The Whispers: A Salted Bomb

The Whispers (Screen: ABC)

Wes’s face = how I feel about all these chemistry lessons. Give me more kids doing evil, please!When The Whispers isn’t frustrating me with its snail-pace revelation of obvious truths (Drill isn’t imaginary! Drill isn’t Sean! Drill isn’t done!), it’s confounding me with chemistry lessons and too-subtle twists that absolutely require a rewind button. And I don’t have cable.

But I do have Hulu, so here’s what I pieced together: Following last week’s almost nuclear meltdown — in which the mushroom cloud got sucked into the sky — Claire and Henry are quarantined, tested and found to be radiation-free. Hooray! Claire’s also excited that Henry has recovered his hearing, though no doctor can explain that miracle. He credits his buddy, Drill, who gets in his head, gives him directions to a “game”, and promises a prize that s/he magically delivers; in this case, the reward was reuniting with his amnesiac dad Sean, who was once presumed dead.

Speaking of Sean, Wes assures Defense Secretary Frommer that Mr. Bennigan’s the only person who can explain what happened with the would-be meltdown. Nobody thinks this is a done deal. Wes’s team suspects that someone or something has contained that nuclear force for later use. Wes believes if they question Sean long enough, they’ll get answers. Oh, Wes.

Sean has no answers. He submits to a polygraph, but all he knows is that his earliest memory is of waking up in the desert in with a rock in his back. He does reveal, “Whoever’s doing this, whatever this is… It isn’t over.” WOW, NO KIDDING? As he speaks, the polygraph starts making a wild, squiggly pattern.

Meanwhile, we see some other kid playfully chatting with Drill while messing with electronics, as if to say, “This really isn’t over, guys!”

Wes goes home and tells Lena she and Minx need to move out of the house. Clearly, Minx can’t help doing Drill’s bidding, so they need to get her away from dad’s classified files. Lena resists. “This is my home!” She says she isn’t as helpless as he thinks she is, though she knows why he feels that way. “I haven’t always been…” Helpful? Likable? Interesting? She doesn’t say. Please let Lena have a dirty secret so Wes can divorce her with less guilt! Anyway, her stubbornness must be a turn on because he starts making out with her and then they do it. Minx the Omnipotent later winks at Lena and says her wish for mommy and daddy to love each other again came true, but I think she’s getting ahead of herself.

Meanwhile, Claire’s at home, trying to de-Drill her lights and security system. Agent Rollins stops by to tell her she’s off the investigation, though not by his choice. She asks for an interview with Sean. He can’t help her, but suggests she hit up ex-boyfriend Wes for that favor.

Wes grants Claire her meeting with Sean. While that’s happening, he studies the polygraph and notices the crazy line pattern resembles the fulgurite1 found at Sean’s crash site in Mali. Later, Wes overhears his secretary Renee phone gab with her kid about how volcanoes work and suddenly realizes that the energy source which fused the fulgurite probably came from underground.

Lena takes Minx to a birthday party at one of those horrible indoor playgrounds/germ breeding spaces. She plays helicopter mom the whole time because she’s worried about Minx and Drill having clandestine meetings in the kid-size plastic tubes. This is when Lena learns from another mom that Minx’s shrink, Dr. Rosen, just died in a freak bike accident. Wes (who is now convinced the fulgurite is somehow connected to Sean’s subconscious mind) calls to say he’s leaving for Mali stat. Ah, just what Lena needs – alone time.

Though Claire fails to refresh Sean’s memory of their marriage, she does get a gander at his tattoos. Each one appeared to him as a vision and later manifested itself as part of his “road map to destruction” – there’s one for Harper’s treehouse of death, one for the nuclear power plant, etc. The tattoo marked As33 remains a mystery, though Claire later tells Rollins she thinks it stands for arsenic. And you know what happens when you add arsenic to a nuclear weapon? Okay, me neither, but Rollins and Claire know. It’s called a salted bomb – “Larger radioactive fallout, longer half-life.” Well, that sounds terrifying.

Claire and Rollins search for a case of stolen arsenic but come up short. Later, when Claire is at home folding Henry’s baseball jersey, she remembers that one of the rival little league teams is the As. She tracks down player 33, and hey, it’s that kid who was getting electronics advice from Drill! His name is Ethan, he likes working on his model volcano, and guess who his mom is? Renee, Wes’s secretary. And if not for Hulu playback, I would never have understood that connection, because you barely see her before this scene.

In Mali, government officials allow Wes to study the fulgurite but forbid him from removing it. As tanks break the giant rock apart, we see Sean in his cell, also appearing to be torn apart. Looks like that fulgurite/Sean connection ain’t a bunch of hooey after all. Once the rock breaks open, an eerie blue light emerges.

Claire surmises that Drill is targeting Wes specifically and tries to warn him, but he’s too busy playing with blue glowing rocks to take her call. So she phones Lena, which is hella awkward, but Lena does promise to warn Wes whenever they next speak. After Lena hangs up, she hears some scary noises in the backyard, finds a gun, and tucks herself in bed. I dunno how a gun’s gonna stop Drill, but you do what you need to do, Lena.

Meanwhile, we learn Rollins is the source of scary backyard noises. He is watching both Lena and Claire, on Secretary Frommer’s orders. Why? Frommer says something about being afraid of the unknown, which isn’t very helpful, but sounds appropriately dramatic and mysterious.

Back in Mali, Wes and his team pull the glowing fulgurite out of the ground. Suddenly, all their electrical equipment dies. That’s when the Mali government official tells Wes he can take his rock after all. Way to be a share bear, guy.

In next week’s episode, Claire gathers all of Drill’s kiddies in one room and scary explosions happen. Sweet! More kids doing evil, please. The chemistry lessons are wearing me out.

  1. “Vitreous material formed of sand or other sediment fused by lightning”  

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Tara Rose
About Tara Rose 106 Articles

Since 2009, Tara has been writing snarky essays about pop culture, motherhood and her various neuroses at Rare Oats. She spends most of her other time selling cheese, raising a small human and goofing off with her husband Dan. E-mail: tara@whatelseison.tv

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