This weekend, I watched Amazon’s Panic, a new YA show that has echoes of Saw, but with a PG-13 bend to it. Teens in a small town play dangerous games with one another in order to win a cash prize, but it can cost them their lives.
I’ve already written a review of Panic, which I didn’t love overall, and one of the reasons was that the end was a cluster of reveals that rarely made much sense to me. I want to go through them here and see if anyone else can shed some light on what I’m missing here. Spoilers follow.
So, first off, we start the series with two deaths from last year, two young teens in love, Jimmy Cortez, son of the sheriff, and Abby, his girlfriend.
By the end, we learn that Sheriff Cortez has been betting on the game this whole time, and his son found out that he was trying to get Abby out of the game by sending her threatening notes.
Abby died during a challenge that had her crossing the freeway blindfolded, but I’m still not clear on if that was just an accident, or if that was her killing herself because of the threats and the shame over the baby she’d aborted.
Then we learn that the Russian Roulette game where Jimmy died was supposed to be played using a prop gun. But Jimmy’s mother discovers that he switched out the gun himself and killed himself on purpose using it. This was confusing to me because I thought the implication was that the sheriff had maybe switched the gun and was trying to have another player actually die so his bets on his son would pay off. But the answer is that Jimmy just did it himself and wanted to kill himself during the game because of what happened to Abby and what he knew about his father? Is that right?
Moving on past these two, one of the biggest mysteries of the series is trying to figure out who the judges are. We eventually learn that Heather’s friend and finalist Natalie has been a judge this whole time.
Can someone explain to me why on earth judges would be allowed to play? There’s some line about “having them get closer” to the players, and yet it seems absurd that a judge, who sets up every single challenge and would know which threats are real or imagined (like say, a fake gun being used in Russian Roulette) would be allowed to compete and possibly win. We already seen this in the game this year where Natalie’s “individual challenge” is not dangerous at all, and simply playing a video that she made on purpose and knew would be shown to Heather. She’s “disqualified’ eventually for cheating with Dodge, but like, who is disqualifying her? The other judge?
And that’s the other thing. Who was the other judge? We spend the entire season trying to figure out who the judges are, and we only known for sure one is Natalie. Who were the others? Was there only one other one? Why would this be kept a secret when a second season is probably just going to be moving on to the next year’s game? And Natalie herself had to know who the other judge was, right? You couldn’t coordinate anything without knowing that. So why was this never discussed? It felt like the show simply didn’t have a good answer for who would make sense (pick any character and it raises a ton more questions) so it just didn’t say anything at all.
Who hit Dana with a car? The show relies too much on coincidence, like how there just so happens to be another accident with another girl who gets killed a short time earlier, and that is folded up into the story of Dana’s accident to trick Dodge into helping the sheriff. And don’t even get me started on the odds of the loose tiger appearing directly between the two cars playing Joust at that exact moment. Sigh. Yes, yes, suspension of disbelief, I know. But come on.
Maybe some of the questions I’m asking do have answers, but I really feel like they went over my head if so. Were you confused as I was with Panic? Let me know on Twitter.
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