Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: War of the Worlds, the series ep 6

The sixth episode of War of the Worlds, the series is titled The Second Seal. The Blackwood team and the aliens simultaneously converge on Fort Streeter, the US Army top secret record archive. Both are hoping to raid the remains of the 1953 invasion, stored hundreds of feet underground. The aliens are looking for a list of 10,000 soldiers squirreled away in North America, while Blackwood is looking for Dr. Forrester's research. Human desires make up the somewhat muddled theme of the episode; there is an alien crystal which makes Blackwood macho and McCullough frisky, along with a subplot about a Hollywood-plain lieutenant and the object of her affections. Blackwood and McCullough stumble on the alien incursion and have to fight their way out before the vault explodes. Using the crystal as a weapon helps, and fortunately Ironhorse is on the upper level vault blasting aliens away. All looks well until a burned alien, caught in the explosion that they themselves set, climbs the elevator shaft and runs off with the list. Though he gets shot and killed, the team can't be sure that he didn't pass off the list elsewhere.

The Good: It's nice to get a bit more continuity with the movie, though perhaps this episode could have taken place a bit earlier. In particular, Thy Kingdom Come might have worked better after this episode.

It's a subtle thing, but when the team of aliens contacts the Advocacy, there is an alien Nun working the keyboards.

Ironhorse, once he's alerted to the alien threat, kicks a lot of butt. He also gets shot in the arm in the course of his rampage and it actually seems to incapacitate him. Chaves really does a great job with the character; he's in his element making nice with the Army brass, running through the base like Rambo, or just sinking to the floor and allowing his injuries to finally lay him low once he realizes that the threat has been neutralized.

The Bad: Coincidence. The timing of the episode, with the aliens and the Blackwood team showing up within literally minutes of each other, is just painful.

Blackwood, the pacifist who doesn't like guns, seems more than happy to use the crystal as a kind of force-blaster. Of course, he was under the influence of the crystal at the time, so maybe he wasn't quite himself. (Second season would have him handle guns readily enough, but that's a separate issue.)

The alien crystal / drug. It didn't add much to the episode but just sort of ate up time.

Missed opportunity! The aliens gain access to the base by using a reporter. Just two episodes earlier, a reporter was taken over by aliens. Sadly, they did not get the same actress.

Aliens killing themselves for failure. It seems silly, especially when they are so limited in number that 10,000 reinforcements is a big deal.

The Ugly: I'm gonna go with the burned alien, though there were plenty of alien corpses to go around.

Overall, pretty standard fare. The plot would be solid, if uninspired, but for the timing necessary to make it all work.  War of the Worlds - The Complete First Season  is readily available for sale on DVD.

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