Hello from Sanctuary Team in the heart of Europe!
It has been exactly nine months after Sanctuary season two finale could be watched on our TV screens. 15 October 2010 witnessed a madness over Canada and United States as those two countries got the chance to watch the long awaited Kali III, marking the beginning of season three of Sanctuary.
A question comes to mind, was it worth it? I can hear your surprised sighs. Yes, it was a mind-blowing episode that has certainly made the nine months period of re-watching season one and two well worth the wait.
I would like to explore the elements of the premiere that made us all draw in our breaths, smile, or shiver with excitement in our seats while watching last week’s Sanctuary. The most crucial factor in TV series, as well as movies, is the on-screen dynamic between the main and supporting characters. I will try to analyse a couple of them in this review.
Let us start with Agam Darshi‘s Kate and Robin Dunne‘s Will. These two certainly present a very interesting and still growing dynamic.
Kate Freelander being relatively new to the Sanctuary team still tries to catch up with the pace of her new found friends and, more importantly, let them know they can count on her. I am not talking here about fighting or shooting skills, though she showed pretty good moves already in season two and we know she can take good care of herself when needed. What I am thinking about are feelings, usual human feelings, such as friendship, concern and will to belong. Kali III shows us an amazing change in Agam Darshi‘s character.
Although, personally Kate won my heart already in previous episodes, she really makes those not convinced and new fans rethink Kate’s agenda. She shows an admirable compassion for the people of Mumbai, even though in Kali I – II she was not so willing to go with a traditional Hindi attitude hinted to her by Ravi, played by Shaker Paleja.
However now, we see her become more soft-edged and truly willing to help, not caring about herself. Having said that, she still conveys amazing self-confidence, which can be noticed in her “I’ll be all right” and “I’ll have to get back to you on that” directed to Magnus and Ravi, the head of Mumbai Sanctuary.
On the other hand, we are privy to the incredible change in Will’s character. From previous episodes we know him as the logically thinking, down to earth psychologist, not so willing to see or accept less conventional solutions. However, in season three premiere he is a different person.
After everything he went through with Kali (Sahar Biniaz) he seems unusually calm and straight thinking. Saying that, I have in mind his conversation with Magnus about the need for him to die in order to communicate with Kali. When he says “Walk me through it” I thought – is that truly Will? It is almost like what he went through made him less afraid of death. And the field of wheat is heavily symbolic. It represents the gate between life and afterlife.
(Later in the review I will again address Will and Helen’s conversation, which gives much insight into this relationship.)
Coming back to the Kate and Will’s dynamic, we are witnesses to a really moving moments between those two. First, Kate kind of ignores Magnus, not wanting to let Dr. Zimmerman even consider what Helen’s proposing. Ms Freelander is simply sceptical to the method and we can see she values her collegue’s life more than what Big Bertha might still do.
The second scene takes place before Will undergoes the procedure.
He does something uncommon, namely he trusts Kate with the letters in his drawer. One might argue he would do it anyway, seeing as he thought his end was close. However, it takes more to trust someone with secret such as this. Thanks to the impressive acting skills of Robin Dunne, we can see this trust conveyed in Will’s eyes and the flicker of hope and faith at Kate’s words “When you get back”.
Even though her little speech is done with a use of harsh-sweet words and tone, the viewers can see Will gathering courage and focusing on the task at hand. We cannot forget the third scene when Kate straightforwardly refuses to give up on Dr Zimmerman’s life, believing in him and, I got a feeling at that point, believing in miracles. This relationship certainly makes the viewers feel good and promises a lot more to come in the next episodes of season three.
All of the next three relationships I would like to highlight involve Dr Helen Magnus, played by the incredible and amazing Amanda Tapping. There is no surprise here, seeing as Magnus is the lead character that integrates and keeps together all other dynamics.
Let us start with Helen and Henry (Ryan Robbins). Although, there is not much on-screen interaction between them two, the little we can see goes straight to our hearts. We begin the whole episode with Helen helping survivors and patching them up. It already is so Helen-like. The brief interaction that then takes place between her and Henry certainly points to great friendship. However, later in the episodes, when Henry is let to believe Helen did not make it (three crashes in 160 years) our hearts go out to him crying aboard the Sanctuary ship.
Personally, I see Henry as a son figure to Helen and his mourning her moved me deeply. However, what I like to point here is, that even while he thought Helen was not alive, Henry keeps on conspiring behind Wexford’s back, trying to find Big Bertha and by that carrying on Helen’s task (one may even go further and say that was a symbol for continuing Dr Magnus’ legacy). Whether Mr Foss did that believing he has to complete his boss’ task, or had he sensed that Helen is alive, remains untold, but still makes us, viewers smile.
And when we watch his tears-glistening eyes seeing Magnus alive and well on computer screen, and Helen’s “Henry” spoken in soft voice, we almost shed a tear ourselves. The short but powerful exchange between these two characters makes for a really emotional part of the episode.
As an addition I would like to mention the short Helen/Big Foot exchange over the phone. The fact, that Christopher Heyerdahl‘s character “was not worried” indicates how much faith he has in his friend. And you simply have to grin when you see Helen’s smile “It’s good to hear you voice old friend”.
Next up, is the Helen/Will dynamic. Now, this is certainly intriguing. As mentioned above, Will seems much more different in this episode than in the previous ones. He is more independent. However, as seen in the conversation between him and Magnus, being aboard the Forsythe ship, he stills relies on Helen’s opinion and takes a huge “leap of faith”, as Magnus puts it, with dying to meet Kali once more. We notice here, how resigned Will is.
He still wants to help humanity as much as he can and for as long as he can. However, he knows he will not get out of it alive. Amazing and very admirable is the intesity with which Helen states “The decison to do this may be yours, but the decision about how far to take it is absolutely mine. No argument Will.”
It clearly shows how much Magnus believes in Will and how much she values him. Then when the man is already ‘dead’ and on the field of wheat (mind-blowing CG effects by Anthem), he echoes Helen’s words “Leap of faith.” In pivotal moment of his life, he reaches out inside his mind to recall her words. Helen always guides him, even if she is miles away or in another realm of exsistence, she is still a mentor and a guide for Will. The viewers had many opportunities to see this relationship grow and expand through the course of the last two seasons and we will surely see more in the upcoming episodes.
Last, but certainly not least to discuss, remains the Helen and Edward Forsythe (Callum Blue) characters’ relationship. One can even say this is the most crucial one. Forsythe undergoes a huge change over the course of the episode. Pivotal here is the ‘admiration factor’. Forsythe clearly states he is “a huge fan”. Also, the tea served to Helen by him is an important symbol.
They are both British. Even though Magnus is a cosmpolitan person, she regards herself as very British. We do not know what Forsythe tried to achieve, but when Helen smoothly disarms his guard, he knows it is not a game… especially when Helen states in single words “This. Is not. A social call”.
I need to point out here that Amanda Tapping does an incredible stunt and coordination work in this scene and it is yet another proof of her phenomenal ‘multi-skills’.
Back to the action, though… Helen, ever polite – “I appreciate you saving my life”, still stands heavily on the ground. An ice-breaker between her and Forsythe comes in the scene when he presents to her the dead Macri. Magnus seems to quickly work on another plan and she does not fail us.
The dynamic between them still gains momentum and we can see that she easily overpowers him. She gains control and Charles now works with her. Here comes a funny and yet symbolic scene.
Forsythe playing with the ball which escapes him at one point and Helen promptly stepping on it and throwing it out of the porthole. It comes to mind, that she does not have high heels on. This whole exchange which almost lacks words is even more powerful because of that. It symbolises how Magnus takes control and is now in charge. I have to admit that, when the man states “Could you pass me my ball please”, he sounds like a little boy to me and Magnus shaking her head and rolling her eyes seems to say “Why do I always have to deal with such kids”, although she does not utter the words.
Finally, the apogeum of the dynamic comes when the bad guy turns into a good guy, and offers to stay on the ship while the rest escapes to safe the day. Helen is the only one to recognize Forsythe plan to create Pangea. Even though, she does not aprove his method, the scientist and researcher in her admire the courage of the man. She observes “It’s a rare qulity these days”. And to make viewers’ hearts even softer, the writers made Forsythe offer his first name to Magnus. At that point everyone feels sorry for him, even Helen, as she gently says his name and walks away.
At this point in the review, I would like to highlight some classical and/or funny moments of the episode which make fans go laughing or, colloquially speaking, go squeeing.
Certainly those moments mostly involves Dr Magnus. Having said that, I need to mention again Helen smoothly beating the guard and the scene when she holds the rocket launcher and disables Sanctuary ship.
These are classic elements of the series. Also, very interesting and noticable is the scene when Magnus, in the helicopter, gently prompts Big Bertha to “go back in the water”. You can almost feel Magnus’ concern. She is ever the protector of abnormals. The closure in the building of Sanctuary was a perfect ending. It felt like coming home. Magnus’ mention of Elvis gently lights up the mood and lets the audience know all is right.
Another thing worth mentioning is Henry ‘going werwolf’ on Wexford.
You almost want him to eat the lizard-man. Paul McGillion does a fantastic job and you really hate his character in the episode.
Kali III is full of a breath-taking CG effects, the jewel being the field Will finds himself on and the crash of the two waves.
There is also a shot on Forsythe’s ship when Helen meets Bibi, played by Balinder Johal. Magnus is beautifully framed and backlit with the sunshine.
In many cultures light symbolises good and victory, which in Kali III may hint that Helen will win again. And the CG sets…. you cannot distinguish what is real and what is not there. It pays homage to the incredible Anthem.
Also, at one point, the crew member of the Sanctuary ship hands a laptop to Wexford. The laptop has a Sanctuary organization logo beautifully embedded on it.
It is great to know how much even the smallest details are remembered of and by that the audience get so much more bigger experience.
At the end, I would like to point out that I liked the new music. It really drags the viewer into the world of Sanctuary, into its mood. Andrew Lockington is a true genius when it comes to composing the music and it does so much for the overall feel of the series.
Summing up, Sanctuary premiere of season three was mind-blowing. Try as I may, I cannot mark out every single thing that made it the incredible viewing experience it was. It is a testament to the people who create it – Amanda Tapping, Damian Kindler, Alan MacCullough, Martin Wood, the amazing skills of all the actors and the combined effort of the whole team.
One thing left to say – marvelous work!
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With kind regards;