Hostages (2013/14) Season Premiere

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*Spoiler Alert* – Episode 1

I recently watched the season premiere episode of US Drama ‘Hostages’ which aired on Channel 4 last week.

Hostages is an intense thriller/drama created by Rotem Shamir. Starring Toni Collete as Dr.Ellen Sanders, a premiere surgeon who is abruptly trapped in a political conspiracy. With her family held hostage, Ellen has no choice but to negotiate with the rogue FBI Agent, Duncan Carlisle (Dylan Mcdermott) who’s intentions are to simply kill the president. Easy said than done, Sanders doesn’t follow instructions that straightforwardly and won’t give up on protecting her family.

Although Collete provides a strong role of a mother and part time surgeon, her character doesn’t seem happy. With her next treatment on the president, her focus is clear. Yet with unexpectedly being held hostage by a few rogues, Ellen seems fearful and immediately follows the orders given. Lasting with a task of swapping some liquids at the hospital, which she easily manages to get through. Yet achieves to delay the treatment by two weeks. The final look through the news via the TV screen portrays a sense of power creeping through Ellen, where its evident she has other plans.

Hostages begins with an establishing scene of a bank heist with FBI Agent Duncan saving the day. His intelligence and confidence is proven with little dialogue yet powerful actions, where we assume he will be the heroic protagonist throughout the series. Having said that, what turns out surprising is the fact that he transforms into the antagonist. Whilst watching this scene unfold, I was somehow expecting this to happen, yet questions went through my mind as to how and why Duncan was so full of hatred towards the president.

The narrative is quite simple and frankly follows a few conventional elements which we’re all familiar with, such as; wanting to kill the president, a typical American family, a group of rogues capturing a family, Ellen’s husband cheating on her, the kids being quite rebellious etc. Indeed there are a number of stereotypical conventions which Hostages recycle within their characters and story. This of which lacks originality and made me quite disappointed as I was hoping for something more different and intense. Even though the whole ‘being-held-hostage’ concept was supposed to come across as abrupt, terrifying, intense, it didn’t really grip me as I wanted it to. The unfolding of the mask where we saw Duncan as the main leader was slightly shocking, but nothing all too enthralling.

Having said that, besides these conventions, both Collete and McDermot definitely bring the narrative to life, keeping you glued to the screen. Their believable performance leave you curious as to what their plans are next. Their personalities seem to differ yet are not fixed in one place, where you feel as if something suspicious is going on.

Overall, despite the conventional elements, I am still intrigued to see more of Hostages and see how the narrative unfolds. I believe there is still a few unsolved puzzles and character traits hiding beneath the surface. The first look of Hostages provided intensity and a balanced story which we’ve all seen before. Thus I’m going to continue to watch the series, where hopefully we’re bombarded with more suspense and action.

Rating for the first episode: 7/10

Written by: Meera Darji

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