Salvation Recap: Did CBS' Asteroid Drama Hit You Where You Live?

Salvation Recap Premiere CBS

CBS launches this Wednesday night Salvation, its new summertime thriller about a planet-killing asteroid. Did it make an impact, deep or otherwise?

Setting things in motion, MIT grad student Liam Cole (played by Red Band Society‘s Charlie Rowe) is enjoying the afterglow of one of the cutest meet-cutes, with wannabe sci-fi author Jillian (Roadies‘ Jacqueline Byers), when he gets an alert from his autonomous space-mapping programming that something is amiss. Liam dashes out in the middle of the night to share his discovery with professor Malcolm Croft, who sends the kid home before eyeballing the data himself and then placing a phone call. The next day, after Croft is a no-show for class, Liam heads to his house to find the professor ominously MIA and the place ransacked.

Deducing that he is onto something, Liam intercepts visiting tech titan Darius Tanz (Big Little Lies‘ Santiago Cabrera), to whom he confides that a wayward asteroid is on a path to hit and destroy Earth in 186 days. After validating the kid’s numbers, Tanz jets the two of them to Washington, D.C., where Tanz bends the ear of Deputy Secretary of Defense Harris Edwards (Hawaii Five-0‘s Ian Anthony Dale). Harris plays dumb when presented with the doomsday scenario, until Tans threatens to casually tweet about the crisis. Harris quickly folds, then leads Tanz, Liam and DOD press secretary Grace Burrows (Tyrant‘s Jennifer Finnigan) to a super-secret annex, where they have been tracking “Samson.”

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When Liam shoots down the DOD’s plan to nuke Samson into “thousands of meteors” that would present Earth with an almost equally dire fate, Harris explains that Plan B is to modify one of Tanz’s rockets to rush a “gravity tractor” into the asteroid’s path, and thus alter it. Darius is skeptical, and that night at a swank D.C. soiree, he shares his concerns with Grace, going so far as to invite her (and Liam, who has caught the professional interest of a local newshound) to the Treehouse aka his high-tech hub of operations. There, he shares his plan for a Reusable Interplanetary Vehicle, or “ark,” that will carry “160 well-chosen souls” away to safety (and eventually a Mars habitat), allowing the human race to be sustained. Grace, though, wants to save everyone.

Knowing the end is near-ish, Liam returns to Cambridge to reconnect with Jillian, though when semi-cryptically prompted, she counsels him to heroically sacrifice his chance at happiness (and love) in the name of humanity. Grace meanwhile enlists a techie to punch up satellite imagery that reveals that Harris lied to her about the modified rocket test being a success, when in truth it was an epic failure. That, coupled with a very on-the-nose valedictorian speech given by her high school grad daughter, nudges Grace to be Darius’ “inside man” and “do whatever it takes” to make his plan a reality. Poor techie guy, meanwhile, arrives at his home to find someone in his basement, ready to kill him after his access of the Goliath II footage triggered an alarm.

What did you think of Salvation‘s opening salvo?