An opening scene between Declan MacRae (Robert Lawrenson), Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and Allistair (Michael Patric) in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by howling winds and a blizzard is not the most reassuring start to an episode.
Before beginning my “Ice Breaker” review in earnest, below is the great sneak peek of the next episode, a musical, “Fugue” courtesy of Syfy. Thanks Syfy!
Nor is the fact that Henry and Alistair’s HAP strength is called upon almost immediately just to grant them access to the Russian smuggling ship, 700 miles from the North Pole! Yet another good reason reason to worry is the fact that Magnus (Amanda Tapping) has to fly to the scene, which is not likely to be an easy task given the weather conditions outside. And without her presence, the away team are left with no choice but to hunker down and try to survive Mother Nature’s latest offering.
In searching for a safe location though, they stumble upon a host of dead bodies scattered across the ship, from the cargo hold to the bridge. The cause of death? Gunshot wounds at close range, possibly self-inflicted, which of course begs the question of what events, could have left up to such a horrifying demise for so many people.
It turns out that not only were the Russian smugglers transporting Hollow Earth abnormals, they also had a stash of weapons on board, and that the Sanctuary team knew all about their operations and were planning on bringing them down before the ship ran aground. However, when the abnormals requested the Sanctuary help, the smugglers got to them first.
That pretty much guarantees a bad ending. And that it is, as Declan and Terri (Jodi Balfour) scan the ship and find the hold that should have housed the abnormals, and the horrifying realisation that they are all dead, having apparently turned on each other in much the same way the crew did.
Plus, the Sanctuary team have had no luck with radioing Magnus and there is fast becoming a need to get the boilers up and running for heat and light. With all their carefully laid plans seemingly having gone to pot, Declan makes the decision to try and find out all they can about the final events and actions on the ship before they get out of there.
Whilst Henry attempts to get the boilers online, he starts to theorise about the cause of death of the ship’s occupants. He informs Declan of the events of Season 1’s Requiem when Magnus turned on Will…which although apparently understandable, was not caused by water and ends up being an irrelevant theory.
Meanwhile, Declan is faced with the disturbing scenes on the bridge and finds himself gazing out the windows whilst Allistair accounts for the entire list of abnormals and pronounces them all to be dead. With the majority of their discoveries documented, the away team start closing up, ready to hunker down for the night.
Their plans are foiled though with mysterious sounds coming from the entrance to the ship. Guns drawn, the team are prepared for the worst and push the door open. Much to their surprise though, the arrivals are only Magnus and Will (Robin Dunne), the former more composed than the latter after Magnus’ crazy flying. Will’s complaints only open him up for Henry’s jibes, despite the somber mood as they are informed of the situation aboard the ship.
With Magnus on scene, the team quickly follow orders and disperse to search the ship for the culprit of these brutal murder scenes. In their search, Magnus’ team stumble upon ice blocks containing identical but unknown abnormals, although whether they were frozen before or after the murders is a debated topic. Also debated is the method by which they should deal with the creatures: whether to thaw them out enough to study them, or to turn the boiler off to keep them frozen and let Magnus ‘crazy fly’ them back to the Moscow Sanctuary.
Eventually the team decide to set up home base, thaw the creatures out and figure out what they are. However, with more access to the creatures, Magnus can only conclude that they look too fragile to have caused such carnage. Leaving their origin and presence on the ship unknown, Magnus chooses to thaw the creature out more, until Declan finds another, bigger nest, that is.
Suddenly there’s a rattle, determined to have come from below. A rush to check on the occupants of the lower decks ensues; Murray was last known to be in the boiler room and Magnus sent Will to help him. Unsurprisingly, Will has managed to escape the blast with few injuries, Murray however did not make it, prompting a rare emotional outburst from Declan, and yet another chance to see Robert Lawrenson at his finest.
Back at home base, Terri is examining the thawing creature whilst Henry regales both her and Allistair with tales of near death experiences, including the Season 3 finale in Hollow Earth. His reminiscing is interrupted by Terri’s panic over the creature and before we know it,
Magnus is observed confirming the results of the autopsy. The creatures are Magoi, the very same creatures from season one episode “Kush” that tried to kill Magnus and Will when their plane crashed.
These creatures only spell more bad news for the team, as they work psychologically and can make anyone live their worst nightmare. Even worse though, the Magoi can change their form and make everyone see what they want to see and not the truth and the Sanctuary team are surrounded by nests of the creatures. Declan’s plea to not overreact is only a surface reassurance now.
And the news only continues to grow more disturbing. Terri’s findings that the Magoi are all encased in fresh water opens Magnus’ explanation that salt water hyper-accelerates their powers and makes them too strong for humans to handle. It looks like the team are in for yet another bumpy ride.
This is only further emphasised by the after effects of the boiler explosion, as the ship starts filling with salt water. If they leave the ship as it is, it will soon become a Magoi breeding ground. The danger just keeps on mounting!
With that bombshell, Magnus begins barking orders to enable the moving of the Magoi away from the salt water, and to refreeze the one they’d examined. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans do not always work, and that’s true in this case as the initial Magoi has disappeared into thin air, pushing home the need to stay as a group so the creatures can’t attack them individually now they’re roaming the ship freely.
It is clear that the whole team are on edge as guns are immediately drawn when Allistair and Declan re-join them. Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, Magnus splits them into groups and assigns new tasks concerning the Magoi and warns each of them to be on their guard as it is the little things that give the Magoi away.
As the operation commences, Allistair starts to theorise and panic about the presence of the Magoi, leaving Will to be the voice of reason and calm him down again. Elsewhere in the ship, Magnus is also convincing Declan of the need to keep the Magoi alive due to the small number of them left. A frantic call from Henry though, has them dropping everything and running to assist. The scene they find is shocking, Henry and Allistair with guns pointed at each other and Terri’s dead body lying between them, accusations flying through the air.
Magnus’ following decision is controversial as she locks both Henry and Allistair together in the same room once she has determined that Terri was killed by a HAP. Inside the room, the two HAPs continue their staring match, whilst Magnus, Will and Declan head to continue in their efforts to save the Magoi. But their fears about the Magoi are substantiated when they find Allistair’s body floating in the hold. With Henry’s life now known to be in danger, the return to the room is swift; but their resident HAP can hold his own and they enter to find Henry recovering and a dead Magoi.
With three of Declan’s team now dead, it becomes clear that time is running out and the time for grieving will have to be put on hold. Henry doesn’t get the memo though and openly grieves Allistair’s death and shares his guilt over recruiting Allistair to the London Sanctuary and causing his death. None of Will’s reassurances are working at this point as Henry proclaims to name a son after Allistair if he has one.
Above deck, Magnus and Declan ignore her earlier warnings and split up for their separate tasks, Magnus taking a moment out to look through the porthole of a closed door, an action slightly strange but that gives off no other warning signs. Declan on the other hand, continues to stumble upon danger as he discovers the shell of another thawed Magoi.
Magnus’ rationality seems to have left her at this point as she argues against Declan’s proposal for the remaining team members to stay together, safety in numbers considering the number of Magoi on the loose. In fact, she even goes as far as to give the order to shoot to kill on sight if they see any of the team on their own. Maybe now is the time to heed her earlier advice and look out for the little things, perhaps irrationality is one.
Whilst moving the rest of the Magoi, it appears the irrationality has spread to Declan and Henry as they argue over whether one of them is about to kill the other, before realising that neither of them have become super charged in the salt water. As they wade to the ladder, Will appears in the door and locks them into the slowly flooding hold. At this point, the little things are becoming big things and more obvious by the second.
Frantically radioing Magnus, they realise that she was last seen with Will. Desperate times call for desperate measures and thoughts as their attempts to escape are futile. But Declan manages to stay level-headed enough to rise about the challenge and remember that he shot the handle off the door when he first arrived and finds the offending object on the floor to the side.
Once free again, they run into Magnus who informs them, rather unnecessarily, that Will is missing. As they now stick together to prevent the mental attacks of the Magoy, a radio message comes through from Will.
The same Will who dropped his radio in the water earlier in the episode, just a reminder that it is the little things. When they find him trapped in a room, they listen and are swayed by his arguments. With Magnus’ repeated warning to watch for inconsistencies, they venture into the quickly flooding room and surround him.
However, before his level of human or Magoi can be judged, footsteps and flashlights give away each others presence. Before we know it, there is a face off between two Magnus’ and two Will’s, with a whole lot of guns aimed at each other as well.
The confusion is evident in the newcomers as the original Magnus orders them to lower their weapons and accusations are voiced over the deaths of the other team members. With the original Magnus’ theory about turning them against each other by taking on their image, the new Will explains that they only arrived 10 minutes previously. Still, all the original team are convinced these newcomers are the Magoi, having been together for hours.
With the revelation though, the new Magnus begins to question Declan about the loss of his team and his convictions are clearly swayed as this Magnus explains it could not have been them if they had only just arrived. However, the original Magnus is quick to jump to defence by again accusing the newcomers of taking on the image of her and Will in order to trick them.
In the end, it is left to Henry to make the slip and accuse them outright of being Magoi. The reactions of the new Magnus and Will surely could not be faked. Nor could the light bulb moment the new Magnus experiences as she realises that the originals were the Magoi and had used her team in an effort to save their own kind, however she is yet to win over Declan and Henry. New Magnus rules out Henry and Declan as Magoi because they’ve already been in the water, and original Magnus quickly catches on and realises that new Magnus wants them to jump in the water to see who turns into a Magoi.
Immediately, Henry and Declan react badly to the idea of a supercharged Magoi, only to be rebuked by the new Magnus only moments before she launches herself at the original and sends them both flying into the water!
As they hit the water, original Magnus transforms into a Magoi whilst her Will counterpart makes a run for it. The Will we now know to be the real version shoots and kills the Magoi, and the team now watch and listen to the disturbing whines of a dying Magoi in the water, as Henry and Declan come to the realisation that Magnus and Will have just saved them.
Later on, with the remaining members of the team safe, dry and packing to return to normality, Henry approaches Magnus with a question obviously a long time coming. How did the Magoi mimic them so perfectly? The answer: the Magoi used Henry and Declan’s knowledge and memories to construct the perfect images, which when you think about it, definitely makes the Magoi intelligent creatures. Unfortunately it also makes them more dangerous as well.
With their final trip home being both a transportation of the Magoi to the Sanctuary and an honour to their fallen friends, the team leave the flooding ship and head onwards to the next adventure!
Thank you for reading my visiting WHR. I will soon be posting news about the exclusive access Kenn arranged for GeekySteph and I at the MCM London Exposition, so keep an eye out for the WormholeRiders News Agency detailed reports we will be bringing you in the future too!
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