Somewhere in Chicago, Charlie, a small child, is watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. Her brother is playing with an iPad. Charlie's mom tries to make her talk to her grandmother on Mom's iPhone, but Charlie is engrossed in Bugs. Brat. Charlie's dad, Ben, who looks eerily like Martin Donovan but is not him, arrives home in a panic and tells Charlie's mom to fill the sinks and tubs with water. She stops his hurry and says flatly, "It's happening. Isn't it."
Port Royal, South Carolina. A man in a car is texting on another iPhone. It's the Cape! Six seasons and a movie! He's making fun of his friend -- whom you might recognize as Bella Swan's dad but who I enjoyed as one of Jordana Spiro's (she's the Mob Doctor now, you know) hot boyfriends on the very decent TBS sitcom My Boys -- for having a non-smart phone. As a fellow Luddite, I sympathize. Ben calls the driver, who explains that Ben is his brother. Ben says, "It's all going to turn off and it will never, ever turn back on."
Before Ben can explain what "it" is (although it seems pretty self-explanatory to me), the power goes out. And it's not just the plugged-in things that turn off. Cell phones, laptops, car engines: everything dies. Ben is fiddling with some sort of flash drive, downloading something from his laptop, and it finishes just before the power goes out. Charlie's brother starts to cry. On the highway, Ben's brother's car has come to a stop; he and the Cape get out and look around and ask, "What the hell's going on?" Everyone else on the highway is all, Jesus Christ, not the zombies again. Ben goes outside and sees all the other houses going dark, then the Sears, er, Willis Tower, and then planes begin falling out of the sky. Which is pretty damn scary, and thanks, J.J., for not dwelling on that. From space, we watch as the entire Western Hemisphere goes dark, one light at a time. It's suitably creepy.
Fifteen years later. Cities are overgrown, flooded, overrun with wildlife, as a voiceover tells us about what we just saw -- the power is gone, even the power in batteries and cars, and it never came back. "Governments fell," the voiceover says. "Militias rose up. If you were smart, you left the city. If you weren't, you died there." Ugh. The idea of living without Seamless makes me sad.