So … stopping a near-catastrophic act of truly grotesque biological warfare doesn’t seem that hard, right? Sure, you’ll need three precogs and a detective who knows how to do her job, but beyond that, it seems to be a matter of yelling at halfwit FBI agents and then knocking a beaker of skin-shriveling virus juice that looks more like cough syrup out of some random patsy’s hands.
That said, our season finale (and very likely series finale, though Fox is treading lightly and stopping short of outright canceling the show — pray for a streaming deal?) delivered what it promised, however underdeveloped its otherwise-compelling stakes might have been: an ending that paid homage to the original story and wrapped the adventure with dignified and cinematic, if not seamless, flair.
The cold open with Wally’s backstory was a solid move, considering Daniel London is one of the few on-camera links between the show and the film that inspired it. We love Wally now, of course, but it was a relief to discover he was never enthusiastic to be a jailer-nurse to a trio of innocent children; he was tricked and his intelligence and kind nature were exploited by the government, just as the precogs were. Though Dash later makes a good point about the futility of “comparing misery indexes,” Wally’s years of emotional manipulation and coercion by power-hungry, corrupt employers were arguably on par with the suffering of his three charges, if only because he was stone-cold sober for every minute of it. Anyway, the whole “enslave three people to save thousands” trope is kind of tired by now (see: the Baby Hitler debate).
Blomfeld reports to his covert defense-contractor boss, Mr. X, whose actual name is Kane. It’s clarified that he will literally be buying the precogs and their milk bath once they’re secured, and that his team pieced together trace DNA evidence at Agatha’s home that placed all three precogs and Vega on Fiddler’s Neck together. From there, he was also able to piece together mosaic images of the precogs’ faces, since that’s the terrifyingly surveilled world we’re going to be living in in 2065. Luckily, Vega is a smooth and self-righteous liar, or she had at least prepared her claim that she’d only been there to interview Agatha for the tobacco bust in advance. (Blake finally coming around to the precog side once and for all by having Akeela delete all records of Dash and Arthur’s existence didn’t hurt, either.) When Vega sneakily throws the illegality of Blomfeld’s investigation back in his face, it ensures he won’t come interrogating her in the open again.
Our sort-of-noble terrorist Dr. Lionel Gray, meanwhile, somehow became completely unsympathetic in the week (or hour, timeline-wise) since we saw him last. While before he seemed genuinely sorry to have had to kill Senator Midoshi, now he’s positively diabolical, taunting Vega with hot-or-cold games about a massacre of hundreds of people and a soliloquy about the beautiful catastrophe viruses exact upon the human body, all while keeping his polygraph biometrics in monklike equilibrium. He says Memento Mori is more of a loosely affiliated group, but he and his cohorts’ elaborately orchestrated plan to wipe out the entire United States Congress sure seems to refute that.
Upon realizing that a second attack is imminent ahead of the Steven’s Law vote, the FBI hijacks the Gray investigation, refusing to even consider Vega’s very reasonable and professional suspicions about why Gray gave himself up so easily, let alone allow her to sit in on the interview, despite her obvious rapport with the scientist. Instead, she follows Dash to Arthur’s place, where she informs all three precogs of Blomfeld’s DNA discovery ... right before they collapse into their biggest team-vision yet, in which hundreds of people are exposed to Gray’s pigment-eating virus. (Laura Regan even gets her movie-callback moment as Agatha with a repeat of the “Can ... you ... see??” line.) Dash, however, sees what he believes is — FINALLY — a minority report (remember, the alternate version of events that proves a killer’s destiny isn’t set that is the entire reason for the franchise’s existence?). Anyone else notice the merry-go-round/park images he sees are identical to those park images John Anderton studied in the original film to prevent that crime-of-passion murder?
He’s meanwhile pieced together that Blomfeld is rogue, which levels the playing field for them, so when Vega, Arthur, and Agatha agree they need to leave town before Blomfeld catches them (though Agatha now believes the milk bath is inevitable), he concedes only long enough to have a sweet (and super-meta, given the show’s fate) hug moment with Vega before sneaking back to Wally’s like an addict for one last vision download …
... Which is immediately preempted by Blomfeld and his men. They are then immediately preempted themselves by Arthur, Agatha, Andromeda, and some other dude (probably hired by Arthur), who storm in and take the bad guys captive. They won’t be running after all: Instead, the crooks will take them to the new milk bath, where all three have decided they will do one more plunge in the service of stopping Memento Mori. Blomfeld accepts the deal, albeit a little too eagerly. Side note: Wally’s patchwork robe in this scene, not to mention his painfully dadlike “I’m oared!” joke, is nothing short of magnificent.
To deny Akeela her signature quips in these last few minutes together would have been cruel toward all parties; this week, she aims her tongue at poor Andromeda, perhaps foreshadowing her murder by Blomfeld’s rogue D.I.A. cronies later on. Regardless, “What’s with Lurch?” was great, even if there’s no way in hell Akeela has ever even heard of The Addams Family. She also gets a mostly throwaway but nevertheless rewarding moment when Arthur and Agatha roll up to Wally’s with freshly inked Sprawl-punk face tattoos, just like hers. (Tragically, theirs are only temporary.)
Gray’s detainment has, of course, all been a ruse: True to Vega’s suspicion, he wanted to be caught so he could bite a general anesthetic tooth he’d been carrying and the FBI would scrub his brain for clues and get diverted by a false memory of the city’s water supply. Meanwhile, the real terrorists — who are these people, exactly? We never find out — have entered the underground Capitol Hill bunker where, at Vega’s recommendation, the congressional targets identified through Arthur’s vision have been evacuated.
Once strapped into the new milk bath, the precogs have their vision extracted in high-definition. Dash’s isn’t a minority report; it shows the park above the bunker. The culprits are just about to release the red liquid poison into the air-conditioning system, which they’ve withheld from the sweaty, confined congresspeople until they’re all desperately glued to the fan — nothing like concentration-camp-style mass execution! — when Vega and Blake find them.
I have a serious problem believing scientists adept enough to wage chemical warfare would be stupid enough to do so in simple workmen’s jumpsuits, but it does make it real easy for the good guys to knock the virus juice out of their hands and splash it onto one of them, shriveling her face and producing black ooze through every orifice in perhaps the most intense (and definitely grossest) moment of the entire season.
Terror plot successfully foiled, the precogs are about ready to get out when they have a sudden “red-ball” vision: the unexpected, aforementioned death of Andromeda, part of a sudden coup at the hands of Blomfeld and the surprise gunmen sent to rescue him and help him take over the operation. The precogs only pretended to need that mainline of sedative drugs that Wally claimed, loud enough for Blomfeld to hear, were necessary to ensure the accuracy of the vision — as soon as the men think their takeover has officially revived and privatized the precrime program, the trio launch a surprise attack by leaping out of their recliners, fully alert, and half-drowning the men hanging over them. After Andromeda dies in his arms (she finally speaks, only to gurgle a final “I’m sorry”), Arthur nearly kills the gunman. He wants to kill all three of them, but Vega — who has shown up remarkably fast, just in time to fulfill her part of Agatha’s obviously misunderstood vision — suggests they instead “put them in” the milk bath, where Wally can ensure they will remain unconscious long enough to let the precogs get far away.
But as they step outside, the precogs have another final red-ball vision: The three G-men being lowered into and then drowned in the milk bath. Arthur bolts back inside, and Vega, Agatha, and Dash follow, believing he’s changed his mind and intends to kill them after all, but in one of the least expected yet best narrative twists the show has given us thus far — and perhaps it’s fitting that it’s probably the final one of the series — the three men are already dead by the time they reach the edge of the pool. It was Wally, whose expression when they look up at him implies that, finally, he’d had enough of these horrible people. “Run!” he shouts at them, and of course they do. Vega turns to take one last look at him as she follows them out, to see him standing alone, silently beholding the final horror of his life’s work.
I’m not gonna say this could have been a straight-up future-gothic masterpiece had it been more adeptly and deliberately executed, but — well, actually, I will. If we’re not getting a second season, please, can someone at least rustle up a spinoff or two?