Cult (The CW) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
Six years after it was originally written by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (known from writing many other The CW shows such as ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Hart Of Dixie’), The CW launches ‘Cult’. The series is about a show named ‘Cult’, which is about a cult. Confusing? Indeed. So let me just rephrase the series to ‘Real-World-Cult’ for the series that we are watching and ‘Cult-World-Cult’ for the series in the series. Right, on with the review.
Real-World-Cult starts with a scene from Cult-World-Cult, in which a woman is trying to find her sister Meadow. She believes her to be kidnapped by or on behalf of the leader, Billy Grimm (Robert Knepper, ‘Prison Break’) of the cult she used to be part of. As Cult-World-Cult ends, the scene switches to a bar where fans of the show are watching and trying to find deeper meaning in the story. A young man called Nate seems to have figured out something important, and he runs out, telling his friend Merriam to go home to her family.
On the set of Cult-World-Cult, a woman called Skye (Jessica Lucas, ‘Friends With Benefits’), who just started working as a researcher for the show, is doing research on websites by fans of Cult-World-Cult. But the websites aren’t ordinary fan sites, they are weird and dark.
Nate meets up with his brother Jeff (Matt Davis, ‘The Vampire Diaries’), a reporter trying to rebuild his career after a scandal. Nate says he is being followed, but Jeff thinks this is just another one of his crazy paranoid ideas. It seems Nate has had those more often in the past. However, that night, Jeff gets a strange call from Nate and goes over to his apartment to check on him. There is a chair covered in blood and Nate is gone.
When the cops are at the scene investigating, Jeff sees his brothers cell phone and steals it. Cult-World-Cult is playing on the TV while the officers investigate, and Jeff recognizes a pair of 3D glasses in the series that his brother also gave to him when they last met. Before he disappeared, Nate asked Jeff to contact the people who made the show, and even though he refused to do so at first, now that his brother is missing Jeff goes over to the set.
On the set, Jeff meets Skye, who is willing to help him and manages to undelete some text messages on Nate’s phone. It turns out Nate was texting with a woman called Meadow, the same name as the woman who was missing on Cult-World-Cult. Skye then takes Jeff to the fan-bar, called fan.dom_ain, where we saw Nate earlier. Online, they find a role playing event and go to the location to find more clues about where Nate could be.
As Jeff and Skye arrive at the role playing event, they find everyone fleeing from a house. Inside the house, a woman called Merriam, the same woman who was on a picture with Nate at the fan-bar, is crying. When asked about Nate, she tells Jeff that Nate is ‘not alright’, and that he will be coming for her next. She then quotes a line from the series people say right before they die: 'Well, hey, these things just snap right off' and shoots herself in the head. Jeff is visibly upset by this part of Cult-World-Cult coming back in the real world, because it was exactly what his brother said at the end of their odd phone conversation.
Back at Nate's apartment, Jeff watches a few clips of Cult-World-Cult and finds a CD in the notes his brother made, the same CD the characters on the show found. He calls Skye and asks her what is on the CD in the series. She tells him the Cult-World-Cult-CD uploads all of the protagonists personal information in the series. Jeff puts the disc in his laptop anyway, hoping that it may lead somewhere. The disc contains images that flash on the screen, and when Jeff puts on the 3D glasses Nate gave him, just as he saw the protagonist do in Cult-World-Cult, he sees blank lines and slashes. Jeff enters the phrase 'Well, hey, these things just snap right off' and presses ‘enter’. Right after he hits ‘enter’, he receives a call from Nate. Nate tells him he never should've put the disc in and that he should walk away and not try to find him. As the laptop reveals an image of Jeff's drivers license and personal information, a scene from the Cult-World-Cult-promotional footage appears: 'You're next'.
Real-World-Cult was quite an enjoyable show. Contrary to this text, it wasn’t hard to keep the two series apart from each other while watching, which is a really good thing because there are a lot of shots from Cult-World-Cult in the story of Real-World-Cult. It’s almost as if you’re watching two shows simultaneously, only big pieces of one of the shows are missing.
I’m still not really sure what this series will be like, because there were so many small pieces that in the future will probably form one big puzzle, but for now it’s still a little vague. It seems however that Jeff’s quest to find Nate will be the storyline that will take us through at least the first season, and it should be an interesting storyline. It does bug me that I still know virtually nothing about what kind of deeper layers these fans are getting from Cult-World-Cult. It is apparent that it must be something important, because it seemed there were people that spent every free minute of their day on it. Which made me wonder what is so great about Cult-World-Cult that so many people become such huge fans, but I’m guessing that will remain a mystery forever.
On the whole, I liked this show enough to see it could become something quite good, but not enough to know for sure that I will be watching past the first three or four episodes. From where I’m standing, it could go either way, depending primarily on the main characters and their actions. But for now, I can definitely recommend this show if you like your series to come with a little mystery.
Cult airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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