Why I care about ‘The Resurrection’

Immigration Services calls agent Marty Bellamy in, saying they found an 8-year-old American boy in China with no recollection of how he got there. The only thing the boy, Jacob, remembers is his home in Missouri. Marty brings him there and he thought that would be the end of the case – a happy reunion – and that he’d find the answers he needed.

Marty was wrong.

Based off the debut novel “The Resurrection,” by Jason Mott, this new ABC television series explores the possibility of the return of the dead. Henry and Lucille Langston, the residents of a quaint house in Arcadia, Mo., are speechless at the sight of Jacob, their son who died thirty years ago after drowning in a river. Jacob’s aunt had died as well, after trying to save him … at least that was what her family, sheriff Fred and doctor-daughter Maggie, were led to believe. But Jacob quickly shatters their belief.

The reactions to Jacob’s return are mixed. Jacob’s father is unsure how to deal with his son’s reappearance, while his mother acts as if he never died. Pastor Tom, Jacob’s childhood best friend, struggles to understand God and faith after this unexplained event happened.

I feel emotionally invested in this show, which is what I always expect to happen after watching an interesting show. My heart wrenched at the thought of a mother embracing her son, whom she had lost years ago. When Jacob appears on the front porch, he asks a nonchalant question that Henry answers reflexively. With his son’s voice ringing in his ears, the father’s face drops. We see the sheer disbelief on his face, and he is still as Jacob hugs him. That moment got to me. The episode also employs flashbacks that detail happier times for the Langstons, causing me to wonder: What if Jacob hadn’t died?

The characters in this new drama are left with more questions at the end of the episode, when another person returns from the dead.

My only problem with this pilot episode was the blandness of Marty, played by Omar Epps from Fox’s “House.” Usually in pilots we get a taste of a main character haunted by his past, but it’s either the acting or the writing that keeps me from actually caring about Marty. The writers need to give viewers more hints to his past.

I was a huge fan of “The 4400,” which had a similar premise where 4,400 people returned, unaged and with no memories. Initially, people thought they were abducted by aliens (that wasn’t the reason, but I won’t spoil it for you). No signs of aliens right now in “The Resurrection.” I would stick around to learn the cause of Jacob’s reappearance.

It seems more people are willing to stay with the show: According to Nielsen ratings, 13.9 million viewers turned out for the series’ premiere on Sunday.

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