Monday, August 11, 2014

SEASON 4, EPISODE 8: "A THING WITH FEATHERS"


DIRECTED BY:  David Solomon
WRITTEN BY:  Ryan Mottesheard


Sorry, faithful fans...  I can't get a proper blog up today.  I have several deadlines pressing on different things, and the time just wasn't there.

David Solomon directed and did his usual great job for us.  I'm sure you all agree the scene where Ben's spikes were implanted into Maggie was weird and cool.  I was on set while that shot that and Connor and Sarah Carter were in the zone...  No-one was counting down or anything...  They just were in synch with all their jumping and writhing.  Of course, as you know, their were no digital spikes - so Moon had to act all that, where she fought their squirming as she carried them.  All good.

Also, Maxim Knight, I think did a great job acting today - as he fights to know his Dad is alive.  And, as always, Will Patton was a great scene partner.

Here's some pix, and next week I'll try to make up for it with some in depth stuff on an episode I directed.

Thanks for understanding,

Greg


SARAH CARTER ON SET

DAVID SOLOMON DIRECTS THE CAST

DREW AND MEGEAN GETTING READY TO ROLL

MATT LEADS THE MASON BROTHERS

MOON BLOODGOOD - GETTING IT DONE

OUR TWO D.P.'S NATE AND BARRY

TREVA - BURIED ALIVE!

MOON AND NOAH JOKE BETWEEN TAKES

SARAH - "WHEW" GLAD SHE'S NOT DEAD

INTER-PLANETARY BONDING

MY INTREBID FORMER ASSISTANT NOW PRODUCER - ASHLEY WITH SCARLETT

CHRIS AND STEVE - OPERATE CAMERAS

PRODUCTION DESIGNER ROB GRAY - WHOO-HOOO - AND THEY PAY US TO DO THIS STUFF!!!

ME: I WANT IN ON THAT ACTION!

OUR FX SUPERVISOR, DAN KEELER,  SHOWS US HOW FLAME-THROWIN' IS REALLY DONE


6 comments:

Otto Carius said...

I think the reason you didn't right a proper blog is because it is really hard to try an explain away the glaring acts of theft this episode committed! I'm suspecting that writing room you and Eric S. Eick are leading are not fans of Ezra Pound's motto "Make It New"! And if by some collective act of cognitive dissonance you in fact have this edict scrawled in RED INK above the door--- it is must be only for ironic purposes! The fact is this episode simply felt like every other we lost our Ace, Leader or Best Friend Episode made for Television since the days of GE's Theater bring you the Lone Ranger!

Let's ask the simple questions first:

1) How is it a building falls on a Dugaan and he has no injuries at all? Not even a superficial scratch or concussion. Instead we treated to 30 minutes of him whining about be buried alive! If any character deserved to be dying it was actually our friend Dugaan.

2)UAV: I like how this one has stairs and look like they are just stepped into a bachelor pad. (Side note reminded completely of Starbuck getting into the Cylon Raider and flying it by pinching the dead biological components with fingers and kicking its spleen.) Really, why would UAV have an interior that looked like it was as big as a 2 bedroom apt? I'm not an Aerospace Engineer (I thought about it at one time), but I think the interior would be full of things like: fuel, computers for guidance and stability, weapons, propulsion system and so on. Also why would it need a large interior with just open space for a crew-- it is supposed to unmanned so why waste the space and volume with nothing? Oh I'm probably not to supposed to ask those questions right?

3) Missiles with a countdown... Well sure if you are test firing a new missile you will have a countdown. However, if you are shooting an AIM-120 AMRAAM from a F-15E you don't have to press the button and wait 3 minutes for a countdown to happen. That is just stupid. And why does the ship have a biological creatures that need to be transported from point a to b to arm and lunch weapons when no crew were found in the craft?

4) How did the Sharps survive the fall of the building on it without even being scratched or broken?

5) Maggie has spikes now? Not to be too crazy but why don't the Volm have advanced Medical Technology with them? Why are they using the spikes to cure her? And how do spikes cure her if she hasn't been attached harness in the first place? It seems to make sense that spikes need to be programmed to interface with a specific host right? Which sort of means that harness and the system it uses probably would be needed to do this little trick? I mean otherwise why wouldn't the Espheni just place these spikes into adult humans and turn them into mindless drones??? It seems a lot better option than playing Dr. Mengle and depleting the population any further than it already is--right?

6) Lexi-- Cognitive Dissonance-- what can I say it seems that this character is boring and well slightly in need a bullet.

7) Hal-- Oh No Hal 9000 just lost his girl to his half-bred brother and they will go off making Half-Bred Children to avenge themselves upon the Espheni.

8) Drug Addicts when put into extreme conditions do not usually get sober! Those are types of situations that force them to do drugs in the first place. So, why is Sarah getting sober now in the middle of a war zone?

9) I think every escape movie ever made wants a bit of change for the royalties... Unless of course old Spielberg would like to repeat the Clonus debacle again right?

10) The writers do know that Moon light is actually the Moon reflect Sun Light right? I mean the end sort of made the audience feel that the writers were under the impression that the Moon had some form of self-illuminating properties! It does not.

Frankly, I was appalled at how badly done this episode was. I cannot wait until the Beamer takes off next with a message for the Overlords!

Hyperion said...

After the full scale battle (or what passes for full scale on a TV show) and multiple deaths last week, we got an episode that was much more intimate, and presumably a lot cheaper to make. But overall it was just not that good.

By far and away the most interesting thing was the effort to save Maggie which took advantage of the sort of things you kind of want to see in a sci-fi show. In this case it was the attempt to use Deni's spike fluid and then Ben's actual spikes to save her. A good sci-fi show needs to do a certain amount of weird stuff, and in this case it actually is consistent with the previous mythology of the show, something that cannot be said of all too much this season. Drew Roy was convincing as the boyfriend trying desperately to save the woman he loves, and it was genuinely good to see Anne Glass doing medical stuff again after all the over the top platoon leader and momma bear roles.

Obviously this is setting up the love triangle we have heard so much about but which now only has a few episodes to mean anything, at least in this season. My guess is that it will not necessarily amount to much but has served as a way of engaging a few fans who have mind boggling attachments to certain fictional relationships. As I mentioned in a previous post, Ben's attraction to Maggie has been handled very delicately up to this point which has worked well.

On a side note, I doubt Connor Jessup and Sarah Carter will do much in their careers more weird than shake about on a table with blue lights strapped to their backs... Still, they are young and in Connor's case REALLY young, so who knows what strange roles they might have to perform in the future.

Aside from the Saving Maggie storyline, we had Lexi torturing Ben while claiming her Espheni family had a peaceful solution which, as Ben correctly pointed out, amounted to extinction for humanity. Thankfully this was all we had to put up with as regards Lexi in this episode, but at least now Ben is fully on board with the Lexi is evil message. Perhaps she will have a last minute change of heart, but who cares? Write her out as fast as your fingers can hit the keyboard. There was also a plausibility problem here in that Ben and Lexi left the camp last episode in a beamer, presumably to fly a long distance. Yet Ben wakes up in a warehouse, and when he escapes from Lexi he is able to rejoin the 2nd Mass incredibly quickly, and I am using incredibly in the literal sense. We know he can run fast and long but it is more sloppy story telling from the writers.

The other main plot was the Tom/Dingaan set up trapped below and then in the crashed beamer. Dingaan has all along been a taciturn model of resilience but suddenly becomes a gibbering wreck, supposedly because he is trapped underground and that reminds him of how his son died. This was all very unconvincing - you just know that in the writers room they scratched their heads trying to find a story line for Tom in what was otherwise an episode all about saving Maggie, and came up with this time filler complete with bad dialogue especially for Dingaan. So much else about this scenario was badly done, including the convenient opening of the hatch, the missile on a time fuse, the gratuitous worm inside Tom's arm and the remarkably cavernous interior of the beamer.

We also had to have time filled with eminently forgettable scenes involving Weaver and Matt looking for Tom, in which a blatantly branded chocolate bar made an appearance. Last time I checked chocolate tends to go off after 3 years or so. Also in the list of forgettable scenes were those involving Pope and Sara wandering the perimeter of the camp looking for people to bury, or something. It is unrealistic for every scene to be as memorable as Ben and Maggie jolting around on a table, but none of these other scenes moved the story along or even made you care any more about the characters than you did or did not already.

Aldenata said...

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops - at all


And sweetest- in the Gale- is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm


I’ve heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Little variation from the usual HP Lovecraft quotes, but there you go.

Back in high school I could hardly ever understand what Emily Dickenson was going on about. It always did amuse me, though, that most of her poems could be sung to the tune of the Yellow Rose of Texas.



I likewise have little time on my hands this week. Seems y'all's TV Season ran late when my work season ran early, so this is going to be another episode that I'll be slow to watch. So here again there won't be quite as much of the insightful commentary that I'm sure everyon has come to so love. (what is that noise I hear? Dancing in the street?)

Sounds like a bottle episode with a good dose of filler. That sounds bad, but I guess such things have to happen if you want any budget left over for gunfire and dead skitters. Besides, there's been several other such episodes that were the some of the better ones of the entire series. Death March comes immediately to mind.

-So what were you, a ranger? Had to be. I've seen you handle a Barrett rifle, no jarhead could make shots like those.
-Hell you say.
-Ahah! So you were a Marine.

*sigh* I'm going to miss Tector.

Just a few things to address:
1. Spikes as a means of curing paralysis? I'm with Otto on this one; I just don't see how that could work.

Even if it did, how come nothing like it has been tried sooner? Why didn't they do it back when Hal was paralyzed?

(because death and invalitude is considered by most of the survivors to be preferable to such side effects as the formation of love triangles)

I did once toy with the idea of enzymes being extracted from detached harnesses and used as in the drug-replacement therapy that goes along with harness removal. Could have a lot of other uses, medical and perhaps recreational; didn't run with it partially because Stargate: Atlantis already used that idea. So... maybe spreading out the spikes has some merit.

2. If what the wiki says about Matt is accurate, it sounds like he may indeed have mental issues. That, or the Masons in general have a neurotic fixation on the punching of Pope.

3. If the moon can (somehow) power eshpeni infrastructure, then why were they trying to restart human coal mines and nuclear plants in the last season?

Aldenata said...

@A Thing With Feathers:
-I'm just going to say that the scene with Dingaan talking about his dead child was one of the best parts of the series. You must be doing something right if you manage to tug at my dark and shrivelled heartstrings.

(Not too long ago, my church had to bury a young boy who drowned while his uncle was taking a bathroom break. I could see a strong man breaking down at the reminder of something like that.)

-Having said all that, almost everything else in this episode annoyed me.

-Espheni conversion plant has a... very Dantean feel to it. So our little love and friendship princess is now the Queen of Hell? Interesting.

The last scene with Lexi was supposed to show her feeling conflicted about her mission of making humanity "better" even if it has to be done with us kicking and screaming, but would something like that have really taken so long? Has she never met a deharnessed kid before who could tell her that being a puppet sucks?

Furthermore, how are we being made better. Do those monster things that Jeanie got turned into actually LOOK like a viable lifeform for an entire species? Would Lexi ever want to look like that? Sasquatch meets Frankenstein's Monster does not a higher evolutionary level imply.

-That said, I still see a lot of transhumanism parallels being brought up in this series. Pretty deep questions there, well worth asking: at what point does humanity change from being a creation of nature, God, or whatever and turn into a manufactured product? What does that do to our freedom, dignity, and autonomy? Is there anything that can be done about it? On that point, y'all have my congratulations.

-What was Tom thinking when he stuck his hand into an alien control panel? Do that to a human one and you won't get a worm in your arm, but you just might get so much electricity flowing though your body that your feet explode. Lineman should have told him this.

Also, it's amazing how a parasite of that size caused no permanent tissue damage. If that was some kind of anti-tampering devise, it's a pretty terrible one.

-Ben says that ten 2nd Masses wouldn't be able to take the Espheni conversion facility. What about twenty 2nd Masses? That would only be, what, an actual regiment-sized force? That would make this facility one of the most heavily-defended Espheni facilities we've seen to date (even if most of the members of this hypothetical regiment go into battle with spears), but it still seems far from unassailable.

I'm going to second the question on how he got from there to Chinatown so quickly. Sure, he's a fast runner, but it seems like he had at most a day to get there and back. Did Lexi give him a lift back home? How could she do that without alerting her bosses to the fact that Tom's people are still alive?

-Otto's right about the beamer in the rubble. That thing should never fly again, even if it is a space-fairing equivalent of a UH1-Huey (6,000 pieces flying in close formation).

-Adding to my previous question of why the transplant has never been tried before if it actually worked:

Spike transplant was... hard to swallow. They're hard enough to survive the effects of a blowtorch, and continued to harden after that point, but a hypodermic needle can penetrate deep enough to extract fluids from them? And then when one gets pulled out, it's still moving and responsive after three years in a human body? And then two humans with spikes from the same harness are somehow "linked" emotionally? Why would the Espheni design their harnesses to work like that? Why have we seen no evidence of something like it happening before?

(Ben and Karen seem to have briefly had the hots for each other back in Season 2, but I thought that was just a feign on Karen's part.)

-Burial scene for Becket was a lot better than the one from Search and Recover. Memorial scene at the end was also a nice touch.

Spikes said...

Sometimes directors give the impression that they did not remember what happened in the previous season, or if they thought that we forgot????
In S3 Loudres says that they can remove spikes from children's back by using this Volm device right? And it is painless and without side effects
Ben and Danny refused because they still wanted to have super powers. when Anne wanted to take spikes from Ben for Maggie why she couldn't take all? Why suddenly it turned out that when Anne takes him all the spikes Ben will die?
  In S3 nobody died when Anne removed spikes from their backs. And now she was afraid that Ben would diet because she took him three spikes? It does not make sense you know ?
The idea that Maggie had spikes is awful, we got used to the fact that Ben is a person with super powers and so on.
The thought that now maggie also has super powers is weird.
And Ben's character is no longer unusual and unique and original.
Congratulations. His character was very interesting because he was different from the others. Now ben's character is common and ordinary
you've ruined the best character on the show.which is very sad.
PS: If it was easy to save people from death and paralysis, each member of the resistance could get three spikes and be indestructible ....
it's too eazy..

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