As the show opens, we see Derek Barnes working at a computer as he tells us via voice-over that his brother had a website called occultresearch.com, and that said brother hired Derek as his lead investigator. As we close in, we learn that he is recording this speech into his computer. This is what's known in the trade as "a framing device." Derek says that his job is simple: "To get out into the world, and gather the truth behind these strange, bizarre stories, and post them on the site." Derek didn't really care about the stories, but it was fun and a chance to work with his brother, until "the night [he] walked into that roadside bar." And isn't that how all good stories start? Walking into a roadside bar? Well, except for the "good" part. The roadside bar in question has a neon sign of a scantily clad women, and as DVO (Derek voice-over) tells us that "nothing in [his] life would ever be the same again," a plume of flame shoots out of the sign's right breast. Huh? What kind of crazy-ass bar is this? Plus, please. Couldn't the writers come up with anything less hackneyed than "nothing in my life would ever be the same again"? This does not bode well for this show.
Inside the bar, men are drinking and women are dancing on a stage. Derek is telling a waitress that she doesn't understand, and she launches into possibly the worst faux-Southern accent ever, saying, "If I hay-ed a daah-lerr ev'ry tahm I herd thay-at!" Derek continues to pester the poor waitress (while checking out her ass), saying that he's heard rumors about "dancers who burned up on stage" and "went up in flames in the middle of a lap dance." Now, I'm not too familiar with the gentlemen's clubs, but don't lap dances normally take place offstage? Not to be all nit-picky, but as you will see, this is but one example of the lazy writing on this show (or at least this episode). I'm sure we've all heard the stories about how the head guy left the show, because Fox wanted the show to be less "edgy," and then they had to reshoot scenes for the pilot to make the tone lighter. So keep that in mind, too. Anyway, the waitress has completely lost the Southern accent and is all, "Why do you want to know?" and Derek gives her a business card with the website's URL on it. She asks if Derek is a "computer geek," and Derek says that his brother is the geek. He's "just a surfer trying to keep corn flakes on the table." Okay, here's how much of a "computer geek" I am: when he said "surfer", I thought he meant "web surfer" and I didn't get it. But as you have probably figured out, he meant surf-in-the-ocean surfer. And P.S. -- who talks like that? "Corn flakes on the table"? The waitress is impressed for some reason. Derek's cell phone rings, and he answers it, "This had better be life and death." Shouldn't that be "life or death"? It's Adam, and Derek is all "slow down" but trying to get off the phone so that he can hook up with the waitress. Eventually, Derek pretends that the call is breaking up to end it, reassuring himself that his brother will understand. Derek checks himself out in the mirror, but then something weird happens, and if the special effects were better, I could tell you what happened. Instead, it just looks like Derek turns into a mummy for a second. This freaks Derek out, and another problem I have with his characterization is that for someone whose day job is to investigate the paranormal, he is pretty easily freaked out. You'd think he would develop some immunity. Anyway, he calms down and goes off with the waitress, as the camera zooms in on a painting of a house in the background.