The Viewing

The Viewing ★★★★

The most satisfying episode of the series and of Panos Cosmatos's filmography, there is an expected psychedelic and fugue-like atmosphere in this and more mysteries to intrigue the audience in the opening ten minutes than in any of the episodes that came before, with a greater number of recognizable faces too. Several people, experts in fields like music, writing, psychic powers, and astrophysics, are gathered at a mysterious house owned by a mysterious drugged up Peter Weller and his hot doctor, so he can gather their opinions about a mysterious item.

Most of the episode proceeds as a weirdo 70s chamber drama, immersing the viewer in a lovely drug user conversation pit set and a spectrum of color that is a narrow gold-brown-burnt-red range but which manages to have a remarkable amount of specific grades within that to distinguish critical objects, set components, and distinct areas. It's all quite sumptuous and seductive as it must be, and they even made that whiskey (also a distinct brown) look so good it was just about one of the only times in recent memory I've felt a bit of a whiskey craving. The only other episode other than The Autopsy that really seems to have any interest at all in the notion of prolonged dread, and it hammers home more of it through the awkward social situation and its alternation between mundane and ominous conversation topics.

This is a slow burn done right, teasing out the mystery of what has brought these people together and highlighting key themes that will come into greater relevance. The ensuing sequence of events functions as the climax of the season, with the following episode acting as ineffective denouement. "The Viewing" ends on some great, open-ended and haunting imagery like "The Autopsy," and other than a bit of the acting I can't think of anything I'd have wanted done differently.

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