Friday, December 10, 2010
Review: War of the Worlds, the series ep 38
The Good: Directing. This episode is extremely well paced, with the problem presented early and then a struggle along the way gradually being introduced to us. While staying true to the notion of 'Almost Tomorrow', the team and some friends nevertheless manage to pull together a great party, complete with a chocolate cake, music, decorations, and presents. The premise is so saccharin that it'd have been VERY easy for this episode to slide into self indulgence, but somehow the plot manages to rise above it. The tone moves from despair to optimism so gradually that you almost don't notice. Using the photo album to contrast the past to the present, and then later adding back the happy picture of this event was a shrewd move. Overall, just a great execution on a lot of little things that make the episode a joy to watch.
And speaking of irony, the aliens, completely miss the point. "What a vain notion, celebrating one's birth," muses Ardix. "They only think of themselves, don't they," responds Malzor. After forty minutes of watching Kincaid and all Debi's young friends work their assess off to make a great place for the party, and Harrison and Gunther manage to scrape together a cake, this assessment of the significance of Birthdays effectively underscores the difference in the alien perception of us and the reality. These lines could easily have been spoken by the Advocacy of season one, which I also appreciated. This scene felt very much like one of their episode post-mortems.
Oh, and the idea of living your social life primarily through an online presence seems very ahead of its time for 1990. Nice to see the series get one right.
The Bad: Coincidence, though absent this coincidence we'd lose our chance to see the alien reaction to the events of the episode that was oh so delightful.
I'll bet you thought that I'd hate this episode, huh interwebs? Well, nope, not at all. It's actually one of my favorites of the season. After three quarters of a season of misery and hopelessness, it's nice to see our heroes hit a home run. The pacing is nice, which is important given the almost complete lack of action in this episode. The characters all feel true to themselves, and I found myself rooting hard for the party to be a success. All in all, it's a good story, better than the sum of its parts. War of the Worlds: The Final Season, is available for purchase on DVD.