Welcome back Sanctuary fans!
This episode seems to be very popular and reaches out especially to the international fan base of the show. As such I feel the need to express how much I love Amanda Tapping and Peter Wingfield speaking French and German, respectively, before we start.
“Normandy” opens with the camera panning across a Nazi held checkpoint in, you guessed it, Normandy, on June 5th 1944. You don’t need to be a history buff to work out how The Five may be involved with The Second World War at this point, and it looks to be interesting how they’ll put a spin on such a tide-turning event…literally.
The first insight into the Five’s involvement comes with James Watson (Peter Wingfield) rolling up to the checkpoint in a tank and rather competently conversing with the guards in German, however all does not go to plan and a fire fight ensues. With Watson’s tank, which is now known to carry Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) too, easily defeating the checkpoint guards with a little help from an invisible Nigel Griffin (Vincent Gale), it’s on to the traditional British comments and moaning about the weather!
After the opening credits, Magnus, Watson and Griffin can be found walking through a forest debating the merits of “traipsing around Nazi France alone” and Watson’s realistic German accent. However, a mere second later, guns are raised and Magnus calls out what is accurately presumed to be a code word. The head of the sector’s French resistance, Jeanette Anaise (Erin Lacourciere) responds and now together, the two forces discuss the measures already taken and those that need to be taken in order for the invasion to succeed.
The main target as it turns out, is a device that can change the weather and prevent the allied fleet from even landing in occupied France. However, there is a problem before the mission even starts: Varreville, home to the device, is close and fairly straightforward to get to, but the latest schematics are housed in Carentan, a place heavily guarded by the Gestapo.
On that note, Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young) is introduced to the fray. Across the channel in Portsmouth, he is diligently working away at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force…and complaining about chamomile tea, but that’s just Tesla. He loves to complain, even to the point of claiming that Magnus hasn’t been in contact because she didn’t listen when he explained how the autotype machine worked.
Although the reason Nikola had to explain it in the first place was because General Eisenhower’s orders were to shoot him if he got on a plane. Obviously, Tesla’s always been a favourite. Cracking the Enigma code just didn’t make him enough of a favourite to the top political and military people.
Back to Normandy and Jeanette has led Magnus, Watson and Tesla to Carentan in the hope of finding their way into the bunker. Of the two entrances, the one underneath Le Café Normandie is chosen because it isn’t guarded. Of course, those are famous last words. Today of all days, it happens to be guarded and a fire fight ensues between la Résistance and the Nazi forces. Nigel returns to save the day, providing a car for the getaway. Magnus and Jeanette manage to join him, but Watson is shot before he can reach them. He becomes the distraction, and as he runs out of ammunition and surrenders, a devastated Magnus watches the whole scene.
As it turns out, the Colonel in charge of Carentan’s facility knows about The Five and the upcoming invasion and wants information. This is problematic for Magnus’ rescue plans, until John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl) turns up at the bunker as one of the Nazis that is. An interesting revelation and the automatic assumption is that he is leaking information on his fellow members of The Five.
Down in the bunker, Watson is sure to “be very impressed” with their guests although the sarcasm quickly turns to shock as Druitt appears, decked out in Nazi attire and according to Watson, playing a game with them. It is obvious that there’s no love lost between these two as Watson happily informs Colonel Korba of Druitt’s murderous secrets and Druitt retaliates by revealing Watson’s secret of “eternal middle age”.
Knowing these secrets about each other will never end well through, proof in point when Druitt declares that Watson doesn’t fear death and turns the life support off. Using it as an interrogation technique, Druitt attempts to get information out of Watson but ultimately fails. This time. Druitt continues to broadcast his evil side with his “plan on making you afraid to live.” That man alone is an interrogation technique!
Returning to Magnus, Griffin and Jeanette, la Résistance head straight for the second autotype machine, but don’t get the chance to finish the message before being shot at. Magnus hits the nail on the head with “There’s never enough bloody time” and it switches to Tesla receiving the message and needing to urgently talk to Eisenhower.
Back in the Carentan bunker, Druitt is still ‘interrogating’ Watson. A quick lie, a turn of a dial on Watson’s life support and Druitt finds out about the weather machine. With this information, Druitt decides to send Colonel Korba to transfer Watson to Berlin.
From the darkness of the bunker to the dead of night; Magnus, Griffin and Jeanette are an easy target as they run down an open stretch of road. Deciding that splitting up is the best option, Griffin covers as Helen and Jeanette make an escape to drum up reinforcements. Backup won’t come in the form of Tesla though. After a long wait, apparently Eisenhower thinks Magnus’ message of “Druitt is” is too ambiguous to change any plans despite Tesla’s argument that Druitt anywhere in Nazi occupied France is a threat to the Allied Forces.
Meanwhile, Magnus and Jeanette are discussing ways to get to and stop the weather device affecting the invasion landings. Blowing it up is out of the question as it will have adverse effects on the creatures controlling it and other than that, there is nothing they can do until they get their hands on the latest schematics. It all might be in vain though as sirens indicate that the invasion has already begun…
Druitt hears the same sirens and now alone in the bunker, he releases Watson, only for Watson to attempt to attack him for helping the Nazis. Druitt continues to claim that even he can identify pure evil and is working alone, against the Nazis it appears, as he killed Hitler in earlier years. Hitler’s body double anyway. It also becomes apparent that Druitt was the one who leaked information on the weather machine because he needed the rest of The Five in France as well because something much larger than the device was at play.
Elsewhere, a barn door drifts open then closed, with no sign of anyone entering or leaving, until Griffin turns visible again. Mere seconds later, Nazi troops enter the barn in search of their enemy, however they don’t manage to search very far before bullets rain upon them. More soldiers pop up from behind the stacks of hay bales, although at this moment, their nationality is not clear. A very confused and very naked Griffin also pops up and is speechless until a soldier asks him the apparently ridiculous question (in Griffin’s mind anyway!) of “Parlez anglais?”. At this point, the soldiers are identified as Americans, Fox Company, 101st Airborne and are commanded by one Captain Jack Zimmerman (Robin Dunne).
Griffin and the paratroopers share their stories of North Africa and Italy vs la Résistance and Carentan. With Griffin announcing the need to free Watson from Carentan, Zimmerman immediately shoots the idea down because the place is a stronghold and their orders are to start clearing exits off Utah Beach.
Magnus and Jeanette have returned to Carentan in the meantime, and are determined to find a way into the bunker. Magnus heads straight for Le Café Normandie as Watson demands that Druitt gets them out of there. Of course, in his weakened state, he was never going to beat Jack the Ripper in a fight, so it was lucky that Druitt has the same intentions….once he’s figured out that Watson and Magnus are now together. It goes without saying that this doesn’t sit well with Watson who presumes and is furious that Druitt leaked information just so he could “see her one more time.” Druitt of course, denies this wholeheartedly but it’s definitely intriguing to see Watson standing up so passionately for Helen. Hopefully more of this backstory will be shown at some point! With all that aside, Druitt suddenly attempts to teleport them out of the bunker, with dire results, as they end up right back where they started.
Cue Magnus to the rescue, or so we hope. An inconspicuous stroll through the streets, some polite French exchanges and she arrives at Le Café Normandie, only to find the door securely locked. A guard pounces on her the moment they realise her intention to enter the café, forcing Magnus to come up with a cover story about her “sac à main” and “portefeuille”, a predictable one but told with her charm, a failsafe one as the guard is seemingly entranced by her.
The plan would have gone so well too, if only Colonel Korba hadn’t once again shown up at the most inopportune moment. His presence now becomes very suspicious, especially with Druitt and Watson being unable to escape and Magnus being captured and joining them in the bunker as well. Although to give her credit, Magnus’ indignant nature can rise at any moment. Despite being captured, she can still be irritated at Druitt for any reason and yet it’s clear that she still cares a great deal for him, as is shown by her reaction to him being shot and taken away.
Finally there is a return to Griffin’s story and despite presumably quite a lot of time passing, he is still trying to persuade Zimmerman to belay his original orders and storm Carentan. He’s given the chance to at least explain the weather machine but the Americans still appear unlikely and unwilling to help, until Griffin informs them of a way to contact England despite the ordered radio silence.
Back to Nikola Tesla and his analysis of Druitt being “a psychotic killer but he’s no Nazi” due to “his love for Helen.” As if on cue, a message comes through the autotype machine from Griffin, relaying the presumption that Druitt is a Nazi, Watson has been captured and Magnus is Missing In Action, as well as his current standing with the 101st Airborne. Tesla sends the message along with a threat through his aide to Eisenhower.
Returning to Normandy, Griffin is prepared to split up with the Americans and head in opposite directions to Utah Beach and Carentan, respectively. However, Zimmerman has a sudden change of heart, presumably because he wants the landings and invasion to be successful, and the 101st Airborne decide to return with Griffin to Carentan in the hope of saving Watson and turning off the weather device. Later, and having reunited with Jeanette Anaise and la Résistance, a plan of attack is formed, which the Americans oppose until they see Nigel Griffin turn invisible.
The underground bunker has once again got occupants to interrogate. Magnus and Watson are bound to chairs by their wrists and ankles and are trying to deflect attention from the Colonel’s attempt at intelligence gathering with lies and stalling tactics. However none of it works, especially after Magnus refuses to allow the Korba to call her “Helen”.
The sudden revelation of Colonel Korba being head of Hitler’s Abnormal Hunting Division sets a new angle for Watson to attack, but the Colonel is quick to remind them that they will be killed afterwards because he only wanted to meet them. He admires their advancements and stamina for their ages and reveals his interest in abnormals came from being injured by a Fire Elemental.
With this new information, Magnus and Watson immediately figure out the Nazis plan, which although a relief, is no actual help when they are still trapped and the Colonel is lecturing them on the fact their invention will cause the Allied Forces to lose the war.
Above ground though, 101st Airborne are quickly moving into position and taking out the guards whilst below ground, it appears that the whole Fire Elemental plan is based on ancient texts. Watson and Magnus’ astonishment and exclamations that such a plan will doom the world leads only to Colonel Korba turning Watson’s life support off again. Loss of life appears to be a theme for the next while, with a fire fight starting above ground between the Nazis and the Americans and French Resistance.
It turns out to be a perfect distraction for Griffin though, who enters the bunker undetected and takes out the guard at the desk. Although at this moment, it begs the question of whether his rescue will be too late as Korba continues to destroy the machine keeping Watson young, much to Magnus’ horror and anguish. As Jeanette manages to find her way into the bunker to join up with Nigel, it appears that Watson is out of danger as his life support is quickly fixed and both him and Magnus quickly released.
Crossing the channel again finds Tesla’s aide returning to a surprisingly empty room, with top secret documents left strewn across the desk. As the aide starts to take notes from the top secret folders, the emptiness of the room suddenly becomes clear. A trap. Seconds later the autotype machine delivers the message of “Auf Wiedersehen” and Tesla appears demanding answers to how long the aide has been leaking information to the Nazis and not delivering messages to Eisenhower.
Back in France, Magnus, Watson, Griffin and Jeanette make their escape out the doors of Café Normandie, only to find themselves in the midst of the continuing fire fight. As the American divisions finally overpower the Nazis, Magnus and the others arrive at the building housing the Fire Elemental and weather machine, which on first viewing doesn’t appear to be heavily guarded. As always though, those were famous last words as tanks suddenly appear at the top of the road and planes start circling above them.
All is not lost though, as the surviving Americans catch up and yet another battle ensues. Magnus and Watson take this distraction as a chance to enter the building. However safety protocols have been bypassed and Magnus drops the bombshell that a Fire Elemental cannot be killed but they can try and force it down into the Earth. Meanwhile, Zimmerman has been taken out by the Nazi forces and Druitt turns up to take out Korba just a few moments too late to save anyone else.
With their mission ac complished, Magnus and Watson leave the building only to find that Druit t crouched over Korba’s body informing them that’s he’s done “What I always do, what you can’t.” With a last warning to Watson about treating Magnus well, he’s gone and once again called into question is whether his actions are purely evil in nature or for the good of humanity.
As with all wars though , good people are lost and in this case, Magnus vows that Zimmerman’s death will not be in vain, nor will any others who have lost their lives for humanity’s cause. As the sun rises on June 6th 1944, the invasion fleet can be seen making its approach to the 5 designated beaches: Sword, Gold, Juno, Utah and Omaha. The final battle has begun.
“Dedicated to all the men and women who serve in the armed forces. Thank you for giving us Sanctuary.”
And thank you to the Sanctuary team for acknowledging and honouring the bravery of those still serving and the memories of those who lost their lives to keep our world safe. And remember to stay tuned for “Carentan” the next Sanctuary episode which will air Monday June 06, 2011 in the United States on the Syfy Channel and on Friday June 10, 2011 on the Space Channel in Canada . June 6, a rather fitting date, perhaps, would you not agree?
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