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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earth Final Conflict Review: 1x02 Truth

(Edited because apparently I'm too incompetent to make a proper cut-tag! :-))

Well, the co-reviewing thing didn't quite work out. But I'm never one to ditch a fun idea until I get distracted, so I think I'm gonna keep going with this. It's fun!

Besides, I like sharing my love of occasionally bad (yet awesome) sci fi shows with my blog readers. It does mean I'm changing styles some. I've never been fond of bias-free synopses (if you want one of those, just watch the show!) and thus I'm going to do what I do with my recaps. Fill them with my opinion and hopefully make you chuckle.



The 90s had funny ideas about the future.

"Implants don't have vendettas."

Synopsis:



So this episode starts with a meeting between Da'an and other Taelons (kinda neat since we see what they look like without the human-ish facades!). The Taelons are concerned about Da'an what with the whole assassination attempt last episode. Da'an fills them in on his recruitment of William Boone, who has "potential beyond question." Da'an doesn't explain this further though because it's time for an audience with the masses.

We get a hint about Taelon social power here because as Da'an (now in his usual bald fleshiness) speaks to the masses, we quickly glimpse his image on many television sets, including one at the Flat Planet Cafe. The female bartender is less than pleased by this and tries to change the channel, but Da'an is on all of them. (There's also a fairly interesting looking young black main in strange glasses reclining on the couch. He might be important later.)

When Da'an introduces Boone, we see that he's not a very good public speaker. He mumbles something suitable, but visibly flinches when a reporter asks if he knew the assassin of Jonathan Doors (well, actually his CVI is providing memories very fast, but the effect is the same). Boone affirms and mentions that they were friends and platoonmates during the "01 war." When asked if Eddy was working alone, Boone is about to respond that they're investigating that, when Da'an steps in, seizing the opportunity to mention "evil groups" of humans that are against cooperation with the Taelons.

Later, Sandoval gives Boone an introduction to Taelon virtual glass (which is more like a forcefield: needs no cleaning, and doesn't break easily). He also gives Boone a primer on CVI use by asking him what he had for lunch in 1987. Boone, by the way, was in Junior High back then. Much to his own surprise, Boone can answer. Sandoval seems to be enjoying his stint as sinister mentor.



Boone meets with Lili, who is amazed by the CVI's capabilities, but warns Boone away from investigating Kate's death. She's worried because the investigation effects all of them. Boone has an awesome moment though, when he shows her how a transducer was used to blow up his wife's car...by blowing up a car. He also suggests that he doesn't know for sure that the Taelons killed Kate to recruit him. Someone else really wanted to recruit him too.



So Boone ends up taking Lili to meet an informant in a warehouse. This informant is Augur, the young black guy from the previous scene. He is awesome. And paranoid. But he takes a liking to Lili after a bit. She seems more bemused than anything. Boone also questions Bob, his one named ex-partner, who gives him the witness statements which mention a specific car, which Boone remembers seeing as his wife left.

Via Augur's mad database hacking skillz, he gets a name (and we get more CVI-awesomeness, because he flips through the pictures so fast we can barely see them!) Damn that thing is awesome! We get a name, though, Judson Corr. Which is an awesome sci-fi kind of name. Unfortunately, the search warns Corr, so when Boone goes to meet him, he meets an explosion instead.

Boone is summoned from his office to Washington, where Da'an is annoyed. He wants to know how this search benefits the Taelons. Because brainwashees aren't supposed to have their own interests. Da'an's kind of a bitch here. Boone is clever though and points out that if Da'an didn't have his wife killed, then the attempt might have been directed toward him and through him, the Taelons. Da'an accepts this self-directed explanation, and tells him point blank that he didn't order Kate's death.

Personally, I think that leaves a lot open, Boone seems to believe him.

At the Flat Planet, Doors makes another of his awesome entrances. He and Boone have a tense standoff, and Boone reveals that he believes Da'an. Which makes Doors the most likely suspect. When he leaves, Doors asks Lili if she thinks he's still with him. She affirms and Doors orders her to kill him if that changes. Eek. But kind of understandable.

Boone has Augur hack Corr's file again but this time revealing his location. (Augur also calls Lili with a warning about charging them for any broken inventory.) There's a fairly awesome warehouse fight scene. Boone's a big guy and good at this sort of thing. It ends with Boone dangling Corr over a railing and then pulling him up in exchange for answers. Where he's shot by a suddenly appearing Sandoval.

Sandoval (who's going to bring Corr to the Taelons) reveals that HE's the one who had Kate Boone killed, and claims that he did it to spare Boone his own turmoil. Apparently, when he was implanted, his interests and goals shifted to the point where his own wife started protesting, asking a lot of questions, and filing for divorce. Ultimately, she was an impediment to his service to the Taelons, so he put her in an FBI sanitarium. Ouch. He actually blinks away tears at the end of his spiel.

Later, in the sanitarium, a wary and scared looking Dee Dee Sandoval gets a gift of orchids. While William Boone stands at his wife's plants and thinks. While Da'an resumes his meeting with the other Taelons, musing about the usefulness of human brutality.

--

New Characters/New Developments:

Augur - A fellow with a colorful outfit, a French-African or Island accent that I can't pinpoint (sorry, I'm not good with accents), paranoia, mad hacking skills and fingers in every pot. He can apparently influence the rise and fall of currency. He's pretty awesome.

Judson Corr - the Assassin from last episode, he's now earned a picture. Mostly because he's hot.

"01 War" - This is the first time we hear about war prior to Taelons' arrival. This may be a plot point later.

Boone - Used to be military, and was in a platoon during the war with Eddy Jordan

Sandoval - had been married, institutionalized his wife under the influence of the CVI

--

Review:

This episode was a strong follow up to the first episode, and we got to see a bit more about the dark side of Doors. Granted, he didn't have Boone's wife killed, but he was more than willing to order poor Lili to take Boone out if it looked like Boone would turn on him. On one sense, it's kind of understandable. If the Taelons are the people he thinks they are, Boone's defection could mean all of their deaths.

Speaking of the Taelons, this episode definitely makes them more sinister. For all that Boone believes Da'an's assertion about not ordering Kate's death, there are more than enough clues that Sandoval wasn't acting of his own initiative. The biggest being, why bother shooting Corr, if Corr was just going to corroberate Sandoval's story? That doesn't even address how horrifying the CVI is. Da'an genuinely expected Boone to just let go of the murder of his wife once implanted! That alone implies a scary loss of self even without Sandoval's tragic example.

Sandoval got some good fleshing out in this episode, getting to be much more than just "sinister lackey". First we got to see him seeming to enjoy a slightly sinister mentor role, then we got the reveal at the end. I admit, I'm not really fond of that kind of monologue reveal, but Flores sells it pretty well, and his dispassionate retelling is terrifying. As is the shot of poor, shell-shocked Dee Dee at the end. Boone's thinking of her at least (the orchids seem to be from his wife's plants) but will that be enough?

I don't know if I think this episode really helped Boone as a character. It showcased some of his more awesome moments: blowing up the car, confronting Doors, and the fight scene. It also allowed him to be less inscrutable, actually showing anger and even sorrow toward the end. But without the inscrutability, Boone's got this sort of monotonic stillness that comes across kind of brick-like. Perhaps he'll get to show more charisma later, but right now, he's not really working for me.

It was neat to see all the good and bad points of the CVI. Boone's flashbacks look really unnerving, but it clearly has uses: especially when it comes to speed-reading, photo identifying, and mystery solving. The downside of course being the institutionalizing-your-wife thing.

And finally, Augur's just awesome. A little amoral, a tad sleazy, but always awesome. He also adds a nice "young" vibe to this cast. His interaction with Boone and Lili is pretty entertaining. He's a good counter to Lili's business like demeanor, and it's interesting that he's introduced to the group through Boone rather than through Doors. Though to be fair, it's not like Augur and Doors would move in the same circles.

--

I'm ditching the statistics because they're funnier in my head than on paper. :-)

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