GHOST WARS – Season 1 Episode 1 – SPOILERS
On the bus on the way out of town, Roman Mercer (Avan Jogia) chats with his friend Maggie (Elise Gatien), who tries to persuade him to stay. Maggie (we soon discover) is invisible to everyone but Roman. An apparent earthquake later, the bus driver swerves to avoid someone standing in the middle of the road (whom only he can see). The bus slides on its side onto the edge of a cliff. Mercer is shaken awake by Maggie. Something prevents him from saving any of the other passengers, but he manages to pop open the emergency exit and jump to safety before the bus and the rest of the people on board meet a fiery end.
The bridge leading out of town is declared unsafe because of the earthquake, so Roman can’t leave Port Moore. He has given up his apartment and lost his suitcase in the bus crash, so he ends up staying at his mother’s abandoned house. (Roman’s mom left town some time ago, and doesn’t communicate with her son, but does send the occasional letter with enclosed cash to the town priest.) The crystal ball in her living room, might indicate that Mama Mercer also has psychic powers and may have left because she saw all this coming.
Then Maggie reappears and becomes the highlight of the episode. She is the most charming and engaging ghost you’d ever want to be haunted by. Maggie hints to Roman that that quake might have been more of a psychic rumbling than an earthquake. She also hints that the dead bus passengers and driver may be trapped in Port Moore, and that trapped spirits will “lash out” at the living. One needs to remember when listening to Maggie that while she might be a benign spirit giving useful information, she could also be a figment of Roman’s imagination articulating his own opinions. Whatever she is, Maggie is the most interesting personality in town. It is not mentioned in the episode, but Maggie’s last name is Rennie, and that is also the last name of Doug, the town bully. The comparative ages of Doug and Maggie suggest that she might have been his daughter before she died. The reason Doug hates Roman so much could be that Roman can talk to Maggie, and Doug cannot.
For some as yet unspecified reason, after the bus crash the townspeople begin to hallucinate, and the visions that afflict them are so disturbing that several kill themselves. (Not all of thevisual phenomena are horrific. Some are relatively tame, like when the bartender hears a non-existent baby cry, and sees the eyes in a photograph move.) Spirits from the other side could be responsible, or folks might be having waking nightmares. A shrink would likely prescribe drugs to put an end to the symptoms, but the town is probably not large enough to support its own psychiatrist. We have not yet met a town doctor.
The bridge on the road that leads out of Port Moore is thoroughly destroyed (although it appears intact to unsuspecting travelers). No one can leave town. That road leads to Anchorage, and one might expect that someone (perhaps a mail deliverer, perhaps a UPS person) will need to make a trip to Port Moore at some point, so the isolation of the town cannot be entirely complete. And it is a port and it is not winter, so one would think boats might arrive from time to time.
The Roman Catholic priest (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) is the only cleric visible so far, and he seems quite attached to Roman. Given Roman’s age and the priest’s age, and the fact that Roman’s mother communicates only with the priest, it might be that Father Carpenter is literally Roman’s father, and that is why Roman was so named.
Mayor Val McGrath-Dufresne (Luvia Petersen) doesn’t believe in ghosts, but we see very little of her, and we see nothing of her wife in the first episode. The sheriff dies, as do several workers examining the bridge after the quake. Two of the casualties from the bus crash return in spirit form, and Roman demonstrates the power to shoo spirits away. When he does that his eyes glow.
Avan Jogia (Roman) will be Dan Nightengale in the romantic drama PAPER YEAR. Dan is half of a recently married couple, barely employed and with little money. The couple’s other half is Franny (Eve Hewson) and the two are madly in love and ready to conquer the world but as they they approach their first anniversary, they encounter problems that strain their relationship and cause them to question their decision to marry in the first place. Written and directed by Rebecca Addelman, with music composed by Lesley Barber (who also wrote the music for Mansfield Park), PAPER YEAR is expected to arrive in theatres later this year.
Sharon Taylor (Sophia Moon) is Agent Jenkins in DRONE, a film about the ethics of remote-control warfare that focuses on Neil, a quiet, suburban businessman who is secretly a private contractor flying covert drone missions for the American government. After a whistle-blowing website exposes him, Neil encounters a Pakistani businessman who believes him responsible for the death of his wife and child. The film can be streamed on Netflix (US), and a trailer is available on YouTube.
Trevor Lerner (Marty Hubbard) is Tobin White in A HARVEST WEDDING, a romantic comedy about a New York City wedding planner named Sarah (Jill Wagner) who is hired to plan the most anticipated wedding of the season, and finds out that the groom is from her hometown (which she was happy to leave) and that he wants to have the wedding on the family farm — which is now being run by his older brother (Victor Webster) who was Sarah’s first love. Filmed in Vancouver, A HARVEST WEDDING will premiere on The Hallmark Channel on 21 October at 9/8c.