Life Begins is the premiere episode of the Prime Video series Utopia. It, along with the other episodes of the series, were released on September 25, 2020.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
When an elusive comic appears, a group of fans cannot wait to get their hands on it, and unknowingly put themselves in mortal danger.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The discovery[edit | edit source]
A young couple, Ethan Lander and Olivia, move into a picturesque home that was left to Olivia by her grandfather. Upon entering, they discover that the interior is not so picturesque - it's filthy and filled with years of accumulated clutter. Within the clutter, Ethan discovers the pages of a comic book - Utopia, filled with gory images. One of the pages says that it is "the conclusion to Dystopia." Olivia tells him to throw it out, but he says that it could be worth something, that a Batman comic was recently sold for a million dollars. He talks about all of the things they could pay off and do if the comic is worth even a fraction of that. He searches online for Dystopia using his smartphone and quickly discovers an existing fanbase. He tells her that fanboys are going to go nuts for it.
He posts online that the comic will be sold at Fringecon and the news is quickly passed online. In particular, a group of friends start messaging the news among themselves - Samantha J., Wilson Wilson, Becky Todd, Ian Ackerman and Grant Bishop. They ask if they can stay with Wilson and he tells them that a background check will be required. Grant is slow to respond, but finally tells them that he'll be there.
Wilson reads from the story of Dystopia, about a girl named Jessica Hyde. She and her father were held by an evil villain named Mr. Rabbit who made Jessica's daddy create horrible viruses, until one day they were broken out by a hero named Artemis. Mr. Rabbit sends the Harvest after them, who kidnap the father, leaving Jessica to save him. He continue that this is just the mythology, but Dystopia has predicted real-life epidemics, including Ebola, MERS and Heartland virus. He says that they need Utopia to figure out what's coming next. He finishes telling this story to a girl named Monika, who replies that it's kind of like what he says about God: that if the ignorant want to believe, they'll find a way. He calls her a doubter and she hugs him. He meets with his father, telling him that Fringecon is tomorrow and asking to borrow 30 bucks. His father quips that he's borrowing 30 dollars for a train to spend 200 dollars for a comic. Wilson is not amused and his father tells him to take it from him that crackpots like them have to have a sense of humor. Wilson leaves and his father reminds him to have a good time. Meanwhile, Becky is getting ready when suddenly she goes to the floor. She reaches for some pills, but is not able to take them in time and curls up on a chair, having a seizure.
I contact you[edit | edit source]
Samantha sits in a car with her dad, being driven to Fringecon. He asks if she couldn't go to a climate rally for a good deed, and she replies that rallies don't work, that they just make people feel better about doing nothing. He tells her it's not true and she argues that it is, reading over pages of Dystopia and making notes. She tells her dad that her online friends would be lost without her and he says that he knows the feeling, calling her his "save the world girl." Grant, a young boy, watches tragic news on television, before another boy switches the channel to a cartoon. He grabs Dystopia and packs it, messaging the group that he's taking the Porsche. A shuttle bus arrives at Fringecon, Samantha disembarking, with many costumed characters exiting behind her. She soaks in the atmosphere, happy to be there. She messages the group, saying appointments are set and telling them to all bid $500 to deflate the market and then she'll swoop in. Wilson sends a reminder "We contact them - security is paramount." Olivia and Ethan set up a party and booth with a group of friends. Wilson Wilson is the first potential bidder to enter the room. He is asked to sit down and given a look at one page of the comic. He tells them he simply came "to have a look at this crap." He recognizes it as being the original manuscript but when he tries to press, Ethan tells him they're on a schedule. He then writes his name in their notebook, a bid of $500, and the message "NO WAY - I CONTACT YOU." He asks if they've had a lot of interest and Olivia tells him it's like a pilgrimage for some.
A man, Arby, standing on the side of the road is picked up by another man, Rod. Arby complains about him being late, but Rod tells him that the 1974 MGB car glitches, but will get them there in style. Arby complains that he wanted to get there on time and Rod replies that the only thing delaying them now is him standing there. He gets in and they take off. Back at Fringecon, Ethan and Olivia meet a series of potential buyers, some in elaborate costumes. Becky enters for her turn. She asks them if there's anything in the comic involving a molecule or a virus, but they keep mum, insisting on only showing her one page and refusing to answer her question. Outside, Ian tells another of the bidders that he's in love with a girl he only knows online. He enters for his turn and points out their Jessica Hyde signs, telling them they're supporting a female hero. When they get distracted, he sneaks a cell phone shot of they page they showed him. He places a bid, asking "You guys aren't Harvest, are you?" Back on the floor, he meets with Becky. She says he looks just like she pictured, "Ian-y." They talk about having seen the comic and he says it just made him want to see more. They get drinks and Becky comments that the owners of Utopia don't realize what they have. She asks that they not talk about Utopia for now.
Olivia and Ethan meet with Samantha. She is very quiet, simply exhales upon seeing an image of Mr. Rabbit atop a llama, and asks what their highest bid is. Olivia replies that it's $5,000 and Samantha tells her not to sell, that she can get her $6,000. Back on the floor, Ian tells Becky that he plays competitive Risk. He admits that he's not a paid writer, simply one of fanfic, and his real job is selling gap insurance on the phone to people who may or may not have Lyme disease. He describes it as being kind of depressing, and continues that he has two cats and lives with his grandma. He asks what her secret is and she says he's going to freak ... that she thinks Risk is as boring as Hell. "Take it back," he tells her. Sam messages the group, asking to meet up. She then gets into an argument with a group of fanboys, saying that they're obsessing over stories. She continues that Jessica Hyde isn't real, but the diseases hidden in Dystopia are. One of the fanboys calls her "one of those," and she shouts at them that it does mean something. She points out clues within the comics, Wilson Wilson watching from a distance and soaking it up. The others laugh her off, calling her a conspiracy wacko. She tells them that the real conspiracy is that a few decades ago, people like them tricked the world into believing that comic books are serious literature and now they all get to sit around, stew in the violence and masturbate. She says that it doesn't make them smart, that it's about life and doing something. "Exactly," Wilson whispers.
Bidding pre-empted[edit | edit source]
Becky and Ian walk and Becky says that she's never been much for the whole scene, but Utopia is different. She really wants them to get it, that she thinks they could solve it. He says "If there is anything to solve," and she calls him a doubter. He says that he gets nervous because she's the Dystopia expert after Sam. She replies that neither of them have anything on Wilson and Ian agrees that Wilson is like a computer. They talk about having submitted their background checks to Wilson. Becky asks if he has a girlfriend and he tells her he's been waiting to hear what her story was. "For almost a year?" she asks, and he says he would have waited two. They kiss.
Back at the Utopia room, Olivia circles Wilson's name, saying that he's the one to go back to. Anyone who pretends that hard to be uninterested must actually be interested. Her friend asks about Samantha, but Olivia replies that Wilson will go higher. Just then, another man, Phillip Carson, tells Ethan that he'd like to preempt all bidding and leave with the comic, now. He pulls out a card identifying himself by name, with "penthouse" hand-written on it. He takes stacks of money out of a briefcase, totaling $20,000. Olivia turns and stares. "How's that?" he asks. Olivia laughs happily.
On the floor, Ian and Becky meet up with Wilson and Samantha. Samantha asks where they've been and they all sit down together. Samantha says that they should all take a second to think about how cool this is. They do and Samantha admits that she offered a bid of $6,000. She asks if they can do that and they admit they don't have that kind of money. She curses, saying that what she saw was big and they need to get Utopia. They agree that they need Grant. Grant enters the Utopia party, which is in full-swing, thanks to the sale. He says he's there for Utopia and Olivia tells him they sold it. He pleads with her to tell him who they sold it to, saying he just wanted one look at it. She tells him that it was Phillip Carson in the penthouse. He goes to hotel reception and charms the receptionist into believing that he's Carson's son and obtains a keycard. As he heads for the penthouse, Arby and Rod, arrive. Arby comments on the "large number of silly people" present. Rod says it's disturbing, but Arby comments that it's sort of wonderful. At the table, the group discusses Grant. Wilson said that he never got a background check and Grant's not staying with him. They discuss their thoughts on who Grant could really be. Becky wonders why Grant would lie about being a photographer to the stars. Wilson says that people are never happy with who they really are. He starts bringing up their old dirt, but says that Becky really is as nice as she seems, so far. He says that he loves who he is, that he's rad. They all laugh at the use of the term "rad" and toast to "rad Wilson."
At the Utopia party, Olivia and Ethan celebrate their large windfall of cash. There is a knock at the door. It's Arby and Rod. Arby says that they're there for Utopia. Olivia tells Arby it's been sold and starts to close the door, but he blocks it back up and asks who she sold it to. She tells him that it was somebody who made an appointment and had enough money to buy it. They enter and Ethan tells them it's a private party. Olivia hands Arby Carson's card and Arby asks who has seen it. When she hesitates, Rod pulls out a pistol with a suppressor. Olivia gives Arby the list of bidders. Rod then puts down a bag and removes a case of syringes. He tells them that he's giving each of them a shot which will put them out for a bit and they're going to take their money. He tells them they'll wake up with a hangover and tells them to put their arms out. Olivia laughs nervously and he tells her he can either shoot her knock her out, but he prefers nonviolence. He goes to everyone in the room, swabbing their arms and injecting them and, one-by-one, they collapse. Ethan eases Olivia's concerns by pointing out that if Rod meant to hurt them, he wouldn't have swabbed the injection site.
The surprise guest[edit | edit source]
Upstairs, Grant enters the penthouse and uses a remote control to turn on the fireplace and then the TV. He takes a sip from a bottle of some alcoholic beverage, reflexively spitting it out. He turns on some music and has some other fun playing with the remote control. He turns on the bath and dances around in the water for a bit, then finds Utopia sitting on the bed. He hears the door open and quickly hides. Phillip Carson enters with a woman, who comments that she's never seen a penthouse. Carson's suspicion is aroused when he finds the bottle, but is interrupted by a knock on the door.
Carson looks through the peephole and sees Arby and Rod. He opens the door and Rod points a gun at him. Arby tells him that they'd like the Utopia manuscript. The woman asks they're doing a cosplay and if Rod is "Captain Asshat." They both giggle and then he pistol-whips her to the ground. When Carson tries to use the hotel phone, Arby impales his hand with a sharp bird statuette, then Rod disconnects the phone. "We'd like the Utopia manuscript," Arby tells him. Carson replies in the negative and Arby applies some more pain. He tells him that it's in the bedroom. Rod goes to search the bedroom and Grant makes a break for it. He escapes the room and first tries the elevator, then heads down the stairs. Arby and Rod pursue, but are too late. They've lost him. Arby says that they'll contain what they can.
Outside, Grant climbs a fence and runs away into a field. Arby and Rod return to the penthouse, taking a fingerprint sample of Grant's. Rod places a call to something called "Home," asking for mental health screens on the names on the list. Arby shoots the girl and then shoots Phillip Carson. Arby and Rod then go around the hotel, systematically going to the room of each of the people that were on the list and kill them. Rod gets a message that the person in room 412, Jimmy Raffetto, has a history of mental illness. They kill him, then frame him for the murders. Arby comments that they're missing four who saw the manuscript and the boy who has it. He says they need to erase the security footage. He reads off the remaining names - Samantha J., Ian Ackerman, Becky Todd and Wilson Wilson. Arby sees that Wilson's name was circled and wonders why he's so important. He tells Rod they'll need to go Home and get some reliable transportation, that he needs his tools. He suggests they grab some refreshment. Back downstairs, the group agrees there's no point in waiting any further. Samantha asks Wilson if they can please come to his house, that it's the least he can do after making them look human. They set up a chant and he finally agrees. Upstairs, somebody enters the room of the Utopia party where everyone is still passed out. They pick up some cash lying around and pick up a "Stay Alive, Jessica Hyde" shirt, then lower, it, revealing themselves as a woman with long, braided hair and somewhat dark skin. "Help," groans Olivia. "Please help," she pleads. The woman asks where Utopia is. She takes her phone, and Olivia says that it was poison. The woman finds the card with Carson's name and asks again where Utopia is. "Why?" asks Olivia. The woman stares up, looking around at the various posters and banners which read "Stay alive, Jessica Hyde." "Because I'm Jessica Hyde," she tells Olivia. She gets up and leaves the room, and Olivia collapses.
Cast[edit | edit source]
Starring[edit | edit source]
- John Cusack as Dr. Kevin Christie (credit only)
- Ashleigh LaThrop as Becky Todd
- Dan Byrd as Ian Ackerman
- Desmin Borges as Wilson Wilson
- Jessica Rothe as Samantha J.
- Christopher Denham as Arby
- Javon "Wanna" Walton as Grant Bishop
- Farrah Mackenzie as Alice (credit only)
- Cory Michael Smith as Thomas Christie (credit only)
- Jeanine Serralles as Colleen (credit only)
Guest starring[edit | edit source]
- Maya Kazan as Olivia
- Calum Worthy as Ethan Lander
- Josh Bywater as Phillip Carson
- Michael B. Woods as Rod
Co-starring[edit | edit source]
- Richard Cotovsky as Wilson's Dad
- England Karam as Monica
- Aida Delaz as Wilson's Cousin
- Sharon Dalla Costa as Wilson's Aunt
- Mark David Kaplan as Wilson's Uncle
- Kerri Rose as Fringebabe
- Craig Uhler as Jessica Hyde Dude / Jimmy Raffetto
- Jeffrey Murdoch as Artemis Dude / David Villareal
- Rammel Chan as Starweaver / Josh Chandler
- Dan Lin as Evil Rabbit Dude / Larry
- Jesse Kendall as Scientist Dad / Alex Sherman
- Devin Middleton as Harvest Dude
- José Antonio Garcia as Shitty Evil Rabbit / Donald Resnick
- Brandon Mazzucca as Antlerman / Bill Schiffman
- Wendi Weber as Hotel Clerk
- Brian Boland as Sam's Dad
- Taylor Kinkead as Olivia's Friend #1
- Hil Horvath as Olivia's Friend #2
- Kiayla Ryann as Olivia's Friend #3
- Demetrios Troy as National Anchor #3
- Meg Warner as National Anchor #4
- Amanda Powell as Grant's Mom
- Anya Vasylyeva as Antlerman Hawker
- Jake Van Hoorn as Space Pirate Hawker
- Emily Mauro as Unicorn Hawker
- Ryan Enright as Stress Ball Guy
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- This episode and the finale "Stay Alive, Jessica Hyde" are the only episodes of the U.S. remake with no teaser before the opening credits sequence.