Whoosh!
Online Edition Visit the Crossroads to the
Xenaverse!


CLEOPATRA 2525

FLYING LESSONS


EPISODE NO. 3
Season 1, episode 3
Series 103
1st release: 01/31/00
2nd release: 03/27/00
Production number: 1253/1205
Approximate shooting dates:
Last update: 11-16-00


REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bret Rudnick
REVIEW by Bret Ryan Rudnick


REGULAR CAST
Gina Torres (Hel)
Victoria Pratt (Sarge)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra)
Patrick Kake (Mauser)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Voice)

GUEST CAST
Graeme Bulling (Thusel)
Patrick Wilson (Ek)

CREDITS
Written by Hilary Bader
Directed by Rick Jacobson

Filmed in Auckland, New Zealand, by Renaissance Pictures in association with Studios USA. Executive producers Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, R. J. Stewart; co-executive producer, Eric Gruendemann; producer, Chris Black, Janine Dickins; co-producer, Mike McDonald, associate producer, Sam Clark; camera, Kevin Riley; editor, Cushla Dillon; music, Joseph LoDuca; casting, Marie Adams, Beth Hymson-Ayer, Tracy Hampton.



TV GUIDE PROMO

Hel, Sarge and Cleopatra travel to the lower levels of the underground to rescue a young woman before she is sold to a mutant experimental lab. ClickTV

Cleopatra and gang must rescue a woman in danger of being sold to an experimental lab that produces mutants. ExciteTV

AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
2nd RELEASE: 03/27/00
An AA average of
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-Files 4.5
(2) ER 3.6
(3) Stargate SG-1/VIP 2.9
(4) Baywatch Hawaii 2.8
(5) Xena 2.7
(6) Back2Back/Earth:Final Conflict 2.5
(7) Relic Hunter 2.1
(8) Total Recall 1.2



SYNOPSIS:

This commentary is by Bret Ryan Rudnick.

Teaser:

Our heroines stand at the brink of a shaft. Cleo is fitted with gauntlets and she's excited, making shooting motions. Sarge tells her not to think she's invincible -- it's only a web launcher. Cleo is going to have to learn how to "fly" if she's going to hang with Sarge and Hel.

Cleo takes a "cleansing breath" and begins her "positive visualisation technique" much like skiers do, imagining herself flying. Sarge smirks and pushes her over the edge. Cleo screams (you didn't see that coming, right?) and Sarge and Hel jump down the shaft after her.

Meanwhile, as the gals fall (and this goes on for awhile) a girl is being kidnapped by a gang of mutant thugs. She falls down the shaft too in her attempt to escape and collides with Cleo. Their leader, a particularly fat and ugly brute, shoots down a rope-like strand which grabs the girl and reels her back up. Other mutants who have jumped down the shaft are shooting at our trio. Sarge takes out a couple of them, Hell fires a net across the shaft below and they recoil back up using a "trampoline" effect. The remaining mutants are destroyed on their way up. Our trio lands on a ledge, safe for the moment, but the girl Cleo collided with has been (re) captured.

Act 1:

Hel tells the man whose daughter was captured that he needn't worry, the mutants won't bother him again. But the man is more worried about his daughter, who is likely on her way to mutant experimental laboratories. Cleo tells him not to worry, they're on the case now, but Hel and Sarge are reluctant heroes. Hels points out they won't be able to retake the surface if they have to keep playing hero. Cleo drags another platitude from her bag, "Ask not what others can do for you, but what you can do for others." Hel and Sarge finally agree to help, but not before Hel asks Cleo, "Do you think of this stuff beforehand or do you just make it up as you go?"

The trio enter a bar, a gathering place for humans and mutants of dubious taste and motivation. They are told no weapons allowed within and must disarm. This takes awhile -- the ladies pack quite an arsenal.

Inside, the bar is a bondage and fetishist's dream come true. Lots of leather, studs, masks, collars, chains... you get the idea. I hope. Gambling is done on a table where, in a tube at the centre, balls are kept in the air via threads of light -- a high tech version of the "plastic sticks" game. If the balls drop, you lose. The stakes -- slaves.

Enter the fat ugly mutant from before. Hel will gamble her "slaves" (Cleo and Sarge) for his (hoping to rescue the girl kidnapped earlier). To sweeten his resolve, Cleo makes use of her other talent and strips on stage to get his attention. At the conclusion, she makes like Marilyn Monroe and says "Happy Birthday, Mr. Mutant."

Act 2:

Things begin well for Hel. She's winning.

But soon there are problems. Mr. Ugly has the bartender slip Hel a mickey ("juice" that makes her lose any sexual inhibition) and the kidnapped girl's father comes in and could cause problems.

Cleo distracts the father and gets rid of him. Sarge amuses herself with the male "specimen" that Hel won in her first round.

Cleo triumphantly tells Hel she has things under control. Hel answers that's fine, and "Oh, by the way, while you were gone, I lost you both." Things look grim for Sarge and Cleo.

Hel is acting pretty happy, loaded on the aphrodisiac. But Cleo is convined Hel is just acting, and tells Sarge so. Hel makes one final bet with Ugly -- herself against all his "specimens". He can't resist, and think he will win easily. But Hel prevails and he loses. All the "specimens", including the kidnapped girl, are freed!

But the bad guys have other plans. They're armed, and there's a big fight. The girls get their weapons back and kick mutant butt. Cleo gets Sarge and Hel to agree that saving those people was the right thing to do. Hel suggests they go out and get some "real men".



REVIEW

This review is by Bret Ryan Rudnick.

The "flying" thing down and up the shafts is a cool trick and works if it isn't overused, but in this episode, you can't just suspend disbelief -- you have to sneak up on it, knock it over the head, hogtie it, and gag it. The heroines fall down the shaft long enough to reach much of the way through the earth's crust. And when Sarge pushes Cleo over the edge, she and Hel stand there a loooooong time before jumping after Cleo, yet they catch up to her right away. Sorry, but as a physicist and engineer by trade, I notice these things.

I must admit to being a little disappointed in the music in this episode. The temp music we heard on a promo clip of the show was very techno and on the edge. The music we heard in the "bar" in this episode could be heard in any dance club today. It just doesn't have that sci-fi "bite" to it.

Rick Jacobson's capable direction does a lot to tone down the pace of the 30 minute format. His dialogue scenes are particularly good, and he gets very good performances from the actors.

Gina Torres continues to be the strongest actor of the three, although Victoria Pratt and Jennifer Sky have some nice moments as well. Don't look for any subtext with this show, it ain't there. This show's demographic is clearly for the young male market. This episode was rated "V" for violence, but some of the bar scenes were pretty risque as well. It's not a show for kids.




Back to Whoosh!