Hey Sanctuary fans!
After such an amazing season opener, it was understandable that we were all on tenterhooks and waiting for the next and new way in which the Sanctuary team would blow our minds. They did just that by giving us Firewall; an episode full of intrigue, mystery and team relations.
It starts with an exhausted Will, and I mean, who can blame him? The poor guy has just risen from the dead and encountered yet more of the unknown and the unimaginable with Kali. Add to that a frustrated team feeling the tension and an unidentified abnormal and Firewall starts with a bang. A bang of the abnormal into Will’s car, to be precise. With Will seemingly on another planet, the rest of the team band together to take care of the abnormal. The team dynamic in these opening scenes is quite a feat, and a testament to how well Declan and Kate have integrated into the Sanctuary team. Again, with the tech, you’ve got to love Henry and his ingenious inventions and super guns.
Kate’s athleticism keeps her away from the abnormal with a little rough and tumble. Declan, bless him, isn’t that lucky. Remind anyone of Season 2’s Hero? Declan sure gets his fair share of the beatings! Declan’s injury highlights how much the team dynamic has changed from season 2 to season 3, or even from a smaller timescale of Kali to Firewall. Where Declan has slotted himself nicely into the team and has the acceptance and respect of the others, it seems almost as though he is taking Will’s place in this scene because Declan is more of the field operative and receives the attention of the rest of the team when injured whilst Will is seen by himself, distanced from the team.
Maybe this will change again, maybe it’s a one off and Will will return to the dynamic. The question is will it turn into Declan vs Will for that coveted place on the team or will the field team change to incorporate both Declan and Will? And how much say will Magnus have in the dynamic? We all know she often relies on Will, however unwittingly, but her obvious disappointment in him during this scene speaks volumes. It should be interesting to see how the dynamic pans out after this!
The staging of the capture scene is remarkable though, the organisation of the cast in such a small space must take something! Especially with the addition of the special effects and hats off again to Anthem, they keep bringing us not only amazing CGI sets, but also these highly believable abnormals that seem to blend so seamlessly into the Sanctuary reality.
After the credits is when the real tensions of the team start to kick in, a lot of it centring on the future of both Will and the Sanctuary network. However, the fact that the team are willing to bring up Will as a hazard to missions does show the distance forming but it also shows how much Will is valued as part of the team. They still care about him, and this is most likely what prompts the displays of concern.
The echoes of worries are key to this episode as it allows real analysis of Kali and the recent and traumatic events these characters have been through…quite often by the characters themselves! I especially love that “the Big Guy’s stopped smacking him in the head” is thrown in there and acknowledged as a normality! Also, the fact of how well Magnus knows her team is yet another point in her favour…who could want a better boss?! She knows and she understands, and as the heart of the Sanctuary, these qualities are both admirable yet essential, shown by her unwillingness to write Will off straight away.
AND, it deserves an honourable mention. The “Magnuslinger” is just the best name for a weapon…although I would like Henry’s blueprints so I can check that spelling!
A mention must also go to Magnus’ straight talking attitude. Poor Declan is only trying to give advice and keep her apprised of the situation with the Sanctuary network yet I think he honestly forgets how long Magnus has been running the network. She knows how it all works and that sometimes unpopular decisions are the only way to go. However, his mistakes are easily forgiven with the labelling of Wexford as a “tosser”. So true! And about time someone said it out loud. Way to go, Declan! And thank you to Magnus for making this an entirely quotable scene: “Currying political favour, I’d rather drink coffee.” Oh how I laughed. Priceless. Add to that the suitably chastised look and “I’ll be on my best behaviour…promise”, do you need any more reasons to love the character of Magnus?
Onto the relationship between Helen and Kate; it’s honestly amazing how much it’s blossomed between seasons, the openness and trust displayed by both characters, especially discussing work related matters is again, a tribute to how Kate has become part of the Sanctuary family. Also, the presentation of the now barely existing Cabal is an interesting one. I love how Kate talks almost dismissively about them yet manages to imbue a sense of one-upmanship that the Cabal are no longer and that she can pick what’s left of it apart for intel. Then, once again, priceless interaction over the Sanctuary bank accounts and the light banter that follows.
Then the pro ball catching skills of Magnus are uncovered! Okay, okay, back on track, the ensuing sarcasm about the rules of the game is genius. Hands down genius. However the switch to the serious side is seamless, although not without its misunderstandings over who the “liability” is! This whole scene feels kind of awkward, which is testament to the acting of course, because the dynamic has changed. Both Magnus and Will are working through their own problems, yet they both shoulder responsibility of some kind. Balancing the two is sure going to make a tough time, especially for Will because hey, at least Magnus can remember what’s happened to make her a liability. Poor Will has absolutely no idea what’s happened or how to fix it.
Of course, when two stressed and highly strung people interact, those fireworks will fly. And fly they do, the attack coming from a sensitive Will and being logically and rationally placated by a frustrated Magnus. Will however, is relying on sarcasm as a front for his actual fear of not being in control, although really, perhaps we shouldn’t tell him that because after all, he’s “the guy who sits across from people who suffer from it!” Yet once again, Magnus’ knowledge and understanding of her team come to light, and this is surely what makes her team willing to follow her instructions without argument.
Again, and it has to be said, however briefly, special effects: amazing. Stepping away from that though, the extent of the tension is shown in this scene between Will, Henry and the Big Guy. Even watching it, there’s an awkward aura that says more about the situation then the characters do. Although Will is trying to reach out and regain that dynamic, he is met with a buffer and the previously banned kid-glove treatment. All sense of normalcy in Will’s life has disappeared with the change in relations and as can be seen, this highly affects him, especially because the dynamic and banter between Henry and the Big Guy hasn’t changed, so he feels even further out of the loop than before.
Brief flashes of Will’s memory of his encounter with Kali and those on the other side provide an insight into a world that intrigues both Will and the audience because it is a plotline that is unknown yet has the possibility to affect the future of Will or the Sanctuary.
And then the funny business starts, the hearing things but not seeing anything. The thoughts of going crazy. The spine-tingling feeling that you’re not alone in the room. It almost seems the set up of a typical horror movie, each character is alone…or are they? Both shock and amusement when it so seems that Henry and the Big Guy were merely sensing each other, until we find out that their abnormal senses aren’t working. Although even in the strangest of situations can Henry come out with a quotable line, in this instance, the completely off topic “What in the sweet Sidney Crosby is going on?” provides the brief light-hearted aspect of the scene.
Which is followed by the very serious aspect of half-naked Will, which I’m sure pleased quite a few of the ladies’ out there if Will is your man. The sleeping pills seem to trigger more repressed memories and we are led through brief remnants of Will’s time on the other side with Kali, followed by an oddly scary face flickering into vision. Supposedly a nightmare as Will looks around his room, but he’s not that lucky as said oddly scary creature is still hanging around causing Will to fall out of bed…which is amusing, out of context, but understandable within.
This debacle is followed by the contrasting relative calmness of Magnus in doctor mode as they try to decipher what happened and how it was strong enough for Will to overcome the sedatives. The whole previous scene is shown to have dented Will’s confidence further and to have caused him to see himself as more of a liability, even going so far as to label himself “insane”. However, Magnus is not one to believe anything other than the logical medical reasoning at this point, which quite clearly frustrates Will even more. It’s obvious within this scene that the experiences and situations the team were faced with during Kali have caused them to end up on opposite sides of the line for current situations and beliefs.
Once again the show itself alternates seamlessly between the serious and the lighter scenes as we head back to Kate, Helen and the financial situation of the Sanctuary…albeit a comfortable situation with apparently enough funds accumulated to last another 300 years! However, despite the banter, there is a serious aspect to the relations between the two women at this point. Kate’s source came through on the intel for the earthquakes that stopped the tidal waves, and she informs Magnus with her usual jazz and dramatic recount. Yet this type of presentation seems to work for Kate as she strings tenuous links together to actually make a plausible situation for Magnus to consider.
We then return to Will, who seems to be trying to regain the old dynamic by attempting to quiz and tease the Big Guy at the same time, about his medical skills. It appears to work as Biggie jokes back and there is a sense that maybe things could still look up for Will in terms of getting back in the groove and into the team, helped on of course, by the Twilight mention…but I shan’t comment on it! I will comment, however, on the concern shown to Will by the Big Guy. It’s kind of endearing and it lets Will know that he isn’t alone in his ordeal and that despite it all, he’s still got friends…a family to support him.
And is it just me, or did the Big Guy’s voice sound a lot more sympathetic at this point? Only at that point though, it returned to normal with the highly amusing announcement that he was going to read a book. I loved the little quirk of the Big Guy’s bookmark being a feather too.
Throughout this, the conference call between all Heads of Sanctuaries is taking place, with Declan seemingly as the mediator. In this scene, we see Magnus and Declan working together to relay the new information about Bertha. Theirs is an interesting dynamic, because whilst Magnus is in charge, even under her command, Declan still has a certain amount of authority when it comes to abnormal matters. Not that the thorn in the side that is Wexford pays any attention to authority…although maybe he should have, Magnus’ put down i s so classy and undermining towards his integrity.
This is followed by Declan jumping on the offensive like a knight in shining a rmour…with a broken arm, causing Magnus to step in and put a stop to what would most likely have descended into a playground squabble between Declan and Wexford over who had more to answer for. However, due to those actions, we learn more about Gregory Magnus and how and why he set up the Sanctuary and passed it on to Helen, a concept I hope will be further explored at some point this season. In the end, it all concluded how it should, Magnus came out on top and Wexford fell in style…all through unanimous voting. And for the record, I love the timing of those lines. Absolutely perfect in terms of making the effective point needed. Also effective was the classic and totally quotable Magnus response of “Cheeky bastard!” Funny and so Magnus!
Then we return once again to the Sanctuary infirmary where Biggie’s senses are on high alert; however he can’t see anything so returns to his book. And Will continues with is brief flashes of memories. We see a little more of the events of Kali, and are introduced, though by sight alone, to two other characters…perhaps other abnormals with powers like Kali? They certainly looked to be of the status in that world that signifies power. The flashback continues as we saw in the Kali episode, but with an additional split second that adds all the extra intrigue you could want. Who are the four people? Maybe guards? And why is Will’s arm the focus? Why the hissing, burning sound? Like I said, upping the intrigue to levels of ‘just tell me already!’ Which of course, TPTB don’t. Instead we are taken back to a drugged and sleeping, yet still somehow innocent looking Will with his ever faithful bodyguard still reading, though still on alert.
And of course, the Big Guy was on alert with good reason; the appearance of the newest abnormal is not altogether unexpected when it happens. However, the split second of action before the Big Guy is taken out, is a surprise…until we get to see the creepy abnormals up close. Gaunt, pale and covered in veins doesn’t begin to describe them, neither does their dress code which seems to comprise of a tight lycra cycling outfit! There are also a couple of unidentified symbols on their chests, not that it clears anything up for us, just adds to the mystery of the whole Kali arc because they are obviously there for Will, and we presume, his repressed memories.
This time, it is Henry to discover the appearance of the abnormal…something I doubt he expected during his routine computer switch-on, judging by the choking on the snack! Although to give him his due, he responds quickly enough to suddenly have Magnus and Kate running for the infirmary and to a confusing sight. The abnormals hovering over Will’s body obviously look suspect and on closer viewing, with suspicions confirmed, Magnus spontaneously decides to announce their presence. At this point we also see that the abnormals have the unidentified markings all over their outfits.
Always a woman of action, especially where a member of her team is concerned, Magnus and the kids enter the infirmary only to find that the abnormals have turned invisible again. It’s no surprise that a split second later they’re visible, however it is a shock to see them kicking ass so quickly again. Who could think that these small, barefoot creatures could cause so much damage?…and then just escape, albeit with Henry hot on their invisible tails. With the immediate threat gone, the next priority is obviously poor Biggie flat out on the cold concrete floor and the patient and focus himself, Will.
Then the real hunt commences with Magnus barking out orders like the seasoned pro she is. The seasoned pro who still wants to learn about previously unknown abnormals, a fact that causes Kate to look distinctly unimpressed; she’s a live ammo kinda girl!
Whilst we presume Kate is off setting up a search and capture plan, Magnus is left examining Will to find out what the object the abnormals had forced upon him. It didn’t seem to have affected him psychologically; he still chooses to hide behind the sarcasm and inane comments to avoid the truth of the matter, that he is a target. Magnus hits the nail on the head, or the hole in the head as the case may be when she finds that the abnormal device has left two small holes in the back of Wills head, near the hip pocampus. Basically, a memory recall device. Interesting.
Back to Kate and Henry on the hunt with all of Henry’s super-tech strapped to their ar ms, chests, legs…wherever something can be strapped to! Not that it seems to be helping much, the abnormals s eem to be one step ahead, theoretically with early warning sensors and the ability to mask their smell and body heat. Kate’s comparison of the early warning sensors of these particular abnormals and Henry don’t seem to sit too well though, at least not judging by Henry’s glance over. However, he manages to latch onto her train of thought with no trouble, which sparks a whole new plan in Henry’s mind. A plan which involves modified-super-tech along with the usual banter and creative names for the weapons followed by the usual issues that abnormals can cause during the hunt, namely cutting power and getting away from attempts to take them down.
While Kate and Henry are together, a twitchy Will is hunting alone, or so it seems to the abnormals. We all of course know that he’s bait, and with the abnormals cornered, Magnus and the Big Guy execute a tactical take down of both abnormals, managing to recover the oh so mysterious device at the same time. Kate and Henry arrive late to the party but amusingly manage to integrate themselves into the scene as though they’ve been there all along. Once again, a testament to how the Sanctuary team have grown and bonded up to this point.
We next see the oddly scary abnormals strapped to beds in the iso rooms, and sound asleep with neutral features definitely makes them decidedly less scary! After the recap of coincidences and Will once again identified as being the focus – at which point he gets a little uncomfortable talking about his own death…something which Kate is quite happy to put into idioms for him. Gotta love the girl and her blatant follow-up insult to psychology! Which of course Will counters with the insomnia and subconscious mind equalling the fact that these repressed memories must be important.
What’s also important though is the newly acquired technology which according to Henry is so “cool” that the word bears repeating a few times, followed by the tenuous link that maybe these abnormals aren’t from Earth! Oh Henry, such a geek, but we love you for it.
Returning to the iso rooms, we are witness to the recently captured abnormals waking up and they don’t appear to be too happy about this turn of events. Although neither does Henry over the ‘alien’ tech and the simple frustration of turning it on, not helped by the fact that it apparently ‘likes’ Kate and hates himself. Little jealousy issues over technology. Bless. This maybe, just maybe turns into a little tantrum and knocking the device out of Kate’s hands. As always, it’s the unexpected that bring things to fruition because low and behold, the device suddenly turns on and transforms into the image of a mechanical spider.
With Henry now satisfied, we return to the still unhappy abnormals who supposedly telepathically decide to take the extreme course of action: setting themselves alight. This looks to cause their bodies to turn into a ceramic type material and subsequently crumble, much to Magnus’ shock and dismay. Self destruct at maximum effect and minimum damage. Quite genius, really.
As the team gather to discuss the recent events, all with varying amounts of interest in the demise of the abnormals, because come on, the intrigue is obviously drawn more towards that ‘alien’ device. While Magnus and Henry delve into their excitement of explaining the device, Kate and the Big Guy look decidedly confused whilst Will understandably seems more and more uncomfortable with every word he hears…not helped by Kate’s admission of dropping the device. The poor guy is at the feet of his team, there’s no backing away from testing the device and ending the mystery, especially not when the whole team are involved! Although to give her credit, Magnus does manage to offer him the way out, not that he believes it.
Again, a tribute to the close-knit bonds of the team as Will trusts Henry to attach the device to the back of his head, with only his word that it will work. Anticipation builds…and builds…until we are sent back into Will’s memories, only this time with his narration, an interesting decision because it gives us the view of what happened at the time but also the insight of what happened upon reflection. As we follow the events of Kali, the experience is mapped out for us in Will’s own words, meaning that this time we get to see the true events that happened after Kali’s collapse and the true understanding of Will’s sacrifice to save the world. It really brings home how brave he was to agree to die without knowing if he would be revived, and all for the sake of the human and abnormal races. We find that this sacrifice though, is ultimately what stopped the impending mass destruction.
The intriguing and unexplainable is still to come though, as we get a closer look at the four guards surrounding Will and learn that one of them is none other than Gregory Magnus who apparently has a message for Helen. A message that involves burning two numbers and a symbol into Will’s arm on the other side. Nice guy is Gregory!
Back to the present and an obviously emotional and confused Will, I mean wouldn’t you be? You’ve just recovered memories and find in them that you met a guy who you haven’t heard from or seen in goodness knows how long and probably presumed them dead. Wake up call for sure. Especially when he gives you an indecipherable code, or at least you think it is. I feel for Will here, as if he hasn’t already been through enough over the Kali arc, he now has to deal with being the messenger for something he doesn’t know about and doesn’t know what will happen because of it.
The whole re-introduction of Gregory really throws a spanner in the works, even Helen is visibly shocked and it takes a lot to shake that woman. Although as always, her ability to compartmentalize and focus on the here and now is remarkable. Straight away she’s questioning the possibility of avatars for abnormals and who caused the earthquakes to stop the tidal waves. Will is quite insistent however, that she remains on th e track of her father’s message, ensuring that she is able to quickly link together the clues and unravel the hidden message. Because a paperweight placed in a certain place on a book obviously equals a holographic, yet touchable city.
At this point, Anthem and Lee Wilson again need another huge shout-out. The effects in this final scene are just mind-blowing, right down to the tiniest of details like the lights in the buildings. Absolutely amazing work. And also amazing work from the cast to have been so talented as to act as though they can see every minute detail themselves. Everything has come together seamlessly in this episode, although if the mystery of this final scene is anything to go by, we should definitely have an intriguing season following this arc through to its end!
As always thank you for reading WormholeRiders and I hope you enjoyed my first review for the site!
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Remember to look out for the next Sanctuary review, “Bank Job”, coming soon!