"Things Left Unsaid, Part Two" Review
by Mike Helba
To be completely honest, I don't believe that "Things Left Unsaid, Part Two" is as engaging as Part One of Jeremiah's first season finale. That's not to say that it was a bad episode. It's exceptionally good; just not as good as Part One. Perhaps I feel this way because there seems to be a great deal of redundant exposition. I'll address the three main plot threads separately.
First we have Kurdy and Elizabeth. These scenes are gut-wrenching and display once again Malcolm-Jamal Warner's broad acting skills. Elizabeth provides the only possible resolution to the conflict between Jeremiah and Kurdy. In a way, it might have been more interesting to see the conflict go on for longer, but it needs to be resolved eventually, and Elizabeth's scene is the only proper time and place to do it.
In the second plot thread, Markus and Erin arrive in St. Louis for a form of constitutional convention with other leaders from around the country. When Jeremiah began, Peter Stebbings, who plays Markus, seemed like a weak actor to me. Now I feel that I should give him more credit. The Markus Alexander in "Things Left Unsaid, Part Two", while outwardly nervous, is resolute in the course he feels they all must take. He has grown stronger over the season, and I give Peter Stebbings much of the credit for this gradual development.
Theo also appears in these scenes. She is apparently firmly back in control of Clarefield, and event that inexplicably took place off-camera. The stunning climax of the convention is likely one of the scenes that Straczynski refers to when he says they had treaded softly after September 11th until the season finale. When I heard the words "unlawful assembly" I couldn't help but think, "There's no f---ing country!" I can see now the genesis of how Valhalla Sector thinks it is doing the right thing. There are no simple blacks and whites in Straczynski stories.
Finally, we have Jeremiah. This is the section of the story that is filled with the most exposition. My problem is with the length and redundancy of the exposition, not its delivery. In fact, the brilliant idea of having the exposition delivered by a character who is slightly off-kilter is what raises this episode from good to very good. Wylie's sense of urgency and fear makes the exposition bearable. However, if you look back at my review of "Tripwire", most of what I think I know now I also knew then.
Here are the big spoilers that have been revealed this season. The virus that caused the Big Death was manufactured in a U.S. bioweapons laboratory. Ezekiel's father was primarily responsible for its creation, and Jeremiah's father, Devon, worked with him. The virus got loose while it was being tested in Asia and spread like wildfire across the world. The U.S. Government decided to deny any knowledge of the virus and retreated to a series of shelters designed to protect against biological attacks. Valhalla Sector is the largest of these shelters. Devon vowed to collect evidence from his laboratory to expose the government's culpability, but apparently something went wrong because he never returned for his children. Devon presumably fled to Valhalla Sector, continued his work on a vaccine, and took in Ezekiel after his father committed suicide due to his guilt, not necessarily in that order. Devon developed a vaccine, but by that time the Big Death had run its course. He refused to give the virus to his superiors because they would simply inoculate their own people and then use the virus against their enemies. Valhalla Sector began experiments to develop a vaccine without Devon's help. The experiments seemed to be progressing, but then test subjects began dying from the Big Death about a year after they were inoculated. Valhalla Sector sends out burners to destroy the bodies. This new mutation of the Big Death is not as contagious, but it affects children as well as adults.
The most intriguing aspect of this exposition is the revelation that virtually every standalone episode in the first season has some connection to the Valhalla Sector plot arc. For example, the town with a ban on touching in "The Touch" was an experiment conducted by Valhalla Sector. This was described through a series of quick flashes that brought the entire season together as a single whole.
"Things Left Unsaid, Part Two" ends with Jeremiah getting his lifelong wish. Poor Jeremiah. I believe that Ezekiel's warnings are because Valhalla Sector will use Jeremiah to force Devon to turn over the vaccine. Hopefully there will be a second season for us to learn the truth.