Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: War of the Worlds, the series ep 9

The Good Samaritan is the ninth episode of the War of the Worlds tv series. This episode features an attempt by the aliens to introduce a lethal spore into the human food supply. An ideal opportunity presents itself when billionaire Marcus Madison Mason announces a new grain his company has developed with the potential to end world hunger. It thrives in the harshest environments, grows quickly, and is resistant to radiation. That last property catches the eyes of the Blackwood team, who are attempting to develop radiation-resistant bacteria to unleash on the aliens. Mason's womanizing allows the aliens the chance to absorb him and push forward their agenda. Thanks to a bit of legerdemain (and the aforementioned womanizing), Dr. McCullough walked off with a sample of the tainted grain, and soon the team realizes that aliens are afoot. Blackwood and Ironhorse, alone, head to the docks to prevent the ship from setting sail. There's a bit of a scuffle that ends up with the aliens dead. Though a few ships were launched, the Advocacy realizes that they will be intercepted.

The Good: Lots of great character moments in this episode. Martin and Chaves continue to have great chemistry. Ironhorse goads Blackwood about his jealousy when Suzanne goes out on a date with one of the richest men in the world. Harrison won't quite admit his feelings, much to Paul's amusement.

Aliens in unusual forms. This time, it's a trio of old ladies, clucking disapprovingly at Mason's mistress.

Bad puns. We first see three aliens working at a diner, testing their poison. These same three aliens are introduced later as advisers to Mr. Mason; Ms. Marsh, Mr. Stein and ... Mr. Cook. Yuk yuk yuk.

The Bad: The pacing. This episode just sorta drags. There's little urgency or momentum going into it. I'm not sure why, it's probably a problem with the directing.

The plan. Aliens make a deadly poison, that's fine. But really, grain is sown, cultivated, and grown. That'd take months. Surely in all that time, someone would discover that the grain was toxic, no? Some farmers would notice that crows were dying at alarming rates or something. This plan was doomed to failure from the start.

The Ugly: Not much. Let's go with Ironhorse cutting off an alien hand.

Overall, a fairly lackluster effort. I just didn't care much about this episode. Mason wasn't an interesting enough villain, and the plot just sort of drags along. Also, this is an interesting episode to keep in mind when we go to the 2nd season. Here, we're talking about ending world hunger. Later, famine seems to be a real issue impacting even the team. There are certainly more obviously fracture points between the two seasons, but this one is thematically about as far removed as possible from the bleak and oppressive 'almost tomorrow' of season two.  War of the Worlds - The Complete First Season  is available for sale on DVD.

1 comment:

To Life Immortal said...

I agree that Blackwood and Ironhorse's chemistry was the best part of this episode. Richard Chaves in particular, truly shined.

- No one has a clue who penned this episode as well. The name Sylvia Clayton is obviously a reference to Sylvia Van Buren and Clayton Forrester. I assume this written by a scab writer during the '88 WGA strike.

I also did enjoy the scene with Debi and Norton because it gave the character some much needed depth- and also tackled his strength regarding his handicap.