Tea in the Sahara
Kev – Fiction Podcast Critic
‘From Now’ sadly finished just about a month ago, however that hasn’t stopped the growing global demand and thirst for this exceptional juggernaut of a podcast no, no! My original review of the show a month back still stands as one of the most visited reviews that I have written which is a true testament to the quality of this show. If you haven’t already checked out my previous review of the podcast I highly recommend checking it out before we dip into this review (pt.2) where I will pick up from ep.4 onwards.
From Now, written and created by Rhys Wakefield & William Day Frank, starring & executively produced by Scottish actors Richard Madden (playing Edward Fitz) most famous for the TV series ‘Bodyguard’ and being mooted as the next James Bond, star alongside veteran theatre, television, & film heavyweight Brian Cox who plays Hunter Fitz.
Australian Rhys Wakefield of ‘The Purge’ also directs the show, and spoiler ALERT if you have not already binged listened to the whole series just yet, as I will be offering up my own thoughts, and opinions on the show within this review.
We pick up my review following the heated scene where Edward almost strangles his elderly brother Hunter to death. Hunter recovers and recalls a dream that may just hold the only clue the twin brothers have to the 35-year mystery of the USS Hope. We also sadly learn how Hunter was beaten by his parents, and the brutal emptiness he felt in the aftermath of Eddie’s disappearance. Back to that dream/hunch which amounts to answers potentially hidden at Eddie’s gravesite now seemingly the only card left to play.
Meanwhile, vintage meteor space debris crashes out of the sky all around Arizona causing FBI agent Elisa Watkins (Betty Gabriel) to return, and link up with our brothers alongside android nurse Helen (Erin Moriarty) and exit stage-left in a flying car to the destination Eddie’s cemetery. Hunters health at this point is a constant worry, and there are grave concerns that he might not make the mission.
‘The Southern Light’s episode connects a ton of dots and is the biggest “ah-ha” episode as we hear the inflight recordings of the USS Hope, which is an absolutely harrowing scene to listen to. If you can visualise the terror, and claustrophobic final scenes from the movie Alien that’s how this scene left me. The maiden voyage and takeoff went buttery smooth until the spacecraft appears to fly into something and all of the USS Hope’s crew, except Edward, are mercilessly sucked and grimly fused alive into the walls of the ship. For the crew of the USS Hope barely twenty minutes had gone by, but in reality, as the spaceship re-enters the earth’s atmosphere they have been gone for thirty-five Years!
The Russian Federation try to blast our guys out of the sky en route to the cemetery. Queue a standoff where Eddie freezes time like Neo from the Matrix allowing our heroes to escape. Our motley crew arrive at the cemetery with the mystery lying within Eddie’s headstone in the shape of a drive with the black box recording one of the events played out on the Hope. This exonerates lieutenant Edward Fitz as the killer of Hope’s crew (phew!) Elisa’s FBI partner turns up and is a grass selling them out to the Russian Federation. Nurse Helen gets shot up, and our gang are captured by the underground resistance; talk about frying pan to fire scenario!
The resistance literally lives underground like The Wombles, being that they are miners who mine the green power source that currently powers everything above them in our dystopian future. The leader of the resistance agrees to help Eddie & co. return to the site of the USS Hope via an underground railway system of minecarts. When I heard this part the kid in me could not stop thinking about a similar scene from Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom!
The camaraderie slightly warms between our siblings as Hunter shares the reasons why the planet is dying due to man’s requirements for power like a weapons-grade industrial revolution. It now rains and snows in the state of Arizona because of mankind’s lust for ways of powering the planets sprawling urban jungle. Again, I like the social-environmental awareness of what could happen to our planet if we allow ourselves to not be accountable for our actions.
Fear not, we are now on the homeward stretch people, don’t worry. Our team pop up on the USS Hope, and it appears battlefield lines have been drawn up between the Americans & The Russian Federation. Hunter plays the black box recording from nurse Helen to the population thus letting the world know about what really happened to Hope’s mission. The Russian’s on the other hand plan to fly USS Hope back through the wormhole window to complete its original mission.
Edward again uses his insane alien DNA powers to freeze time on the spot allowing enough time for Hunter to say some goodbyes and fly the ship directly into the wormhole. In the cockpit, Hunter talks us through what appears to be five minutes of flight time within the wormhole before re-entering the earth’s atmosphere (this seem familiar?) Podcasting sound effect guys must love using radio static to ramp up the suspense as ground control ask Hunter to identify himself over the radio. Above the white noise and static Hunter’s reply is “I’m American, where am I? When am I?” Has Hunter returned at the same point he left at or has he travelled forward thirty-five years into the future just as Eddie did? World-class ends as Hunter’s voice fades and the credits begin to roll. Thank you QCODE.
My thoughts for the future? Without using the USS Hope to travel forward in time I will dispense my ideas on the show (see what I did there?) From Now has all the hallmarks of an HBO series for certain, and I know my followers are probably saying to themselves “Kev says this weekly!” However such is the quality of the writing within this podcast it could easily transverse into a film or TV series; that’s all I’m going to say.
In my original review, I highlighted the two main characters Hunter & Eddie Fitz who are acted out fantastically. However, I would also like to shine the spotlight on Betty Gabriel who plays FBI agent Elisa Watkins. As the show opens up and progresses I really enjoyed the development of Elisa’s character and her own personal attachment to Hope’s ill-fated mission. Moving into a second season, which we all want to see for certain, I personally would love to see how the writers execute the arch from the first series into the second. When you write a show this good the expectations settings for a positive follow up will no doubt be skyscraper high (no pressure guys!)
I really hope you have enjoyed reading this continuation review for ‘From Now’ which is worth checking out on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or from wherever you get your podcasts from. I know that the good people of QCODE have some imminent podcasts about to drop which will no doubt be class, so keep your ears peeled people.
Are you looking to have your podcast or audio drama reviewed? Well look no further you’ve unexpectedly found your perfect partner; Tea in the Sahara! Whatever your podcast genre please do get in touch via any of the below methods or through my contacts page, and check out my other reviews listed below cheers, Kev.