Every player has a story. Hell, everyone has a story. A reason why they do things. A reason why they avoid things. A reason why they are backed into a corner and doing their best to find a way out.
For the kids of Carp, Texas, their stories may be boring. They may be something that we don’t expect. They may be small town stories, but just because they live in a small town doesn’t mean that they don’t have big city dreams.
At the very least they have a dream of escaping.
Here’s the thing that I think about Panic, the series isn’t for everyone. It sometimes feels like there are a million other books that you’re watching – that bits and pieces of the best of things were mixed up and made into this book. And though I know that sounds super harsh, it doesn’t mean that it is translating bad.
If anything Panic is solidifying that Amazon is coming out strong in the YA space and is a force to be reckoned with. I will give Amazon that – they’ve made themselves players in Hollywoods struggle to pull in the YA crowd like the days of fandoms past. And I am not hating on that.
They picked a cast that you worry about, a cast that you invest in, and characters that you want to succeed. I’m rooting for Heather, because I understand her. But I am not sure that is something that could possibly change.
Let’s break down episode 2.
Heather hadn’t meant to be a part of Panic, but she is and she’s having having nightmares about jumping. But she doesn’t want the world to be right, that she’s too scared to do this and so she’s going to be strong. And right now that means getting her sister out of the place they live as the landlord pounds on the door for rent.
As usual, Bishop is there for her. But he’s also not saying things the right way. He’s concerned about her and tells her that she should quit. He tells her that she can’t win. She thinks it’s what everyone thinks about her.
No one gets why she jumped, but as her friends they should have more faith.
In the town, the Sheriff is trying to figure out how to stop Panic. Langely, one of his Sergeants, has a lead. One of the complaints about the fireworks came from Myra Campbell, who was Abby’s friend – girl who died from Panic.
Sergeant Langley goes to visit Myra. Myra says it’s her day off and you can tell that something is bothering her. She is self medicating, and is willing to talk – though Myra says she had nothing to say about Panic. Abby told her some secrets and she swore she’d never tell.
I think that it’s past the time of keeping secrets – there are people that need to be protected. Myra says the real problem with the town – says that the problem isn’t the players or the judges. Myra says she didn’t play, only knows what she’s heard. Langley says if she hears anything else, to call. Myra says to be careful, the game will go on. Signs are everywhere.
And well… she’s right.
Heather looking for a job and no where in the town is hiring. But while looking, a lady overhears her and after Heather helps her with putting her things in her car, she tells Heather that she needs some sheds painted and it’s not glamorous, but she does pay cash.
There is a part of me that feels bad because Heather doesn’t seem to believe in herself enough, and she should. She deserves better.
And that’s going to start with making up with her best friend. Lucky for her Natalie has agreed to talk to her, and Heather becomes vulnerable and tells her about her Mom and Natalie says that she wishes she had told her earlier. Heather says when she found out she felt strangled and couldn’t talk about it. She never meant to compete against her. Nat says she should have known she had a reason. Nat suggests that they work together – if either of the twins, they both win. Bishop comes out and is glad they are good.
But if we’re honest, I am not good. Because Natalie isn’t sitting right with me. It’s not right with me that she’s not backing her friend up without explanation.
The three amigos, as I like to call them, are at the restaurant and talking about Panic. Heather wants to know if they think that the judges are watching. Natalie says they are probably tracking where they work, live hang out; Watching what they do when they think no one is watching.
One thing that we do learn is Ray walks in – no one wants him there. Bishop says they were just leaving and Ray goes to talk to new kid. He’s in a pissing match to establish dominancy. But what he establishes is that he is a shit.
But with every real life moment comes a chance for a clue and for the three amigos, one comes. Missing letters on the marquee tell them that it will be at the grainery. The just need a start time and so Bishop and Heather head out to look for one.
What I love about Bishop, is that you can see that he cares about his friend and he wants Heather to succeed. He wants her to get out. He made a mistake telling her that she couldn’t win, but the way he said it versus the way he meant it are two different things. He’s got this deep insight way of looking at things.
He may be the only one of them that sees Panic for what it is. Not a way out, but generally Panic didn’t help the winners of the past. It gave them the chance to make stupid choices. He says you only pay for the bad ones.
Friends who tell you what you don’t want to hear, but what is the truth are rare and to be treasured.
Langley figures out the grainery crew. There was a complaint about the graffiti. For a good time call Stan – 1 (315)83.64. The sheriffs are trying to figure out what it means. Hell, I am too. I have to say that these people behind Panic and the kids in this town are pretty damn smart, because these clues aren’t easy.
But why they would want to play in Panic still doesn’t make sense to me. Challenges fall under labyrinth, thefts and illegal entry, gross stuff. Stamina under pain or stress. Heights or drop-offs. All of these things endanger their lives. And I feel like every episode needs to have a warning not to do the stupid shit that this game does.
I will say that I admire Natalie – always wanting to go in being prepared. I mean she guesses that nights challenge. Which is a good thing for her and Heather. It’s a heights thing – 90 seconds to cross a plank or you are in red and out of game.
I think that the real person we need to look out for in this show are the sleepers – the one that seem so innocent and aren’t. And Ray, we definitely need to figure out Ray. He’s manipulating people at every turn and I can’t figure out if he’s really a good guy or one that just wants the money. But when he helps Heather get across, by picking a fight with her, part of me thinks he may be one of the good ones.
But then there is also, Sergeant Langley who has figured out the code. Cops on the way and these kids may not know what they are in for.
Dodge is up and Ray says he has to piss. Dodge walking with confidence and Ray doesn’t like the competition. I get that money is a big motivator, but I feel like there is something more as to why Ray is threatened by him and wants to get him out of the game. Sure, he wants to win. But I do believe that all of these kids, not knowing Dodges motivations – it’s a trigger for them.
The wait their whole lives to be a part of Panic and here’s the new kid, who could take it all from them. Ray shines laser to blind him and make him fall. Is all this money worth possibly killing someone? Me thinks not. He falls and proving his strength, Dodge pulls himself back up. Everyone is amazed. Dodge pissed and when he gets down, he comes for Ray. And hey, as we expected by seeing these two, a fight ensues.
The cops show up and say to stay where they are. Sure, like anyone is going to do that.
Heather gets separated from friends and Dodge sees that and saves her. And then he and Heather get Natalie before she can get caught. Natalie gets hurt. Dodge, Heather, and Natalie in the bushes, away from the cops. I wonder just why the cops stop short of going outside the open area to find these kids.
What I do like is that it gives us a chance to see Natalie and Dodge together. Her trying to break him down and him knowing that his mystery is his advantage in this game. Everyone is afraid of something, but Dodge isn’t about to tell anyone his fears. And Natalie… well, the only one that she is willing to admit is that not getting out may be her biggest fear.
And I can see why. It’s a small town, she doesn’t want to go to the community college. She doesn’t want to work at the pharmacy forever. She wants to be an actress, off living her best life in Los Angeles.
And that’s okay. But it’s also hard when people don’t understand your dreams.
Look, I know the different between fiction and reality, but a lot of people watching this show are stuck in small towns. So am I the biggest fan of the message that the only way out is to sacrifice your own safety? No. But I will say this – having lived in a small town for a while, I have never seen anyone able to keep a secret like these kids.
And that’s just something that doesn’t happen in small towns.
- How does Natalie get away with having a board of all the players in her room. Does her Dad not notice? Like he’s a sheriff. I am so confused.
- Finding out that the Sheriff’s son was one of the kids who died in Panic explains a lot of his motivation for me.