“The Depths” was written by Gillian Horvath and directed by Martin Wood, and opens on Will (Robin Dunne) and Helen (Amanda Tapping) discussing finances and the drain that the war against insurgents is having on the finances at the Sanctuary.
Before continuing my review, below please find the promotional trailer for part two of the two part season four finale “Sanctuary For None, part 1” courtesy of Syfy.
Will is concerned while Helen seems more focused on the fight, but before the discussion can sink into an argument, Henry (Ryan Robbins) arrives with news on SCU doings.
Using the files that Tesla gave him “in the land of lost socks” Henry’s been able to access information on test sites, including Bolivia. Helen gets concerned about this site in relation to myths about a feathered serpent – an Abnormal that her father tried and failed to find. She tells Henry to contact Declan and get him to check the other test sites, then announces that she and Will are going to Bolivia.
Helen thinks that the team is in way over its head. She and Will charge in, zapping the soldiers, but are they themselves zapped by one of the scientists.
Back at the Sanctuary, Henry is making a video for his unborn child. He starts off by hoping that the world of the future will be more accepting of Abnormals, before geeking out about jet packs. He complains about Helen’s preference for hard copy records, but concedes that these can be read “after the zombie apocalypse”.
There is a reminder that zombies are slow, can’t climb trees and that a cricket bat to the head works wonders – a reference to Shawn of the Dead that made me giggle like an idiot (OMG they have to get Simon Pegg on Sanctuary! How cool would that be?!) Henry realises that his child is going to grow up in England and have a cricket bat. And an accent. Someone break it to Henry that he has an accent, heh.
In the cave, Will wakes up with a hangover which he blames on the zap gun. The leader of the SCU group, Michelle Morris (Brenda Campbell), introduces herself and says that she was briefed on Magnus and the Sanctuary network.
Helen demands their release and that of the creature, which Michelle calls a dragon (Puff, Smoky or Daryl?) She claims to have studied for years and has no plans to give the creature up.
The soldiers shoot at fissures in the cave ceiling to open up a drop zone. This immediately goes Very Wrong – some of the falling rocks hit the dragon and it is not happy in the slightest. It whips soldiers out of the way with its tail and bullets just ricochet off it. One bullet bounces off and hits Will as the cave begins to collapse. The SCU team beat a hasty retreat. Helen tries to get to Will, but the snake slaps her as more rocks fall.
Will comes around and then probably wishes that he had not – he has taken a bullet to the stomach and is bleeding heavily. He looks round and sees Helen lying amongst rubble. As he calls her name, she wakes up. He crawls over to her and she realises he has been injured.
Helen can not see the SCU team but there is a battered medical kit. She recovers that and cleans Will’s wound. The bullet is lodged inside, which means Helen needs to get it out. This is not done easily or without pain and Will struggles to hold it together as she does that and then sews him up. However he has lost a lot of blood and needs water. Miracle of miracles, Helen finds an underground spring. Seriously, what are the chances?
In the laboratory of Doctor Geeky, Henry is still recording himself. He brings out a full outer shell system – “the FOSS” – then decides to name it later (if that’s not a Stargate Atlantis reference, I will eat my hat). It is an energy shield that protects the wearer from sonic and EM pulses. Henry proceeds to link it to a battery and prove it works, managing to throw himself to the floor in the process.
Underground, Will is feeling much better, which he puts down to being half Irish. No, I didn’t understand that either. Helen tells him that he ought to rest, but he points out that getting out of the cave is more important. Helen reckons that they have about forty eight hours to get out before a recovery team goes in search of Morris and her team. They search the cave and find a seam that could lead to another tunnel.
Will and Helen crawl through a very narrow tunnel. This cannot be good for either of them (as I don’t believe Helen’s ribs are okay) but there’s the added complication that Will is a little claustrophobic. I liked the lighting of this scene and the close camera shots – they really gave a feeling of tightness and atmosphere.
Will makes the point that they do not know if the crawl space will go anywhere, but as Helen points out – there certainly is not one back in the cave. He gets annoyed at this and rants at her – saying that it does not matter how stupid a situation is, she will bull her way ahead regardless. He freaks out and wants to go back, but Helen pushes him on.
The tight tunnel opens into another cave. Will flops down, panting and angry. Helen asks if he is feeling sick or dizzy. He says both and she explains that hypoxia can cause both, as well as a short temper. Will drinks more of the water she found, and then gets a little wide around the eyes. He pulls of the bandage covering his wound to see it close up. What IS in that water?
Helen is not sure that it’s the elixir of life. After all, Will’s wound was very severe. She says that it might look better without being that. Will mentions that he feels fine and that the water must contain something. But he uses a word that he knows but hasn’t used since his pre-med days – his memory is crystal clear and he can remember everything. Magnus surmises that the myth about the snake giving wisdom to its followers wasn’t quite true and that it was down to the water, with the snake guarding that. SCU – and Helen’s father – were after the wrong thing.
However, the water has magical properties that are not long-lived and leave the drinker tired and irritable. Will points out that Helen’s ribs must have been “cured” as well, or at least the water has blocked the pain. He warns her that if she’s had the high, then the low will follow; just as if the water was a drug.
Meanwhile Henry has put on the personal shield. This is not going to end well, is it? Though it looks fabulous from the front, he turns to reveal a metal backpack that holds a car battery. Powered up, he resembles a Christmas tree, but it would seem the system has a power issue. He just electrocuted himself, LOL.
In a winding tunnel, Will is… apologising? to Helen about his outburst. She asks if he really thinks that she would risk his life. He responds with his belief that she needs the threat of death to make life seem worthwhile.
She gets annoyed and tells him to imagine living five lifetimes, but he calls her out and challenges her to imagine just having the one. He says that he gets one set of days, and that she should appreciate what it means that he gives them to her. Helen whispers that she thinks about it every day, but Will is gone and does not hear her. He could probably have done with that, really.
The tunnel opens into a cave with several openings. They are closer to the surface, but still not close enough. Helen moves to carry on but Will collapses. Whatever is in the water has worn off and he is crashing from the effects. It reminds him of college.
Helen wants to give him more water, so that he can make it out but Will doesn’t want it. She argues, then forces him to drink. He recovers, but is very angry at her. He slaps the bottle out of her hand and walks off.
It would be interesting to know if Helen was feeling the after-effects during this scene, or if this is just her “knowing better”. Her forcing Will to drink had very disturbing overtones for me, and I’m not sure I’d like that to be a part of her true character.
Helen goes after Will and demands that he admit that she did the right thing. He concedes, but says he doesn’t have to like her for it. Helen tells him that she does her job and if that risks their friendship, then she has to do that.
She points out that had she done what he wanted, Abby would be dead. Will accuses her of pushing people away because it hurts less to lose someone she doesn’t really care about. She asks him if he would blame her if that was true.
Will brings up the list of the dead, evoking Ashley’s name. Helen walks off.
They come across a cave with a pool. Helen goes to take a closer look, but the serpent appears and it doesn’t seem happy. It dives at them and they end up tumbling into the pool. Swimming for safety, they’re pursued by the snake, emerging somewhere deeper in the cave system. The serpent breaks off the chase. Will doses Helen and they figure out that the serpent can’t enter natural sunlight.
Back in Dexter’s lab, Henry is retesting the FOSS, with rather explosive results. He manages to switch it off and get up. “Back to square one” indeed!
Meanwhile Will and Helen are arguing again; this time over the fact they need to get across the pool even though the serpent is still snarling at them. Helen dismisses Will’s idea as him being coming off a high. Will grabs the bottle and downs the whole lot. It gives him the ability to see a weak fissure in the ceiling.
He throws rocks at the spot and opens a hole. The serpent backs off from the sunlight, leaving a path clear to the other tunnel. Helen gives him his due but warns that when the huge dose wears off his body will shut down. Helen and Will follow the current.
Henry’ disastrous test has left him melancholy. He records himself talking about not knowing his own parents and how he thought the world was getting better. He wants to leave something of himself “in case something happens”, so his child knows what he was like.
Back in the tunnels, Will has hit a low and is generally moaning like a car-sick child. He accuses her of paying his Harvard scholarship, something she admits, but she denies forcing his decisions. She finds a dead end. Will collapses. Leaving him, Helen investigates a shelf and finds a way out. However, he’s in a lot of pain and, though Helen dangles Abby like a carrot, he cannot move.
Helen opts to go back for more water. Will tells her to get out, but she simply kisses his cheek and leaves. She struggles back to the original cave and, as she fills the bottle again, finds the heart monitor fritzes every time it gets close to the crystals embedded in the rock.
After making her way back to Will, she forces water into him and he comes round. She uses the flashlight to show him that the healing properties are found in the crystals rather than the water.
Back in the Sanctuary, Will is recovering in bed. Helen doses him with a weak solution, so that he does not have to go cold turkey. Will says that the situation reminds him of Sherlock Holmes, his favourite literary character, who was addicted to opium.
Helen again tells Will that he wasn’t some the result of a long game, that she’d taken a chance in employing him. She explains how hard it was to live her life over, watching her every mistake and not being able to prevent them, or to stop terrible events.
Will tells Helen that he’s no longer her protégé and wants to know what she’s been hiding since her return. She tells him that it’s not time and he must trust her.
Overall, this was an interesting episode, perhaps a little quiet in terms of action, but clearly revealing the stresses of the Sanctuary being independent is causing everyone both individually and as a group. The comic relief provided by Henry also gave an insightful into the situation from an Abnormal’s point-of-view. It was quite moving to see the usually buoyant Henry sobered by his new responsibilities as a father and how the chances might affect his unborn child.
The only question I had was the fate of Michelle Morris. Her team were clearly “red shirts” but her character seemed more defined and it wouldn’t surprise me if she surfaced in one of the final two episodes. Talking of which, Sanctuary returns in episode twelve “Sanctuary For None” the trailer is included above for your enjoyment.
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