Sunday, August 04, 2013

SEASON 3 - EPISODE 10: "BRAZIL"

Season 3, episode 10: "BRAZIL"

Written by: Remi Aubachon

Directed by: Greg Beeman


Wow... So the last episode of the season is already here and gone...

If it's any consolation to the diehard fan - the production office for season 4 just opened this week, the crew is coming aboard, a first draft of the first script has come out - and season 4 looks very exciting with a lot of big changes and many twists and turns...  Also, if you haven't heard, we will be doing 12 episodes and not just 10 next time - so that's 20% more FALLING SKIES for you!
 
As for this one... 

This was the first time FALLING SKIES has ever used a helicopter! 

Now, I’ve filmed in helicopters a few times and truthfully, I don’t love them.  They bounce and they rise and move in ways that are unnatural.  I hate heights anyway, so heights while I’m swooping and diving and pitching I hate even more.  I have to say though, that the pilot of this particular helicopter was quite good.  The ride was smooth and I even had some fun.

The opening sequence, which takes place on the barge sailing into Boston harbor, was a big project.  Half of it was filmed with the crew sailing in Vancouver harbor, the Boston skyline was digitally overlaid onto the Vancouver skyline.  This part amounted to all of the big wide shots and helicopter shots.  The other half was filmed with the barge docked a day later.

Because I was going to be in the helicopter with Director of Photography Barry Donlevy and the cast and crew and Assistant Directors were going to be a couple of hundred feet below me – we decided it was important to rehearse the whole sequence well before filming.

So, a day before filming, the AD’s and art department guys marked off the whole barge in chalk on a parking lot floor.  They also marked off the position of the shipping container the 2nd Mass was hiding in and the position of the guns, etc.  I took all of the actors and all our of regular 2nd Mass extras and we rehearsed the whole scene several times – including how everyone would move into position and what positions we would take and the order of dialogue, etc.

It was a little weird to do it that way, but it paid off – because the day of filming went very smoothly.  The whole cast and extras and the barge crew had to show up before dawn to take a couple of water taxis out to the barge, which had been towed into the harbor and was awaiting us.

Right after sun-up the helicopter landed.  The helicopter cameraman mounted the camera on the spacecam which is a special gyro-stabilized camera mount specially fitted to the helicopter.   I made rounds with the cast and crew at base camp before they went off in the water taxis and then boarded the helicopter about an hour after it first landed.  I took off, and with walkie-talkie communication to the crew below, we ran through the scene a dozen or two times.

Not two hours later, we had all the helicopter shots we needed and I landed and boarded the boat for more filming!

Never underestimate the power of rehearsal!

Seychelle Gabriel had a lot of fun on this one.  Her character, Lourdes, has been pretty reasonable and placid up to now, but here, infected with a head full of eye worms she got to go a little crazy.  The first scene we shot with Lourdes in this state was the tent interior, where Hal comes to see her.  I had supervised her makeup in the makeup trailer, making sure she looked pale and that there were dark circles under her eyes.  There's a makeup trick I like to use, which is to turn the actors eyelid down and draw with a red grease pencil on the inside of the lid.  This creates a subtle red rim at the bottom of the eyes and adds to the freaky effect.  

When we were shooting the scene, I got right in there with a spray bottle of warm water and I used it to sweat her up and to arrange her hair so that oily strand framed her face and that one eye was almost blocked, but just peaked through.  Then, I just encouraged Seychelle to "go for it".  I told her that there was an animal force that was pulsing and shuddering through her body and that she should feel this energy moving through her body.  I also encouraged her to go for it vocally and yell and scream or growl or gurgle - to "get ugly."   As a director what I can do is set the stage and let the actor feel a sense of freedom and guidance in what direction they should head in, performance-wise.  After that I sit back and watch.  Seychelle really did go for broke, growling and snarling and shuddering.  I loved what she was doing and was glad she was having fun.

I can't talk about this episode without talking about Doug Jones and the amazing work he did on this one.  If you were at ComiCon or read a transcript of our panel there, you heard Doug joke that there was only one suit.  This was true.  So as the character of Cochise's father came about we all knew that meant Doug would have to play both roles.  (Truthfully, there was also one other stunt suit that had been built, it was unarticulated, and the Volm characters seen in the background are all played by one stunt man.)

As you can imagine, this was a daunting task for Doug.  The scene in the Volm spaceship where Tom and Weaver are presented to the Volm commander was quite long, and that meant Doug had to memorize two parts and a lot of dialogue. 

Tod Masters used Doug's lifecast to carve a new Volm face.  He designed Washaskabab (Cochise's Dad) with wrinkles and veins and created a new character.  And then Doug brought it to life.  I don't know how or when Doug does his preperation, but in stance and manner and vocal quality he created a completely new and different character from Cochise. (Later, in post production, a different actor re-voiced Doug as the father, but Doug laid all the foundation for the character.)

Since I only had one actor playing both roles, the shooting of this scene was quite challenging. I had to shoot every shot that involved Cochise first, then wait while Cochise became Cochise's father and then go back around the horn filming the scene again with every shot that involved the father.  Any shot where we see them both at once had to be a split screen, meaning I had to lock the camera off and shoot it twice with Doug acting to air.  This took a certain amount of planning and math.  Charts and graphs were drawn by myself, my cinematographer and my assistant director to figure out the best, most logical order to film the scene.


If you've been following this blog, you've also been following how, because of Moon Bloodgood's maternity leave, we had to finish filming any and all scenes with Moon in October.  The finale was filmed in December.  The scene with Anne in the coffee shop was a little better worked out, because the story for 8, "Strange Brew", was pretty well developed back in October.  But this episode was still undeveloped except for in the broadest sense.  Remi was struggling with how we should present Anne in it.  We had funny conversations where he would say stuff to me like, "Well, I'm pretty sure she'll be coming off of a spaceship.  She might be lead out by Karen, or maybe by an Overlord.  I'm toying with the idea that Tom has to trade Hal for Anne, but I'm not sure."  

We both agreed we needed to keep it simple and compartmentalized so that he could have as much freedom as possible to revise in the future.  Then one day he said, "It may be that they’re on a ship."  

"A space ship?" I asked.  

"No, a ship.  Like a tall ship, headed to Europe."  

Since I had no idea where he was headed with that I just said, "That sounds potentially complex. Who is Anne with?"  

"Maybe everybody.  The whole 2nd Mass."  

"And they're all headed on a tall ship to Europe?" I asked."

"Maybe."  

In some ways my job is easy.   A script comes out and my job is to realize it on film with actors and sets and lights and camera.  The job is certainly hard enough and there are many, many ways to realize a script – but no matter what I am making just that one script.  But the writer starts with the blank page.  Anything is possible, and in the “anything” is a lot of potential for overwhelm.  The writing process needs to be creative and evolving.  And the prospect of shooting one scene that’s going to play near the end of the finale episode when you really don't have the story and you don’t even know where you are headed is pretty daunting.  So I had a lot of sympathy for Remi.

A few days later he came back with, "No, we're going to have Anne coming off the ship."  

I started asking questions like, "Cool.  So, is it Karen or The Overlord?"  

"No," Remi replied, It’s a Volm ship."  

"A Volm ship?  How did she get on that?"

"I'm not sure, but I have a really cool idea it's just not completely worked out."

I trusted Remi that the idea would be cool and waited, but in the end Remi decided that the safest decision, the one that would allow the him most flexibility later, would be for Anne and Lexi to have already been offloaded and, as the ship takes off, (whoever was on it and whatever kind of ship it was) Tom would be looking up and then he'd turn and there would be Anne.  "Okay, great."  I said.  "Now, it shoots Saturday, so last question is this - Is Anne in the woods, in an urban rubble environment, or by a waterfront.  We could do any of those?”

Remi wasn’t sure.  It was a random choice and one we both realized didn't at first blush matter that much, but which would drive the locations of a yet-to-be-written script.  A choice had to be made.  Finally he decided… “Fine, the woods!”
A couple of months later when he was writing the script, he said. “Aagh, I wish I’d picked urban environment, that would have been way better.”  And so it goes.
The night we shot that scene was one of the hardest, most painful nights I’ve ever been through.   There was this huge obligation to get Moon shot out – so we scheduled the coffee shop scene from episode 8 and the scene where Anne and Lexi have come off the spaceship as well as a few other scenes and bits and pieces that hadn’t been completed on a Saturday to be shot by a second-unit crew.

We scheduled for Noah and Moon to only work half days on the Friday, we also scheduled Noah to be able to come in late on Monday, to protect his turn-around coming off of Saturday night  (“turn-around” is the amount of hours an actor or crew member has to have off before returning to work as mandated by the actor’s guild SAG the crew’s unions and federal law. In the case of the actors it’s 12 hours.)

But I forgot to think about myself.  The shooting of episode 4, which I was directing, was taking longer hours than was planned.  And the main unit didn’t wrap until 4 AM on the Friday night.  Moon wasn’t working, Noah wasn’t working and a whole new crew was reporting for work on Saturday at 11 AM.  But I was the only person working both shifts.  I suddenly realized that, after a week of 14 to 16 hour days I had only 7 hours between finishing a 15-hour day on Friday and starting another 12 or 14-hour day on Saturday. 

I decided to just sleep in my trailer, so that I wouldn’t lose the half hour both ways it would take to get to my apartment.  I woke up and felt fine on Saturday and we shot until about 9 PM with the café scene and the other bits and pieces.  Then I made a fateful mistake.  I knew the move to the woods location and the initial lighting was going to take a couple of hours…  So I decided to take a nap.  I lay down and passed out.  It seemed like only minutes later a surreal knocking was echoing through my room “We’re ready for you, Mr. Beeman” It was the chipper, yet faraway voice of some unknown P.A.  It felt like  thousand miles off and I dully realized that my hands and feet and voice would not work.  I felt like I was in “The Matrix.”  It was horrible, and it took me a long time to roll off the couch and onto the floor.  Every minute or so the knock recurred and the chipper voice reiterated, “We’re ready for you, Mr. Beeman.”  It was a hellish kind of hell.  I eventually staggered out of the trailer and was driven to set.  But the whole time I directed that scene in the woods my vision was swimming, and the ground felt like it was undulating and I was worried I was going to throw up.  Noah and Moon and my director of photography, Barry Donlevy helped me through the ordeal.  But it was a special kind of awful night.  Never again!

Since we didn’t really know what was going to happen in the story before the scene we kind of had to make some parts of it up.  Noah decided that he was, most likely, going to have gone through some kind of ordeal before finding Anne.  So he instructed the makeup department to char him with soot and to add a big gash and streak of blood across his brow.  That made sense to me (in my extreme-sleep-deprived state), so we did it.

Months later, as we began to stage the battle with Karen, my perpetually on-top-of-it assistant Ashley reminded me for the 100th time.  “Remember…  We’re going to have to figure out how Tom gets that wound on his head.”  For some reason, I’d been avoiding the issue for a while.  I was just counting on the fact that at the last second something would come to me. 

On the night of shooting I finally just blurted out the obvious answer.  “Okay, a skitter’s gonna have to smack Tom across the face.”  So as we staged the scene, I created the moment where, after Tom shoots Karen a skitter lunges forward and smacks Tom.  The Tom stunt double was there – and so we ad-libbed a stunt.  We put the stunt double in a harness, wrapped a line around him and ran it to a pulley that we, literally, attached to a nearby stump.  Then two of our biggest guys (including Brad Kelly) grabbed the line and pulled hard.  The stunt man flew back about 8 feet, spinning in the air as he went. 

The budgeting and prep of this episode had been quite intense and fast paced (finale’s always are) and while most everything got buttoned up before we began shooting, truth be told, we went to camera with a lot of unanswered details  regarding the final battle with Karen.  Partly this was because, in prep, we were super over-budget, and we kept pulling big sequences and putting others in their place, and moving things around right up until the last second.  Because of Jessy Schram’s shooting schedule on ABC’s LAST RESORT, the Karen scene was going to be shot last.  Human nature kicked in and we let some of the decisions drift regarding the scene. 

The other factor was that, creatively, there were a lot of discussions and debates about what would happen regarding that scene.  Discussions such as, should Karen die?  And once we got past that to “yes” – it was – who should shoot her?  Tom had to, that was clear.  Karen had certainly f-ed up Tom’s life.  But what about Hal?  And Weaver?  And Maggie?  They all had a lot of reasons to do it as well.

The draft of the script that we went to camera with actually had everyone blast her to death in a hail of gunfire.

As we got closer to shooting though, myself and the entire group of actors kept discussing this issue.  I was on the phone with Remi and we kept working it over as well.  It really  felt like Tom had to be the one to shoot her.  To do otherwise would diminish it.  But we also wanted to finalize the Maggie-Hal-Karen triangle.  Sarah Carter pulled me aside and let me know, that Maggie really wanted to shoot Karen.

So, we brainstormed how to lay the scene out.  We came up with the whole scenario where, after Tom shoots Karen, and after he runs off hearing Anne’s voice, Karen would revive and with her last breath she would call to Hal and Hal would hesitate and Maggie would blast him to death.  I liked it.  Noah liked it.  Sarah Carter and Drew Roy liked it.  I’m not sure Jessy liked it (she was dying after all.)  Midnight calls to LA were made to get approval.  Remi liked it and finally TNT liked it.  And then we shot it.  Like right then and there.

Now, let’s be clear, this shoot-from-the-hip, Cowboy style of production is not the norm for us.  But we were in kind of an extreme duress situation at that time of the season – and so it seemed appropriate.

Whew – that’s a lot of words…  

Thanks for watching all year.  Thanks for reading this blog!

See you next season!

Goodbye and Anon,

Greg


Listen to the director - He commands respect!

Yee-Haw!  It's the finale of Season 3!!!


Drew 'n Sarah - firelight is so romantic
The set at night

The team huddles in a tent on a cold Canadian night eating Cup 'O Noodles to stay warm
Brad Kelly and Collin Cunningham on set

Riding the taxi boat to set  (I like this pic cuz it looks like a cheesy vacation photo... but with aliens) 

Laci on the barge


Prepare to fire (at the blue screen)


Designer Rob Gray on board


Nobility thy name is "Mason"

Cinematographer Nate Goodman (I'm riding in that helicopter in the b.g.)

The Mason boys on board!


A stalwart group
Then throw me in

It's cold as shiznazz in Canada
Even for Volm


26 comments:

Falling Skies Spain said...

Great article! Loved the fact that Sarah Carter decided that Maggie wanted to shoot Karen, awesome!
Thanks for all and see you next year!! :)

Spencer said...

It was one of the best episodes yet, and we really enjoyed watching it. How things work and come together to make it all happen is always a fascinating read.

Thanks for the great season, and look forward to Season 4!

Michael Horne said...

Wow! That episode took a lot to put together. Thank you for sharing the background of filming blind for different episodes because of the pregnancy - fascinating stuff. Catch you next season!

Adrian Hickman said...

Excellent finale. It was also nice to see that Tom didn't get abducted again. ;)

And I am also glad to see how honest you are in your blog as to "human nature". No one likes to kick any can down the road and even less, likes to admit it, but you do, and that is refreshing. I'd rather have a delay in a decision than a rush to have to make one immediately, because that allows a decision to be better informed...

Usually.

Again, I got a bit of World War II flashback when the plot revolved around everyone going to a relocation camp. Also got a similar flashback as Tom Mason summoned his inner history professor/president to make his rousing speech.

Tom absolutely had to be the one to shoot Karen. It was prophecy based on the dream he had while under Karen's control. In addition, it also seemed to reinforce that he had asked Pope to shoot him should the bug take him over. By showing he had it in him to do that to Karen because of the danger she posed, it should take away any reluctance of anyone else should that horrible moment ever arrive.

And again, you spread camera time around to the entire cast, making this final episode truly an ensemble piece. You continue to do great things with Matt Mason, as well. Maxim has one of the toughest roles to play because he not only has to balance the normal growing up process, but he has to do it with the added maturity that would be demanded of his age, and maybe twice his age, when facing a crisis like this. His soberness to the reality of the situation is so mature and reasoned, and Maxim does a fine job with the demands of the role.

And yes, Doug Jones was a great addition to the cast. It has been a pleasure watching him make latex feel so real. I've been watching his internet shorts as well as his other recent work and I am so glad to have discovered him again through Falling Skies.

Do I still have questions? Sure, and I'll post them in my own blog later this week so all of 4 or 5 people can read it. :)

However, a great way to finally break away from the confines of underground mall in Charleston and move the story forward for Season 4.

PS. You don't know how important in my life some of the FS cast and fanbase has become as I try to tackle some serious medical issues. They have gotten me through some very dark days and will in the future. And all because Mark, Remi, and you decided to lay waste to Boston and the earth.

Thank you.

Erwin Rommel said...

Herr Beeman,

This was an episode that some how lost an hour of information to the cutting room floor-- then it lost continuity and any sense of logic (human or alien for that matter). Let's just look at the big picture:

1) Train??? Train Train Take Me On Outta Here... So now all of sudden the Second Mass (not the Charleston Regulars) go out on the rails to do a little damage! One problem trains are large objects easily detected by the air or space based recon. And since Karen knows that the humans are attacking some target in one of four cities-- it seems to me that should would be watching those cities with recon and air power intently! After all one Espheni Aircraft firing the big bomb they did in season one should be more then capable of knocking out one train! So really you want me to believe that the train should have made it a more then a few hundred miles towards Chicago? I think not!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBP15lRprPs

2) Barges-- Slow moving sea vessels
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmY99snA_po
Die! And I love how the Espheni send out one aircraft and not like one hundred of them to attack the barge. Is that because the budget wasted on nonsensical elements earlier on in the season? The fact is just like the Train Karen should have been able to detect and destroy this ship far out to sea.

3) Karen-- for a woman that supposedly knows the enemy so well and even having the aid of being inside of Tom's mind for while seems to not realize how much he hates her. How is that even possible? You would think that Karen might bring Alexis and Doc Glass to the meeting(because we all knew they weren't dead)-- it would give her leverage! I mean really she wants the enemy that she has spent the last 3 years trying to kill to say okay we believe you Karen you're a good person and we don't mind the Espheni Genocide at all. Really, that was her plan? That was the great alien logic at work? Are you kidding me... that is sloppy like a fifth grader's play.

4) Loudres-- you're the bait-- okay, that is fine... But really you might not want to tell Loudres she's the bait because she might be in contact with the one you intend to trap? Just a thought.

5) Volm's altruism-- This makes no sense... Any way you shape it the Volm would want to use the Humans to fight the war with them. It is always better to get some other poor bastard to die for you instead of your own men.

6) Dr. Kadar-- the NEW UNCLE SCOTT! So will he die off screen too in another jump between now and season 4?

7) Brazil? Why is Brazil Special? At first I thought it was a joke about the Peck film the Boys From Brazil then I thought maybe it was a homage to Brazil (1985) finally I think it was just a random name picked out of a hat. You know every other science fiction show today has some promised land so why not Brazil? It would have made sense if the Volm said they were going to send all the humans to Brazil to train and setup a manufacturing base for the war effort. But this oh you cannot fight bit was stupid.

8) Hardcore Joker... So Margret shoots Karen and that is a big deal breaker for Hal. Why? I'm mean after all his father already killed Karen basically all Margret did was the mercy killing part of the deal. But I couldn't help screaming out HARDCORE JOKE!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-or3B8qQ_c
This was an awesome scene your scene was not Awesome. It was just boring... The only reason it seems to be in the finale is that you want to break up Hal and Maggie now. Why? I'm not sure I guess you didn't have enough soapy drama for them any more in the script?

9) Hathaway's people matter why in this resistance movement? They can just pick up stakes in Charleston with those fine people and move on to greener pastures.

It was a great season of unintentional Comedy-- I need more of this in my life so keep it coming next year.

Adrian Hickman said...

So, how'd you like them commercials?

Adrian Hickman said...

BTW, while I also have a couple of questions that I'll add to my own blog later, so that all six of my readers can join in, I'll be honest and tell you that complaints about originality that are posted under an alias are kind of empty to me.

So, how would YOU have moved the Espheni gun and the 2nd Mass members? And if you are trying to move the gun as quietly as possible (you can't put it in your back pocket or send it by UPS), would it not also make sense to send the train as a decoy?

With no mole info available to them from Lourdes (not Loudres), then how would the Espheni know what would be coming their way,, especially since they may assume that the gun has been disabled?

If the humans are being relocated to Brazil, does that mean there is nothing there that the Volm and Espheni would value enough to war over? And what they ARE warring over is wanted by them and humans aren't part of that need?


Do I have questions? Yep, but as with some of your questions, I expect answers in Season Four. If we had all the answers now, then why bother with a Season Four.

The Volm's altruism? Do we truly know what is behind it yet? Yes, why not have people fight along side of you, unless you really aren't fighting for the same thing.

Looks like you still watch every week, and that is great.

You've got 10 months until you get 12, not 10, blogs to comment on next year. Bonanza!

Erwing Rommel said...

Herr Hickman,

Didn't really pay attention to the commercials-- I was too busy laughing at the content that was supposed to be serious drama.

In fact I think Beeman writes this blog to really distract hardcore fans from the lackluster nature of this show's writing.

Also the Alien baby is starting to look and act a little too much like the Alien baby from V The Final Battle. (Which by the way is not a good place to go.) In fact the entire alien hybrid baby was not a good place to go to.

But, I digress the after-life is calling me back. Once more into the breach I go. I do hope that Napoleon and Clauswitz are still not arguing over the battle of Waterloo... 80 years of that argument is getting old. And don't even get me started on the feud between Hannibal and Alexander---epic! I myself also find Moltke to be a complete bore! Not to mention Von Tripitz and Fisher! Let me tell you the after-life is a total bore! Nothing to do but listen to same old stories over and over and over again. Who said Valhalla would be great?

Adrian Hickman said...

LOL.

When I finally go, I figure my afterlife won't be as interesting.

While you broker peace among past world leaders, I'll probably get stuck with Elvis in his fat period, the ghosts of David Spade projects on my TV, a Geocities account, and I'll probably forget my pants a lot.

The last part could be interesting.

Erwin Rommel said...

Herr Hickman,

You have to realize that each year I channel a new dead person- last year Alan Turing; this year Erwing "The Desert Fox" Rommel; and next year I'm thinking of calling up the spirit of Chairman Mao or maybe even Sun Tzu himself...

I would really like to you know get the great Chairman's view on Guerrilla Warfare as shown in this series.

But honestly-- what can I say I'm addicted to bad television. I guess Greg Beeman doesn't take my advice-- I promise not sue but really he the gang need to start thinking about the writing of this series a bit more analytically speaking. In fact if we are honest he might even admit that it needs HELP!!!! And not the help that Spielberg is giving him--- he is another spoke in the Hollywood wheel to destruction.


Well, I'll see you next summer with any luck so keep the health issues to a minimum. Otherwise no one will respond to me.

Later

Adrian Hickman said...

:) .

I'll do my best with the health issues, but when I do get to the afterlife, you can take a TV season and channel me back.

I'll pick a fight with some historic world leader so that you recognize me.

eerye70 said...

I really appreciate a blog that let's us see us see the behind the scene details in the show. It's very obvious people work very hard on the showed. I love the actors and the original premise of the series. I really hope that next year the show is true to the origins and leaves Charleston and politics and drama behind. We know the Mason family are great but the universe doesn't revolve around them. I look forward to next year and two more episodes.

eerye70 said...

And question! How or Why did you choose Brazil? Does that mean that they don't have any aliens there?

adrianhickman said...

eeyre70--I had the same question, too. While we've seen all the action along the Eastern Seaboard side of the Us, I've often wondered about the rest of the world.

I would have to think that the aliens would have to be in Brazil, because the fight in the US could not exist in a world vacuum. However, I wonder if the fact that Cochise's fathers comment about not previously encountering resistance from each planet's natives means that the US was the only area that truly fought back.

I am also still curious about what they are truly battling over,since humans don't seem to be their priority, only a means to an end. I've guessed that there is something mineral or geological that they need and that would be found in the eastern US. But again, that is only one of my crazy theories. However, humans seem to simply be collateral damage potential.

Next year should prove very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Please bring back Denny for season 4! She has so much potential...

Aldenata said...

@Brazil
1. Remove Washaskabab from the premises!

Sorry, I had to.

2. Not sure what I think about this one. Much like Journey to Xilbalba, I'm thinking y'all had other plans for the episode beyond threatening to send the 2nd Mass to the world's largest Lusophone country.

Brazil (Hy-Brasil more specifically, as those who remember Erik the Viking might know) is also the name of a phantom island off the coast of Ireland. It shares much in common with the myths of Atlantis and Avalon, supposedly being home to a rich and highly advanced civilization.

Wouldn't make a good refugee camp, though. You can only see it once every seven years, and even then it can't be reached.

And, there's also… this. Caveat lector.

2. How are they fuelling the train and ship? Wasn't it already established that Charleston has a fuel shortage? Unless they were using steam (I saw no evidence of this), I don't see how they could have made that journey.

3. I'm pretty sure the Espheni were going to notice the big honking barge sailing into Boston Harbour. Is a couple of airships really the best thing they have to defend their tower and the home of their overlord? (Well, at this point in the war, maybe it is; sort of like how only two Luftwaffe aircraft were available to strafe the Normandy beachheads. Irradiating those whom they came to enslave does seem like the act of one running out of options.)

4. Train...

Well, I knew there would be a train; Peralta had mentioned work on Charleston's rail spurs. What I didn't count on was them occupying and refurbishing hundreds of miles of track all the way to Chicago and then rolling straight into the Espheni defenses.

The train itself is doable, assuming you could find the fuel and expertise to run it. Armoured trains were used heavily in the World War II and several wars thereafter (they're still used in Chechnya), and I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction that has the old steam trains put back on the rails as moving firebases or pillboxes.

There was a bonanza of locomotive building during and around the time of World War II and many of those are still usable today. They can carry a lot of firepower (more now than then, what with ATGMs, MANPADs and all), damaged rails are pretty easy to repair (bridges not so much) and trying to bomb the things is a lot harder than most would believe.

However, trains work best as support or defensive weapons, or for patrols in one's own territory. I don't know of any being used in a direct assault on enemy lines like we saw here, and any that are forced to go into battle without protection from ambush and sabotage tend to die quickly.

In all fairness, the characters seem to have known that. We see at least two locomotives, which implies a fairly substantial number of cars being pulled. I'm guessing those cars are all empty; the Espheni will sweep the rails in search of a phantom infantry battalion, all the while the events they should be focusing on are happening at sea.

5. Kadar and only Kadar speaks Volm… hrm. You would think that anyone who spends a lot of time around the Volm would try to learn a thing or two about the language, if only to make sure they ain't talking bad about you (only reason I ever learned Spanish).

6. "If Napoleon had had you by his side in Russia things would have gone a lot better for him."

That statement may come back to haunt them if they actually do have to chase the Espheni into Canada. Odd that Rommel hasn't shown up yet and said anything about that.

Aldenata said...

7. Should have given Karen the firing squad treatment.

8. Anne's alive, and Lexi is a six-year old! NEVER saw that one coming!

I guess it's a good thing overall. Tom gets a convenient out from diaper duty (hopefully; Karen did remember to potty-train Alexus before sending her back, didn't she?) and the studio can avoid all the hassle that comes with having small children on set.

She'll be old enough to drive by the end of season 4, won't she? Wonder what kind of car they're going to get her…

9. Word of advice: next time y'all have a character that needs an excuse to be absent for most of the season and you don't want to kill her off, consider sickness instead of kidnapping. Just say that she's off-screen and bedridden, fighting for her life against some bug that hasn't posed a threat to first-worlders in over a hundred years—or one of the newer, antimicrobial-resistant ones. Both would be common in a world like this; you could keep all the drama, but remove 90% of the idiocy that came with the "rescue mission" subplots.

10. Speaking of disease, Kadar's concerns about Lyme Disease seem a little misplaced, seeing as he just came from a city historically known for its malaria and just avoided going to a place known for Yellow Fever.

11. Lexi is an exorcist? Interesting.

What was it the lead rebel skitter said? About how eyeworms are most easily removed by whoever planted them?

Oh bother…

Aldenata said...

Oh... Rommel did show up, and he referenced one of my favourite songs.

(Full Metal Jacket? Good but overrated, like all things Kubrick. He should have made the Phantom Blooper into a movie too, though he would have probably had to go overseas before he found a studio that would touch it.)

Yeah, most of his points are apt, even if he does seem a little cranky for being dead for so long.

I think you should channel Robert Penn Warren in the next season. Why? Why not?

Lynette Holman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynette H said...

Hi Greg!

I first want to congratulate you on another successful season! I quite enjoyed it and from my discussions and reviews of other fans' comments so did everyone else.

However, I need to express my utter frustration with how you ended the season for Hal and Maggie. I, and many others, have invested three years in their relationship and absolutely love them together. The idea that two people can come from two VERY different backgrounds yet be so alike at their cores is such a wonderful thing. They are a strong couple who love each other and fight for each and that makes them exciting and fun and endearing. Please do NOT throw away three years of work with these two. They are obviously happy together and if they can't see what is right in front of them then how can there be hope for anyone else?

Thank you for letting me voice my opinion, love and adoration for these two as a couple. They are both amazing characters and Drew and Sarah are both outstanding actors who have SO much on screen chemistry that it is impossible to think of the show going on without them together. Please fix them!!

Thank you again!

Halgie Forever!!!!

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Mark said...

I realize that we're down below the linkspam at this point, but since you never posted a call for questions last fall, I'll ask one here: do you anticipate that you'll have any involvement with Heroes: Reborn?