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Among The Philistines

Another dull one. I think it's this disc. This is the last episode on it, so hopefully I'll be moving on to a better one next. In this episode there's lots of paperwork and gazing at computer screens, and Norton gets a bit of subplot that probably should have been good, and probably could have been, if it hadn't decided to be rubbish instead. The frustrating thing is, it's a good idea. Peril for the team! Infiltration! Deadly traps set by the aliens! It should have been exciting, and it could even have been a compelling psychological drama. It's not, though. It's just a bit lame. Liven up, show, and stop doing this to me. I remembered you as being better than this.

The team has received a tip off that some aliens will be driving down a bit of road soon. So they camp out and wait, and capture the aliens.

At which point the aliens commit suicide. This makes Harrison very depressed, and he can't understand how the aliens knew that they were to be captured. The fact that they'd already been captured might have been the clue there, Harrison. That, and you squeaking about how "I want these aliens alive!" It's not like they committed suicide before they were captured; now that would have made it suspicious. Anyway.

Ironhorse tries to make Harrison feel better with some bonding.

He even gets all poetic about Vietnam.

Harrison is as dubious about this as I am.

Back at Alien HQ, meanwhile, the aliens are all chirpy about the suicides, as it apparently means that they've finally done something right. Some mysterious plan of theirs is about to go into action.

Harrison has a fabulously outdated tape recorder. A completely irrelevant point, but since it's the only really interesting part of the episode, I thought I'd mention it.

This is a scientist. He works on decoding dolphin talk, and is the one who gave the team the tip off about the alien lorry, having accidentally decoded what he thought were terrorist transmissions. He has now been brought in to spend the entire episode gazing at computer screens with Norton.

He also used to be Major Simms in The Campbells, which earns him just enough goodwill to last through the episode. He'll be needing every drop of it.

Everybody pores over print outs.

Print outs and computer screens. For hours.

Meanwhile, Suzanne's daughter has been included in the episode again; and, once again, this is solely to allow her to get a pet murdered. I'm not sure who's more traumatised by this trend - her or me. All of which means, don't get too attached to the dog. It's clearly none too attached to our new scientist friend.

Who will, for the remainder of the episode (when he's not gazing at computer screens with Norton) be staring sinsterly into the middle distance.

Or smirking.

Ah yes. Norton demonstrates a previously undiscussed staff-fighting ability. Reckon that'll be coming up later in the episode, then? There's a whole chunk of dialogue about surprising your opponent, which is all a bit "Look! People in wheelchairs aren't helpless!" But that's not really a surprise, is it. I hope it wasn't in 1988 either. Also, anybody who has ever seen Highlander has been waiting for Norton to do some staff fighting all season, so that makes it even less of a surprise. And absolutely everybody has seen Highlander (well, nearly).

Elsewhere, Harrison and the new scientist bond over their love of dolphins.

Whilst Suzanne's daughter wonders where her dog's gone. Stop buying pets, kid. Do us all a favour.

The gang discuss how much they all love the new scientist, and how much they want him to be a part of their team.

Then they go and gaze at a computer screen for a bit more.

The new scientist has decoded some alien transmissions, which leads to Ironhorse, Suzanne and Harrison all racing off for a bit of alien war on the highway. Why Suzanne and Harrison? What exactly is the tactical benefit in hauling along two non-combatants on a military assault? They always just get told to stay out of the way anyhow.

Ironhorse muses that something's up. The aliens aren't behaving like they should, or something. I don't know.

Back at Hero HQ, the new scientist is still staring into the middle distance, and being brilliantly blatant in his untrustworthiness.

Floppy disc! Properly floppy, floppy disc! He downloads Harrison's entire research material onto that disc. That and a CD, just so the show can look a bit modern.

Whilst Harrison digs out the tuning fork, and uses it to figure out that their new friend is an alien.

Norton has figured this out too, although by rather less interesting means, and tries to get the sporadic daughter to act normal. This isn't easy when you're a nervous eleven year old, and she promptly gives the game away by screaming and running away. Still, at least it got her to safety.

Outside the gates, Harrison tries to reassure Suzanne that her daughter will be fine, on the grounds that Ironhorse is in charge. Harrison, have you been paying any attention to Ironhorse since this series began?! Suzanne clearly has. She's not remotely reassured.

The safe house's groundskeeper, Kensington. He points a shotgun at the new scientist for a bit, to absolutely no effect, and then gets throttled.

Whilst Ironhorse breaks into the compound secretly, by throwing himself over the wall, and setting all the alarms off.

Our alien scientist friend has given up all attempts at looking normal.

And will be trying out an interesting new range of mad expressions for the rest of the episode.

But Norton has found his staff. Now there's a surprise. His metal-cored staff, as they've been at pains to remind us several times.

Alien scientist man is not impressed, and has just the mad expression to prove it.

Ironhorse bounces around the compound doing not very much of anything.

Whilst Norton and the alien fight.

Norton then uses the metal core of his staff to electrocute his opponent.

Causing tasty-looking alien stew.

The team discover the body of the groundskeeper, and all look terribly sorry for poor Kensington. "He died saving my life," says Norton, although he didn't. You weren't in any danger at the time. He did nothing useful at all.

Then they very sweetly give him a funeral scene, complete with a montage of clips of his one brief appearance in the show. Aw. Poor, dead Kensington. We never knew him, we barely cared.

And so dies another episode. Harrison says in this one that they've been fighting the aliens for more than a year now, and also reveals, quite out of the blue, that the aliens come from the planet Mortax. How they know this, we have no idea. Where the rest of the year has gone, we also have no idea. Still, it makes sense that the aliens would know about Team: Blackwood by this time, and be ready to make such a strike against them. But if it's been a year, what about the super poison? What about the ships full of poisoned super grain that were shipped about the world, sometime in the past year? I like the fact that we now know there are more aliens on the way, due to arrive in great force within the next four years, but how do we know this?! Why are the aliens sending mad-eyed Trojan scientists against the team if they know about them? Surely there must be better ways to hit at an enemy? Why did the three aliens at the beginning have to commit suicide in order to advance the plan? Questions to which we will never know the answers. And, admittedly, we probably don't care.

Must do better, show. This is beginning to get ridiculous.

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