Musings from Jim Sorenson and a few guest bloggers about Transformers, character models, science-fiction, comic books, and whatever else is on our minds.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Review: War of the Worlds, the series ep 22
The Raising of Lazarus is the twenty-second episode of War of the Worlds, the series. It features some intra-governmental agency squabbling between the Blackwood Project and Project 9, an Airforce taskforce in charge of, among other things, attempting to weaponize alien technology. The catalyst: an alien scout pod recovered intact in remote northern Wisconsin near an experimental nuclear facility. Nicolas Coster guest stars as Colonel Fredrick Alexander, one of two (and, eventually, two of two) main antagonists of the episode. His bluster flusters Ironhorse and (quietly) infuriates Blackwood.
Alexander quickly establishes himself as dangerously unstable, when he takes an alien cell sample with the intention of injecting it into himself. Things go from bad to worse when the alien revives and begins to make its way around the base. It makes contact with Alexander, through his computer, and offers him some helpful tips on how to insure cellular compatibility. It then intercepts communications between Harrison and Norton, learning all that they know. Thus armed, it acquires some nuclear material and attempts to flee, though not before appropriating Alexander's body. With the team sealed in by radiation, all seems lost. However, Ironhorse uses a laser, which was earlier used to attempt to open the alien craft, to blow up a fleeing alien/Alexander hybrid.
The Good: It's about time we saw something like Project 9. If the world actually repulsed an alien invasion, you'd better believe that the military would do everything in its power to adapt and adopt that technology.
Alexander injecting alien cells into his tongue was nicely visceral. First the ear, then the tongue? Perhaps future episodes will give us eyeball injections.
I also liked how quickly the alien got the run of the place. It was extremely methodical in his approach, first getting food, then making contact with a potential ally, then arming itself with knowledge, acquiring nuclear material as both a weapon and as a way to stave off bacteriological infection, before finally getting a host body and fleeing.
The tuning fork makes its very last appearance in the series. Goodbye, tuning fork!
The use of the laser, set up early as a potential way to get into the pod, to finally slay the escaping alien was rather clever.
The Bad: Alexander's motivations were murky at best. Here, an alien craft fell into his hands, giving him a huge potential for research. Why, then, would he choose to start injecting himself with alien cells? I'd think that such a radical and dangerous step would be undertaken only when all other avenues of research had been exhausted.
The alien, too, seemed a little inefficient in his approach. Why not just take over Alexander's body immediately? Why all the jazz about cell matching? You could have made the episode a lot tighter by just having the alien make contact with Alexander and taking over his body immediately. While injecting cells into his body seemed like too much, attempting peaceful contact is much more reasonable.
I didn't care for the effect when the alien took control of the computer systems. There was a glowing green field that seemed to be projected ABOVE the monitor. Why would it manifest itself like that? On the monitor, maybe, but floating above it? It seems like magic. We also see a new alien ability, interfacing with computers by holding a few wires. On the whole, I don't care for that one. It doesn't seem in keeping with the abilities they've demonstrated in the past.
The alien seemed to trap our heroes, by using radiation to systemically shut down every room in the compound, awfully quickly. Our heroes, in turn, seemed fairly willing to just allow themselves to be trapped. Also, it seems like they should have soaked up an awful lot of radiation. Perhaps they'll be having decontamination showers a little later, I dunno.
The Ugly: Surprisingly, not much at all. There was a murdered nuclear technician that had ... something ... going on with his mouth, we'll go with that.
Overall, a fairly weak episode. There was a lot of time devoted to the alien skulking around the air ducts that seemed somewhat wasted. While Project 9 is an intriguing notion, sadly the change of production staff means it never goes anywhere beyond what we see right here. Alexander wasn't a particularly compelling villain. For the penultimate episode of the season, I was hoping for better.
War of the Worlds - The Complete First Season is available for purchase on DVD.