Friday, 1 April 2016

The Tribe, Season 2 (1999)

At the end of the first season of The Tribe, the Mallrats set out to find an antidote for the virus that has killed all the adults and now seems to be mutating into a form that is dangerous even for those under the age of 18.  They lose two of their own in the process, but they soon gain new members, and even succeed in their quest.  The way in which they achieve this success is hysterically implausible, but never mind: virus defeated!

Having control of the antidote brings the Mallrats a lot of power in the city.  It also causes dissension between those who want to make themselves wealthy by selling it to the other tribes, and those who want to share it freely.  The former group are most vocally led by Ebony, who is the former leader of the most dangerous tribe in the city, and who makes no secret of her intention to become leader of the Mallrats now that she has joined them.  Much of the first half of the season is given over to her machinations and schemes.

However the tribe - the city as a whole, in fact - faces a much more dangerous threat than Ebony.  A new movement known as 'the Chosen', who preach a doctrine of 'power and chaos', intend to take over.  They play a minor role from the beginning of the season, but in its second half, they are the clearly established as the major antagonists.

I feel like this season of the show definitely profits from having more clear 'arc' story lines, and it also ties them together quite nicely at times.  For instance, Ebony's schemes in the first half of the season lead the other Mallrats to fear and distrust her, which the Chosen are able to exploit for their own ends.  The much more prominent role for Ebony herself - she's in season one but not to anywhere near the same extent - is also a point in the show's favour.  She's a fun antagonist/ally.

On the other hand, the Chosen storyline also suffers from some pretty obvious issues: their plans are way more complicated and contrived than they need to be, for one thing, and are reliant on a lot of idiot-ball holding by the Mallrats (plus the rest of the city tribes) on the other.

Overall, it remains a show that feels like it has more ambition than ability in some areas, while also being a program that could use a little more ambition in other areas.  Unless you're somehow not getting enough YA dystopia in your life - hard to imagine given how many such shows and movies are currently around - you can skip it.

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