Season 2 Episode 9 "The Price of Greatness"

Season 2 Episode 9 "The Price of Greatness"

Written by: Mark Verheiden

Directed by:   Adam Kane


Okay faithful fans --  There will be a post on this episode, I promise - at this exact moment I am waiting for a car to take me to the airport to go to Vancouver to begin Season 3.  It's been WAAAAY to crazy to blog - but I'll write on on the plane and post tonight.

Here goes a little...

This penultimate episode was written by cast and crew favorite, Mark Verheiden.  Mark is greatly beloved by all who ever work with him, because of his sweet nature as well as his great writing.  His presence on set gives our actors a sense of relief.   I personally loved this script.  It was, certainly, a stylistic departure for us...  But I love the way it unfolded act by act.  At first we think Charleston is a safe haven, a paradise full of trustworthy  amigos.  But later, bit by bit, it unfolds to be less than it seems.  Man's arrogance and petty politics have, again, reared themselves up - and created hazard for Tom Mason and our heroes.  I love how this episode is a complete and self-contained story within itself.

Tonight's director was Adam Kane.  Adam began as the original cinematographer of the HEROES pilot.  His work, assisting that show to get off the ground encouraged Tim Kring to give him his first directing break.  If you look into the archives of this blog, you will see my posts about him.  I was introduced to Adam in 2007 as a "shadow" on one of the HEROES episodes I directed.  "Shadow" means that he followed me throughout the prep and shooting of an episode, and I, kind of mentored him through the process, explaining how and why I was doing what I was doing.   Adam was quite a good and thorough shadow  he was with me every step of the way, and then went on to direct his own excellent HEROES epiosde.  Since then his career as a director has skyrocketed, to the point where he, frequently, has the same job I do, producer/director, on shows like BEING HUMAN.  

His skill set and abilities have been honed in the years since 2007 and I think he brought his distinctive visual style to this episode.

This episode also brought in two new guest stars Terry O'Quinn (of LOST Fame) and Matt Frewer.  It's such a thrill for me when I get to meet and work with people who've been in projects that I love.  I was a huge fan of LOST and I've been a fan of Matt's comedic work since the 80's and letaely he's been doing such cool dramatic work.  Anyway, both of these guys were great, nice and proffessional - and it's always good to know that.

We had a special, and difficult to achieve project with this episode.  The story took place entirely in the underground areas below the ruins of Charleseton.  Well to find big, open interiors that we could take over for several weeks.  We caught a break - and found a mall that had been started and then, I believe, lost it's funding.  It had been sitting there, unused, for several years.  And that space - as well as the underground parking garage of a local Costco, became our Charleston.

The Costco was funny because, even though they allowed us to use a huge portion of their parking area during the day, the Costco above us was still doing business.  So every once and a while a shopper would appear in the elevator (on the wrong floor from where they were trying to go)  The elevator doors would open and they would see a couple of dozen 2nd Mass'ers, dressed in camo, standing by Humvees and packing heavy artillery.  A few shocked expressions were seen.

One of the concepts of the episode was that the military of Charleston had a lot of fresh, basically unused military gear including, vehicles, weapons and clothing.  This was cool, until Will Patton had to wear the ACU's.  Will has meticulously embodied the character Dan Weaver and has come to care a lot about what Weaver wears.  This benefited us in a way because both Weaver and Will were uncomfortable in the gear.   

More to come...

Noa Wyle at the podium

A crowd gathers

Writer Mark Verheiden with last week's writer, the young and talented, Heather Regnier
Terry O'Quinn as "The Prez"
Our director - Adam Kane
Matt Frewer

Dale Dye an Chris our camera first assistant
Glen Winter of SMALLVILLE fame was the director of photography on this one

Behind the scenes

Michael Soos our camera operator waits his turn

The homies

Mpho and Peter

Brad, Luciana and Collin

Me 'n my crew


dawnmarie0301 said…
Whooohoooo!!! After hearing why you're behind on posting, who can really complain...? LOL. So sad though that we have to wait until June for Season 3, especially with Season 2 just one episode away from behing over :-( I will eagerly await your blog details...really love reading them and getting behind the scenes details.
Anonymous said…
Season 3 Wish List & Plot “Hurdles”
Hi Greg!
In order to retain the audience you've already got, and attract more in subsequent seasons, Season 3 needs to begin addressing and fleshing out the geopolitical and logistic implications of the global conflict to more realistically back up the ongoing story lines. In other words, maintaining your viewers' suspension of disbelief, which for the past two seasons has been sustained by a balancing act between the extremes of cognitive estrangement and frequent plot inconsistencies on one hand (mostly due to time and budget constraints), and the dramatic tensions and emotional investments that have been built up by the audience caring about the characters, on the other. Whew! Did any of that make sense?

To clarify, here are two examples, one geopolitical, and the other concerning more logistic-type matters. Restrictions on comment character length means I will have to split up this post.
Anonymous said…
1. Geopolitical: Charleston as a refuge/military center:
The 'reality' of surviving an apocalyptic situation will always fall somewhat short of the the ideal solution even if everything goes as planned, so careful planning and execution are crucial for tipping the scales in favor of success. So far, Arthur Manchester has demonstrated that he is not the person to make that happen.

Given what Gen. Bressler explained about Charleston being committed to a defensive posture, Manchester actually had the right idea in wanting to wait and avoid any confrontations that would jeopardize their security. But it took the arrival of the 2nd Mass, especially Tom though, to provide the catalyst to demonstrate on a small scale how Manchester's execution of that plan made it doomed to fail. Manchester's penchant for political infighting, refusal to take strategic risks, and harsh reprisals against his critics turned out to be his means to the impending failure of an otherwise sound plan, and was something that had to be stopped before it could possibly have repercussions on a more global scale, and hinder or even destroy the alliances they were trying to establish.

The reason why Manchester's basic plan is good though, was actually explained in Episode 3, 'Compass' (and here we get a glimmering of the geopolitical possibilities to come). Avery Churchill stated that, “ a unified central command is key to taking back the planet.” To that end, she had been tasked by the new government in Charleston (Arthur Manchester) to seek out and organize other sources of resistance. In doing so, she will also be able to consequently help provide a pipeline for crucial information about the global presence and abilities of all the aliens, something absolutely needed in order to plan and execute an eventual coordinated resistance to defeat them (this ties in more in the Logistics part, below).

Under Manchester's style of leadership, attempts at cooperation between diverse allies would likely break down from political infighting. The aliens still have the means of quickly annihilating isolated pockets of resistance if need be. Unless that ability is somehow comprehensively neutralized, you cannot have a local, isolated victory and expect the rest of the aliens in other locations to just sit back and not respond.

So yes, some survivors should hunker down and hide in Charleston, while training, amassing resources and gathering intelligence as part of an eventual coordinated global assault on the aliens. The effort to coordinate with other geographic areas of resistance is vital, though. In the meanwhile, the 2nd Mass, and any other volunteers can amicably part with Charleston, and try to accomplish related strategic objectives that will also help in that eventual global victory – as long as they don't put Charleston and the overall plan at risk.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE IS PREDICATED ON THE ASSUMPTIONS that 1. Charleston is not an Overlord sponsored safe haven for human survivors; and 2. that the aliens are not aware of its potential military significance, and therefore have no immediate need to eliminate it.
Anonymous said…
2. Logistical: How many alien Overlords does it take to control this planet?
“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Without a knowledge of how many Overlords there are, and how they are organized across the planet, there is no way to successfully employ an offensive against them.

In order to establish a foothold on Earth, the invading aliens were willing to exterminate the vast majority of its human population – effectively reducing resistance to a manageable level. So now, how is the roughly 30 - 52 million square miles of habitable land area on planet Earth managed by these Overlords, and how many does it take to do so?

Are there only a few Overlords who have to oversee vast regions? Or lots of them managing smaller areas? What is their leadership and command hierarchy? Are they organized into fiefdoms? What are their capabilities for mounting a campaign to control the vast “uninhabitable” land areas that pockets of resistance may flee to? Is it possible to launch a coordinated offensive against each Overlord controlled area while preventing them from reinforcing their comrades? Are they set up to harvest raw biomass, or are they interested in conscious slaves? Is kidnapping an Overlord to trade for harnessed kids logistically sound? What happens when you harness an Overlord? How do the aliens sustain themselves? Eat, rest, leisure, breeding, religion/belief systems, social interactions, cultural mores, etc. Are they nocturnal? Are they susceptible to bioengineered weapons? What happens to them when they get sick or die? More importantly, what makes them sick and die? Could one key Over-Overlord be taken out to defeat all of them?

It appears that Overlord controlled feudal/manorial domains are being established; areas have been divvied up, and each Overlord alien is in charge of a specific domain. Simply to exist? To set up a sanctuary or stronghold? To appropriate specific resources? All these questions have yet to be answered. And it is the use of this type of intelligence that can wins wars.

The key to all of this, surprisingly enough, lays not in the raw answers, but in your characters, and how they develop throughout this potentially excellent story. Gonna re-visit that subject later.
Sorry for the long post, I'm assuming you want feedback.
buxtor said…
sorry, BB, I couldn't disagree more!
I love the choice for the General and that these 2nd Mass guys finally get uniforms, but there's got to be more exploration of why Charleston is where it is and something about that gynourmous text carving would be a nice start. Why are these guys in a seemingly underground Mall looking place when there's a complete Navy base in Charleston with a compliment of reactors to boot!
huge waste of talent here with the way Charleston has sunk to the background with not fighting the aliens.And there wasn't any acceptance for the 2nd Mass' ability to fight their way through hell to get there!
There needs to be some specialty awarded to the 2nd Mass, maybe a special forces combat team, for starters, maybe located remotely as to preserve the colony's loc? And the berserks locked up, not to forget the entire 2nd Mass held at gunpoint? Not working here. More camaraderie and usefulness for the 2nd Mass, or this show will die like Terra Nova!
Lastly, where the hell is the rest of the armed forces in the script??? Navy Seals can lay low for months if needed to avert capture and they're a helluva lot more qualified than anyone in the 2nd Mass!
AngBreidenbach said…
Love this show. Loved the subterranean town. I did wonder where the electricity came from down there :)

Great writing, great cast, great directing and awesome camera work. Wait, did I forget to say great scenery too?

I like the tension, relationships, and complicated characters.

Keep them coming! I'm going to be sad waiting until June.
Anonymous said…
Is that the 4th verse of the Star-Spangled Banner carved into the wall of the underground cafeteria/community hall?
Anonymous said…
Now that we know what Mack-the-Overlord has up his sleeve, let's hope (for the next 10 months!) that the gods of film-making see fit to bless Falling Scythes Season 3 with an exponentially increased production budget! Arrgh, getting sickle of these silly puns.
worldpeace said…
Love the show; but are really frustrated by the TONS and FREQUENCY of commercials which seem to have either the same or more air time than the actual program.

Ads mean $$$, but the constant bank of ads for this program just too much.

You have a rare and wonderful quality product that is being ruined because of the ad placements.

Please do your best to regain control of your project supporters. Thank you. ~pd
Anonymous said…
I Love the serie I just finish watching the season 2 finale and it's a great way to leave it!!! an ally or a foe?? It's just too bad we'll have to wait till 2013 for next season and i'm from mexico so i'll have to wait even longer to watch it!!! i mean i do have my ways... thank god for internet!! I also saw the 2nd watch program and i must say im so intrigued to know whats going to happen.

I'm looking forward to see how the humans will cooperate with the skitter resistance, the relationship between weaver and her daughter, what will happen between tom and anne and the new baby, i wonder if maggie will see that something's wrong with Hal and if he's gonna play for both sides.¿Will Ben figure it out first?
Too many questions and too much excitement!!!
HiCkS said…
If I have been one of Costco customer in the elevator I had joined to the 2nd Mass without doubt!

this is the best show ever! thanks so much :)

greetings from Spain!
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Sheree Coleman said…
Love love love the show. I would love to see more cool 'finds' for the characters. Like a mansion in the country is still standing with underground railway old secret army base with awesome food storage, tvs, clothes, etc..just cool stuff to help them rebuild.
gershb said…
ok 4 things. 1. please NYCC panel by somebody I'll host if you need though I'm sure you'll have more qualified.
2.fx - where do you strike balance between cg and real anima-tronics; is it budget or do you have a feel you're looking fore in the scenes.
3. storyboards; seem really rough; so how do you get a lighting and colour feel for a scene without cliche'ing past adventure genre?
4. is it possible this great show could have season endings in a movie for future seasons?
PS:more aliens and alien ships PLEASE; and can I design one? :D!!!?
Anonymous said…
My name is Jose Fernandez.I follow the comments of the show in Facebook, it is a great show and love it. I have a question.... Do you follow the template set by Doctor Travis S. Taylor with regards to an alien invasion to build the show's main topic? and if so what balance do you make between of what scientists expect of an Alien Invasion, The Drama of the show and the Revolutionary (1776 Spirit) theme, which you give more emphases? Thank you. Great Show. :)
prop said…
First, I find the discussion about the tactics regarding overloards very interesting (see Mr. BroBrahBlah's posts). However, seeing as the resistance only relatively recently discovered Overloards at all, I can see why very few of these questions have been answered. Also, seeing as the resistance hasn't had enough resources to find answers to these questions, they answers should continue to elude them. However, if the newly arrived aliens are allies I'd expect many of the questions presented to get answers in the third season. Now for my own questions. I only have two and they're far more brief than Mr. BroBrahBlah's
1. Why were they not making mech bullets in this season?
2. Why didn't they seem to make much effort to recapture harnessed kids?
prop said…
First, I find the discussion about the tactics regarding overloards very interesting (see Mr. BroBrahBlah's posts). However, seeing as the resistance only relatively recently discovered Overloards at all, I can see why very few of these questions have been answered. Also, seeing as the resistance hasn't had enough resources to find answers to these questions, they answers should continue to elude them. However, if the newly arrived aliens are allies I'd expect many of the questions presented to get answers in the third season. Now for my own questions. I only have two and they're far more brief than Mr. BroBrahBlah's
1. Why were they not making mech bullets in this season?
2. Why didn't they seem to make much effort to recapture harnessed kids?
Unknown said…
I live in Colombia right now, and I have really liked the show a lot even though not a lot of people here know about it. So I've always wandered how successful has the show been in the States? Thanks for this awesome series!
Anonymous said…
Unknown said…
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sohbet said…
y the negative attitude towards Anne, Tom and their baby. For one, I feel this is their ultimate revenge against the aliens, to continue the human race. 2, It adds a new dynamic to the show. 3, These people know that life is short and they have t
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