Growing up is filled with all sorts of complications. We are all born into certain situations, ones that we can’t change, but we have no choice but to survive. We face the prospect of finding our way out, of being better than the generation before us. We want to get out of the places that we’ve been our entire lives.
And in the small town of Carp, Texas, where secrets are everywhere and nothing is ever happening, out is the place worth going.
Panic started cause it was summer and nothing to do. Start right after graduation and all graduating seniors are eligible to play. Losers end up staying, but the winners get out. But Panic isn’t simple – its like The Hunger Games, Texas style.
Sometimes 40 players, sometimes half that. Only one winner. New players, new challenges, new judges – but as we know with everything, there are always ghosts of the past.
As with any television show, the first episode of Panic sets up the series, gives us an idea of what is happening, who the characters are, and what their motivation is.
It’s graduation day and some kids are excited to be there. Some aren’t. Some skip – because that’s what they have in this town. Some want to leave and some want to stay.
And Heather definitely wants nothing more than to leave. Her Mom is all sorts of messed up, not thinking about her daughter as an adult, not knowing how to manage her life, and definitely not knowing how to save a dime. She asks her daughter for money – on her graduation day. Heather is definitely trying to hide things from her Mom and her Mom doesn’t seem to care about her.
Like most kids, you just want to leave high school, as soon as graduation is over. And you want to party with your friends. That’s a right of passage, one that we all should have. And for Heather, Natalie and Bishop, it’s their moment.
Their moment to dream about the future, to say goodbye to the past. To listen to Natalie talk about how she wants to win panic. It’s their last moment of freedom.
When Heather returns home, you know that she’s the adult in this house. She takes care of her sister, tells her a story and puts her to bed. It’s a story of a town filled with stone people and a girl of dirt. A girl who is told that she is constantly nothing. And though Heather knows not how the story ends, her sister tells her that she thinks that the fireflies helped her.
It’s not fair that Heather has her first real lesson quickly. The next day she looses her job. She may be the only person at work who does anything but that doesn’t matter to her boss. Heathers whole life is been about saving to get out of Carp.
Her friends try and comfort her, in the way only good friends can. They know that Heather has set her whole life around having a career that will get her out of Carp. And they do the things that are hard – like questions her choices.
But like everything – all roads lead back to Panic.
The next day, Heathers out looking for a job. Taking a break from her hunt, she stops at a restaurant for a coke and talks to the the guy there. He wants to know about Panic. And yes, she’s following the rules and not saying much of anything, until she does.
And that’s where we get our notice that Panic has started. Heather is home with her Mom, when Natalie calls and tells her that Panic has started. Heather isn’t going to enter, she’s not even going to watch.
Heathers not had the best time. She’s focused on getting out. She’s focused on finding out a way to save her money and get away from Carp.
But so are some other kids, all at the opening ceremonies. It’s the biggest pot ever for Panic – $50,000. And there are rules – what happens at the events stay there. You don’t post about it on social media.
And Heather doesn’t think that she needs to do Panic, but she finds out quickly that she does. Her Mom has stolen her savings. Her Mom doesn’t even care that is what she’s done and is trying to deflect onto Heather her own insecurities. And it’s hard to watch, because you don’t want anyone to be treated like that.
Heather is forced into a corner, what’s she gonna do? The answer is simple and yet complicated.
She’s going to join Panic.
Natalie at top and states her name. Natalie tells Diggins to give her a second, and you can see that a part of her is scared, but she runs and jumps and makes it. Dodge heads to High Point when hears that jump from devils drop will get you 50 points and immunity. Dodge throws flare in and jumps from the high point. 25 extra points for him.
Natalie asks Dodge if he was scared to jump, when she’s distracted, because Heather shows up. Natalie asks her why she is there. Part of me thinks it’s because she wants to protect her friend and the other is that is that she doesn’t want to share attention. And Heather could have told her where she stood, what had happen, but she doesn’t.
For Heather, it’s like what is there to loose, when you’ve really got nothing left to lose. It’s the worst and the best place to.
Heather is looking at the crowd and the flare goes out. Heather debates and she sees a firefly, all up at Devil’s Point. Like her sister told her the firefly would help the girl of sand. Everyone wonders what she’s doing, trying to tell her to come down. Diggins ays there is no harm in turning back – she’s made a statement. But had she?
The rules of Panic are simple, don’t talk about it and complete the tasks. Diggin’s asks her name, she responds and then she doesn’t panic. She jumps.
Let the game begin.