While trying to unpack this brilliant season 1, which consists of eight 45- minute episodes, I must first explain that the show is named after mathematician Kurt Gödel's revolutionary Incompleteness Theorem: Every closed system such as mathematics, or the universe, must assume the existence of a variable outside of itself to explain itself.
How does this relate to the show you might ask? There is, quite possibly, more to the truth than what it seems.
Director, writer, producer and editor David Ash picked talented local actors to star in this series. Gifted actors Matt Bailey and Bethany Ford Binkley play Alex and Jodi, a married couple on the outs. While Alex is obsessed with directing his film, Twin Cities (which is also the title of Ash’s most recent feature film) he has neglected his pregnant wife who gave up a promising life in broadcast to be with him. What complicates things is that Alex’s cancer has come back, inciting him to quit his job and forge ahead to fulfill his dream of directing the film and leave a legacy to his unborn son. There is a question here that has begun brewing: is this really his choice or was it something inevitable that was always going to happen?
The actors in Alex’s meta movie are Christine Weber, who is wonderful as Chelsea and Juan Rivera Lebron who makes his character of Michael quite intriguing with an air of mystery.
And it soon becomes clear we must watch Chelsea and Michael closely as they begin to blur the line between reality and the characters they play in Alex’s movie. Oftentimes we may not know at first whether they are rehearsing or actually falling in love themselves. Is Chelsea falling in love with Michael, or just with character he is playing? What other elements seem to be working around them?
And this is where it gets fun. Who or what is responsible for them making their specific choices. Ash, as a masterful filmmaker, uses the analogy of Gödel’s Theorem Incompleteness. Alex begins to modify the script to mirror his first dates with Jodi to the chagrin of Alex’s screenwriter. Clarence Wethern is superb as the screenwriter, Paul and delivers an amusing and eccentric character. Stay with me now: in addition to writing over twenty sci-fi scripts, Paul explains to his fun, offbeat love interest Kayla (skillfully played by Katie Willer) that while working with the Chinese Underground, he has invented a DNA algorithm that will make humans immortal. And now he has gone rogue from them. This brings up a series of questions, first of which is: what will happen if Paul insists on not handing over the algorithm. But there is something greater at work and it is pressed upon us again- the truth is not what it seems. Back to the question about what is responsible for their choices. Paul and the rest of the characters begin to question this themselves: do they really make their own choices or is free will an illusion?
David Ash makes brilliant use of his cinematographer Brennan Vance and his actors- in many scenes letting the action play out in a still shot with no cutaways.
Vance brings Ash’s vision marvelously to the screen and the original score by Charlie McCarron is hauntingly beautiful. Every aspect of Ash’s mise en scène in Incompleteness is at an extremely high quality, from the sound design to the color schemes to the editing.
Ash’s nuanced nonlinear script, skilled actors and attention to every detail in this series is evident and this is what makes me already excited and longing for season 2.