends in walkout. Oh, and Mrs. Tom refuses to apologize. Which, yeah, she's not to blame for Helen's actions, but she should still feel a little sympathy for her husband. Also, she shouldn't have to talked to Helen in the first place, as she's never been a fan of Tom's. But she decides to make things easy on Tom and us by leaving for a relative's for a while.
We close out the episode with Rachael getting abducted by Gary and a deputy on Team Kill the Returned, and the Langstons choosing not go to the NIH and just enjoy what time they have with Jacob.
This show has done a great job of slowly widening its scope. We started by focusing on the returned and their immediate friends and family. We had the whole spectrum of disbelief and instant acceptance represented by the likes of Lucille, Henry, Elaine, and her brother Ray. We had glimpses of the town's larger reactions, from the early scene where Jacob gets left alone in the park to Helen's attempt to ban the Langston's without involving Pastor Tom.
Last night was all about the town. Helen's convinced that the returned are an unholy affront to be driven out. Gary and his pals are less concerned with the moral/religious implications than they are the chaos the returned are causing. I would like to see some people who aren't family members reacting to the returned as if they are miracles, to balance it out. And, as commenters have noted, it's impossible that these events, set in the present day, wouldn't make the Internet immediately. Even if most people believed at first that the Langstons were delusional or that Caleb had faked his death, someone would have started a conspiracy theory website with photos.
But I think we're about to get the rest of the world involved in a big way. Assuming that Jacob doesn't just use his mind powers to find Rachael (and one of the biggest things needing explanation right now is why Jacob's shown signs of being connected to Caleb but not Rachael), her disappearance is going to cause problems. It looks like Sheriff Fred's got a little mutiny going on, so he can't search for her without calling in some other law enforcement.
And I'm betting Dr. Ward won't go gently into that good night when he finds out the Langstons have changed their mind about going with him to the NIH. At the very least, he's going to set up shop in Arcadia. And that's going to draw attention from his bosses.
We've only got two more episodes left this season, so I'm betting on the finale coming down to a showdown between the town and the rest of the world.