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Man From Atlantis: The Disappearances

Following on from "Death Scouts", which wasn't about deaths or scouting, and "Killer Spores", which didn't feature either spores or killers, I was wondering what to expect of an episode called "The Disappearances". It did manage a couple of them, though. Kind of. Elizabeth sort of vanished briefly, but there didn't seem to be any particular confusion over where she had gone, so that's not really much of a disappearance, is it. Anyway, she's set up by somebody claiming to be a lawyer, and is whisked away to an underwater lair, where various famous scientists have been gathered by a nut who hates the way that society has gone, and plans to start afresh. Said scientists are under a form of mind control... It's the first episode again, basically, but with a woman in place of Schubert. They do manage a bit of excitement and peril this time, though. In fact I rather enjoyed this episode. Elizabeth's 'disappearance' is rather rubbish, and she goes along with her kidnappers bizarrely meekly. They even gag her without bothering to tie her hands, and she makes no attempt to take the gag off. Mark's attempt to stop the abduction is nice. I do like how he runs out of steam when he's been out of the water a while, and starts to lose strength fast. Odd bit when he gets locked in an old boat house, though - harmlessly as far as the crooks know, although of course we know differently, since he's already gasping. In objecting to it, Elizabeth refers to him as a boy. I guess that neatly dismisses any notion of them winding up in some awkward romance, if she thinks of him that way, but I'm rather baffled. Duffy was in his late twenties when he made MFA, which hardly qualifies for boyhood. And Belinda Montgomery (Elizabeth) is younger than him. Still, women are referred to as girls often enough, I suppose.

Mark's imprisonment in the boathouse is a bit of a mixed blessing, actually. On the one hand it starts out as a nice scene, with him so out of his element, and there's a fair bit of tension even though of course he's going to make it. Thing is, his 'dying' seems to go on forever. We're shown that - oh no! - he's doing to die! But he's still there a few hours later... and oh no! He's dying! And then a few hours later he's still about to die. In fact he's lying there being about to die all night. It does rather ruin the moment.

Anyway, then he and the engaging Miller go rushing to Elizabeth's rescue, where they very politely don't make mention of the fact that they've found themselves back in episode one. As mentioned before, this time the nutcase in charge is a woman, who wants to take her 'worthy' section of humanity off into space, which I suppose makes her mildly less of a nutcase than Schubert. Or less of an antisocial one anyway. He wanted to destroy humanity, she wants to go blindly off into space in a tiny rocket, with very little air in it. How fast could it travel? How far is she expecting to go in it? How many air tanks does she have on board, and how much food, given that she's supposedly taking several people with her? Not all of her 'disappeared' assistants, but some. Anyway, Mark scuppers her plans by proving inexplicably immune to her form of mind control, which is also exactly how he scuppered Schubert's plans back in episode one. Except with less exploding this time, and no poor drowned orcas. Our nut blasts herself off into space alone, which at least gives her a better chance of getting somewhere, since she won't have to share the food and air with anybody else. I'm still betting on her being long dead before she makes suitable landfall, though. Still, I won't argue too much about that, since she was clearly bonkers, and no doubt had impaired reasoning. And since it's the first episode that's actually managed to build any tension, I'm prepared to forgive it just about anything anyway. Elizabeth is still entirely surplus to requirements (she has done nothing so far at all, except save Mark's life back in episode one); and there's way too much recycling of plots going on. In all fairness, though, Patrick Duffy is managing to keep things moving along through sheer personality alone, and that's no mean feat.

I cannot tell you how much I want to like this show. Sadly, however, from here on in it's pretty much downhill all the way.

Comments

( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
I laughed through this whole review! Yes, I was also getting impatient with Mark's supposed 'death scene' being locked in that woodshed. And did Elizabeth really refer to him as a 'boy?' lol I'll have to watch that scene again. You are right about the ages of the actors. I liked how Mark ran to her rescue. Elizabeth could have made more of an attempt to fight them off. But then again, this isn't 'Hercules' the tv show where even the farmer's daughter knows kung-fu. It was a recycled plot, and I actually found this one very plodding and ho-hum. Maybe because the villain was. It would have been really cool if she tried to taint the city's water supply with whatever stuff she's making and then everyone just went pixelated and crazy. But then...that would be stealing the plot to killer spores, wouldn't it? I think Elizabeth sang very nicely though. :D I presume that the villain may just find a home, because if undersea creatures exist in this world, then it's possible aliens do too..actually, the death scouts were aliens. Maybe she'll wind up on their planet. :P
swordznsorcery
Apr. 1st, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
Trying to drug the local water supply could have been good, yes. I guess she didn't really have any reason to want to, but it would have added to the fun, and made her seem that bit more of a threat. The film would need to be longer, though. They could have had Mark with a whole army to fight against!

It's just after they take of Elizabeth's gag that she calls Mark a boy (why she didn't take it off herself if she was so worried about him, I don't know). It seems such an odd line.
ladygretchen
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC)
The show needed more villains, more real threats. I could just see it now, the woman taints the entire water supply-why? Not sure-revenge is always key, but why? It was her own craziness that made her want to escape earth in the first place, no one's at fault. She could team up with Schubert, who is just insidious enough to follow through. Of course his motive would be to get Mark, he's still mad about his underwater project being destroyed and demands to start fresh. So then I imagine Mark's roaming through the streets feeling fine while everyone is in a panic and drought and gasping and fighting for water, (Shades of the 70's gas crisis too) all the while acting nutty and dangerous, depending on their disposition. And Mark wouldn't figure it out immediately because he was away on some ocean adventure around the world and returns to find chaos, with no one able to clearly help him explain.
:Gears turning: Okay, so the show missed out…it could work for a fanfic. :wood burning: (I know I seriously think too much about old and buried shows!)

Schubert's later idea in the actual show of raising the earth's sea-levels was very dastardly, I liked that episode, but again it didn't have enough oomph.

I wonder if this show suffered what I call Voyagers! syndrome-It didn't know if it wanted to be a kid's show, young adult or adult, and got all lost in translation. Well, Voyagers was definitely kids, but then it got blasted by a million critics and the coalition for TV violence and all this nonsense and it became a shell of its former self by the end. It should have just marketed itself to teens from the beginning. But that's going into another rant. :P
iceandstars
Apr. 1st, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
I liked the sister, Mark's almost-a-girlfriend. She was a bit rubbish and ineffectual to begin with, but she did sort of help later. Or nearly helped. Mark figured out the drugged water thing on his own, so she didnt really have a point, but i liked her anyway. COuld have used more plot time, to get to know her properly.
swordznsorcery
Apr. 1st, 2011 11:34 am (UTC)
Yes, I expected that to go somewhere, but it didn't. It was nice that she wanted to help him, but she wasn't really given much opportunity to do anything. I think she was supposed to be really scared of her sister, and totally under her thumb, but we never really saw much sign of that.
ladygretchen
Apr. 1st, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, she was cute but didn't have much to do. She was on the show later as a secretary at the Ocean Foundation, they should have kept her the same character. Still pining for Mark, so she'll try anything to be near him. :P
( 6 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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