Resident Evil: 10 Burning Questions After The Netflix Series Premiere

The newest entry in the Resident Evil franchise, the Netflix TV series Resident Evil dropped on July 14 with a full first season of 8 episodes. As a popular video game and spawner of many movies, the Resident Evil world has gotten a lot of mileage out of a video game's campy, B-movie storyline by using charismatic actors, overloaded but grand special effects, and the mowing down of countless mutated species, all delivered with an honest enthusiasm for its brand of entertainment.

The franchise has earned a loyal following and those fans will surely tune in, although their reactions to Netflix's live-action Resident Evil trailers have been mixed. For the new series to survive it must capture a wider audience. As a stand-alone, what plot hooks does the premiere episode, "Welcome to New Raccoon City," employ to gather in fresh viewers who aren't familiar with the lore of previous versions?

The Umbrella Corporation is an ultra-powerful and secretive research and pharmaceutical company immediately introduced in "Welcome to Raccoon City." The corporation appears to control pretty much everything that hasn't been left to the masses of zeroes (zombies).

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Early in the episode, Albert Wesker (Lance Reddick) and his twin daughters, Young Jade (Tamara Smart) and Billie (Siena Agudong), arrive in New Raccoon City, an urban utopia built by the Umbrella Corporation for its employees and their families. Albert is swamped with his work for the Umbrella Corporation while the spirited and troubled girls struggle to fit into their new environment.

"Welcome to Raccoon City" runs two timelines linked by the young (Smart) and older versions of Jade (Ella Balinska). The earlier timeline is an origin story, chronicling the outbreak of the T-virus, while the in later timeline the older Jade deals with the post-apocalyptic result. And while the TV series looks to be a reboot, it still owes a lot to the best of the Resident Evil movies that came before it.

Young Jade, a typical, cynical teenage girl, arrives in the sparkling New Raccoon City expecting life to be dull and uninspiring. She's protective of Billie, who has anger management problems and trouble at school. The older, wiser Jade is a researcher operating in the wastelands studying the evolution of the zeroes and the T-virus that created them.

The fictional New Raccoon City is white, with white walls and white houses and apparently a majority white citizenry, as seen in its streets and in its school population. One would expect a company seeking the brightest minds would end up with a more diverse roster of employees and their families.

Jade notices the lack of diversity in Raccoon City when she says "And we're in South Africa, but there's only, like, five Black people?" Since the Umbrella Corporation controls everything, they could have a reason for designing this kind of segregation in the company town.

Introduced as the work-obsessed but caring dad of Jade and Billie, Albert at first appears to be a mid-ranking Umbrella Corporation manager arriving at his nice but modest New Raccoon City house. Viewers quickly get the hint that Albert is much more powerful than his demeanor or abode might suggest, and his interest in his daughters might be as much scientific as fatherly. As a fan-favorite character in the Resident Evil movies, viewers will likely see a lot of him.

Albert's role in the company isn't specified, but he's obviously handling top-secret information, such as the "outbreak" in Tijuana, and part of the corporation's top-level decision-making process beyond the confines of New Raccoon City. He makes his authority blatantly clear when called in to the school to deal with the father of Billie's schoolyard tormentor; in the best scene of the episode, Albert subtly threatens the man into a pile of quivering goo, stating that Albert is irreplaceable while the father is expendable.

Why is Albert taking blood samples from his daughters? Not only does this seem to be a regular procedure the girls are used to, but Albert also secretly injects himself with Jade's blood.

The plot thickens. Albert has normalized a regular blood draw from the girls and the fact that he's injecting their blood (viewers see him use Jade's) into himself opens up a can of plot worms. Since Albert is heavily involved with the Umbrella Corporation's scientific research involving the highly dangerous T-virus, is it possible that the girls' blood contains some kind of rare T-virus antibody?

With Albert as the kind but distant father, his interest in the blood of his daughters (and his injections of it) suggests that his relationship with them is more than just paternal.

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The girls' story of their conception and "twinness" has obviously been supplied by Albert, who has told them that they are his daughters by two different mothers, thus explaining their lack of similarities. They are called "twins" because they were born on the same day. That explanation feels flimsy when viewed in the context of Albert using them as blood banks.

The Brighton Freeholders who rescue Jade are surprised to see her numerical tattoo marking her as a "survivor." Tate (Nicholas Pauling) later asks her about surviving the "First Wave" in New Raccoon City, though he recognizes Jade would be too traumatized to say much about it.

It seems logical that Jade, a former resident of New Raccoon City, would be a survivor of the "First Wave," suggesting that the initial outbreak of the T-virus occurred there. The real question is how and why would the "survivors" like her be tattooed/branded in such a fashion? Either way, the Resident Evil horror video games have created great female protagonists, and Jade's character will hopefully join that pantheon.

While attempting to document the Umbrella Corporation's use of animals for testing, Billie unwittingly releases an infected dog that bites her, rendering her either unconscious or dead.

"Welcome To New Raccoon City" ends with Young Jade hovering over the apparently lifeless Billie, then cuts to the later timeline where older Jade runs from the Umbrella soldiers' assault on the Brighton Freehold. Umbrella official Mr. Baxter (Turlough Convery) confronts Jade and states "Your sister's been lookin' for ya." Jade's stunned reaction suggests that she did not know that Billie had survived her wounds.

When the Brighton Freehold men betray Jade for a bounty placed on her head by the Umbrella Corporation, Freeholder Tate states "You're their number one most wanted."

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Using the information provided in "Welcome to New Raccoon City," it seems obvious that Jade has a name for herself bucking the wishes of the Umbrella Corporation. They don't want her researching the T-virus on her own, and the secrets she may hold as the daughter of Albert Wesker and a "First Wave" survivor may be potentially disastrous if ever released to the public.

Though Tate and the Brighton Freeholders appear to have a relatively established way to contact the Umbrella Corporation and request Jade's bounty without fear, the end result is not what they expected, although Jade did.

The murderous actions of Mr. Baxter and his troops appear to have two objectives: to obliterate any witnesses to Jade's existence and to obliterate any trace of her existence. For whatever reason, these ruthless Umbrella Corporation employees will stop at nothing to get their hands on Jade.

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