Review: Dig 1.01- “Pilot”

Dig is USA Network’s newest mini-series, and one I’ve been looking forward to ever since I participated in their press room at San Diego Comic-Con last year. Now that the show has finally begun, I’m even more excited about what’s going to happen throughout the limited series and how the various plot lines weaved through the pilot are going to be pulled together.

***** SPOILERS BELOW *****

The show opens with a perfect red heifer being born on Norway to a farm owned by a Jewish sect. This means that a prophecy of some sort has begun, though we know nothing about what it is or how it will affect anything. What is odd is that the heifer is given to a young man to watch and care for, and as part of that, he’s given a gun as protection for when he needs to take the animal somewhere.

Meanwhile, an FBI agent named Peter Connelly (Jason Isaacs), is in Israel and having an affair with his boss, Lynn Monahan (Anne Heche). While this is going on, he’s also having issues with Israeli detective Golan Cohen (Ori Pfeffer), the man he’s assigned to work with. In the midst of a chase to apprehend a criminal named Yussef Khalid (Omar Metwally), Peter notices a young woman with fire engine red hair, which slows him down to the point that his partner catches Yussef.

Later on that day, after seemingly eveScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.51.51 PMrything he’s done has gone wrong, Peter notices the same woman again while at a bar and decides to follow her when she leaves. She evades him, then surprises him after he thinks he’s lost her trail. The two end up talking, and Peter learns her name is Emma Wilson (Alison Sudol), and she’s currently in Israel on an archaeology fellowship. She also mentions that she suspects that the Temple Treasure is near where she’s working on a dig, and that treasure might include the Ark of the Covenant. Emma ends up taking Peter into the area she’s working on excavating, while continuing to talk about how she thinks people have been searching in the wrong place for such a fantastic treasure.

While leading Peter deeper into the dig area, the two are interrupted by hearing voices near a tunnel that is too close to the Temple Mount to allow for further excavation. They spy on the voices and discover some sort of religious sacrifice being made by a group of Jews. After leaving without being caught, Peter offers to walk Emma home. She turns him down, and when asked if he’ll see her again, she replies “if I don’t see you first,” a phrase that stops him in his tracks. Shortly after, we discover that Emma reminds Peter of his daughter, who seems to have passed on.

In the mean time, Detective Cohen ends up interviewing Udi, and shows him some sort of contraption that he had previously stolen from a museum. It looks strangely like a piece of art that’s shown in another part of the episode, and thus is probably important, though it really doesn’t make much sense at the moment. (The piece is later discovered to be a High Priest’s breastplate, which was used to communicate with god.)

The next day, Peter walks into work, only to discover that a body has been found. It’s Emma, and no one knows what happened, so her death is being investigated. Peter is told by Lynn that he’s in no condition to work on Emma’s case, but he lies to Detective Cohen and works with him anyways. In doing so, he discovers that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

In a currently unexplained thread, going on at the same time in New Mexico, there’s a young boy named Josh (Zen McGrath), who is just turning thirteen, is being held in some sort of government facility. He’s coloring in some sort of picture that includes twelve gem-like pieces. He’s evidently important to something that’s about to happen, but we’re not sure what it is. Apparently, though, whatever he’s being raised for is his “destiny,” which is oddly suspicious, as is how a man called Pastor Billingham (David Constabile) is involved. This boy also claims to hear another child his own age, even though he’s the only child at the facility. Later on in the episode, Josh escapes from the facility, and unfortunately runs into a bad end at the hands of one of Pastor Billingham’s minions. It also turns out that the voice young Josh heard was truly another child, only this one’s name is Joshua. Joshua appears to be Josh’s twin. In addition to all of that, we also learn that the mysterious Pastor Billingham is somehow involved with a Rabbi in Israel, making it seem that both Jews and Christians are involved in whatever prophecy is supposed to happen.

If the above recap sounds convoluted, that’s because Dig currently is. There’s a whole lot introduced in the pilot that doesn’t yet make a lot of sense, though I have to assume it will be clearer after a couple of episodes have aired.

As a whole, I think Dig could definitely use some improvement, as it only reads as a religious conspiracy theory at the moment. It also is a bit fragmented with how the various parts of the show work together. However, the performances are pretty solid and I think that a lot can be done with the remaining nine episodes, especially since the cast has said that the show has a set beginning, middle, and end for the first season. The settings are also incredible, and only enhanced by the beautiful cinematography. As someone who visited Israel several years ago, seeing the country looking so beautiful is a huge draw for me, especially with how both the modern parts of Israel and some of the more ancient parts are shown. It’s a love affair with a region of the world that some people only know via the news.

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m looking forward to next week’s episode and seeing what happens next. Did you catch Dig, and if so, do you plan to tune in again?

Post Author: Guest Writer

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