Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: Monday, June 1, 2015 at 10/9c on ABC.
If you have trouble with kids in scary movies and those weird talking toys, you may have some issues watching The Whispers. As the synopsis on the show’s website tells you, the series is about a so-called “imaginary friend” and only certain children can hear the entity known as “Drill.” But it’s much more complex and intriguing than the simple synopsis makes it out to be. As I watched the first three installments, I devoured them one right after the other. The story draws you in like a moth to a flame. A piece of the puzzle dangles in front of you waiting to be placed, but with each piece connected, a new, even odder piece arrives.
In the series premiere, “X Marks the Spot,” we learn bits and pieces about many of the main characters, including who they are and their background. These characters lives seem to be intertwined in some way, although not all are great connections.
FBI Specialist Claire Bennigan, played beautifully by Lily Rabe, dealing with recent loss and incident in her life, tries to cope as best she can while raising her son Henry (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf). Returning to work after an extended leave, Claire becomes involved in a peculiar case. A young girl named Harper (Abby Fortson) is the only eye witness to a near fatal accident involving her mother Amanda (Autumn Reeser). As the investigation continues, Claire speaks to Harper who tells her about her friend “Drill” and how he “speaks through the lights.” I absolutely love Rabe in this role. In quite the departure from her roles on FX Networks’ American Horror Story franchise, Rabe is extremely convincing as an FBI Child Specialist. The way she speaks to the children—reassuring them, trying to make them feel comfortable—is compelling. Claire adjusts to returning to work but still grapples with the recent tragedies in her life. Rabe brilliantly switches from Claire’s work mode to Claire’s mom mode seamlessly.
Wes Lawrence (Barry Sloane) works for the Department of Defense and is Lily’s former superior at the FBI. While Wes is away in the Sahara Desert, he makes a profound discovery that has immense ripple effects for both his family and Lily’s. Wes’ wife Lena (Kristen Connelly) and his daughter Minx (Kylie Rogers) try to deal with Wes’ absence but things begin to take a strange turn when Minx makes a new friend.
When casting a series like this that revolves heavily around children of a certain age, the casting director must choose carefully. It is important for the audience to care about the children while still maintaining a bit of trepidation. These child actors are astounding. They are as adorable as much as they are, dare I say, creepy. Fortson couldn’t be any cuter if she tried. As Harper, she desperately wants to win the game Drill wants her to play but I think she’s far too young to know what’s truly at stake. Breitkopf won me over as the rambunctious Barker in the film Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. As Henry, Breitkopf does an amazing job of playing a duplicitous little boy. He hides a big secret from his mother, a secret Drill asks him to keep. As Minx, Rogers is one to watch. She truly tugs at your heartstrings, yet makes you want to sleep with the lights on.
The focal point of The Whispers revolves around an unseen entity communicating with the children, but these are not just ordinary children. Their parents all have extremely important jobs. In addition to Lily’s job at the FBI, Abby’s father Harrison (Jamison Jones) is a scientist at the nuclear power plant; Minx’s father Wes works for the DOD; and Henry’s father Sean (Milo Ventimiglia) is an Air Force pilot whose plane was lost three months ago. The writers weave a delicate web of mystery and intrigue. Drill’s strategies are precise, and each incident has a domino effect while each character plays an unwitting role in the grander scheme of things.
The Whispers takes you on a mesmerizing journey. You find yourself watching each scene closely, looking for any clues as to Drill’s true identity. Notice how the lights flicker when Drill is near. The children listen intently to his every command. They say they can’t see Drill, they can only hear him. Is Drill making himself invisible or does he need the energy of the lights to communicate? With what Wes discovers in the Sahara, could Drill be an alien life form of some kind? These are the answers I am seeking and each episode takes you one step closer. I’m in 100%. If you’re looking for a good mystery to tuck you in on Monday nights, The Whispers is the one for you. Check out a sneak peek below:
The Whispers – Extended Sneak Peek
What did you think of “X Marks the Spot?” Were you creeped out by those talking toys? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and/or tweet me @judybopp.
Tune in to The Whispers, Mondays at 10/9c, only on ABC.
For more on the show, go to http://abc.go.com/shows/the-whispers
Photos: ©2015 Disney/ABC Television. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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