Episode 5 Resistance:
Henry and Magnus break into a government abnormal research facility, find out Tesla is running it and that a deadly creature is running rampant. The three of them have to find a way to stop the creature before it escapes the facility and endangers the outside populous.
All in all, this is a very good episode. There isn’t a lot of action in it, but the character interaction was golden. The bulk of the episode is Henry and Magnus debating with Tesla on the morality of heading the research facility while using government money to fund his own experiments. What’s great about it is that you can view the argument from both sides. Magnus’ view on it is obvious, but Tesla’s side is equally valid… not the part about stealing from the government, but that who would be better in the position? Tesla? Villanova? Some government lapdog?
“Resistance” also brought to light a consequence that Magnus did not expect when she broke away from her government sponsors: Magnus and Tesla on opposite sides. By the end of the episode it is hinted that Tesla will work the system from the inside for her by passing on information to the Sanctuary, but it appears like their friendship will remain strained.
It was also a welcome change to get to see Henry be more active in the field and he rocked in this episode. Every season, Henry grows as a character; while he originally started off as a comic relief character, he’s now becoming a central character. Ryan Robbins is an excellent actor. He does serious just as well as he does comedy, and getting to see a more kick- ass Henry this week was excellent.
On a historical note, the reference to Tesla’s pursuit of wireless energy made me pump my fists in the air. I absolutely love it when the writers make historical references. Though Tesla’s jab at Edison wasn’t the most accurate. Tesla’s biggest obstacle in his wireless energy enterprise was not Edison, but Marconi- who was making much more tangible progress in wireless- and also finding funding for his research.
The B story was also strong. We don’t get to see too many Bigfoot-central stories, but he never fails to deliver. The scenes with him and Galvo- a stray Hollow Earth abnormal- were hysterical, and I did not see that particular ending coming.
This episode really sets this season’s theme for change. Toward the end, Bigfoot comments that his instincts are all he has, Will counters with the line, “since the invasion everything has gone sideways… you know why your instincts failed you? Because what they’re telling you doesn’t make sense.” The world is changing, and the Sanctuary crew is going to have to change with it.
Episode 6 Homecoming:
This was, hands down, the weakest episode of the season. “Homecoming” was mostly, poor written filler. The A story was a severe disappointment; it was needlessly drawn out. What the writers could have done in 15/20 minutes, they dragged out for the entire episode. To be honest, this episode was dull enough, that I stopped watching less than halfway through, and didn’t finish watching it until a week later.
I would like to say that the “angry birds” were great comic relief, but after Galvo last week, they just couldn’t compare. Not to mention, their acting was a bit over the top. The redeeming quality of the overacting was that it at least fit the characters, but it still grinded my nerves.
The one thing that gave this episode some credibility was the glimpses we got into Will’s past. These flashbacks were done in a clichéd manner, but they provided the viewer a look at Will’s roots so that we could see where he started and how he has grown as a person. I have noticed this season that the writers are attempting to get Will to stand on his own. He is going on solo missions, interacting less with Magnus, and making his own decisions on how to do things. Magnus is pushing him out of the nest. This season seems to be focusing on change and Magnus grooming Will to take over the Sanctuary when she’s gone is just one of the many shifts the Sanctuary is under going.
Episode 7 Icebreaker:
In this episode, the crew is stuck on a stranded submarine while a dangerous- and familiar- abnormal is running amok. I’m a bit on the fence about this episode. On one hand, I’m glad they brought back an abnormal from the first season, one that gave me the creeps On the other hand, it kind of felt like cheap writing as the majority of the episode followed the plot of the first season episode it referenced. Don’t get me wrong, the plot didn’t follow word for word and it did have some nice twists in it, but a few things didn’t sit well with me.
Firstly, I loved that we got to see Declan’s crew. We also got to see Alister from the third season episode “Animus,” which was also nice. But with the exception of Alister, Declan’s team was a waste. Simply speaking, they were extras. The weak kneed female annoyed me the most. Now I understand that not all the females on the show can be bad-ass like Magnus, Kate, and Ashley, but why on earth would you hire someone to work at the Sanctuary who is that squeamish? There is a certain amount of danger involved in the job; it won’t always be sunshine and roses. So having a character like her didn’t seem believable… unless the Sanctuary Network is an equal opportunity employer and they were running low on female candidates…
On a positive note, even though this episode borrowed plot from a previous one, it still managed to keep me engaged- unlike the prior week’s episode- and I still got shivers up and down my spine. Even though I complained a lot about the underdevelopment of the characters, the actors were still excellent. Their delivery is what made the episode as eerie as it was.
Also, I know I said this in the review for “Resistance,” but I’m saying it again here. I love that Henry is getting more screen time. Ryan Robbins does an excellent job at blending drama and comedy, so seeing him get a chance to do both in this episode was a fangirl’s delight. Like I said a while back, Henry was primarily a comic relief character, and when you have such a skilled actor like Robbins- one that can hold his own against pros like Amanda Tapping and Johathon Young- it is a shame not utilize that skill. In “Ice Breaker” we get to see a serious side to Henry. Not to mention, hearing Henry insult Tesla- “Suck it, Tesla. Let there be light!”- even when the vampire is nowhere near… never gets old.
Episode 8 Fugue:
Firstly, let me open this reviews by saying that I am not a fan of musicals… can’t stand them most of the time in fact. So watching this episode was painful simply for that. But I need to give “Fugue” its due. Yes it was a musical episode, and yes the sounds of people singing made me want to stab my ears with a tuning fork, but the plot itself was excellent.
In this episode Abby is infected with a parasitic abnormal, and while infected, she can only communicate through song- hence all the singing. This was a strong Will/ Magnus and Will/ Abby episode. Robin Dunne especially got a chance to stretch his acting muscles with this one. I feel that for the first time since Abby’s introduction last season we are getting an idea on what is going on between her and Will. Is it serious? Is it a fling? I think this episode sums it up pretty good. Abby is also starting to grow on me. By getting her involved on a business level, the writers are finally giving her a purpose other than being a love interest.
The viewer gets to see a more emotional side of Will this episode, and Dunne does a fantastic job acting it out. “Fugue” also hints that he might not have dealt with all his past issues. In “Homecoming” we got a glimpse into Will’s past, and in “Fugue” we see parts of it may still be haunting him.
What struck me the most in this episode was the Will/ Magnus dynamic. I definitely felt a shift here. Will may argue with Magnus, but will usually go along with her choice in the end, but today he outright disobeys her! It seems that Will has finally found a line he will not cross for the Sanctuary, or for Magnus. This episode sets up a potential conflict between these two later in the season. I cannot wait to see where the writers take this.
Now back to the singing… I can’t really avoid it can I? It wasn’t bad, truly, but one thing did strike me as odd. When a TV show decides to do a musical episode, don’t they usually go all out? This episode was not entirely musical; the scenes involving Abby all were- which makes sense, given the parasite, but then the writers decided to throw in song here and there while other parts were done normally. This is actually the only thing that bothered me about the episode. True, I am not a fan of musicals, but I dislike it more when a show can’t make up its mind. I feel that the episode should have been done full out musical, or should have just left it out completely. That or the singing scenes should have been more thoughtfully placed.
Still, despite the singing, this was an excellent episode. The fact that I could watch this episode- wanted to watch this episode- despite my extreme dislike of musicals, speaks volumes about the writing.