Science-fiction is very rarely a ‘hard watch’. Sure, there can be science-fiction that taxes the brain or grosses you out, but it’s not often that it’s hard to watch because of its emotional resonances or difficult subject matter.
The fact that Impulse was also not only a YouTube TV series but also based on the same books as the terrible movie Jumper – and was simultaneously genuinely very, very good – therefore meant it was up there with unicorn tears.
Don’t curb this Impulse
The first season followed annoying teenager Henriette (Maddie Hasson) who’s moved to a small town with her blue-collar mum (Missi Pyle), who’s gone from boyfriend to boyfriend, job to job, ever since Henry’s dad left her. Soon, mum’s got a new boyfriend (Matt Gordon) and Henry’s got a new quasi-sister (Sarah Desjardins) as a result.
One night at a party, Henry is sexually assaulted by the local jock (Tanner Stine). Unbeknownst to her, however, the fits she’s been having are the onset of something incredible – and the assault causes her nascent power of teleportation to emerge violently. In an instant, she’s back in her bedroom and Stine is crushed and paralysed by his truck.
The rest of the season then plays out across two strands. On the one hand, it’s a season of Friday Night Lights, with the effects on the victim, the rapist, their families and the communities of the crime explored in terrible detail. On the other, it’s a superhero origin’s story, as Henry begins to explore her powers with her sister and Aspie sidekick (Daniel Maslany) – and learns that superheroes tend to get supervillains to match (Callum Keith Rennie).
Given that thanks to a change in YouTube’s pricing policy, you can now stream the entire first season for free, you should do so right now if you haven’t already, since it was easily one of TMINE’s Top 14 shows of 2018. It’s right here, after the trailer:
Act on Impulse
And now we have season 2, which can already pay to watch in its entirety, but a new episode of which will be available to watch for free every Wednesday.
Is it a hard watch? Yes. Is it still good? Yes. It a big change?
Possibly. Because as Maslany says at one point in the season, “I thought I was a superhero’s sidekick, but I think I might have been a supervillain’s henchman instead.”
The hard question this time round: at what point does the victim of a sexual assault lose our sympathy?