The Mysterious Benedict Society opens with a young boy named Reynie Muldoon, who is in foster care and an outsider. The boy loves to learn and reads books as well as languages too. Also, Reyie has the attention of tutor, Ms. Perumal. One day she sees an ad in the newspaper calling on kids to take a test for an opportunity to attend the prestigious Boatwright Academy.
Thousands of kids take a series of tests and only four kids including Reynie get through them. The others include George “Sticky” Washington (he has a photographic memory), Kate Wetherall (who carries a bucket full of tools), and Constance Contraire (a very stubborn, crafty, and intelligent young girl). However, instead of going to the Boatwright Academy, the four kids find out they have been recruited by a man named Mr. Benedict.
He is a very distinguished and intelligent man who is on a mission to stop the Emergency. The Emergency is a series of subliminal messages via television and radio that get sent to the masses. These messages make people do certain things like over buying food or getting blue berets.
Mr. Benedict figured out that these messages are coming from the Institute and he wants Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance to go undercover there. He trains them in Morse Code and has the kids bond with one another before heading off to the Institute.
Reynie and Sticky do well in their classes and routinely rank high on the class message boards but Kate and Constance consistently get a risk of being kicked out of the Institute. Reynie and Sticky work hard to aid both girls to avoid this however they only succeed with Constance, not Kate. However, she gets saved from expulsion when Martha Crowe (the top pupil of the school) witnesses Kate’s talent at tetherball and convinces the school to let Kate stay.
It takes some more time but eventually Reynie and Sticky excel enough at the Institute that they get picked to be Messengers. This is a coveted role where a student goes to the Whisperer, the device the kids got told about by Mr. Benedict, and where Reynie and Sticky learn is indeed the device used to broadcast the Emergency. However, rather than the device producing the messages through programming, it is a Messenger who unknowingly produces them just by conversing with the Whisperer.
Around the same time, the kids learn the person heading the Institute is the twin brother of Mr. Benedict, L.D. Curtain who yearns to rule the world. He also holds a grudge against his brother for being adopted instead of him and then not coming back for him as he promised.
It took me until episode five to get into the show and feel interested in it. The setup of the characters, the dilemma, and so forth are explained piecemeal. I wish it had been faster and the explanations not given are too simplistic. Luckily by episode, five things pick up and the show plays much better. I am glad I hung in there and hope the show continues this pace to finish well.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
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