Three episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
In a post-Hunger Games world, Stitchers, which returns to Freeform for its second season on March 22, should be hitting the jackpot. With a mythology that is part CSI and part Minority Report, as well as a heroine who is prickly, beautiful and destined to save the world, it seems as though the series is set to ride the wave that modern YA fiction has created – right into the hearts of Freeform’s engaged teen viewers.
However, while the show might sound like a hit on paper, the result is a messy combination of ambiguous plot points and a tone that, unfortunately, talks down to its audience. There are plenty of examples of smart, mythology-heavy procedurals made for teens, but Stitchers just isn’t one of them.
For those of you new to the series, Stitchers centers on Kirsten Clark (Emma Ishta), a brilliant Caltech student recruited to a secret government agency program that investigates seemingly unsolvable mysteries by “stitching” her into the memories of recently deceased individuals.
While Kirsten’s model physique just happens to fit perfectly into the Catwoman-esque jumpsuit one is required to wear while stitching, it is her temporal dysplasia that deems her the only one truly fit for the rigorous experience. Temporal dysplasia, a fictional condition that sounds just real enough, prohibits Kirsten from being able to feel the passing of time or experience any kind of emotion, rendering her able to navigate through the muddy waters of someone else’s subconscious without splintering emotionally herself.
Of course, Kirsten can’t do it alone, and that’s where the rest of the genius-laden Stitchers team comes in. At the top of the food chain sits Maggie Baptiste (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), the stoic and frank head of the Stitchers program whose past working for the CIA has left her hardened.
Next, there’s Cameron Goodkin (Kyle Harris), a goofy neuroscientist who guides Kirsten through her various “stitches” yet is unable to manage his feelings for her with the same ease. Rounding out the team is Linus Ahluwalia (Ritesh Rajan), the sarcastic communications lead; Camille Engelson (Allison Scagliotti), a computer science wiz who just happens to be Kirsten’s roommate; and Detective Fisher (Damon Dayoub), an LAPD officer who works with the Stitchers.
The season, aptly titled “2.0,” kicks off boldly with a loud sob from a surprising source. After stitching into the still-living Cameron in an attempt to investigate an attack on Fisher at the end of last season, Kirsten is mysteriously infused with the ability to feel and experience emotions that she has never had before. Much to the shock of her friends and coworkers, this emotional rejuvenation leaves Kirsten screaming over Cameron’s lifeless body, which appears to have given out following the stitch. Her dramatic display is cut short in the episode when Cameron inexplicably wakes up, without so much as one bouncy curl out of place. As the team attempts to rebuild after almost losing both Cameron and Fisher, they are given a new mission when the Director of the Stitchers program (Oded Fehr) is found murdered.