'The Passage' Season 1 episode 2: The guilty pasts of Wolgast and Jonas Lear become the crux of the plot
The two main characters on 'The Passage' — Wolgast and Jonas Lear — are both driven by a tragic past that has given them both things to regret and guilty consciences
Spoiler alert for 'The Passage' episode 2: 'You Owe Me a Unicorn'
FOX's 'The Passage', based on Justin Cronin's bestselling trilogy of the same name has done a brilliant job at bringing together some of the most sensational genres of our times, namely sci-fi, supernatural, and dystopia. Yet what has helped the show maintain a steady balance and now allow the plot to get overly sensationalized, is its slow paced and simplistic storytelling. At the same time, 'The Passage' has also introduced latent themes in individual episodes that emerge to be the crux sailing the particular episode though, and for the second one, they went along with the theme of guilt.
But first, here's a little explanation on the plot. The official synopsis reads "'The Passage' is an epic, character‐driven thriller about a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race.
The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney), who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment and Brad Wolgast (Gosselaar), the federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her."
So far we have seen Wolgast being tasked with the responsibility of retrieving Amy for the medical trial, labeled as Project NOAH. The experiment pretty much infiltrates its subjects with a virus derived from a South American bat, which is also believed to be the source of the vampire legend. As the plot progresses, we are met with the dangerous impact the venom has on the subjects, which rather than offering a cure for humanity, turns them into blood-thirsty monsters with superhuman strengths.
This causes a change of heart in Wolgast and thus begins his journey to protect Amy — the most crucial element of the trial — as she is believed to possess 'the cure' for humanity.
As Wolgast and Amy go on the run, hiding from the project's authorities and seeking asylum as a means of survival, we realize that seeing Amy as an orphaned child subjected to the mercy of the merciless isn't the only driving force behind Wolgast's desire to protect her. A lot of what Wolgast does also comes from the fact that he lost his child which in turn ruined his marriage, presumably, and now he finally wants to do it right by Amy — probably to ease the personal guilty conscience he suffers from.
All of this is revealed through a flashback to Wolgast's past, and in a similar manner of infusing backstories in the show's narrative, the second episode also makes it clear why people at the top of Project NOAH — both Jonas Lear and Tim Fanning — are riddled with some moiety of guilt currently. The primary force of guilt driving the plot ahead has to be Lear's though because the character — played by Henry Ian Cusick — has been through quite the tragic past. Starting from his wife's Alzheimer's to getting involved in Project NOAH, things have just not been favorable to Jonas Lear.
His wife's condition led him to plan an exotic vacation as he believed that would help her with the Alzheimer's, to gather funds for which, he agrees to partner with his best friend, Fanning (Jamie McShane). As Lear looks back into the past in current time, that is after the subjects have been infected with the venom and have started turning, we see his guilt become the predominant essence of the episode. Chided by his own father-in-law, Lear just wanted to do something positive for his wife and find a cure to rid humanity of all diseases, which is why he indulged in Project NOAH in the first place. But despite his intentions being pure, the outcome of the project was anything but that.
In the show's current timeline, Lear is seen concerned about Fanning who tried saving a sick man/alpha vampire in the pilot and is now a vampire hybrid too. Fanning had always been a haughty, overly ambitious individual with big plans and an even bigger ego, as his backstory establishes. So to see such a powerful man crumble under the impact of the venom, and turn into a monster attempting to recruit other similarly 'turned' subjects into a mini-army strikes his best friend Lear's conscience even harder, thus helping his guilt-driven mindset become the only voice of reason on the episode.
'The Passage' returns with the third episode of its debut season on January 28 at 9 pm, only on FOX.