The new ABC Family drama Stitchers aired for the first time on Tuesday, June 2nd. It is about a highly intelligent Cal tech student named Kirsten Clark (portrayed by Emma Ishta) who has temporal dysplasia (not a real condition) that prevents her from having a sense of time. The condition also apparently leaves her with the inability to express and understand human emotions which puts her at odds with everyone.
This is very evident in the first few minutes of the pilot. Kirsten’s roommate and fellow computer science major Camille (played by Warehouse 13‘s Allison Scagliotti) accuses her of sabotaging a project she has been working on. Kirsten insists Camille is incompetent with computers and wrecked her own program. She then promptly fixes the program using her I-pad. Dean Jerome Hardwyck is not moved by her actions and puts Kirsten on academic suspension pending the outcome of the investigation.
Seconds later, Detective Quincy Fisher stops Kirsten walking through Cal tech and informs her that the man who raised her Ed Clark committed suicide. (Her real father abandoned her after her mother died. He felt unable to raise their daughter so he left her with his best friend Clark to raise.) She doesn’t buy Ed committed suicide and says so to Fisher but he thinks when see identifies the body and they talk she will come to terms with it. Kirsten doesn’t and when Fisher is distracted by a few officer who comes into his office to tell him about a bombing, (there are a series of them the police are investigating) she takes a snap shot of Fisher’s computer screen with her I-phone so she can start her own investigation into Ed’s death.
Next Kirsten goes to the home she shares with her roommate. She has an altercation with her as soon as she walks in and it gets worse when Camille won’t let her use her laptop to investigate Ed’s death. Later as evening has fallen, she breaks into Dean Hardwyck’s office to use his computer. Just as she has broken into the police files on Ed’s death, federal agents bust in and point guns at her. They forcefully take her to a Chinese restaurant. It is here Kirsten meets her soon to be new boss, Maggie (Being Mary Jane‘s Salli Richardson-Whitfield). She tells Kirsten about the Stitchers program and how it works. Essentially it would send her consciousness into the brain of a deceased person. In this first episode it was a bomber who planted several bombs in the San Fransisco area then used one on himself. When Kirsten asks why her, Maggie tells her that it is because of her temporal dysplaysia. It is not long after that she agrees to be part of the program.
As you can tell from the above summary, this series is a very fast paced show. Added to this, the characters in Stitchers talked rapidly. It was thirty five minutes with commercials before Cameron, a scientist in the Stitcher program, who Kristen has an instant love/hate relationship, speaks a line normally. Normal paced dialog is not spoken again until after a potential bombing victim’s life is saved.
I wanted to like Stitchers but once I actually watched the pilot a lot of the fascination I had to watch it went away. Putting aside the fast pace and the fast talking of the characters, there were two parts of the episode that felt off to me. The first one occurred after Kirsten entered the water tank to do her first stitch. She becomes scared and hyperventilates as she travels into the mind of the bomber. Given the premise of the show which is that Kirsten’s condition makes her unable to understand emotions much less feel them, she sure experienced one then. The second part occurred near the end when Maggie tells Kirsten that Ed Clark and her real father pioneered the Stitcher technology.
I’d like to give Stitchers three more episodes to see if the show gets better. Specifically, if the writers of the show improve their handling of Kirsten’s condition keeping it consistent on a more regular basis. It would help a lot toward me forgiving the other aspects of the pilot which where off.