The Kettering Incident
Directed by Rowan Woods, Tony Krawitz
In the final episode of The Kettering Incident, a character proclaims, "feels like there's a storm brewing, son." And, boy, there surely is. When Ann Macy returns to her home town Kettering after 15 years, dark secrets and new tragedies begin to crop up. The town of Kettering is soon thrown into a whirlwind of conspiracies, murder, and insanity, and it all stems back to Anna and her past.
The Kettering Incident is a fine example of a program that is able to find a healthy balance between real-life thriller and sci-fi mystery. The show teeters on the edge of crazy conspiracy, but in the end tips just enough over the edge, while still maintaining a firm grasp on reality, to leave you baffled and amused. The show's creators Vicki Madden and Vincent Sheehan are able to successfully take nutty alien conspiracy and turn it into a smart and realistic conclusion while still leaving the audience with a little taste of insanity. A fret that is attempted by many and conquered by few. The Kettering Incident is entertaining, clever, quick, and thrilling. The writing throws you from one suspect to the next, questioning everything that is said, and causing a shocking jolt when the answers finally coming to focus. It piles on the questions, but never quite gives a full answer, forcing the audience to conjure up their own conclusions to the mystery of Kettering.
Directors Rowan Woods and Tony Krawitz perfectly compliment Madden and Sheehan's thrilling writing by creating an eerie and unsettling atmosphere. The tone of The Kettering Incident completely captures the unease and anxiety felt by the people of Kettering. The visuals and sound influence the tension of the moment, giving the show an even more unnerving feel. In particular, the musical score brings a chill up your spine, as you wait with bated breath for the next crisis to unfold.
But what I found to be most compelling about The Kettering Incident was the journey of the main character, Anna Macy, and Elizabeth Debicki's stellar performance of her. The use of an unreliable narrator is an easy way to create suspense through unknown. When watching the drama unfold through an unreliable character, we don't know who or what to believe or what is real and what is false. The insanity of the character begins to rub off on the viewer, forcing them to also feel a knot in their stomach and pounding in their chest wondering if this character is telling us the truth. Debicki shines in this forceful performance. She perfectly captures the subtleties of Anna’s internal tug-of-war between what’s real and what’s imagined and portrays Anna’s slow decline into insanity with skill and power. Personally, I felt Madden and Sheehan could have focused less on minor plot line and spent more time exploring Anna's mental decline, but that is a minor technically in an otherwise thrilling show.
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