‘Persons Unknown’ 1.12 Recap: “Isn’t It About Time We Take Things Into Our Own Hands?”

I realize that I’m fairly delinquent with this, but I figure that – since I’ve covered every other episode of the show’s run – I had better eventually get around to recapping the series finale of ‘Persons Unknown’. Because the finale was a 2-parter comprised of episodes ‘And Then There Was One’ and ‘Shadows in the Cave’, I’ll divide this into two posts.

The first part of the finale opened with a quick recap of that online-exclusive episode, with no mention at all of the fact that it wasn’t broadcast.

The basic premise of ‘And Then There Was One’ is that the Director has decided to hold off flushing the town and will give it one last chance to complete the Program. All electricity has been turned off, and all furniture and food has been removed. Six body bags have been placed on display. Ulrich explains to Janet that the point of the Program is to turn everyone against one another until only one comes out alive. She expresses disbelief, but he claims that it will happen with amazing speed once people start realizing that they can’t trust one another.

Ulrich offers to get Janet out of town. She insists that he has to get them all out. He leads them to the edge of town and pushes a secret button that turns off the pain fence. Before they get very far, there’s a loud noise. Ulrich looks up and screams, and then we’re told (but not shown) that his head exploded off camera. The scene is edited very awkwardly, and clearly suffers from network censorship.

Once they go back to town, indeed the abductees start getting bumped off one after the other in very quick succession. First, Bill is beaten to death by someone whose face we can’t see – but is clearly Charlie. Charlie himself then has a heart attack, and there’s an injection mark on his hand that suggests he was poisoned. Moira goes psycho and kills Erika, then pushes Graham off a balcony. She attacks Janet, forcing Janet to strangle her with a fire extinguisher in self defense.

This leaves only Joe and Janet left when sirens start going off all over town. Joe suggests that they have a drink while they wait to see what happens. Stupid Janet takes a drink, only to find that the booze was poisoned. Joe watches her asphyxiate, and explains that, “The Program is in my blood, Janet. It’s my vocation.”

Blue men pile up all the bodies in body bags into a van and drive off. The Director shows up to congratulate Joe on “winning,” and then Patchy (the former hotel manager) tases him unconscious. I think Patchy probably enjoyed that part.

All of this happens with a speed that hardly seems plausible. In fact, Graham’s fall from the second story balcony doesn’t look like it would even be fatal. As we ponder the coincidences and contrivances, the episode pulls the rug out in the final reel to reveal that, in fact, it was all far too coincidental and contrived. What actually happened is that the abductees secretly staged all the deaths in order to get in that van out of town. (I guess nobody from the Program bothered to check their vital signs.) After they wake up, they try to overtake the driver and wind up crashing the van.

End Part 1. We’ll get to Part 2 in the next post coming up shortly.

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