‘Limetown’ wants you to know it’s weird

Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 4:25pm

NOSELL

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The first two episodes of “Limetown” want you to know one thing: This show is weird. In fact, it’s so weird, it can make producing a podcast seem interesting. 

“Limetown” follows unstable journalist Lia Haddock (Jessica Biel, “The Illusionist”) as she documents her search for a secluded town’s population that mysteriously disappeared. Once a research facility and private community of expert neuroscientists, Limetown has stood vacant for fifteen years following a lengthy investigation into how and why the three hundred residents vanished without a trace.

Lia, motivated to find her uncle, (Stanley Tucci, “Spotlight”) a former resident of Limetown, produces a podcast documenting her own search for the truth. Although she faces resistance from her boss on why a fifteen-year-old story is relevant today, Lia persists and is ultimately contacted by a former resident who is ready to share her experience. 

Upon meeting this woman, Lia discovers the research conducted in Limetown may be connected to the mass disappearance. The woman recounts her life in the town and her eventual realization that her new home was not as idyllic as it seemed. Now armed with more information from the source, including the location of another survivor, Lia sets off to uncover the conspiracy. Despite a violent attempt to intimidate her into dropping the story, Lia commits to following her leads and finding the rest of Limetown’s citizens.

Throughout the first episodes of the series, the plot focuses mainly on setting up Lia as a damaged and slightly unhinged antihero who has become obsessed with the town and its residents. In doing so, the show becomes less about the search for truth and more about unnerving the viewer through constant plot reveals and overly dramatic character building.

“Limetown” is begging the audience to be scared. In fact, it throws every trope it needs to at the wall just to see what will stick. A cult-like gated community? Sure. A public execution of a town leader? Okay. A secret tunnel system of caves underneath the whole city? Alright. Possible mind control? Sounds good. “Limetown” has got it all. Despite the twists and turns, the show is still mostly scenes of Lia holding a microphone or having an emotional breakdown. 

While “Limetown” has radical elements that would make any story eye-catching, the show doesn’t need to try so hard. When the main plot involves a mass conspiracy, no one needs multiple scenes of Jessica Biel being creepy to really hammer home the show’s spooky atmosphere. While “Limetown” wants to make the point that this mystery would “drive anyone insane,” it all seems a bit excessive. 

“Limetown” has a lot of ingredients to be a pop culture sensation. The star power of Biel and Tucci, source material from a popular podcast and captivating story could easily carry the show into mass popularity. However, if “Limetown” continues to divert its focus from the beauty of a convoluted, slightly campy plot, it’s unlikely to reach its potential as a truly wild, trippy look into a mind-altering thriller.