Diving right into this review, we hear an interesting and applicable song called “Plow Under” by the Almanac Singers.
This song harkens back to the WWII era where it was originally composed to parody and protest the AAA’s (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) Lend-Lease program.
Within the Lend-Lease program there is a provision that allows farmers to “plow under” (or destroy) their crops and livestock in order to raise prices so that the farmers could stay in business and provide for society.
In the parody, the Almanac Singers quoted an isolationist senator that had stated that the Lend-Lease would “plow under every fourth American boy.”
As the episode pans around the abbey and its grounds, we see a mass of death and devastation – across the orchards and the enclosed abbey grounds, littered with dead mychotics; and then into the abbey and the refectory with the enormity of human destruction at the hand of Michael (Steven Weber).
Misled by their leader, nearly half of the inhabitants of St. Germain had had a taste of the Kool-Aid and endured a wretched death. We see Anne (Severn Thompson), Peter (Neil Napier), and Kyle (Matt Long) finally able to break into the dining hall, only to find a bewildering and disconcerting calm about the room; Anne is beside herself, overcome with agony, anguish, and grief.
We hear the voice of Michael, over the heartbreaking imagery. He is talking about purification, to Landry (Sean Tucker) and a few others that he has kept at his side for muscle. Michael wants to purify the survivors AND the CDC doctors, starting with the CDC. However, Michael wants Dr. Jordan (Jordan Hayes) brought directly to him.
From Michael and the henchmen we cut to our next present day survivors, Alan (Billy Campbell) and Sarah (Jordan Hayes). We see two sides of the door, two sides of a story – Alan is on the outside looking in, pleading with Sarah to open the door, to talk to him.
Sarah is doing her best to try to ignore Alan, from inside her room, as she cleans up and gets ready for the day. Sarah opens the door and implores Alan to get out of her way as she darts past him and down the hall. Alan finally stops her, whereupon Sarah appeals to Alan that she needs to find the baby – I could say that a mother always knows…but…
Sarah maintains that her baby is different, that she had run every prenatal test known to man, that the unborn child was not normal. At this point she is almost tearing up, seeing this, Alan interjects and tenderly says the words “our baby” and the walls that Sarah had put up are starting to crumble. They share a tender moment, then continue on.
This episode is masterfully written by Bobak Esfarjani, and after taking us through the devastation and despair of the present, we now flash forward thirty years to find Julia (Kyra Zagorsky) in the burnt out husk of the abbey. Looking around and surveying the remains of the abbey, Julia states into the recorder that she still “hasn’t located the contact” and that “this island is nothing but a grave.”
Returning to “our” abbey, Michael is returning to his sanctum, his lab, where we find that Sister Amy (Alison Louder) is STILL locked behind glass – something to be said about keeping cherished items behind lock and key. Michael is obviously distraught and distracted, recounting to Amy that the thinning is complete, that it was a terrible day but a necessary on, “the children are always the most difficult, it’s a pity they couldn’t be spared” – yeah right you monster!
Amy seems to be genuinely disturbed, almost shedding a tear. “I’m sorry that you had to go through it alone,” she says to Michael, claiming to have rethought about her position, having had the time to do so.
Misled by his feelings for Amy, befuddled and sidetracked by the day’s events and Amy’s musings about she wants to outshine all of her sisters and how she wants to “be a pillar of strength, and not a sheep to slaughter.
He comes ever closer to the cabinet, Amy asks Michael to honor her by making her the first in the new line; he bites and opens the cabinet and claims his lover, his daughter.
A quick embrace leads to a (pseudo)passionate kiss, and we hear Michael telling Amy that “since she had grown to womanhood” he has looked forward to the planting ritual…YUCK! He lays her on one of the tables in the lab, tells her that Anne is a fine and decent woman, but that Amy has fire.
Things are about to get hairy as Landry “and the boys” enter the lab, to Michael’s horror and disbelief and to Amy’s exasperation to their timing, “were you waiting until I was actually in labor?” she spits at Landry as Michael stares on – being held back by the henchmen. As Michael struggles Amy chuckles and declares that “there isn’t going to be a planting ritual, today or ever!”
Back at the refectory, Sarah and Alan walk in as Anne, Kyle, and Peter are still grappling with the reality and finality of Michael’s devastating path. Alan’s only question is directed at Peter asking him what he is doing there. Kyle begins to answer when a brawl ensues and is barely extinguished by Kyle when the Coast Guard storms in, guns wielded.
The Coast Guard has arrived to evacuate the crew they let go on a 2 week tour 8 days earlier and then quarantine St. Germain and look into the other non-existent island and its pathogenic issues.
Kyle informs Lt. Commander Winger (Patricia Summersett) that the leader of the pack misled his followers and Kool-aided them for (essentially) being bad apples. Sarah surmises that the infected bees may have caught a ride on the Jetstream to the St. Sebastian and may be the cause of their infection.
Commander Winger reinforces that her orders are to evacuate Peter and his team, however Peter launches into another test of wills with Winger stating that they have yet to contain their current pathogen on St. Germain. Sarah immediately jumps on this bandwagon saying that she too is also not going anywhere. This becomes a three way argument between Peter, Alan, and Sarah and ends in Winger asking who Alan is. Sarah explains that he is one of the top infectious disease specialists in the world, and it was funny to see Peter squirm when Winger asks him to vouch for Alan’s credentials.
When Alan matter of factly declares that he is no longer a part of the CDC and is not leaving the island, Winger says she doesn’t care, orders are orders and “on your own or bound and gagged” Alan was leaving the island with them. And what of the survivors? Winger says there are two cutters two days behind them to evacuate the survivors.
Anne pleads to stay, that this is their home, and for many it is the only home that they’ve ever known. As a reward, she is given 24 hours to pay her respects to the fallen in the refectory. A disappointed Anne runs off, chased down by Peter who tells her that he will help her tend to the dead; it’s a tender moment, maybe the beginning of something, who knows?
Cut to the bowels of the abbey and we see Michael being marched down a hall, flanked on either side and in the front and back by Landry and crew, and following Amy. Holding steadfast to his beliefs, Michael is still lecturing Amy about paths. He begins to seethe and spout at Amy, we as viewers are again given examples of the superb writing in the episode as Michael says such lines as “you want to kill me, I’ve lived for 500 years, death waits for me!” and “no matter what you do I’ll live forever” to which Amy coolly replies, “good, I’m counting on it.”
Back in the lab, Kyle is packing up as Sarah walks in, and without having known what actually happened to Sarah, he says that he’s glad she’s in one piece and that he “can’t imagine how things could get more insane” as Kyle shows Sarah the family tree ledger dating back to the 1600s…cue up the silver eyes…dun-dun-dun!
Sarah does the math and realizes that Michael is an immortal and decides that the best thing to do would be totally honest with Kyle and she reveals her immortality to him. Upon this revelation to Kyle, she explains the 500 year old man to him. Unwilling to believe Sarah, she takes a chance on the honey – grabbing a container she ingests a fingerful in front of Kyle to prove her point.
Shots ring out and Sarah and Kyle rush to the noise. They come across Alan putting himself between the guns and the mychotics. He yelling at Winger that they are here to find a cure, not murder its victims! But whoa, what’s this? They came from the outside in?
The now dead mychotic laying at the feet of Alan, Kyle, and Sarah is recognized by Sarah as one that she had shot – TWICE – outside the walls 5 days earlier. As questions are answered, another one now arises – if the mychotics inside the walls are dying in 36 hours of infection, why and how are the mychotics on the outside surviving? Much to the chagrin of Winger, out intrepid crew asserts that now more than ever they cannot leave the island; they need to investigate this, they cannot leave while looking the possibility of a cure in the face!
In the hallows of the abbey we find Amy having imprisoned Michael in the oubliette. This exchange was one of my favorite parts of this episode, exquisitely performed by Steven Weber and Alison Louder, there is no other way to recount this scene than to just recount some of the lines here:
† (M) “…imprisoned the king, queen of nothing”
† (A) “this coming from the man who just killed his children”
† (M) “yes, I have killed a thousand of my children, and I will create a thousand more and kill them all over again”
† (A) “such bravado from a man that stayed hidden on an island his entire life”
† (M) “men have worshipped me little girl”
† (A) “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you from up here”
At this point Michael begins to offer solutions for his demise for Amy to mull over, but none are worthy to be a “fitting end for a king, if I do say so myself” says Amy to Michael as the boys start to mortar and layer the oubliette with rock and marble. We see what could almost be seen as concern (for himself of course) washing over Michael, but putting on that brave face the banter begins anew:
† (M) “…but you can’t do this to me, I’m your father!”
† (A) “and I’m a dandelion…with teeth!”
† (M) “YOU WILL DIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!”
Exclaims Michael as the last stone is laid, closing over the oubliette, leaving Michael in the darkness. Now, being a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, my first thought was “The Cask of Amontillado”. Though being immortal, we can safely assume that Michael will not die. The best part of this parallel is the final line of Poe’s story: “In pace requiescat!” (“May he rest in peace!) – I LOVE this!!
Meanwhile, back upstairs Alan and Kyle are hastily conducting the
Commander Winger approved autopsy on the slain mychotic. They are discussing Sarah’s attributes, not those! Her immortality! And it is quite entertaining how nonchalantly Alan queries Kyle about her telling him; then Alan drops the bomb on Kyle that he is there on St. Germain to try and stop Ilaria, that Ilaria is behind the mess that was Arctic Biosystems, and (drumroll please) Ilaria is run entirely by immortals!
Their unbelievable conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Sarah and Winger. Alan and Kyle give to Sarah what they think is some kind of tree sap. Immediately Sarah comes up with “Sangre de Drago”. In looking up what this is, “Sangre de Drago” translates to “dragon’s blood”; it is a real substance, it is a form of latex from the tree that has medicinal properties.
Properties that the description straight up says:
1. Used by local peoples as a liquid bandage, applied to seal wounds
2. Its use by native people has led to scientific study of its mutagenicity
a. Mutagenicity – the capacity to induce mutations
Yep, that’s right up Helix’s alley!! Alas, the brothers are arguing again, this time about leads and cures and how this means they must venture outside the walls of the abbey.
Peter forbids Alan to go outside the walls, and Alan storms out. Sarah goes after Alan, and Peter tries, and momentarily stops her, telling her that if she leaves the room she is finished on his team. She stops, but only to say, “it was never your team Peter, you were just keeping Alan’s seat warm” and then continues on after Alan.
Sarah catches up to Alan and they begin a heart to heart of sorts. He telling her that all he wanted to was to stop Ilaria, to beat them at their own game. She telling him that this pathogen is the reason that Alan is on St. Germain – to find a cure because if he doesn’t Ilaria WILL find a way to exploit it to their advantage.
So what’s a girl to do now, MANIPULATE! Sarah begins to explain to Alan that “Peter will not go out there, Kyle doesn’t have the experience, I’ve never asked for anything…” and then asks Alan to go in her place, claiming that “our” baby is still alive, and moves in for a hug. Alan agrees to go in Sarah’s place.
From Alan and Sarah to Anne and Amy. Anne walks into Michael’s office looking for her father, but instead finds Amy…with her feet UP on the desk and in the middle of rearranging the furniture. “Michael is no longer with us, he’s found a new path” Amy proclaims to Anne.
Anne questions what she has done with him and other than saying “what you never had the courage to do” to Anne, Amy is not giving up the ghost. Once Anne sees the determination and finality in Amy, she believes that the running of the abbey is a two-woman show.
Nope! Anne is once again cast out and misled by her own beliefs, and she straightaway figures out that Amy did have her thrown into the oubliette. Amy scolds Anne further, telling her that like Michael she has lost her rights, and continues by telling Anne that she wants more, that she does not want to just be what Michael was/is.
Anne turns to leave the room and stops abruptly as she sees Michael’s portrait on the wall next to Agnes – fitting, he started the wall of fame, and he is the end of the line.
She is telling him about how 30 years earlier she had visited the island looking for him as well as a child that had been rumored to be on the island. Explaining that there is a new disease killing immortals, Julia tells Michael that she believes the chills, in particular its stem cells, are the key to the cure.
Leaving the abbey and wandering the grounds, Michael declares that he does indeed know what Julia is looking for, and it out by the water, in a cleft in the cliff. Julia creeps closer to edge, trying to steal a look over the edge to find that cleft. Misled by Michael’s decrepidness, Julia is caught leaning as he kicks her over the edge. Hanging on by her fingertips, Michael gets in touch with his French roots, preaching to Julia (as she clings to the rock face for her life), “oui, plus ça change, plus c’est pareil” – literally translated to the more things, change the more they stay the same.
At this point Michael’s neck begins to bleed, and right then his head slides off his neck revealing Caleb (Jimmy Thorburn) behind the still upright body and brandishing Hatake’s (Hiroyuki Sanada) sword.
Kicking the body over the edge and helping Julia up, they rest a minute by the edge and we hear Caleb say, “I guess the sword works.” Wow, talk about a look! Julia glares at Caleb; I would have gone a step further and smacked him upside the head for running off with the sword days earlier.
As we close out “Vade In Pace” Sarah visits Amy in the office to take up Amy on her offer for help in finding her and Alan’s baby. Firstly though, Sarah wants to know what happened to her, why would they take the baby? “We’d never hurt a baby” Amy reassures Sarah; in fact they did not abort the child, they apparently induced labor. Huh? Sarah is then shown a “baby behind glass” in a safe. Sarah is dumbfounded, I am confounded!
The final scene is spooky as all get out – the baby opens its eyes revealing SILVER eyes!!
What?? I know I was paying attention, how does the baby have silver eyes? It was merely a blip, frozen in time when Sarah became immortal, how is it growing? Also, where are Peter and Anne? What other survivors are there? Did Olivia (Sarah Booth) contract the mycosis caring for the mychotics?
Wow, what an episode, we are definitely going full speed ahead now, hold onto those hats and keep those arms and legs inside the wormhole at all times!
Thanks to Kenn for final audio, video embedding , and additional image staging, and many thanks to you for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency.
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