Review - Impulse
There are so many streaming services now it’s hard to keep up with everything airing and, to be quite honest, a lot of it is pure garbage anyway. Youtube joined the ranks of releasing original content and they’ve proven a worthy contender. Cobra Kai is without a doubt one of the better shows to come out in a long while. So with that in mind I decided to view one of their other series called Impulse.
What initially caught my eye is the supernatural or super-powered element in it. I’m a big fan of Marvel and DC, and I’ve been writing my own superhero novel series so anytime I can absorb a piece of entertainment in this genre I will give it a chance.
Sometimes like with Legion or even Supergirl the show winds up not being my taste but every so often there’s a feeling I get from a show that hooks me. While Impulse carried the stereotypical tropes of teen angst and one-dimensional characters something about it caught my interest.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
I’m not sure if Impulse is geared towards teens or adults but the content really pushes the envelope if it’s supposed to be a teen drama. That said, I didn’t mind getting bloody and dropping some cursory F-bombs. Those things just lend themselves to realism in a world where a girl can teleport and crush things with her mind.
The writing is solid and the pacing works in a way that I never found myself bored or wanting to skip ahead. They linked each story so that each character had something to do that furthered the main storyline. For an origin story running over 10 episodes, they kept it moving.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR ME
Let me start with what didn’t work for me by asking some questions:
1) Why are most shows super-powered shows centered around telekinesis? I get that it’s a cool way to show someone has powers by moving stuff with their mind but there’s a lot of other powers out there that could be explored and still remain semi-normal on the outside.
2) Am I supposed to feel bad for Clay? They spend a lot of time on Clay after he’s paralyzed showing how bad his life is messed up now that he can’t walk. But honestly, I don’t feel bad for him at all. Maybe if he didn’t try to force himself onto a girl who isn’t interested then he’d still have his perfect little life. Which brings me to…
3) Why must the girl always have some sort of sexual trauma happen to her to find her strength? This happens more often than you may think. There are other ways for a character to uncover their powers without some form of abuse. And even if it’s not a superpower show there are way too many instances where I’ve had to sit through a rape scene. Enough already. Let’s do better as writers.
The only other thing that somewhat didn’t work for me was the main character of Henry wasn’t very likable. Again, this seems to be a constant character archetype being explored now especially in a lot of teen dramas. We get it, you’re rebellious and too cool for everyone else. But where this type of attitude works for Jessica Jones (not a teen but you get my point) it doesn’t always carry over as a likable characteristic for others. Sometimes they come off annoying as is the case with Henry. No knock against the actress here, I think she was really good. I just got tired of Henry’s BS…especially against her mom.
I actually liked Season 2 much better than Season 1. Sometimes when you’re establishing a story, characters, and background it can be slow out of the gates as you feel your way around the story you’re trying. Once you get your footing you can find your groove and really move forward with deliberate intention. I feel like that’s what happened here with Impulse.
Season 1 was more of an origin story which sets up the characters and their particular story arcs. Season 2 jumps right into the action and doesn’t really let off the gas pedal. We’re also introduced to Nikolai who becomes a very important part of Henri’s story and adds those much needed layers to evolving plot.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
I know I said I didn’t enjoy the Henri character in Season 1 but in Season 2 she redeems herself with me as the complexity of her situation starts to change her. I don’t like vanilla characters who are righteously good and immaculate, it’s unrealistic. Everyone has flaws and Henri is no exception. They tried hard to make her the rebel girl in Season 1 which is what put me off because she was very whiny but in Season 2 as she becomes more comfortable with her powers she develops a different type of confidence which is always appealing in any character. She also does some questionable things towards the end that taken out of context may seem villain-like as Townes points out but when looking at Henri’s POV were absolutely necessary.
The plot also flowed nicely. Other than a few places which I feel held too much screen time I felt everything else linked together in a unity that is very good storytelling. Some of the other characters found their own depth as well such as Anna Hulce who has more of her past brought to the screen.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
As I mentioned a couple of episodes didn’t grab my attention and I actually wound up skipping over them which didn’t derail my enjoyment of the show.
The only other thing I didn’t like wasn’t poor writing and didn’t affect the show other than the way it was meant too. When Henri yells at her mom in the last episode it’s painful to watch but painful in the way it was intended. The only reason I have it under “didn’t work” is because damn…how are you going to come at your mom like that!? I’m glad that Jenna came to her door at the end because Cleo didn’t deserve that.
BTW, nice piece of acting by Missy Pyle.
I enjoyed Season 2 much more than Season 1 and the cliffhanger at the end has me looking forward to Season 3.