This episode title brings to mind a team of resistance fighters involved in a war. They are usually the group that is outgunned and outmanned but from sheer determination and strength of will, overcome the enemy bad guys to win the day.
In this case, Helen Magnus’ (Amanda Tapping) team are the resistance fighters and the bad guys are the United States government. This episode illustrates the often used, but always enjoyable David versus Goliath plot line in movies and television.
Before beginning my review, we include the sneak peek of this weeks new episode “Homecoming” courtesy of Syfy.
The episode opens with Magnus, Henry (Ryan Robbins) and Big Guy (Christopher Heyerdahl) attempting to subdue an Abnormal (Zak Santiago) in a back alley. Just as they get things under control, the Feds show up, over-tranquilize the creature and leave. Magnus, of course, is on top of things and has Henry place a tracking bug on one of the Federal vehicles. They will know exactly where the government agents are taking the creature.
They discover that the creature has been taken to Area 51; the real one and not the decoy, in the New Mexico desert. As Magnus calls it, “the famed Abnormal testing facility”. Magnus quickly to take herself and her very useful sidekick, Henry, to the underground facility. Henry help perform the break in and quickly finds that the U.S Government is not her biggest problem.
They are discovered snooping around and ushered into someone’s office. This seems quite peculiar to Magnus who points out that the most likely place to take infiltrators is to a secure room with bars. She picks up a bottle and asks Henry, “who keeps a bottle of ’95 Chateau Margeau on their desk?” Magnus knows who; Nichola Tesla (Jonathon Young).
Tesla strides into his office like he owns the place. Which, in this episode, appears that he just about does. He runs the facility, much to Magnus’ chagrin. She feels betrayed by him, especially since she has gone to so much trouble in the past to assist him and even help him get his vampire abilities back. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.
Angry that Tesla has become a corporate shill, Magnus demands to see the Abnormals in expectation that she can determine how they are being treated. To Magnus’ and Henry’s shock, Tesla calls in security. He tells them, “as a gesture of good will, I’m going to overlook this breaking into a secure facility. However, in future, I would appreciate you making an appointment.” As they are escorted out, Magnus determines that Tesla is hiding something. He needs their help but won’t ask for it. Cue the reason for Helen’s opinion; something with tentacles grabs one of the security guys and disappears.
Helen returns to Tesla’s office seriously annoyed at him. She demands to know what the creature is, an experiment gone wrong, or some sort of aberration of nature. Naturally, Tesla cannot come up with a reasonable answer. He has no idea. But he does admit that he did not contact the Sanctuary for help because Magnus and company are not the flavour of the month with the powers that be. Helen offers to do what she does best, figure out what is going on.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or rather, the Sanctuary, Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) has his own problems. As he passes by the kitchen, he notices the refrigerator door open. Attempting to close it, he bops a little Abnormal named Galvo (Richard “Rick” Howland) who has a massive sandwich in his hands. He is looking for a ride back to hollow earth and belching foul “belly gas” in the process which is quite funny to watch!
Unfortunately, Will has to fill the bus before he can do the bus run down to the destroyed city. Sadly, that is not likely to happen any time soon. Someone tipped off the Chilean authorities, who stopped them before they could use an opening into the earth and took everyone into custody. Fortunately for Will, he had a get out of jail free card in the form of a passport that got him sent back home.
As Magnus, Henry and Tesla wander down a dark narrow corridor, Tesla ensures he stays true to his character by propositioning Helen. Of course, she turns him down. One thing is for certain. When it comes to Nikola Tesla, he may have questionable ethics, but he sure is a snappy dresser. He is wearing a very fetching three piece suit. The suit is part of his attraction.
As Magnus and team enter a room full of scientists, a woman gives Tesla a very tight hug. Tesla recovers by calling her ‘doctor’ Coates (Jenn Maclean-Angus). It must be a real challenge for Tesla when other women act familiar with him as he is trying to make time with Magnus. Tesla is such a ladies’ man and get a hug from the doctor!
As they leave the scientists cowering in the room and head down the narrow corridor once again, the creature they have been looking for appears in what looks like a dimensional portal or rift. They fire weapons at it, but seem to do no damage. As it disappears back into the portal, Magnus realizes that the problem they face is a direct result of Tesla’s tinkering with space/time. He created the portal. Tesla admits to causing the problem and adds that the fear of Abnormals is, “so pervasive in Washington that they basically gave me a blank check”.
Magnus’ reaction says it all. Tesla saw an opportunity. Tesla rationalizes that he’s actually helping Magnus by taking money from the government that would otherwise be used to get in her way. As Helen states angrily, he is their, “own personal Robin Hood”.
So, what is Tesla actually working on? He takes Magnus and Henry to a lab with several computers set up in front of him. He taps a few keys and a wall opens up to display a ‘rift node’. Tesla says it produces unlimited energy and will power the world with clean energy. Coincidentally, the creature appeared at the same time that Tesla turned on his device. Not so coincidentally, Helen counters.
Returning to the Sanctuary, Galvo is driving Big Guy crazy with his incessant chatting. Big Guy manages to lock him in a closet. Will catches up to them, sharing information about needing more Abnormals to send Galvo back to Hollow Earth. Galvo, apparently has pretty good hearing and offers knowledge of the location of a group of Abnormals. It gives Will and Big Guy the impetus they need to get moving on another Abnormal return.
Back at the lab, Tesla and Henry have some bonding time while Helen heads back to the room full of scientists. They have a heart to heart about Tesla’s poor choices, reinforcing Tesla’s betrayal of Magnus. After their brief exchange, they determine that Henry’s idea to shut down the device will likely work. Segue to Helen, who is now face to face with the creature with a bunch of people behind her. It seems that this time, as the creature again disappears, that Henry and Tesla, working together, have shut down the rift. Helen radios them and congratulates them.
But the problem still has not been resolved. The field is coming back on line by itself. As it continues to grow and threaten the entire facility, Tesla, pleased with himself states, “I did it. I invented wireless electricity.” Or as Henry adds, ‘Teslectricity’. As they continue to work, Tesla takes a break to chat to Helen, only to get an earful about his moral choices. Helen argues that she does not particularly like being out in the cold, fighting world governments at every turn. Tesla reminds her that there is a fine line between passion and fanaticism. She counters that “there is a fine line between compliance and surrender. Let’s hope we are both on the right side of that line.”
Eventually, Big guy lets little Galvo out of the closet at the Sanctuary because they have good news. They have found the group of abnormals they were looking for. They head to the location with Galvo. Big guy tells him to wait in the van. The group of Abnormals exit the building as Will and Big Guy approach, but moments later, they disappear vaporize in a green cloud of smoke and ash. What happened to them?
Big Guy takes so many Abnormal deaths hard. He is certain that someone has set them up. It turns out that Galvo is responsible for the deaths of the Abnormals. Big Guy catches up with him and demands to know why he would kill his own kind. Galvo argues that it’s because they were weak. He, and some other like-minded friends want to take the surface world back from the humans. He proves to be stronger than Big guy, despite his size, and just as he is about to kill big Guy, Will shows up and kills the little villain.
Another step forward for Magnus and her group; Tesla has come to the conclusion that they need to ‘stall the engine’ of the device that has caused all the trouble. The big problem now is, a vital part of the solution is located in another part of the facility and they will need to get past the area where the rift keeps opening to get to it.
They decide to chance it. The inevitable happens and the creature appears. Henry shoves Tesla out of the way only to be captured by the creature and pulled into the rift. Magnus takes it hard.
But she recognizes that the rift needs to be closed to protect the rest of humanity despite protests from Tesla . As they are about to close the rift, entirely by accident, they discover that Henry’s tracking device is still sending a signal from a small cavern under the facility.
The cavern is within the rift field. The only way in, however, is to go through the rift where the creature is waiting. Helen decides that she will go. Tesla discourages that idea and argues that being a Vampire pretty much makes him immune to the radiation associated with the field. Magnus will have to distract the creature. Inside the cavern, Tesla assists Henry while Magnus runs from the creature.
With the creature more visible once it’s away from the rift, we can get a really good look at it. It’s quite menacing in appearance, all teeth and tentacles. It would be my worst nightmare. Helen shoots her weapon at the creature until it disappears back inside the rift and back to the safety of it’s cavern, or nest, and straight toward Tesla who is trying to cut Henry out of some sort of sticky substance that has him glued to the wall. It is lucky for everyone that Tesla happened to have a knife with him. He frees Henry just in time to return through the rift.
However the creature is apparently not done yet. It follows them and gets Tesla around the neck. Payback for his recklessness perhaps? He drops the remote that is keeping the rift open. It is picked up by Magnus. She uses it to close the rift, saving Tesla. Now both Henry and Magnus have saved Nikola Tesla, and he has saved Henry. Are they friends again? Maybe.
Back at the Sanctuary, Big Guy sits quietly and soulfully on top of the roof, looking a great deal like a gargoyle. Will tells him he should stop beating himself up. But Big Guy states that his instincts need to be better. But Will offers that with everyone at each other’s throats, everything is going sideways and no one can really keep track of it all.
Magnus stops by to visit Henry to tell him that he has not been affected by the radiation and to say that there has been no further contact with Nikola. Since Tesla is keeping his job, Helen regretfully admits that this means they are on opposite sides. As she is about to leave, Henry finds something surprising on his tablet. A detailed list of all the government facilities, information about future expansion and more. It turns out that Tesla may have just redeemed himself.
It is obvious with this season’s change in direction that series creators Damian Kindler, Martin Wood and Amanda Tapping have decided upon means that it’s time to stop playing it safe. Earlier seasons had the Sanctuary acting like the Red Cross, hurrying in to the latest disaster and saving the day. Then there was the attempted coup by Terrance Wexford played by the very talented and cuddly Paul McGillion. Now the series has moved away from its comfort zone and is virtually throwing Helen Magnus and her team to the wolves.
Perhaps this is the perfect time for Henry the Happ to shine. I would also like to offer a nod to writer Alan McCullough who has always impressed with his ability to write strong characters, first in his Stargate scripts and now for Sanctuary. It was obvious that he researched the real Nichola Tesla and his obsessive desire to out-do Edison by creating an energy source that used fewer natural resources. Tesla did, in fact, have an ego. He did want to outshine Edison. McCullough took that bit of information and turned it into a very clean and neatly done story.
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