REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Bret Rudnick
REVIEW by Bret Ryan Rudnick
Danielle Cormack (Raina)
Written by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Directed by Andrew Merrifield
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
Raina, a dangerous young woman with the power to control people's minds, attempts to find Voice by pitting Hel and Sarge against each other. LogLine
A woman with mind-control powers breaks out of a mental hospital and attempts to take control of Voice. ClickTV
Raina, an evil mind-controller, pits Hel against Sarge.
This commentary is by Bret Ryan Rudnick.
The scene opens in a very white, sterile-looking room. We later find out this is a cell in a mental institution. Against one wall, in a futuristic-looking dentist's chair contraption, lies a woman (later identified as the villain Raina) whose feet and arms are restrained, and whose head is mainly covered by a "helmet" which is really a "thought inhibitor".
A guard notices a trickle of blood from the woman's nostril and summons a doctor. Enter the doctor, a short Napoleon complected fellow escorted by several guards. He sees the blood oozing from the woman's nose and orders the "helmet" removed so he can examine and treat her.
The original guard reminds him the device is a thought inhibitor, and removing it is not such a good idea since this is a very dangerous woman.
There is a further argument/discussion between the guard and the doctor. This woman can not only read minds, she can control thoughts. But the doctor is insistent. The device is removed.
Raina hears the doctor's thoughts, "Damn, she's fine!" He says, however, that he's there to treat her nosebleed and will cauterise it. Raina plants the mental suggestion for him to set the laser on the armrest when he's done, and further, that "it's inhuman" to treat her like this.
The doctor, unaware the thoughts aren't his own, tells the first guard to leave the device off and let her "breathe" for awhile since her punishment so so "inhuman". The guard, familiar with what the prisoner can do, urges the device be replaced immediately. Raina plants a further suggestion in the doctor's mind saying that his authority is being usurped. The ensuing argument gives Raina enough time to remove the restraints with the cauterising laser the doctor left behind. She grab's the first guard's energy pistol and kills him and the other four guards.
Raina, now free, stands and taunts Doctor Higgins (she knows his name from reading his mind) with her back to him. She tells him he might find it a scientific curiosity that even with all her powers, it took her six months to figure out how to make her nose bleed. She planned it all along! With a "and thank you so much for your kind thoughts" remark, the points the pistol behind her without even looking, kills the doctor with a single shot (even though he moved without her seeing him), and slinks off.
Cleo, Hel, and Sarge enter the equivalent of a 26th century discotheque, where mutants, cyborgs, and humans all seem to coexist peacefully. They don't know why they're in the place -- Voice told Hel they should go there, and then didn't communicate further. Cleo, dancing to the music and sporting a new outfit since we last saw her, suggests maybe they were just sent there to have a good time since they've been working so hard. Sarge spots a hunky guy and says she's off to "mingle". Cleo and Hel split up and do the same.
Meanwhile, we see the point-of-view of someone else in the bar, and we hear the mundane thoughts of various patrons. It must be Raina, and we see in a moment it is. We hear Hel thinking that "Voice sent us here for something, but what?" Hel is preoccupied witht the fact Voice is not communicating further.
Raina uses these thoughts to further make Hel concerned about the situation. She introduces herself as a friend, and suggests to Hel that she's seen this happen before -- Voice abandoning people in the middle of a conflict.
Cleo interrupts and Raina disappears. Cleo is concerned that Hel is speaking with strangers about Voice but Hel is "It's not like that. " She says it was like the woman was inside her head. Cleo remarks she used to date a shrink like that -- "Very scary" -- and goes off in search of Sarge.
Sarge is busy "dirty dancing" with a guy. Cleo expresses her concern about Hel but Sarge isn't too worried about it. She and her newfound boy toy go off to the sidelines for a moment.
Raina is watching Sarge and plants another suggestion in her mind as well as the mind of her new companion (who says that sometimes Betrayer robots come to this place and take people away), making Sarge more and more paranoid. Why would not Voice tell them about Betrayer robots? Is she out of the loop? Or is there no longer a loop at all? Sarge, thanks to Raina, is beginning to think ill of Hel and Voice.
Hel herself is having thoughts on a similar scale. Where is Voice? Cleo sees Hel is confused and helps her over to the bar. She also sees on the bar TV that Raina has escaped from a mental facility and is very dangerous. "If you've seen this woman you may already be dead."
But things have gone too far. Hel tries to warn Sarge they're in danger, but Sarge repies, "No, you are... Betrayer." She brings up her arm ready to fire.
There is a brief moment of calm, Cleo asking "Can't we all just get along?" But Sarge thinks Cleo is now part of the fantasy conspiracy. Hel and Cleo end up taking cover behind the bar. Sarge is focused on Hel at the moment.
Raina, watching safely aside, reveals more of her motivation. As soon as Voice communicates with Hel to "sort things out", Raina will be able to read Voice's thoughts as well and find out where Voice is located.
Hel tells Cleo to get back to the lab and get something from Mauser to deal with Sarge. Cleo is reluctant to "fly" alone, but Hel is insistent and says "I believe in you." Cleo leaves and Raina follows, revealing another power: she can "jump" from level to level and cling to walls a-la-Spiderman.
With Raina gone, Hel is able to reason with Sarge and the two are back together again. "Where's Cleo?" Sarge asks. "In trouble," Hel responds, and they go after her.
Cleo finally makes it to the lab, and Mauser has the thought inhibitor ready, but Raina has got there too. Hel and Sarge catch up and the two of them fight it out with Raina, who is their physical match. Cleo sneaks up on Raina and plops the inhibitor on her. Raina ends up back in her chair in prison.
Hel is back in touch with Voice, and remarks to "her" that she and Raina must have a history. Voice says that once Raina "was very much like you," meaning Hel, but makes no further comment.
This review is by Bret Ryan Rudnick.
This was a very fine episode. The direction was smooth and the action and dialogue were easily followed without the feeling of frenzy from the first episodes. Gunfire was not as pronounced, leaving more room for dialogue and character interaction, for which I am grateful.
This futuristic society is very interesting. Even though Raina has killed several people that we know of, she survives the episode. Perhaps there is more sinister motive in the "good guys" as well, since Voice knew of Raina and her history, and admits that Raina was once a lot like Hel, inferring that Raina may at one time have been a "team leader" as well.
Raina is an interesting character since she doesn't so much add new thoughts to people as much as she enhances latent tendencies. Sarge has issues with Betrayer robots, and Raina played on that. The doctor early in the episode has something of a Napoleon complex and Raina played on that too. In every case, she simply "enhanced" existing thoughts in people in order to motivate them to do what she wanted.
Raina didn't control Cleo's thoughts. Why? Is it because her 20th century anatomy is so weak or was there just no need? Or does Cleo have no thoughts to speak of worth controlling? Whatever the case, Raina certainly didn't see Cleo coming when Cleo popped that thought inhibitor on her head.
Scream count: Cleo waited until Act 2 to scream, and then only three or four times briefly -- a great improvement!
As the series wears on, the actors are settling comfortably into their roles. Gina Torres continues to be the most consistently good, but Vicky Pratt has also improved quite a bit.
The sets continue to amaze me. These people work very hard. The opening scene in the "cell" for the mental case Raina is, in fact, a "padded cell" if you look closely. Very nice touch.
This episode was nicely paced and the violent scenes did not overshadow the character interactions. Plus we add a couple of more tidbits to our sparse inventory of knowledge about Voice and the society these people underground live in.