Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous | Next

The Angel Of Death

In the final episode, the scene is being set for a new stage in the battle between the Blackwood team and the aliens, with new developments occuring that should have made season two very interesting indeed. As is now fairly notorious amongst TV sci-fi fans, that never happened; and watching this episode really underlines what a shame that is. This show had a lot to offer, and whilst a slightly bigger budget - or indeed any budget at all - might have helped it to establish itself a little better, there's more than enough plot and imagination on display here to have justified a second season. A proper one, that is. One that people actually wanted to watch.

Space. A little known cardboard region of the galaxy, host to a rough approximation of the Earth.

A whizzy special effect hurtles through the solar system.

Finally resolving itself into the universe's most 1980s alien visitor. She's a synth from the planet Qar-To, and is the sworn enemy of the aliens. She therefore sets about killing vast amounts of them with great gusto.

Harrison and Suzanne do their CSI bit at the scene of one of the massacres. As Harrison observes, these murders, whoever is committing them, are very welcome; but with each one the alien issue becomes a little less of a secret. Crowds of people are watching them work here, but one in particular is an alien, researching those humans who are aware of the alien presence. So whilst in the past the aliens have known about Harrison and the gang on an 'on again, off again' basis, depending on who's writing, it looks as though the plan was to have the aliens know exactly who they were up against from here on in. It also looks as though the alien situation might have become known to the general public, at least on some level.

Harrison meditates, in an effort to figure out what's going on. He decides that they must be dealing with a new alien, this one an enemy of the usual sort. This news makes him the happiest man on Earth. Ironhorse is rather less enthused.

Trying to get on top of the situation, Ironhorse plans an offensive, with little toy soldiers that he obviously has a store of somewhere. The gang will play recorded alien broadcasts, lure in some aliens, and hopefully then interrogate them. This is clearly not going to work, but it's nice that they keep trying.

And Suzanne has invented a new weapon! For the duration of this episode, the last in the series, Suzanne will finally be remembering all of the things that she could do back in the first episode, that made her interesting. It's taken her long enough.

The aliens listen to the team's broadcasts. They're gobbledegook, and it's obviously a trap. They go along anyway though, in the hope of capturing the team and interrogating them. This is also clearly not going to work, but again, it's nice that they keep trying.

Harrison DJs on Alien FM, whilst Suzanne and Ironhorse talk guns.

The soldiers get into position. Presumably there's more of them than that. This show is full of pitched battles that have to be filmed very carefully, to hide the fact that there's only ever three soldiers, occasionally running off screen to change costume, and then running back on again playing the enemy.

Ironhorse takes shelter under a dinosaur. Well, you would, wouldn't you.

The trap is then sprung, and the aliens are attacked, apparently by a giant dog and a cactus.

Harrison and Suzanne shelter underneath the dinosaur, for all of ten seconds. As soon as there's bullets flying everywhere, they get out and start wandering about in all the dark and smoke and gunfire. Because that's the way that the army always likes its non-combatants to behave.

Drawn by the alien activity, the Qar-To synth homes in on the noise, and slaughters all of the aliens.

Ironhorse disappears in the middle of the battle. He's not disappeared here, obviously. That would have made for rather a boring screencap.

Harrison muses that Ironhorse is dead. Despite the quote in this week's opening titles, he actually says that "Colonel Ironhorse is dead". I guess they changed it later, for a little fun.

He doesn't have a little toy Norton on his desk, by the way. I know this picture really makes it look like he does, but it must be some weird perspective thing. Which is possibly rather a shame.

Ironhorse is not dead, obviously. He's been scrobbled by the synth.

She gets inside his mind by making his head glow, and makes him tell her everything about the team and their work. She then tells him to forget everything that's just happened, then wakes him up and tells him everything that's just happened. I have no idea why. She's a very difficult alien to fathom; mostly because she communicates almost entirely through interpretative dance.

The aliens report back to headquarters, with the news that there's a synth from Qar-To running around on Earth, and that here she is, we've got a photo. At this point, one of the leaders should have clobbered him round the head, and told him that no, you idiot, that's Suzanne McCullough, the one who works with Harrison Blackwood; but apparently this is one of the weeks when nobody knows who the Blackwood team are. Anyway, then they all go off on a search and destroy mission against Suzanne.

The synth tells Ironhorse that she loves humans, and intends to help them in their battle. She mostly does this by waving her arms in the air, and talking in peculiar patterns, like she's at least part Menoptera. If there was any doubt that the makers of this show are Doctor Who fans, I think this dispels it.

Ironhorse returns to the safe house, and tells everybody about this awesome alien he's just met. He takes them along for a meeting.

The synth prepares a long speech, to be delivered in splendidly absurd-looking alien ballet speak.

She's been sent to save the Earth from their shared enemy, she says. No human lives must be lost. We love you all!

This is a complicated discussion involving the mechanics of space travel, and the belief systems of her people. Or something.

Harrison is not one hundred percent sure that he's following it.

So she puts on a special performance just for him. Everything flirts with Harrison. Even alien robots from across the galaxy. Soon Harrison is not only fluent in alien dance speech, but is also clearly besotted.

But there are aliens coming. Dozens and dozens of them. The gang prepare for battle. Well, Ironhorse, Suzanne and the synth do. Norton and Harrison grab a scaffolding pole each, and do some cool spinning stuff that makes them look like they were majorettes in high school. I'm not sure that it's likely to be much good against aliens with machine guns, though.


Suzanne is really cool in this episode. Why couldn't she have been this cool in the twenty-one episodes in the middle, rather than just the first and last ones?!

The synth gets stuck in too. There is a long, pitched battle, with lots and lots of aliens.

It's something of a Pyrrhic victory for the team. Harrison is shot in the shoulder, Ironhorse manages to get shot in both shoulders. I think Norton is pretty fatally wounded, and Suzanne certainly is. Brilliantly fake blood abounds.

Harrison and Ironhorse abandon their dying friends, and go dashing over to help the slightly stunned robot. Because... I don't know why. They just do. She's more interesting, or something.

Suzanne gasps forlornly. She doesn't mention her daughter, though. Even with her last, rattly breaths. Clearly this is one of the many weeks when she's forgotten that she's a mother.

I have no idea why the team have decided to sit with the synth and wait for darkness, and to bleed to death. They just have. After recharging herself a little, the synth heals them all, so I guess it was worth the wait. Most of them still aren't capable of moving, though, so they might have been better off seeking out medical help, instead of lying around on the floor of an abandoned building for twelve hours, with an assortment of large, bleedy holes.

Harrison helps the alien up onto the roof, so that she can transport herself back home and fetch reinforcements. She'll be back within the year, she promises. Well, flirts rather than promises.

She then reports in to her home world, speaking in her own language this time. "Humans as food source still under threat," she says, then favours Harrison with a cheery smile, and promises to be back soon.

Harrison thinks this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

While the synth zaps herself back off into the ether, to go and fetch her friends.

And that's that. Season two would clearly have seen changes. Whatever the hell Quinn was up to a few episodes back, he's obviously planning something. The aliens have colony ships on the way, and have now definitively identified their human enemies. We also have this powerful race from another planet, intending to battle their rivals and hopefully also conquer the Earth. Season two was going to be so much fun.

But this is television. War Of The Worlds was a critical success, and did reasonably well in the ratings. It wasn't what the studio wanted, however, so they sacked the entire creative staff, and ordered a reimagining. Season two had none of the things that made season one good. Gone was the humour, gone was the gore, gone was the horror movie atmosphere. Also gone were Ironhorse and Norton, as well as, effectively, Harrison. Jared Martin was still there, playing a character called Harrison Blackwood, but he was completely unrecognisable as the character from season one. Instead he was a gun-toting action hero type, cut from the same cloth as every other character on TV. No more jokes, no more tuning fork, no more nutball, pacifist vegetarian.

Season two disappeared without trace - and deserved to. Oh television. Sometimes you can be so very hard to understand.

Latest Month

November 2017


Powered by LiveJournal.com