Are you “Ready To Go” to the crazed corrupt corporate world of 2074 which makes government and corporate corruption we are aware of in 2016 appear to be a blithe walk in the park!?
We at #TeamWHR are!
The Gestapo like tactics implemented by Julian Morse (Dennis Haysbert) under orders from SPIGA United States executive Elizabeth Krauss (Julia Ormond) against their employees rises to new heights in “Downsizing”, or should we say sinks to new lows of inhumanity in an episode that is riveting.
The results of such activities are striking; Innocent children are ripped from their parents arms, innocent families are thrown out their homes and arrested for questioning in detention having done absolutely nothing wrong.
We learn that former SPIGA executives accused of wrongdoing have their minds erased, completely wiped clean, giving Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) an entirely new meaning!
The “reward”? Hapless victims are thrown from SPIGA security vehicles into the streets of the Red Zone to complete their “contract” with the company that they worked their butts off for!
We also learned that the United States government has not been completely eradicated playing a useful role to the least fortunate in the world of 2074.
In a flashback sequence we find out that there is a place worse than the Red Zone, United States FEMA Relocation camps where “citizens” are housed until they can escape to a better life in the Red Zone, or by the grace of God, obtain access to the much coveted luxuries of life in the SPIGA dominated Green Zone.
One of the “tickets” to the Green Zone is via entertainment, in specific, cage matches arranged by folks like Terrence (Ian Tracey) who is a ruthless former fighter, and his henchman Semo (Pedro Miguel Arce) seeking to take their top fighter to the private fighting matches that are sought after by Green Zone inhabitants.
Speaking of governments, Incorporated appears to heap disdain on the governments of the world. Yet SPIGA is a multinational corporation apparently with branches worldwide in many if not all countries. Compared to the behavior of SPIGA, republic style governments, such as the United States are absolute angels.
Does proof of such government beneficence versus the complete ruthlessness of SPIGA exist in 2016 for and by citizens? Yes it does. Citizens have rejected governments who have resorted to Marxism.
In the United States, recent losses (since 2010) of misguided Marxists prove beyond doubt that this former ruling party has been disgraced with over 1,000 defeats in national and state political contests.
Worse yet for the misguided Marxists in the United States; they have lost control of a majority of state legislatures and Governorships despite decades of failed attempts to bribe voters with freebies.
With the exception of a few areas on the coasts, power has been taken away from these thieves by citizen voters who reject their taxes being squandered on illegal aliens, terrorist refugees and waste fraud abused by so called welfare, instead of taking care of our veterans and helping corporations create good paying jobs for citizens.
In Incorporated, corporate citizens have no such vote.
Even at the lofty heights of the fortieth floor, any and all who work there can be dismissed upon a whim, a mere suspicion, quickly subjected to torture, dismissal and loss of everything they had worked for.
Kind of makes a person look fondly at life in 2016 does it not?
Subsequent to the previously on Incorporated segment, we witness Ben (Sean Teale) as a young man portrayed by Tomaso Sanelli in a FEMA Climate Change Relocation camp. This long before the beginning of Ben’s climb to power inside SPIGA corporation.
Aaron (young Ben) has hacked a FEMA set of goggles that allow him to scan things and break into FEMA food rationing dispensing machines. During his opening scene, Aaron is caught feigning blindness while begging for money.
Aaron is saved by a young Elena (Lescia Andrews). The two feast on the foodstuffs Aaron retrieved from the FEMA rationing machine
Prior to seeing young Aaron with young Elena, we are shocked to witness young Aaron’s father commit suicide by falling backwards from the top of a building.
Subsequent to his father’s self inflicted death, Aaron meets Reed (Damon Herriman), who Aaron ran from to be saved by Elena.
Reed will later become known as Jonathan Hendrick, a Human Resources specialist at SPIGA. Before Aaron becomes Ben, during their time at the FEMA camp at the Milwaukee airport, Aaron and Ben become inseparable as they use Ben’s computer hacking skills to survive their harsh existence.
The two enter a partnership of survival fleshing out the back story of how Ben and Jonathan Hendrick (Reed) who were ultimately able to forge credentials to infiltrate SPIGA.
Details on how this was accomplished have yet to be revealed. What we do learn is that outside of Theo (Eddie Ramos), Jonathan Hendrick is the only other individual who knows Ben’s true identity.
Ben/Aaron falls in love with young Elena during their time together in the hideous FEMA camp. Fate is ultimately kind to Elena whose aunt has arranged for their family to find full time employment in a Red Zone area outside the filthy Milwaukee airport.
Ben/Aaron is heartbroken but happy for Elena that she is escaping the drudgery of the camp. Aaron vows to Elena “I’ll find you,” who says “Out there?” Elena gives Aaron a necklace that contains her late mother’s wedding ring in case he needs it to trade for food or survival.
The flashback ends returning the viewer to SPIGA in the series timeline. We know that Ben is seeking to be accepted by SPIGA for the position formerly held by “Quiet Room” inhabitant Chad Peterson (David Hewlett).
Ben is obviously a very smart character having survived the corrupt FEMA relocation camps.
Ben knows that getting Chad’s position will provide him access to Elena by being able to arrange a visit to Arcadia sex club where Elena (Denyse Tontz) currently works.
Meanwhile, poor Chad Peterson has become a “guest” of Julian Morse (Dennis Haysbert) in the SPIGA “Quiet Room” where Chad is being tortured without mercy for his crimes against the corporation by Julian.
Despite his denials to Julian, he does admit that he visited the Red Zone and was in a club with SPIGA’s competitor “Inazagi”. Chad blames Ben for the outing, a detail Julian will certainly follow up on.
Ben is ordered to remain in his office by SPIGA security. Things appear to be going south for Ben when he is summoned for questioning by Julian about the drunken adventure in the Red Zone with Chad.
Unfortunately for Ben, he has his computer hacking disc on his person that he has used to track Elena and view the torture of Chad.
Ben is saved by a call to his mother in laws office, Elizabeth Krauss, head of SPIGA United States division. Ben hastily stashes the disc under Julian’s desk, a mistake that will haunt him later in the episode.
Things go from bad to worse for Ben when Julian demands that he explain why he had forbidden SPIGA tech.
Ben looks worried that Julian found his hacking disc, only to find out Julian has found “The Whistler”. Ben blames Chad for this oversight and that it was Chad’s idea to go to the Red Zone.
Julian is suspicious and plans to extract the truth from Chad. This plan goes awry when Elizabeth has ordered that Chad’s NDA be executed.
In the world of 2074, corporate NDA’s are enforced by erasing the memories of traitorous executives!
In one of the saddest scenes of the episode, Laura (Allison Miller) witnesses Chad’s wife Fiona (Elizabeth Whitmere) and their young children being hauled off by SPIGA security for no good reason other than they are Chad’s family.
Laura has witnessed this type of SPIGA activity previously and feels sorry for Fiona and the kids.
After visiting with the now detained Fiona inside the SPIGA security facility, Laura reluctantly agrees to speak with her mother at SPIGA headquarters to see what, if anything can be done to save them from being simply disposed of by the company.
Bumping into Ben on the way to see dear Mom, Laura shares with Ben that she must do something to help Chad’s family. Tragically, Laura goes nowhere with her mother Elizabeth using her own pending approval as a bargaining chip.
Elizabeth accuses Laura of black mail, but does agree to help. Later we learn when Laura visits Fiona again that her two children will remain in the Green Zone, but as foster children for a childless couple.
Fiona knows this is the only hope for her kids who would otherwise, like herself be thrown like garbage into the Red Zone.
Speaking of the Red Zone, in the pilot episode we found out that Theo had become a good street fighter during his fight for survival.
In “Downsizing” Theo has been recruited by Terrence and his right hand man Semo (Pedro Miguel Arce) to become a fall guy in an upcoming cage match.
Terrence promises Theo that is he cooperates, it could be his ticket to a life of luxury in cage matches conducted in the Executive Club in the Green Zone.
Theo, seeking a way to somehow save his sister Elena, agrees to join Terrence ans Semo’s fight club to earn a chance at a better life in the Green Zone.
In the “Green Room” waiting for the cage match, Theo meets his cage match opponent named Sayeed (Rob Archer).
Sayeed shares that everything will be okay, that Theo is there is make a good fight, take a fall and proceed up the ladder in Terrence and Semo’s fight club.
Sayeed even offers Theo a T-Bone steak which Theo will later use to stab his opponent and turn the tables on Sayeed against Terrence’s wishes.
We then find out that the execution of the NDA Chad agreed to is in progress. Julian is furious that Elizabeth ordered his mind erased before he could confirm all the details of Ben’s story. Nevertheless, we witness a mind erased Chad thrown into the streets of the Red Zone completely unaware of his past life.
It is of some interest to this reviewer that SPIGA does not simply kill former executives like Chad as part of their NDA. After all, dead people leave no “loose ends”. One would think with all the other criminal activity SPIGA regularly undertakes, that murder would not be frowned on at the corporate level of corruption inherent in Incorporated.
However, by leaving Chad alive, and with Fiona certain to be ejected into the Red Zone by SPIGA, this editor hopes that the Incorporated writers will allow Chad and Fiona to somehow be reunited later in the story arc. It would be nice if they can rescue their kids, and ultimately seek revenge on Julian, Elizabeth and all those at SPIGA who have wronged them!
Conversely, murder is apparently a regular activity in the lawless Red Zone. Subsequent to Theo’s victory, in a visit with an enraged Terrence, whose “ticket” (Sayeed) to the Green Zone has been lost.
Terrence goes postal and kills Sayeed by smashing his head with one of his old “number two” trophies that never allowed him to gain access to the Green Zone.
Theo is shocked by the penalty Sayeed pays as a blood spattered Terrence states; “Guess your my ticket now, kid” (to the Green Zone).
In the final sequences, we suspect that Ben has escaped detection for the time being, however, only with Elizabeth’s help.
Elizabeth obviously had Chad’s mind erased in order to also help her daughter maintain her status in the Green Zone.
One can only wonder if Julian Morse will seek a higher corporate power level, say at SPIGA International, in order to hold Elizabeth accountable for her actions in this dog eat dog corporate world of 2074 that seems a lot like corporate life in the present reality of 2016?
In a final flashback sequence, we learn that Roger (Douglas Nyback), Ben’s corporate adversary in competition for Chad’s job, had spied on Ben leaving the hacker disc under Julian’s table.
One can only wonder if Ben is really safe?
Will Elizabeth see that Ben is promoted?
Will Roger now be in a position to blackmail Ben?
Last but not least, after a harrowing day for both of our Green Zone citizens, Ben and Laura have sex in their car driveway, thankful that they have survived the tribulations they encountered… for now!
All in all, “Downsizing” is a delightful second episode setting up the remaining eight episodes of Incorporated season one earning the series to date an A Plus!
Going a bit out on a limb, with the quality of the acting, writing, directly, special effects, and a story arc that dovetails the general public’s disdain for corporations and the wealthy, typified by the recent elections in the United States, can there be any doubt Incorporated will be renewed?
As Republica would say, #TeamWHR is “Ready To Go” each Wednesday at 10pm on Syfy in the United States and Showcase in Canada when the enjoyable, exciting and entrancing story of Incorporated continues!
Kenn of Team WHR