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Unto Us A Child Is Born

This episode is really pretty awesome. The plot itself has the usual holes, but it's hard to care when it's made so well. They've really thought about this one, and it's shot as a horror film, old style. Slow, lingering shots, carefully building up the tension; dark corridors; weird camera angles; good use of music. It's like a little masterclass on how to make a low budget horror movie. It's also hands down the goriest episode so far. Even the one when everybody was having their brains ripped out didn't manage quite as much blood and horrific imagery as this one. I did have some lovely screencaps, but I do like to keep things family friendly. Ish.


Some aliens are up to something in a shopping mall. Testing a poison gas, it looks like, but they're disturbed by a security guard before they can get anywhere. They flee.


One ends up in the fitting rooms of a clothing store, and takes over the body of a pregnant woman. Except that's not a pregnant woman, that's Emma out of The Campbells. Isn't she twelve? She was last time I looked. Anyway, the trauma of possession causes premature labour, and the alien is whisked off to hospital looking very confused.


Meanwhile Norton's wardrobe choices are getting ever more suspect. He's picked up what sounds like an alien distress signal, coming from a hospital.


Pregnancy does not agree with aliens. They clubbed together to rip the baby's father's face off at this point, which was quite spectacularly gruesome, especially a bit later when he was found hidden in a bed. But I'm nice. I didn't include that bit. It did look pretty awesome, though.


At the hospital, Harrison and Ironhorse try to formulate a plan. This mostly consists of running around accosting nurses, and claiming to be from the Pentagon. Oh 1988, you were so sweet in your lack of security.


A baby. I am helpfulness incarnate, I know.


Harrison and Suzanne test its blood, to see if it's human or not. It's not, obviously. This is War Of The Worlds, not Little House On The Prairie.


The aliens are instructed to capture the baby, as its mixed up DNA could help the aliens find a way to survive. Meanwhile, the 'mother' is falling apart, as half of her ended up in the baby during the takeover.


Suzanne finds a microscope to look down, as this is her most favourite occupation.


Meanwhile, the baby is exhibiting a greatly increased rate of growth.


Suzanne immediately dashes back to her microscope, just in case there's something she missed. Harrison, meanwhile, has a lovely laptop.


And then, just to celebrate the true glory of 1988, he uses the laptop and his mobile phone at the same time. Suzanne even has to look away from the microscope for a moment to marvel at this. They figure out what's going on with the baby, just as a nurse heads off to give it its bottle.


The baby does not want a bottle. The baby would much rather have the nurse. In tasty, bite-sized pieces, preferably.


Harrison and Suzanne suspect that it went that way.


Ironhorse calls in his troops for a search of the hospital. Why he's in disguise as a doctor, I have no idea. They've evacuated the patients. Anyway, Ironhorse heads up to check the next floor, taking all of the soldiers and guns with him, and leaves Harrison and Suzanne to check another floor on their own, unarmed. I really do have to wonder which side Ironhorse is on.


A soldier, in no way about to become chicken food.


The baby attacks him. He does, really. I know it mostly just looks like two blobs kissing, but I think the baby is actually biting his nose off.


And quite a lot of other bits too. There was a fabulously gory scene here, with the face all chewed off. Or at least I think that's what it was. Harrison and Suzanne looked brilliantly revolted, anyway.


The alien baby tries to make its escape. It's a nimble little thing for a one day old.


Homing in on it by means of their shared bond, the mother leads the rest of the alien band on a snatch and grab mission.


The baby, when it's not biting people's extremities off, is actually quite cute. Turns out it only wants its mother.


But the mother just wants to kill it, in order to be whole again. Her attempt to throttle it is ended by her compatriots, who kill her. Nobody's going to kill the baby! Except the alien high command, when they cut it up to see how it works.

The baby scarpers, sharpish.


Reunited with Harrison and Suzanne, Ironhorse leads a lovely search in dark corridors. Why does nobody in horror movies ever just turn the damned lights on?


Getting a sudden theory, Harrison decides to slip off on his own, because that's always worked out so well for him so far.


Somebody's watching you...


Fight! Again, not the clearest picture, but then if it was, it would probably be equally clear that Harrison is wrestling a dummy. Anyway, he eventually throws the baby off by kneeing it in the nuts.


Which is painful, I'll grant you, but doesn't usually cause death.


Or melting. Might feel like it sometimes, but it's still pretty rare.


Inside the melted carcass of the alien hybrid baby, there is another baby, somewhat inexplicably.


It's totally human, too. Harrison and Suzanne are delighted, and summon all kinds of rubbish theories as to why something so blatantly happy-ever-after could happen, when it clearly couldn't.


The hospital arranges for the grandparents to get custody, and Harrison, Ironhorse and Suzanne watch like doting parents as the little fellow gets carted away to his picture postcard ending. Aw. Isn't a happy ending nice?


Bye bye baby. Harrison and co hope that he'll live happily ever after.


But the grandparents just hope that they will, along with the rest of the alien race.

We have here probably the most bleak ending since the series began, which is only fitting coming at the end of the darkest and most gruesome episode yet. I do wonder how they got away with it though, given that a dozen episodes or so back they weren't allowed to leave poor little Bobby in the hands of the aliens. Maybe this time they just didn't bother asking first. It's a horribly grim ending, it really is, and it's probably best not to imagine what the baby is heading for (although it's completely human, so it won't be any use in the plans that they had for its predecessor). It's the right ending, though. The way that the alien baby dies, and is replaced by the all human version, smacks of studio intervention, and a demand for a happy ending. Sticking this bit in at the very end works much better. It's a dark tale. If it had ended with a smile, the whole thing would have been ruined. Parents may hold a different view, admittedly, but I think it's all very effective. All in all, this episode is very good indeed.

Probably not recommended viewing if you're pregnant, mind. Or intending to be.

Comments

( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Feb. 16th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
POOR Baby! I wondered when an 'alien baby' episode would spring up.

And what next, the dog gets it?? For some reason that really puts people up in arms. lol Oh wait, 2 dogs have gotten it already thanks to Suzanne's daughter right?

This is a grisly ending, and episode all around! Uck! :O but hey, this is war of the worlds! Bad Things will happen in war. I have to ask if this series was aired on cable in America, i can't remember. For some reason it seems to violent for its time to be aired on the Networks. Or could it be that it was edited for American tv? That happens a lot.

One of my favorite stories is by John Wyndham is 'The day of the Triffids', and the movie versions are cool too, one thing i also block out is what happens to all the innocent babies left blind and behind after most of the world goes blind and a little crazy from it, not to mention giant killer plants skulking around, as if they didn't have enough problems! The book and movies doesn't even address it, and it's probably best not to. It could make the head spin.

Edited at 2012-02-16 02:09 am (UTC)
swordznsorcery
Feb. 16th, 2012 02:18 pm (UTC)
The show was made for syndication, so I guess any channel that wanted it could pick it up. It wasn't made for any particular channel. That probably allowed them to be a bit more violent than was usual! It does seem a lot more like the kind of thing that would air on HBO now, rather than on the usual networks.

I had never thought that about the Triffids! There's a TV series that I really enjoyed back in the late nineties called "The Tribe", though. In it, all adults die in a plague, and the world is left to the children. You can't help but wonder there what happened to all the babies.
( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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