Believe Is Turning Bo Into A Creepy Child

Illustration for article titled emBelieve/em Is Turning Bo Into A Creepy Child

The superpowered child trope often goes hand-in-hand with creepy children: think the Midwich Cuckoos, Damien, Samara. In spite of Believe's best efforts to convince us that psychic Bo is all sweetness and light, she is veering into creepy child territory—and it actually makes her a bit more interesting.


Once again this episode saw Bo playing chess with people's lives. But instead of her having a tantrum over her idealize vision of romance, she was actually putting together people who will be useful to her in the future. Ben Wooten is a blogger who receives a mysterious call in the night about Project Orchestra and he immediately becomes obsessed with the idea. Taryn is his wife, whom Bo realizes is pregnant before Taryn has had a chance to tell Ben. Together, Bo tells Tate, they will tell stories that change people's lives. If that sounds a bit too much like the Senga/Agnes story from the pilot, the difference here is that they will someday tell Bo's story—when she's ready to reveal it.

We're supposed to believe that the creepiest aspect of this episode is that Skouras has sent Joshua after Ben in order to wipe Ben's memory. (Why just Ben's? I find myself wondering. Why not shoot for Winter first?) And at least Joshua's power has subtlety going for it; when Ben starts seizing in the middle of a train station, it appears to onlookers that he's having a medical episode. No one outside of our tidy little group knows that Joshua is the man behind the twitching. When Bo stands up and makes the windows break, however, shooting glass into Joshua's back, it doesn't look like a coincidence. It's already remarkable that Bo's abilities haven't gone viral, but now it's stretching credulity.

Illustration for article titled emBelieve/em Is Turning Bo Into A Creepy Child

Each episode, Believe seems to be telling a slightly different story about itself, so that it's hard to figure out what the point of the series is or what it's trying to say. Is Skouras a villain or a humanitarian without a conscience? Are we supposed to buy into all of Winter's pseudo-religious platitudes? Is Bo preternaturally wise or just a powerful child with a child's perspective on the world? In fact, the only characters with anything resembling a clear arc seems to be Boyle, whom we learn is the person who tipped off Ben and planned to expose Project Orchestra to the world.

I actually like the idea of Bo as a creepy child, one who is orchestrating her own future by putting the right people in the right places. It makes sense, making her a sort of sugar coated puppet master who genuinely makes people's lives better but also serves her own ends. She's certainly pulling the strings at the end of the episode during her separate encounters with Winter and Tate. Bo asks Winter about whether she hurt Joshua, feeling responsible for using her powers against another human being. Winter finally proves that he is not cutout to be Bo's moral guardian, assuring her that her hurting Winter was not her fault because "You don't kill people." Blech. Bo needs a parent who doesn't think she's a god, someone who is capable of making mistakes and teaching her the nuances of life. So, when Tate confesses that he planned to leave her and never come back, Bo releases him from his ankle monitor.

This might be my favorite moment from the entire series because it's actually slightly chilling. With that small action, Bo shows that she's been complicit in keeping Tate prisoner. Now she decides that Tate needs to go on his own journey and come back to her when he has resolved his issues. Well, it's more likely that she's going to hunt him down and resolve his issues for him, because that's what Bo does. Although I won't argue if she does it in an unnerving way.


Then again, who knows what version of this show—or Bo—we'll see next week?

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Honestly, I'm watching to see Tate find out that Bo is his daughter. I have no idea if I'll still tune in once that cat is out of the bag. After this episode I just might, though.