Reverie Recap: Pilot/Apertus
Brand new series! I was definitely excited for this one. Judging from this first episode, I think I’m going to love this series. Reverie focuses on a futuristic setting where a company has created an interactive virtual reality/lucid dream world. Loved ones who have passed away can be re-created here. Naturally, some folks prefer it to reality, leaving their bodies in wasting comas. Someone has to go in and convince these folks to leave, before they die. That brings us to our protagonist, Mara (played by the brilliant Sarah Shahi).
I’ll just dive right in now…
‘A Quiet Night In’
We begin the episode with a man and a woman strolling through a fantastical mansion and exiting onto a terrace overlooking a city vista peppered with hot air balloons. A string instrumental plays ‘In Your Eyes’ in the background.
Someone is obviously trying to impress here.
Of course, this is someone’s dreamscape.
Next, the company players. Charlie (Dennis Haysbert), the head of security notes to designer Lexie (Jessica Lu) that this latest guy we just date-peeped on is the 7th person to not want to come out of his dreamtime Nirvana. The company loses everything if more people end up this way, so they discuss options.
‘A Radical Solution’
We meet Mara as she’s teaching a class how to spot deception in people’s behavior. Charlie visits the class to recruit Mara to use her hostage negotiator skills to convince the coma patients to come back to the real world. These two obviously have some history between them. Apparently, they worked in law enforcement together a long time ago.
He explains the draw of the Reverie program–the ability to re-visit fond memories, build worlds, bring back the dead via programming that approximates personality from social media accounts (now that is an absolutely horrifying thought).
We also find out via cryptic remarks from Charlie that she’s had a rough past, someone she lost because she couldn’t use her skills to save them, even though she was able to talk down complete strangers. Hmm. Then we see a flashback–her sister’s husband has a breakdown when her sister tries to get a bit of space. He shoots both Mara’s sister and Mara’s niece.
‘A Field Trip to Heaven’
Mara is skeptical, but she’s willing to give it a shot. She goes to OniraTech to give this Reverie thing a spin.
We meet the company AI, Dylan (who somewhat creepily has the voice of a little boy), and see what the tech looks like. The brain interface looks like an electrified, moving brain neuron type thingy. Apparently, it actually goes in your brain, to make Reverie indistinguishable from reality.
Yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong there.
Lexie explains that the tech can’t just be taken out because of the way it integrates with the brain.
Charlie kind of uses Mara’s past trauma to recruit her (“This is a chance to bring families back together again. Thought that would be something you might be interested in.”). Strike one for you, Charlie. That’s not very fair play.
Of course, she’s now totally in.
Once she’s implanted (somehow, the tech gets shot in the arm, and travels?) she jumps right in and we meet dream-doctor Paul (Sendhil Ramamurthy). He explains that a glowing mandala symbol she finds in the OniraTech lobby is a re-creation of a Reverie exit point. It’s what she needs to find to get out of the Reverie program. He gets her going in a training module.
The word to kick the program off is ‘Apertus’, which means open.
The training module is just as flashy as our first dream-peep. Paul also tells Mara that she can train her mind to override her fear response so she won’t get hurt in Reverie. Her first go, she has a bit of trouble when she can’t convince her body that it can breathe underwater. Later, she gets it under control.
She wants to try and help the first coma patient immediately. As Mara is getting ready, Paul and Lexie discuss the dangers Mara could face–they have no idea if putting her in someone else’s dream is even going to work at all. Wonderful. It also sounds like Lexie doesn’t want Mara to know.
We find out that the coma patient lost his wife to a car accident. He’s the guy we dream-peeped in the beginning. He does everything he can to keep Mara away–he probably knows what she’s there for. A little blue butterfly helps lead her to him.
‘I Want You To Go’
Coma Dream Dude kicks her out pretty hard. Mara talks to his stepdaughter to gain a little insight. Then she talks to one of the deceased wife’s friends. The wife was also terminally ill before the accident.
One of the docs at OniraTech tells Charlie thinks Mara has some underlying mental illness.
They connect the dream butterfly to some drugs they find in Coma Guy’s house. The butterfly was some underlying guilt of his. (So basically, he led Mara to himself subconsciously.) The car crash had to do with some drugs he’d taken to stay awake–drugs stamped with a blue butterfly.
Mara commiserates with Coma Guy–apparently she started drinking after her sister’s death, and blames herself for it. She talks about Coma Guy’s kid being there in reality.
Of course, Mara gets Coma Guy to wake up.
We also find out that Lexie has an interesting relationship with AI Dylan. Maybe he’s a re-creation of a little brother or something? They play e-checkers, and mention that it was a game they played ‘when they were young’.
Charlie talks with investor Monica Shaw (Kathryn Morris). Apparently the increasing amounts of people refusing to leave their Reveries is endangering the potential investment in the company.
Mara throws out all her booze and pills, and hallucinates her niece in the hallway.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.