REGULAR CAST, GUEST CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS 1 by Sally Dye
COMMENTARY 2 by Mao693
Yvonne Nipar (Amanda Prentice Cutter)
Jim Coleman (Ngama)
Veryl Jones (Rashid)
Steven West (Mbato)
Mel Johnson (Rabul)
Ronald McCall (Qaba)
LeRoy Mitchell (Bikolo)
Written by Babs Greyhosky
Directed by Walter Von Huene
Filmed on location in Orlando, FL and Africa.
TV GUIDE PROMO
An Entebbe style attack brings a hostage negotiator to Maltaka. Someone from Cutter's past who Sheena finds very interesting. Logline
When a terrorist kidnapping threatens an important peace mission and stops the flow of a lifesaving vaccine to the village, Cutter's ex-wife is called in to negotiate. ClickTV
This synopsis is by Sally Dye .
Kali is treating sick villagers. Her whole village is being threatened by an outbreak of hepatitis. Sheena says Cutter is meeting a plane that is supposed to be delivering a vaccine.
At the airfield, Cutter joins Rashid, who is also waiting for the plane to land. Rashid is surprised that Cutter knows that a Defari ambassador, Minister Bikolo, is on the plane. The plane lands but no one gets off. When Rashid and Cutter approach, they see that the pilot has a gun to his head. A man is thrown from the plane with a note pinned to his jacket: "Meet our demands or everyone dies."
Sheena arrives at the airfield and wants to try to get into the plane's cargo hold to get the vaccine. Cutter suggests they get a phone to the hijackers and engage them in conversation long enough for Sheena to sneak into the hold.
Rashid takes a radio and some food out to the plane in a jeep. When they get close, Sheena jumps out and gets under the plane. She tries to get the cargo hold open, but is unable to do so before the terrorists come out of the plane. She rolls back under the plane and out of sight.
A convoy of Ngama's men approach. Cutter tries to warn them off, but the terrorists see them and start shooting. Rashid is hit in the leg. The hijackers grab him and drag him onto the plane with them.
Mbato, the commander of Ngama's soldiers, is angry that they weren't apprised of the hostage situation. He calls Ngama, who says to get the ambassador off the plane immediately before Defari finds out about it and it upsets the peace process they have just set in motion. Ngama plans to move to a safe location for the duration.
Cutter convinces Mbato to wait before storming the plane so he can call in a hostage negotiator. He has Mendelson see if he can track someone down, and soon a helicopter lands. A woman in fatigues descends and walks toward the group. Cutter is surprised and not really pleased to recognize her as Amanda Prentice Cutter -- his ex-wife.
Cutter is briefing Amanda on what they know of the situation when Sheena walks in. Amanda, eying Sheena's outfit: "Dear God, are these the new Peace Corps uniforms?" Cutter introduces Sheena as "a local". Amanda: "From where? Norway?" Sheena says there are five terrorists and the leader is addressed as Qaba. Amanda wants to know why Sheena knows this and Cutter doesn't. Cutter says it's because Sheena was under the plane when the mayhem broke out. Sheena explains that she was trying to get the vaccine. Amanda says if she had been told about the outbreak, she could have brought vaccine with her. She tries to contact the terrorists on the radio. Cutter tells Sheena that you have to spend some time with Amanda before you really begin to hate her. Sheena wants to know why she should hate her -- she seems to be good at her job. She asks if Cutter hates Amanda, and Cutter replies that hate is not quite the right word.
Rashid answers the radio and relays the terrorists' demand -- release Duwa Kapathi within 24 hours. Kapathi had tried to assassinate Ngama, and Cutter is sure Ngama will not release him. Amanda tells Cutter to contact Interpol for their help in determining where the terrorists are from. She tells Sheena to find out how much vaccine is needed and she'll try to get some here.
Cutter learns the group is a splinter of the Jabari group. Amanda argues with him about it, and so Sheena answers the radio when Rashid calls. They want blankets for the passengers. Amanda can't figure this out -- they gave up one of the crew at the outset and now they want blankets for their hostages. This is not your typical hostage situation. Cutter goes to round up the blankets, leaving Sheena and Amanda to talk. Amanda says she can't seem to get inside the terrorist' heads, and Sheena wonders if that's because she's still in Cutter's. Amanda says they are different and always have been. Their jobs kept them apart, but their passion brought them together. She says she's sure Sheena knows what she's talking about. Sheena says she doesn't know -- she and Cutter are just friends. Cutter returns with the blankets, and Sheena offers to take them to the plane. Amanda gives her her fatigues to wear.
When Sheena leaves, Amanda sees Cutter resting on the couch. He has been dozing. He wakes up and looks sleepily up at her. She sits beside him and takes his hand. They are interrupted when Sheena throws the fatigues at them. She says they have missed an important development while they were holding hands. They look out and see the blankets forming a barrier at the base of the plane. She tells them that when she took the blankets to the plane, they made the captain come out and pick them up, and she smelled no fear. Amanda is a little puzzled at that statement, but they deduce that the crew must be in on the hijacking. Amanda decides that they need to move on the plane.
Sheena dresses in the fatigues again, but says an unfamiliar smell is making her nose itch. Cutter smells the collar: "It's Eternity." Sheena: "I'm going to smell like this forever?" Cutter explains about perfume, that it's like pheromones. Sheena understands odors given off to attract the opposite sex. Cutter says it doesn't always work. Sheena: "Well, it worked this time."
Mbato's forces take the plane. Sheena gets to the cargo hold and gets the vaccine. When the soldiers break into the plane's interior, it is totally empty.
Mbato radios that there is no way the hijackers could have gotten into the jungle. Just then gunfire erupts, pinning the soldiers in the plane. Cutter, who is on the roof with binoculars, gets to a spotlight and shines it on the maitenance hangar, where the shots are coming from. Amanda radios Qaba, who says that if any of the soldiers try to get off the plane, he will blow it up.
Sheena takes the vaccine to Kali, but there is not enough for the entire village. Kali thinks they should be grateful to Amanda, though, for having any at all. She says Amanda seems like a nice person, "in spite of her taste in men." Sheena says Cutter acts differently around Amanda. It's as though, even when they argue, they are in their own little world, and no one else can get in. Kali surmises that Sheena feels left out. Sheena says she doesn't know what she feels. Kali: "Don't know? Or don't want to know?"
Sheena returns to the airfield and sneaks out to search under the plane. She finds a tunnel leading to the maintenance hangar.
Amanda wonders if they are doing the right thing, letting Sheena explore around the plane and the hangar, possibly endangering herself and all the hostages. Cutter says Sheena is just as good at what she does as Amanda is at her job. Amanda accuses Cutter of patronizing her. They argue again and it's apparent that each is bitter over their past.
Sheena returns and reports that the tunnel is part of a system of tunnels apparently dating back to the Maltaka civil wars, and that the entrance to the hangar is chained from the inside. Amanda wonders why the terrorists would choose to leave the plane in favor of the hangar. Sheena theorizes that they seem to be buying time, and maybe they have another agenda. Cutter wonders if they are trying to direct everyone's attention away from something else -- possibly an attempt on Ngama's life.
In the hangar, Rashid notices the flight crew is missing. At the end of the airfield, the crew emerges from another of the tunnels and changes into camouflage clothes.
Sheena, Cutter and Amanda surmise that the terrorists must be intent on messing up the peace process between Defari and Maltaka. They radio Ngama to move to another location so no one will know where he is.
Amanda radios Qaba that Kapathi has been freed and is ready to be exchanged. Qaba is nonplussed, not expecting this to happen. He stalls and then radios the men of the flight crew to move in immediately.
Cutter doesn't want Amanda to go with them to storm the hangar, but she says she won't be killed: "That would be just way too corny." Then Cutter sees that Sheena is gone.
In the hangar, the terrorists and hostages are alarmed to hear a loud growling apparently coming from just outside. Cutter shoots through the window, breaking the lock on the tunnel exit, and the darak'na leaps into the room. She attacks the guards, while Cutter and Amanda break in and fight them also. They shout at the hostages to run, and they all escape. Qaba tries to radio his men, but the darak'na grabs him and throws him through the window. She leaps after him and knocks him unconscious, before running off into the jungle. Amanda radios to the plane with more vaccine that it can land now.
Amanda and Cutter say goodbye. Amanda wants to know where Sheena is -- she didn't get to thank her. Cutter says she's just not much on goodbyes, "but then again, who is?" Amanda starts to leave, but then goes back to Cutter and they kiss passionately. Sheena is watching from a distance with a sad but accepting look on her face. Amanda breaks free and heads for her helicopter, but there are tears in her eyes. Cutter watches her go. Mendelson comes up to stand beside him. Cutter: "At least we freed all the hostages." Mendelson: "Yeah, all but two." He walks off, leaving Cutter gazing after the helicopter. Sheena turns and walks away also.
This synopsis is by Mao693.
I liked this episode. It left me with some questions, which is probably fine, but I just thought I'd mention it.
We start off with Kali taking care of some sick people. She's moving rather slowly herself -- not sure if she's just exhausted or if the limp we noticed last week exists in this episode. She really doesn't move around too much (actually, she's not in the episode that much, but she does have three or four scenes so I'm not complaining) so it's hard to tell. (And, yes, we know that last week's episode -- The Darkness -- was supposed to have been shown after this one, but I guess I'm looking for when or if her limp shows up outside of that particular episode.)
Sheena talks to her the next morning and says that Cutter is picking the stuff up -- not sure at that point what he's getting, but I'm more intrigued by Kali's concern that he won't come through. Does she not believe he's trustworthy or is she just so tired that she's snappish with Sheena?
[ I just realized that I have no idea if I'm spelling 'Rashid' correctly. And I think I've been spelling 'Mendelson' wrong -- it looks like the official web site has 'Mendelsohn' -- my apologies. ]
Cutter's waiting with Rashid for a plane to land. Rashid wants to know why Cutter's there and Cutter claims that he wants to greet the ambassador/minister -- some hotshot that Rashid didn't think anyone knew would be on the plane. Cutter responds that, until he got that reaction, it had only been a rumor. The plane lands but no one gets off, so the guys go closer only to discover that it's been taken over by terrorists.
N'Gama has standing orders to not be awakened for any reason before 9 a.m., so Rashid doesn't have any instructions on what to do. By this time, Sheena's come to the airport to find out why the vaccine isn't available -- evidently, the village has Hepatitis and the plane has the medicine. The guys decide that Rashid will take a radio to the terrorists to communicate with them while Sheena takes advantage of the interruption to get to the medicine. Unfortunately, N'Gama's troops show up to escort the minister/ambassador someplace and the terrorists take exception to that. This ends up with Rashid being hurt, taken hostage, and Sheena having to give up on getting the medicine. N'Gama's people are upset about not being told what's going on, which allows Cutter to remind them that it wasn't their fault N'Gama likes to sleep late. He also manages to convince them to disobey N'Gama's order to take the plane back immediately, citing N'Gama's future displeasure if the hostages are killed, which will surely happen if they're not completely prepared.
So Cutter calls Mendelsohn to get some files to him. Mendelsohn is busy dusting what is evidently a sarcophagus that has the phone inside -- he finally decides to answer and starts complaining that Cutter doesn't know "what day of the month it is" and, after being convinced that this errand is important, promises the sarcophagus that he'll be back soon. Very strange.
So, Cutter calls in someone -- presumably some contact that he still has who promises to send a hostage negotiator. A large helicopter arrives and a woman steps out of the pilot seat -- it's Cutter's ex- wife, Amanda Prentice Cutter.
She's not thrilled to be there, but is talking a mile a minute, calling Cutter "Mattie" and teasing Mendelsohn. Once she catches sight of Sheena, she shuts up for a moment before asking if that's the current Peace Corp uniform. When Cutter tells her that Sheena's a local, she asks if she's local to Norway.
Around in here is where some of the scenes start getting mixed up in my mind -- basically, the terrorists ask for blankets and Sheena takes them out to them. She comes back claiming that the pilot may have had a gun to his head, but he wasn't scared. Rashid and the minister talk amongst themselves, and in fact Rashid is the first person to answer the radio when Amanda contacts the terrorists. Amanda and Cutter spend a few moments here and there talking, fighting, enjoying each other's company, etc. Sheena notices that the terrorists have hung the blankets from the underside of the plane to the ground shortly before N'Gama's soldiers go in to take the plane, which is of course empty by that time. When they try to leave, it's discovered that the bad guys have moved everyone to the maintenance hangar. Sheena takes the medicine to Kali, though there's not much that's useable with all the fighting and traveling it's had to do. She also discovers that there's a set of tunnels under the plane and that's how the terrorists got to the maintenance bay. Finally, they figure out that the whole thing has been a distraction to keep them busy while a couple of members of the terrorist group go looking for N'Gama to kill him. They take those guys out, and then the Darak'na shows up to help take out the terrorists at the airport. The ambassador/minister is safe and no hostages were killed. Amanda leaves, and Cutter muses that 'at least the hostages are safe' to which Mendelsohn replies 'well, all but two of them.'
I really liked how Amanda kept calling Cutter "Mattie" -- it really helped to show that they had a history. In fact, one scene has Sheena and Kali talking about how Sheena feels excluded when Amanda and Cutter are together since they have a chemistry that she's not a part of. Kali asks her if she doesn't understand what she's feeling about that or if she just doesn't want to admit to what she's feeling. Presumably, Kali's asking if Sheena is jealous.
Amanda knows Mendelsohn -- very amusing interaction between those two.
Amanda knows her job. Again, this show is capable of giving us strong female characters. And I do appreciate that Cutter has no problem with strong women. Though this brings up a couple of scenes that I'm not completely certain what the intended messages were supposed to be: a) Cutter compliments Amanda on her abilities, which she reacts very adversely to, accusing him of being patronizing and b) Amanda accuses Cutter of getting "hot" when confronted with a woman that he finds 'impossible,' at least until he gets 'bored.' Does she have self-confidence issues or did he use to be patronizing, 'cause I sure didn't get the feeling in this scene that he was truly giving anything but a compliment. And, are we to believe that Cutter finds strong women sexy until he thinks they've been 'conquered' by him or something? Like I said, I'm not quite sure what the writers' intention was with either of those scenes.
Sheena's not sure of her feelings towards Cutter. Again, we're back to the fact that "The Darkness" (with her date with Cutter) was evidently supposed to be seen after this one. Frankly, I'm slightly surprised but pleased to discover that this episode would have been better seen prior to that one but the swap didn't really strike that much of a discordant note. It's entirely possible that "The Darkness" occurred at some point prior to this episode, though the scene between Sheena and Amanda where Sheena claims to be only Cutter's friend is less believable because of the 'date.' Except for that one point, though, having "The Darkness" prior to this one didn't seem to be a big deal.
The expressions and actions of all four characters in the final scene were VERY good. (Amanda leaves Cutter, makes it about a third of the way to the helicopter, Sheena's watching, then Amanda turns and she and Cutter engage in a couple of moments of intense kissing before she leaves -- almost in tears -- to get to the helicopter and leave. Sheena's still watching while Cutter watches Amanda leave, then Mendelsohn shows up with his observation that there are at least two people still hostage, presumably observing that the break between Cutter and Amanda is not as definite as one might have expected since they're divorced.)
Rashid and Kali and N'Gama and Mendelsohn and the poor guy whose name I can't ever remember (the head of N'Gama's soldiers) are all in this episode. I always like to see recurring characters over guest stars, in terms of air time. Gives a sense of continuity, which really doesn't exist in many television shows.
Rashid gets shot in the leg, but manages to make it through about a 20 hour period or so with no real ill effects -- few (if any) bandages on the leg, little blood, etc. It seemed a little more than just a flesh wound to me, but it really wasn't mentioned too much, though he was on crutches at the end.
I'm not too keen on any one treating a sarcophagus as an object of affection warranting a kiss goodbye. That was too strange.
All in all, a very enjoyable episode. I hope we get to see Amanda again; there seems to be some tension between her and Cutter that could be worked on. I wouldn't mind hearing some back-story on Mendelsohn, either -- he obviously was a relatively important part of their married life since he knew Amanda's coffee preference. I don't remember any indication that he was in the CIA with Cutter, though, so why would he and Cutter have hooked up together while Cutter was still with the Agency? Oh well. The interactions between Amanda, Cutter, and Sheena (A/C, A/S, and C/S) were all well-done and interesting. Thanks to all involved!