A special agency recruits a beautiful young woman to enter peoples' minds. Yes, it sounds a lot like Stitchers . However, this show is actually a lot better.
Instead of being a Federal crime-solving agency, this one involves a Virtual Reality system. Head programmer Alexis Barrett ( Jessica Lu ) discovers that her VR program is so good that the customers do not want to leave. Yes, it is addictive - just like in Red Dwarf .
Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert - Now And Again ), head of security, is a former LAPD chief. He calls in the best hostage negotiator he knows - Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ). Like all good heroes, she has a personal issue. In this case it is PTSD caused by guilt from a mission that ended badly.
As always, the tech support is a guy who is also a potential love interest. In this case it is Paul Hammond (Sendhil Ramamurthy - Heroes ).
Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) gets called in to help on an emergency case. The client is a woman whose heart is in overdrive, and may give out under the stress.
Mara has some stress-related issues of her own. Paul Hammond (Sendhil Ramamurthy - Heroes ) realises she is halucinating, and gives her some anti-anxiety medication.
Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert - Now And Again ), head of security, gets to do some detective work. He also introduces Mara to Monica Shaw ( Kathryn Morris ), one of the company's major investors. She may be important to the show's Season Arc, if it has one.
Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) deals with a man who is obsessed with acting out his fantasy of being a super criminal. It turns out that the Reverie software does not give the user what they consciously want, but what they subconsciously need. This is not necessarily a good thing.
Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) is not taking her medication, and starts to halucinate. Luckily she is saved by a stranger, who claims to be an expert in Reverie and the halucinations it causes. However, it seems that this stranger is mentally ill. In fact, the Reverie team accuse him of criminal insanity.
Someone has stolen a prototype from the Reverie lab. Mara logs on and manages to locate the new user, even though she is basically Customer Service and it should be the Security department's job to do this. However, at least Charlie Ventana (Dennis Haysbert - Now And Again ), head of security, accompanies her on the field trip.
The illicit user is a member of the Dark Reverie, the unofficial adults-only zone where hackers have removed all inhibitions from the non-player characters. He uses it to practice a burglary he plans. Unfortunately he is agoraphobic. If Mara wants him to help shut down the Dark Reverie sites, she must act as getaway driver for his burglary.
Monica Shaw ( Kathryn Morris ), one of the company's major investors, works for the US Department of Defense. Yes, the US Military-Industrial complex seeks to weaponise the tech.
A bomber blows up an office used by the US Military-Industrial complex. Someone claims responsibility on behalf of a group that seeks reparations. Will the good guys drain the swamp?
The only surviving witness is in a coma. Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) is sent into the coma victim's brain, by putting the victim into the Reverie Sim without her knowledge or consent. They make the victim relive the events of the bombing.
Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) has to save a former dancer who was crippled in a bike crash. The victim's psychiatrist helps out. Unfortunately he is Mara's ex-lover, so this adds some soap opera drama.
The victim is depressed and crippled, and wants to remain in Reverie until she dies. Agents of Shield: Season 4 did this kind of thing so much better. Unfortunately the company's owner is an arrogant little girl who refuses to let people die inside her simulation. She insists I did not invent a suicide machine, which ignores human nature and market forces. Her idea is to disable the interface, even though it means risking brain damage to the victim. As always in this kind of thing, suicide and mercy-killing are not allowed.
The most original thing about the episode is the fact that Mara's lover was a white man. Strangely the main cast of the show are all people of colour, so it makes sense that the token white males are all in guest-star roles.
Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) gets accidentally dropped into someone else's VR simulation. This one is a torture sim, where the US Military-Industrial Complex are subjecting a teenage boy to extreme rendition.
The team have to work together to save the boy. Yes, for the first time there is actual team-work. They also call in Monica Shaw ( Kathryn Morris ), the investor who works for the US Department of Defense. If anyone would know about weaponisation of the technology it is her.
In a subplot, Mara tries to get her own life sorted out. Instead of living in the past with her dead relatives, she tries to move on and hook up with her ex-lover from the previous episode.
Reverie has an uninvited guest, a Latina woman who is dying of old age. The boss-lady does not approve of it being used as a comfort for the dying, and threatens to have the woman removed.
The customer wants to relive the best time in her life. This was 1973, when she was backpacking in Chile during Pinochet's CIA-backed military coup. The exact date is not mentioned on-screen, but in real life it was the 11th of September.
The obsessive former owner puts himself into a coma. Mara Kint ( Sarah Shahi ) goes in to save him. He advises her that to save herself from the halucinations she needs to have her brain implant surgically removed.
The obsessive former owner implements a three-stage attack on Reverie. Firstly he diustracts them by abducting the boss lady. Then he stages a cyber-attack on the HQ building so they have to clear the people out of it. Then he plans to destroy the servers with home-made thermite.
Reviewed in our special supplement