It is quiet at the Sanctuary. At 2 AM, Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and her team are getting some much needed rest. Typically, every home has its own night life; a mouse or two, maybe a few spiders who take advantage of the quiet to search for their next meal. But at Magnus’ house, spiders are never ordinary. In fact, they are down-right massive!
Before continuing my review, included below courtesy of Syfy is the promotional trailer for the next episode “Acolyte” airing Friday December 09, 2011. Enjoy!
The mechanical spider belonging to the “Invisible Albino Ninjas”, as Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) calls them, have been making the rounds and downloading a few consciousnesses. Fortunately for everyone, Magnus is on top of it. She grabs the little creepy device before it takes its own impression of her. Naturally, now that Magnus has a problem, everyone gets moving to solve it. What a team!
At this particular moment, Henry (Ryan Robbins) is the most important person on the team. His computer skills are necessary to determine exactly why the Radio Shack Spider got loose. He, with the help of Big Guy (Christopher Heyerdahl) determine that there may be a connection between the wayward spider and a few glitches that have been happening around the Sanctuary lately. Just when they seem to have come to a possible solution, an old “frienemy” shows up.
Our favourite Vampire, Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young) strides in as if he owns the place to inform everyone that he used the spiderbot to connect to their computer system accomplishing two very important objectives, to create a hidden sector, and to really piss off Henry. In fact, Tesla addresses our charming computer nerd as “Henrico The Wonder Wolf”, a title sure to become one of the most popular pet names for Henry. Tesla also calls him “Oh Henry”, later on, but I do not think that one will catch on.
It turns out that Tesla’s motives are entirely altruistic as always – not. In order to save Magnus’ life he has used the “Praxian Brain Spider” to patch into the computer system. Of course, the device left something behind; a “sentient organic Nanite”, that was quarantined behind multiple firewalls. Helen admits it might be her fault that when she had Henry move data around to external storage clouds, there may have been a nanosecond when they were vulnerable.
After a few moments of fault finding by everyone, Magnus interrupts to ask how they can fix the problem. It seems that a fix is impossible. The thing is growing and evolving. This is beginning to remind me of the Stargate SG-1 season 4 episode, “Entity”, where an alien world of intelligent machines sends one of their own to inhabit Major Carter.
The worst case scenario according to Henry is that the invading Nanite takes control of the entire system causing havoc for the Sanctuary and its denizens. This prompts Big Guy to admit to Tesla, “I don’t like it when you visit.” I love that line.
Since this little device is Praxian, Henry admits that he has no solution. He cannot even talk to it in the computer language he is so familiar with. Tesla gets that very slight smile on his face that indicates he has an idea, “We have to learn to speak its language”. After some cryptic discussion between Tesla and Magnus, it is decided – they are going to take a trip into the computer system itself. How cool is that? So it looks as if, in this case, rather than the computer invading Helen’s mind, as in the SG episode, she, and Tesla will invade the computer’s mind.
When Magnus and Tesla arrive in the virtual environment, everything looks the same, more or less. The first thing that Magnus notices is a chandelier that she replaced 50 years ago. As they look around, there are some differences, such as a hallway that appears to continue on forever.
As they chat, a shadow passes quickly behind them and is gone. It attracts their attention, yet, there is no evidence of it. Continuing on, they decide to go to Henry’s lab to examine his computer. This requires the use of the elevator.
As they open the door to go through, Helen has to quickly reach out and pull Tesla back. There is no elevator. Not even a shaft. Instead, the door opens onto a cliff. Once they are both safe, Tesla asks what would have happened if they had fallen. Magnus answers, “virtual death”.
Then the shadow passes quickly behind them again. They also notice that somehow, they are no longer where they were. They have moved down a level. Helen opens a door in front of them, telling Tesla that this should be Will’s office. But it is not. It looks like a gloomy basement level, again with a never ending hallway. As Tesla attempts to peer along its cavernous sections, a man runs toward them. It is Adam Worth (Ian Tracey).
Last time he was around, he was dead. No really. The poor man had lost his marbles, gone back in time, caused all kinds of problems for Magnus, forcing her to live 113 years all over again, and was ultimately killed after he accidentally killed his own daughter. Here he is, confused and unaware about what is going on, but as pleasant as he can manage under the circumstances.
Tesla gets right to the point, would Adam happen to have a Praxian Nanite in his pocket. He offers to help. As he does so, suddenly the environment around them changes and is officially labeled as ‘cool’ by Tesla. Adam continues to provide, causing an image of some sort of computer board to appear in the air before them. He tells them that this is Praxis. The affable host, Adam, heads off to fetch tea for Magnus, and wine for Tesla. While he is gone, much discussion about the digital display takes place. “It’s like finding the Library at Alexandria”, she smiles, causing Tesla to again crow that he has saved a civilization for Magnus.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Henry and Will continue to monitor Magnus and Tesla. It seems to be able to keep well ahead of Henry, breaking out of his fire-walled cages. Henry also has an update on the doom and gloom scenario he previously provided to his team. It the nanite breaks out and takes over the real world, it could be catastrophic. Will adds his own unique touch, comparing it to “Skynet”, a movie reference to The Terminator, written by James Cameron and William Wisher Jr.
We return to the virtual world where Magnus and Tesla are continuing to study the image of the Praxian Library and Adam has returned. He spends his time pacing and muttering to himself that there is something missing, something he should be able to remember. Whatever it is, it seems to be just beyond his grasp. As plots go, however, it is looking very much like he will figure it out and may become a danger to Magnus and Tesla very soon.
As he mutters, he mentions Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), Magnus’ daughter. This gets Magnus’ attention. Apparently, all the books on the shelves surrounding them have information in them that Adam is accessing (including information on Magnus).
While he does so, Tesla finds the nanite and contains it. It seems as if the problem is solved. Yet, Adam does not seem to want to let go. Not yet.
With Magnus and Tesla insistent that they need to leave, it seems as if Adam is forced to let them go. They return to the real world and tell Henry that they encountered Adam. With everything sorted, Magnus decides to head back to bed to get some much needed rest.
But, as I said, Adam is not ready to let go. He appears in her room. Magnus asks, “How did you get in here?” Adam replies, “Actually, I never left.” Helen replies, “…and neither did I”. Moments later, Tesla dashes into Magnus’ bedroom. He has discovered that they are still trapped. As he sees that Adam is still there, he realizes that Magnus already knows. And worse, they did not actually quarantine the nanite. Even Henry was not real.
To my mind, we have now moved away from “Stargate Sanctuary” to view “Star Trek Sanctuary” (Star Trek The Next Generation, Season 6, “Ship In A Bottle”, written by Rene Echevarria) where Holodeck Moriarty (Daniel Davis) wants to be part of the real world. Just like Adam, Moriarty uses illusion to attempt to convince Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) to find a way for him to access the real world.
Unlike Moriarty, though, Adam does not remember anything about himself. This would imply that Adam is just naturally evil. In earlier episodes, it seemed that his experiences were what created his immoral personality. To me, the personality of Adam Worth was a bit of a puzzle in this episode.
With his control of the virtual Sanctuary, Adam easily continues to manipulate the surroundings around the three of them. Both Magnus and Tesla find themselves chained up in a new environment. Adam then grabs Helen’s arm and shows her experiences with Ashley that I am sure she would rather forget. Moments later, there stands her daughter before her. But Ashley’s presence is nothing more than a taunt; an illusion created by Adam. As he explores ‘the stories’ of Magnus and people from her past, he begins to remember what happened; that she had killed him, despite her protestations that they are friends.
Adam becomes angry and accuses Helen of killing not only him, but his daughter as well. In anger, he grabs her around the throat in an attempt to harm her. In the real world, Henry and Will become alarmed as Magnus’ medical monitors go nuts. Tesla does his Vampire thing and breaks loose from his chains to rescue Helen.
Of course Adam quickly goes Vampire as well being able to emulate anything in the virtual world. Apparently, “It’s my world and my rules”. As they duke it out, a very alarmed Will shoves a needle of adrenaline into Magnus causing her to jump up and punch Adam with enough force to send him flying backward. As Tesla says, “Yowza”!
This begs the question from Magnus, “if Will and Henry know we are in trouble, “why don’t they pull us out?” Tesla answers, “Maybe they can’t”. They find their way back to the library only to discover that Adam has taken over control of the Praxian floating computer board. The nanite power is growing. Magnus has an idea.
Using a reference from The Wizard of Oz, she states that it is time to peek behind the curtain. Henry’s lab appears before them. Helen decides that they will have to take the risk of shutting down the system from the inside, meaning they could both be lost and “wake up as turnips”. But, just to keep things interesting, Adam turns up. Yes, I said it…turnip/turn up. Ha!
Adam uses an energy pulse to zap both Magnus and Tesla, knocking them unconscious. As a result, Magnus and Tesla flat line in the real world. Since Tesla mentions earlier in the episode that he is immortal, I expect that the writers will have a very good explanation for this inconsistency. Does this mean they are dead? Not according to Will. They are brain dead, but their bodies are still alive. Their brains are trapped in the computer core. This explains why Tesla is not dead. Back in the virtual world, Tesla and Magnus wake up on their feet. Adam complains that it is lonely when they are not there. At this point, I am pretty sure most of us do not really care if Adam is lonely or not, he is an the evil bastard!
Now that he has them awake to witness his discoveries, Adam finds a way to see the real world through the security cameras, inadvertently showing Magnus and Tesla that they are brain dead. As they discuss their situation, Magnus suggests that Tesla use his electromagnetic abilities. They as yet have no idea that Henry is attempting his own rescue. While Tesla attempts to manipulate the virtual computers to send a message to Henry and Will, Adam seems distracted by what he is watching on the displays and learning. Magnus and Tesla are successful. They manage to get a message through!
They also discover that Adam has problems multitasking which may work to their advantage. Tesla and Magnus split up. Tesla uses his electromagnetic abilities to go after the Nanite, finding it in a room that looks like one of Adam’s old haunts, while Magnus meets up with Will, who has also entered the virtual reality Sanctuary. Adam enters stage right.
He sizes Tesla up as a potential body for him so he can escape to the real world. One thing is for sure, Ian Tracey has definitely mastered being menacing. Magnus and Will arrive as well, bringing the group together nicely so that Adam can threaten Helen with the awful decision to choose between Tesla and Will as a potential body for Adam. Helen chooses Will. Tesla seems pleased. Will is incensed. All of this is obviously a ruse to keep Adam busy as something else goes on. We just do not know yet.
Back in the real world, Henry is working on his “Undeading Device”. But, he has no idea if it will work. We segue back to Magnus and Tesla as Adam takes over Will’s body and disposes of his old one. He is quite pleased with his acquisition. “Now the world will bow down before me.” I almost expected an evil laugh, “Muhwahahahahaha…”
Adam, still insufferably pleased with himself, sits down in the chair that Helen occupied when she arrived in the virtual sanctuary. He sets himself up to be transferred to the real world, only to find that he has not gone anywhere, and now Magnus has control of the virtual reality.
Later, Magnus enjoys a glass of wine with Tesla. He asks her if she had to do it all over again, who would she have chosen if she had to choose between Will and him.
Naturally and as expected, Helen Magnus leaves him guessing!
This episode of Sanctuary reminded me a great deal of the best episodes of Stargate. It was written by James Thorpe, a relatively new writer who is familiar with the sci-fi genre and shows a great deal of promise in the quality of his scripts. When he pitched this script to Amanda Tapping, Damian Kindler and Martin Wood, he really knocked it out of the park!
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