Epix Network’s “From” Season 1 (2022) is a sci-fi horror series that takes the concept of apocalyptic shows to a whole different level. Verging on psychological horror at times, this show is about an American town that is cut off from the rest of the world by mysterious supernatural forces beyond human comprehension. It is a town where people, once they enter, can never leave and are forced to live out the rest of their lives in deprivation and the dread of being hunted by strange and terrifying monsters that come out at night. Written by John Griffin, “From,” Season 1 has adopted a fresh new perspective on monster narratives and has been critically acclaimed since it was first aired in February 2022. With its second season scheduled to be launched by MGM+ on April 23 of this year, expectations are high for the next phase of the show to unfold. Starring Harold Perrineau, Eion Bailey, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Shaun Majumder, David Alpay, Avery Conrad, Ricky He, Hannah Cheramy, Scott McCord, and Elizabeth Saunders, this horror show employs adequate amounts of mystery and terror to stimulate fear and excitement among audiences of all age groups.
‘From’ Season 1: Story
The whole premise of the show revolves around this fictional American town that remains unnamed throughout the first season. It is a remote settlement surrounded by dense forests on all sides, with a single road running straight through the center of it, which plays a significant role in adding to the supernatural element of the show. Although it appears to be an ordinary, linear highway, if someone ends up on it trying to drive away from the settlement, it leads straight back to the town itself. The show is one where science does take a backseat at times, relying heavily on supernatural machinery to support its premise. The town itself gives off the impression of a typical remote colony in the heart of the country at first glance, having a diner, well-made houses for the people, a barn for livestock, a church, and a sheriff’s department, but hides some seriously dark and gnarly secrets under its veil of the ‘good life.’
The season begins with Sheriff Boyd strolling around town with a bell in his hand, urging people to return to their homes before nightfall, immediately generating an atmosphere of unease. The people of the town seem to be well acquainted with the Sheriff’s bell and scramble back to their houses without hesitation. As the Sheriff returns to his office, we see a notice board hanging outside that reads ‘Nights Without Incident: 96’, but that changes quickly as Frank, a local drunk, fails to return home that night as he is passed out in the bar, and his wife and daughter are violently mauled by a vampiric creature that takes the form of a person and mimics a person’s voice to hunt and kill humans. Once night falls, the town no longer belongs to the people but to the creatures of the dark. These terrifying creatures are seemingly invincible and have the ability to shapeshift and trick innocent people into believing they are humans, letting them into their homes at night. They are only deterred by these mystical talismans that people hang inside their houses to keep them out. Wearing an ominous smile on their faces at all times, they kill without remorse and leave behind the mangled carcasses of the victims that they devour, and there is a whole population of them that infests the surrounding forest of the town, terrorizing the townspeople from dusk to dawn.
While the Sheriff and a few other townspeople gather the next day to pay their respects to Frank’s wife and daughter, a new family drives into town in their RV, having been knocked off their course to the highway, totally clueless about what they had gotten into. Not willing to send them into a panic, Sheriff Boyd says they can follow the road up the hill to find their way, well aware that it would lead them back into town. After having driven across town a couple of times, Jim Matthew and his wife, Tabitha, are utterly confused and frightened that there may be something going on that they are unaware of, but they keep trying to find the highway while driving on the same road for hours until they get into a collision with another car coming from the opposite direction, leaving the whole family injured. Sheriff Boyd, along with his son Ellis, Deputy Kenny, Father Khatri, and the town doctor, Kristi, volunteer to help the family out of the wreckage. Boyd decides to spend the night in the RV with Jim and his son while Kristi treats the little boy’s leg. Meanwhile, Tabitha and her daughter, Julie, are taken back to town by Ellis and Kenny and are shackled up at the Colony House, where Jade, a man from the other car involved in the accident, is also taken. Thus effectively introducing all the characters who are to take part in the main plot of the story.
There are numerous subplots employed in the show that gradually flow into the main narrative, the most significant one being that of Jim’s son, Ethan. He has strange visions about coming events and is the first to notice the ‘boy in white,’ a mysterious figure that appears throughout the show, guiding the characters in and out of danger. He befriends an occupant of the colony house named Victor, an eccentric character and perhaps an older version of Ethan, drawing out his premonitions in crayons. But he gets misunderstood as a pedophile when Jim catches him sitting next to Ethan at the diner. Later on, Victor helps Julie, Ethan’s sister, escape from the colony house when it is attacked and leads her to safety, asking her to convey a message to her brother that ‘it had started,’ claiming that he would understand. Sara, a local diner girl who claimed to be instructed by voices inside her head, had tried to kill Ethan, saying it would bring them all back to the real world, but ultimately failed because of her brother’s intervention. Sara’s character constitutes another interesting subplot, as she brutally kills Jade’s best friend, Toby when he is put up at the clinic after being seriously injured in the car crash, and she also attempts to kill Ethan but ends up killing her own brother, Nathan, as he tried to intervene. She is later discovered by Father Khatri to be a potential conduit for the hidden forces that control the town. She is another individual who can see the ‘boy in white’ and later acts as a guide on Sheriff Boyd’s quest for salvation.
As the Matthews begin getting accustomed to the ways of the town, more townspeople are killed, and the colony house gets massacred by the monsters, forcing Sheriff Boyd, Jim Matthews, and Jade to embark on their own desperate journeys to find some way of getting back to the real world. Jade convinces Jim, who is an engineer that they could contact the outside world if they could get a strong enough radio signal. Thus they set out to install an antenna on the tallest tree in the area, and they got a radio signal, giving them the idea that if they could install a radio tower on a higher point, they could convey their message to the world. But much to Jim’s surprise, he finds that none of the electrical wirings in the houses had any actual wires in them, and how the lights were being powered is a mystery. Tabitha starts digging under their house to find the source of the cables while Jim and Jade try to collect enough batteries from all the unusable cars they can find around town to create a power source for their radio. Sheriff Boyd, on the other hand, decides to set out into the forest alone to test his theory that the talismans used to protect the houses could also be used in any form of temporary settlement and to find a way out of the paradox that surrounds the town. Father Khatri expresses his wishes to accompany him and convinces him that Sara, the girl who had murdered Toby and attempted to murder Ethan, could be a direct channel to the forces governing the town and its surroundings (as she claimed that she heard voices that gave her premonitions), and hence she should be taken along with them on Boyd’s quest.
‘From’ Season 1: Ending
On the night of the Colony House massacre, Father Khatri is killed, leaving Boyd to venture out into the unexplored wilderness with Sara, and Kenny, the Deputy, takes over the responsibility of the town. Jim and Jade, having convinced Donna, the leader of the colony house, that it would be the perfect place to build a radio tower due to its altitudinal advantage, begin building the tower. While in the forest, Sara gets another message from the voices that they should go back to the town, and at night, while they rest in a tent, they are attacked by a strange force that almost wrecks their makeshift shelter and drags it across the forest to a distant place with a blaring floodlight, leaving them both terrified. When they finally come out of the tent the next morning, Sara tells Boyd that the message she received from the voice in her head did not make any sense as it had instructed her to tell “Mr. Fish and Loaves” to return back to town, but Boyd clears her doubt by stating that it was his army nickname, which raises both their suspicions as only two people knew that name: Ellis, his son, and his dead wife, Abby, but they cannot come to a conclusion. They find that their tent had been transported to a different part of the forest, covered in cobwebs and infested by spiders. Boyd almost gets grabbed by a creature trapped in the dense cobwebs, but she resembles his wife, Abby, and when he shakes loose, he gets bitten by a spider, leaving him poisoned.
Jade finally completes installing the radio tower, and the whole town gathers to witness the spectacle as Jim is tasked to relay the SOS message across the radio frequencies in the hope of getting a reply, but they see a storm brewing in the distance that may hinder their chances of calling for help. As Jim begins the transmission, the storm hits the town, bringing severe rainfall, but he finally manages to connect with someone on the opposite end of the channel. But when he desperately asks for the person’s location, the voice calmly tells him that his wife ‘shouldn’t be digging that hole,’ calling him by his name. This sends Jim into a frenzy, and he rushes back to his house to find Tabitha, who is, in fact, digging away under the house. She had dug into an underground tunnel and fallen into it. There she meets Victor, who explains to her that it isn’t safe for them there, as that was where the monsters lived, and leads her away to safety. Boyd and Sara finally reach the source of the blinding light that they had seen the previous night amid the storm—a lighthouse at the edge of a cliff. To protect Boyd from the storm, Sara convinces Boyd to get inside the hole in a tree, but it turns out to be a supernatural gateway as Boyd ends up getting trapped in a narrow, well-like shaft. The last episode ends with a bus entering the town, leaving things on a cliffhanger. A grotesque realization is attained at the end that the town and all its surroundings are perhaps nothing but a part of an unbreakable loop that is destined to carry on to the ends of time, with mysterious forces keeping a close eye on the puny humans that have been put there for their amusement.