As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day and with one episode to go before Neflix’s decidedly iffy attempt at the Resident Evil franchise finally wraps up, the show actually manages to pull a diverting episode out of the bag that doesn’t resort to simply shoving a classic RE monster into the spotlight.
A large reason for this is after the last two episodes cluttered their running times with set ups that should have been covered ages ago, Episode 7 is finally free to actually let the plot move forward for a change instead of blindly running in place like a cheetah wearing eye mask while on a treadmill. However, one can’t ignore that another long overdue boon for the series is that The Parasite finally let’s velvet voiced character Lance Reddick off the chain with predictably bizarre results…
After the revelation that there is actually two Albert Weskers locked up at Umbrella’s headquarters at New Racoon City, we take a quick trip back to 2005 to get to the bottom of this brand new wrinkle. It seems that the Weskers we’ve met are actually two of a trio of clones (fuckin’ called it!) created by the original to give him more time to create various inventions that no doubt will play merry hell with human lives. After Umbrella troops storm the lab, Wesker tries to cut bait by killing his clones and make a clean getaway using his superhuman abilities, but he only succeeds in shooting one of his brood (Alby) while Al and Bert are contained by the corporation.
A quick whizz ahead to 2022 reveals that after their brief reunion, Al has been brought before Evelyn Marcus to explain the death of a prisoner who had vital information under his care, while the childish, far more unstable Bert actually manages to escape his captors and even connects up with Al’s daughters Jade and Billie who are confused with their father’s strange behavior as he takes them out to a meal at Olive Garden. But after an altercation with Umbrella ends up with all three of them prisoners of Marcus, Al, horribly weakened by his condition, spills the beans. While he and Bert are clones, Wesker coded their DNA with advanced aging meaning that even though they matured faster, they’ll die sooner without help and this is where Billie and Jade come in; much to their horror, Al’s been injecting their blood to stabilise his own genetics which is the reason the girls exist in the first place.
Meanwhile, in 2036, Jude has to deal with the ramifications of her tragic experiment and it seems that the members of the seemingly benign University have had enough of her crap and are willing to trade her in to Marcus for safe passage – however, due to a steady recipie of mind altering wonder drug Joy, Marcus is also the mindless puppet of Umbrella’s true boss, Billie, who’s last meeting with her sister turned out to have nothing more than a string of lies.
So first things first, all hail Lance Reddick as he gives us not one, not two, not three, but four different versions of Wesker, one of which is even dressed up like a game accurate version of the legendary Resident Evil villain. Ok, admittedly Reddick dolled up in a long black coat, shades and a flat top looks more like a thrift store Blade cosplay than one of video game’s more enduring villians, but it’s still cool to see a character from the original franchise show up and whip some ass. Similarly, Reddick is also having fun portraying the child-minded Bert whose mood swings carry something of a deep arc where one minute he could be positively giddy about the notion of unlimited breadsticks on an Olive Garden menu and then bashing someone’s head against the wall the next. It’s certainly not nuanced, but it’s certainly more watchable than some of the strained tripe the show has been forcing us to absorb.
Speaking of which, the show has thankfully breezed past the “University is pissed at Jade” plot started last episode, to rapidly skip to having her handed over to Umbrella tout sweet in order to play yet another, poorly laid out twist – Billie is evil! Why exactly the show desided to waste our time trying to fake us out barely an episode ago by going straight into the big reveal now is anyone’s guess but it does give us the curious sight of a mind controlled Paola Nùñez dancing to Dua Lipa and it finally gives us some much needed clarity as we enter the final episode.
Downsides? There’s always some and Jade’s continued expambles of abysmal parenting continues as, in an attempt to keep her daughter from the clutches of Umbrella, Jade insists that Bea retrieves a go-bag hidden in their quarters and head out into the dystopian, zombie apocalypse alone if necessary. Heightened Wesker baby powers aside (assuming Bea even fucking has any), this is the second time in as many episodes Jade has shown the parenting skills of Pennywise the clown and what little feeling of endearment we ever may have had for her is all but gone.
Still, I’ll give Jade this, she can orchestrate a ruthless endgame when she has to and her ploy to smuggle out the zombie attracting pheromones of the decapitated Mother Zero means that she’s attracted every flesh eater from miles around to converge on Billie’s modest headquarters with maximum ferocity. If our heroine has some labyrinthine plan to escape it undoubtedly has something to do with the train-sized crocodile that’s being towed behind the University’s boat that’s had virtual no build up or explanation at all – but if this is how the ever more tired show can nail a cheap, random Jurassic World-style money shot for it’s upcoming finale, I guess I’ll have to just deal with it…
Plot wise, this is probably the best episode Resident Evil is probably going to be able to manage, with its finale most likely die to end on an irritating cliff hanger that the Netflix bean counters will probably nix before we get a resolution. But at least we got to see Reddick finally being allowed to cut loose the way we all deserved before the climax is upon us.
It’s been a suprisingly long slog, but the end is at last in sight.