Delirium Review: “Pilot” (Season 1, Episode 1)



FOX released the pilot episode of Delirium, a series it passed on last fall, for a limited time on HULU, and fans are absolutely obsessed with it. I’ve only made it to page 20 in the first novel in the trilogy, so this review will in no way be commenting on how the episode holds up to the book (feel free to let us know in the comment section), but the pilot offers plenty of material worth discussing all on its own.

Delirium is set in a dystopian society where love has been branded a disease. Through advancement in medical research, the private sector has developed a cure which the powers that be have determined is a necessary evil toward keeping the population “safe” – along with fences around every city.

Naturally, with any form of oppression, there is a resistance. In this case, it is comprised of those who believe in the right to feel – something that most of you can probably agree that we take for granted. So it’s actually somewhat of a novel concept, when you sit back and think about it.

Almost immediately we are introduced to the main character, Lena Haloway (Emma Roberts), an average enough teenager. She is just starting the process to determine who she will be matched up with. In lieu of dating, since at 18 everyone becomes inoculated to the hormones that result in love and until then are kept marginally separated, men and women are matched through a checklist of common interests.

It’s not a completely foreign concept since there are cultures that still believe in arranged marriages, but there’s still a certain sense of detachment to the process that exists in this context. We see later on in the episode that Lena is immediately dissatisfied with her match, which arguably could have had something to do with her newly realized crush on Alex (Daren Kagasoff), but it’s doubtful that’s the only factor at play.

Unlike the other girls who are buzzing with nervous excitement as they wait in line for their initial interview, Lena, and even to an extent her best friend, Hana (Jeanie Mason), seem reluctant about the entire thing – or at the very least, hesitant. Despite this being part of their upbringing, it’s only natural to question authority, so this failure to absolutely conform gives the material a more realistic charm.

In Lena’s situation, her mother died of a broken heart, which seems to be the motivation behind her disdain with the status quo. Although she doesn’t seem to be a rule breaker by nature, her natural disposition allows her to look beyond her indoctrination. However, it’s Alex who becomes to catalyst for her change in heart – literally. Followed closely by the revelation that her father is still alive and formerly attempted to create an antidote for the serum, which is a little harder to swallow than the teen romance storyline.

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