Welcome back Sanctuary fans,
When we last left our band of abnormal adventurers, they were recovering from a night on the town with the inevitable consequences of being chastised for using Dr. Helen Magnus’ (Amanda Tapping) credentials to get seating in one of the best restaurants in town!
The consequences of such tomfoolery? Well it is fairly obvious, Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young) has clearly been given the opportunity to chat with Magnus about his own previously undiscovered ancient connection to the subterranean city of Praxis, the suspected origin of all abnormal creatures known to currently inhabit the surface of our world.
During these friendly chats while the other Sanctuaries feasted, what more do we really need to know about Nikola Tesla?
Other than the genius being written into the ongoing tales by Gillian Horvath under the superb direction of Lee Wilson, this episode features a rising talent, the lovely Ms. Aliyah O’Brien (Kill Switch, Smallville, Exes and Ohs, Men with Brooms). Ms. O’Brien is another of the fantastic ongoing guest stars the Sanctuary team has brought to our attention.
Aliyah O’Brien portrays “Afina”, a lovely Vampire Queen whom will have an interesting encounter with Nikola and Helen. Ms. O’Brien a very talented and gorgeous actress who has a wonderful voice that I swear could seduce Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) the Lycan himself into becoming a vampire! A bit more on seduction a little later!
Beware folks, this Afina is not your average gal, nor is she affiliated with the “Afina” cultured marble bathroom appliances and accessories. No, this Afina is a full fledged vampire queen who has very special plans for us all! But I am getting a little ahead of myself, so let’s get back to the business at hand shall we?
Apparently one of our favorite Sanctuary characters, dear vampire abnormal Mr. Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young) has talked Dr. Magnus into undergoing a mission we had previously not been made privy to! Just what in the world is up with our abnormal citizens of the world as we know it? Adventure! And … trouble!
After the introduction of previously seen clips setting up the scene, we find the pair in East Africa on an archeological mission investigating a former outpost stronghold of the ancient Praxian civilization. Naturally we are more than delighted to see Helen “out in the field” tomb digging with her old pal Nikola!
It was almost like “old home week” or a “vacation” with these two out and about! As Tesla inquires if the trip is a form of making amends for being left off the last expedition, we drift from the setting of shifting sands to an inner sanctum of a hidden chamber where our two protagonists are seeking entrance to discover the secrets of the last Praxian stronghold before their society retreated to “Hollow Earth”.
The chemistry between these two characters is always a joy to behold. I particularly enjoyed the bits of humor as they discussed looking for King Tutankhamen’s tomb before Howard Carter! “Those wild early days, no ground penetrating radar, no satellite imagery …” To see these two in action one can only appreciate the smoothness of their interaction.
It is always wonderful all by itself to see these two act together! Particularly enjoyable were the lines written in for Tesla
“You have Sasquatch for a butler and travel the world with histories most notorious murderer and now you do not feel safe?”,
“Helen green is not a good color on you”
and best of all; “She (Afina) is intelligent, powerful, and remarkably well preserved for her age. Everything I would look for in a woman”. Poor Nikola has fallen in love with Afina Queen of the vampires. And who can blame him? This dark raven haired beauty could undoubtedly seduce even the most serious male academic or archeologist for goodness sakes!
That feeling of archeological glee will not last for very long let me assure you! Subsequent o using his powers to trigger a secret portal Tesla finds himself mortally skewered by a bolt of energy triggered when he attempts to access certain portion of a secret chamber. And so the stage is set!
While our two archeologists, well actually one vampire and Dr. Helen deal with their fate, back at the Sanctuary we find Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi) with Big Guy (Christopher Heyerdahl) checking out an old Internet account she has not used over the past year.
Of course Big Guy suggests that she should simply ask Henry to install a spam filter on the e-mail account while he is observed setting up “Guitar Hero” on a big screen monitor! Now there is a scene we really must return to in the future, Big Buy playing the Sanctuary themes on an air guitar!
Kate dismisses Big Guy’s suggestion flippantly as she is deleting the e-mail messages when her eye catches something odd, a message from an old acquaintance from before her joining the Sanctuary.
Subsequent to making a decision about not making a purchase of Viagra (from the spam in the old e-mail account) with a chuckle from Big Buy, she comes across a message with a clue to a group of criminals who have apparently been dealing in an abnormal life form themselves.
Kate is more than noticeably distressed by her findings and herein lies the second arc of the story line in “Awakening”. As she shares with Big Guy she is heading out for some “Red Bull” (which is quickly surmises is bull itself), Kate sets out on a mission of good for her own edification.
Before continuing, I would like to comment on the development of the Kate Freelander character and her “look” over the weeks in season three versus the past season when her character was first introduced.
Is it me or have we not seen a softer visage of Kate Freelander both in appearance as well as her demeanor? Seems to me the Kate character has grown a bit softer in her interaction with the Sanctuary team as well.
In my opinion this softening of her character from a street brawler to a respected member of the team is what effectively sets up the second part of our story where she performs a service to society.
Jumping a bit out of place in the story-line, Kate has discovered a gang dealing in the abnormal amphibian creature known as the “Taminsails”. In discussion with Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), we learn that the Taminsails has a gland that the criminals are extracting because of the narcotic nature of the extracts from the little creature.
Will indicates the substance provides a powerful high and that the criminals use tactics making them nearly impossible to track down and prosecute. And here we see a segue about the illegality and foolishness of narcotics, a nice anti-drug message for the audience to internalize. Thus a public service is done in-line with the story arc.
Back to the archeological find we that Nikola is indeed mortally wounded from the defense mechanisms and is fading fast. Only his control of magnetism is keeping his entrails intact. When we return to the underground chambers Helen has discovered ancient script writings and a secret switch which reveals Queen Afina hidden in a very pretty purple amber crystal pod inside a vault located behind a solid rock wall inside the tomb.
During our time with Nikola Tesla we have often wondered about his past and where his race came from. The purple amber pod is a bit like Pandora’s Box, what lies inside leads us to believe that we will surely learn the long lost history of Nikola’s race of vampires, and what happened to them.
First however Helen needs to help ensure that Nikola survives by hopefully extracting a bit of fresh blood from the entombed queen to revive him. Using a bit of real world science, the idea is that the queen would be perfectly preserved in the amber pod and therefore be able to provide a bit of nourishment to restore Nikola to full strength. After quite a bit of laser firing and whacking the crystalline amber she is able to insert a hypodermic and draws some much needed blood and save Nikola.
Akin to the legendary Pandora’s Box, could opening the pod be safe? Can Helen and Nikola be able to bring the queen back to the Sanctuary for safe keeping? Placed there thousands of years earlier by her brother who never revived her and stole her throne, Afina is far more than simply preserved by the purple amber.
In fact the amber structure is a stasis pod designed to protect the queen until she is awakened by her own kind. Uncharacteristically not knowing this potential (perhaps from the stress and distraction of Tesla’s injury), Helen’s actions end up unwittingly freeing Queen Afina from her imprisonment of thousands of years!
Seemingly agreeable to cooperating after being freed, our beautiful Queen Afina has other plans after she regained her equilibrium. Using deception to convince Helen and Nikola of a hidden escape route, she instead throws Tesla into the shaft and turns her attention to Magnus!
Shifting back to the Sanctuary headquarters, the pace is quickened up with Kate revealing that she knows where a gang of criminals are coveting the “Taminsails”. She convinces Will and Big Guy into leading a team to save the little things from a torturous death and painful extraction of the drug like substance which is actually a narcotic of a likely highly addictive nature.
The mission is a success but the actual perpetrators, the ringleaders are not at the location where the furry little critters are being prepared for the illegal drug crazed masses.
Much like in real life, this blending of reality regarding drug, alcohol and chemical substance abuse addiction into the story line adds a sense of realism to the story. Also much like in real life, criminals catering to the weaknesses of others (addictions) carries a strong message to avoid the use of drugs.
Know this people: The so-called “recreational” purpose of drug use often leads to the enslavement of innocent people both young and old that are drawn into the web of the dark side of our reality including human slavery, prostitution, addiction and crime.
Back in the clutches of Queen Afina, she is about to prepare a meal. We are disconcerted that the main course is nonetheless to be the immortal Helen Magnus herself. Obviously a good choice of healthy stock, Helen is treated to the sight of the court of Afina all neatly arranged in rows of yet another chamber that stretches far into the depths of the cave complex.
Undoubtedly an entire army ready to serve Queen Afina, Helen is not very comforted by the fact that she will supply the fresh blood needed by minions of the Queen. You see Afina has planned for their resurrection and her eventual return to power. Ultimately if successful Afina will enslave the inhabitants on the surface of the Earth and that means you and me! Yikes!
Naturally Helen is the perfect meal for the hungry denizens, but never fear our second archeologist has managed an escape and arrives just in the nick of time before the feasting begins. A “bullet-time” fight between the two vampires ensues with the Queen gaining the upper hand on Nikola.
Forced into making a “deal with the devil”, Helen has but one choice; Offer something of greater value to Afina to save Nikola Tesla. Now what could that possibly be? It should be fairly obvious. With Afina driven by revenge and a lust in her quest for power, there is only one thing that could persuade her to make a deal: PRAXIS where she can get revenge for her entrapment eons ago!
And sure enough so it will be. Helen breaks out the holographic projector and map of the city and offers Afina the pass code to its entrance in exchange for an actual way to leave the crypt. Nikola finally realizing what Afina was really after knows that once Afina has conquered Praxis, she will turn her attention once more to the surface. Helen and Afina both realize this as well but nevertheless the deal is struck. All of this to Nikola’s horror that Magnus would surrender the secrets of access Praxis where her father is living!
Before the final sequences we move back to the Sanctuary and find out why Kate had been so intent on stopping the illegal trafficking in abnormal creatures. In a rather touching sequence with Will, she confesses that when she was young and trying to survive on the streets, she had been part of a ring of criminals tracking down the abnormal creatures who were sold to the highest bidder.
Kate’s actions and motivations (both now and then) are better understood within this context. The softer nature of her character was already there. It was simply suppressed by her need to survive. Here again the analogy and relationship to real life is complete. How many innocent people in the “real world” are forced into such servitude to ensure their survival or that of their family? Many.
We return to gloriously evil Afina making the exchange of information for access to Praxis with Helen as she and Nikola prepare to leave. Are we really to believe that Helen would make such a Faustian arrangement with an immortal soul such as Afina? The key to understanding Helen’s intent is the password Helen provided A false one!
We observe Helen and Nikola making their way on to the surface as Afina speaks the “Gateway” password. The holographic city vanishes with the exception of one object in the midst of a countdown to detonation As the scene fades backwards we witness a massive explosion. Afina, her court and all the secrets of the Vampiris have apparently been erased from the surface of our world.
We segue way back to some good natured banter between Helen and Nikola outside after the entire complex has been vaporized. Despite the loss o the Vampiris database and its knowledge we can rest easy that Tesla has been resurrected once again to the ranks of an immortal vampire!
Sanctuary returns in an exciting episode named Normandy replete with a journey back in time to the era of the Nazi’s and the Second World War just prior to the D-Day invasion in June 1944. I suggest you do not miss it!
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