harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

WATCHERS review....







WATCHERS: The Virtual Series

Episode 18, Season 2


"Get A Life"



Story by Faith730 and Watchers Staff
Written by Faith730 (with additional writing by CN Winters)
Produced and Directed by Faith730 and CN Winters
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sound by CSR
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists – Chris Cook, Zahir al-Daoud, Sarah, Robert Kidman, Humaira, CN Winters


With Felicia Day as Vi, Lindsay Felton as Skye, Thora Birch as Tracey, Elijah Wood as Jeff.

Guest Starring Jeri Ryan as herself and Seven of Nine, John Colicos as Kor, Marc Worden as Russ,
William Campbell
as Koloth and Michael Ansara as Kang


Scene 01: We start with a great scene in the gym dealing with a resentful and angry Kennedy and a sympathizing Robin. If you'll recall last episode, during Giles and Becca's attempt at a wedding on the Watchers Council grounds, the killer of Kennedy's birth mother (none other than Jenny Calendar) was finally revealed to her unexpectedly.

Robin knows something about wanting to avenge himself on the vampire who killed his mother, only to be faced with him now being a 'good guy'.


Commentary: I like this scene, because there is an acknowledgement that Robin still could have killed Spike at any time. Sure the attempt to activate his brainwashing and then trying to stake him didn't work out so well. But, vampires can be very vulnerable when their unconscious during the day....

I also love the callbacks to Season 1 Kennedy at the point when Willow and Giles found out who Kenn's mother was. She was in a really bad emotional place then, exploding at everyone in her path, drinking heavily, willingly participating in allowing a vampire to feed from her ... the last thing they wanted at that time was for Kenn to race off on a mission of vengeance against Angel for the actions of Angelus... actions which they had all forgiven him for (and I admire Giles being able to do so). But I also like this scene *because* Kennedy didn't immediately pack a bag for Los Angeles. She has changed - she's still making bad decisions (in my opinion: stupid Kadin), but she isn't the wreck that Season 1 Kennedy was.



Scene 02: Andrew is on switchboard duty. He's been answering the phone all morning with 'Hailing Frequencies Open' in an attempt to win a contest in which he and Jeff entered from a local radio station. He and Jeff manage to win the contest which means that there will be a backstage meeting with Jeri Ryan.

He geeks out and falls over a chair....


Commentary: I suppose I must therefore explain the Trek reference... which I'll simply do with a LINK... thanks, 'dailymotion'. As you can see, this is where our title comes into play which also hints that this will be a largely comedy plot, despite Kenn's emotional turmoil.


Scene 03: Later that afternoon, Kennedy and Faith have been dispatched to the basement by Dawn's vague report of "something icky" living in the basement....


Scene 04: Meanwhile, at the convention, Andrew's eyes are all a-twinkle. Behind him, Jeff enters with Dawn, Skye, Vi, Tracey, Rowena, and Willow. Our group breaks up to explore the convention, with us following Andrew and Jeff.




Scene 05: We cut to Ro and Willow, where Rowena brings up for me something that immediately sprang to mind when I saw Andrew's guest list: Where's Xander?

Willow tells Rowena all about the 'sad puppy eye' face that allows her to get her way around Xan, presumably in situations where 'resolve face' isn't appropriate. She brings up Giles and Becca's honeymoon in Vegas, but Ro says they shouldn't bother them.


Scene 06: At that moment in Las Vegas, Giles and Becca are rushing from a stage venue. It takes a few moments to understand that Giles had participated in a stage hypnotist act and was forced to do the whole 'think you're a chicken' bit. He's outraged, she's greatly amused by his outrage.


Scene 07: In the basement of horrors, it turns out that Dawn's possible demon invader is actually an army of roaches. Disgusting, but not exactly deadly. Faith doesn't react this way however, and we find out that she has a phobia against armies of cockroaches. She makes Kenn carry her out, refusing to leave her roost on top of a box.


Commentary: I have to say I was a bit disappointed here. Not over there not being an actual monster of the week to fight, but because I thought that Dawn had arranged this impromptu 'mission' with Faith in order to force Kennedy to talk to her. Faith could have then reminded Kenn that Angel had a soul and things he did when he didn't aren't exactly his fault. She could have pointed out her own evil behavior, with less excuse, including the deliberate murder of Professor Worth. Kennedy would then bring up that everyone knew who had killed a mother she never got to know and no one said anything in all this time.

Now, this certainly would have gone against the grain of the light comedy feeling, but it would have been both appropriate and welcomed here. Instead, it really comes off as random. It may have been a better choice to expand Giles and Becca's adventures in Vegas and just have us bouncing between the various pairings at the Comicon and our two newlyweds getting into one slapstick mishap after another in keeping with their the comical misadventure of a wedding and just leave the Council off-screen for this episode so we could deal with Kennedy in the next one.

On the otherhand, comedy - I think far more than horror, or drama, or mystery or any other genre - is so very, very subjective. I'd be the first one to admit (and I have on an LJ posting in which I mentioned I wouldn't be reviewing comedy films) that what one may find absolutely hilarious (for instance, I can watch Airplane! over and over and laugh in the exact same spots everytime) can bore to tears others (I don't find Abbot and Costello remotely funny - I just don't), so this is one of those reviews where you have to take things I point out with a grain of salt. You may have found the Faith-afraid-of-bugs and her situation on the box a great comedy moment. I didn't.


Scene 08: At the convention, Andrew and Jeff meet Jeri Ryan. Jeff stands immobile and mute through the whole meet-n-greet, in a state of severe star-struckness. Andrew is far more smooth about this once-in-a-lifetime moment, until we segue into his series idea pitching to Jeri, anyway....



Commentary: I should have seen the spazzy-Andrew/cool-Jeff switch coming... still it was nicely written and handled. I also like the photo of Jeri the actress used here and the warm amusement that the staff presented her as having toward the ST fans, like Andy. What I really like though, is Jeff standing in the background of the picture. Note that he's worn his Frodo cloak to the convention. That was a nice touch.


Scene 09: We join Andrew's daydream/series pitch to Ryan: To my shock (okay, no) Andrew's captain is not only himself in his new series idea, but he's also a Stu. Seven of Nine is a crewmember, and of course ends a rather intense scene by kissing her Captain....




Scene 10: Thankfully, she's then called away for the Q & A session.


Scene 11: Elsewhere at the convention, a young man dressed in Ferengi garb has joined someone in a closet where a note has summoned him. We're left with the impression that he meets a sticky end.

From the closet emerges... Seven of Nine?


Commentary: Just as a side note, too, this is a quirky bit of timing: I just finished an Angel: Aftermath review in which Angel, Spike and Groo spent two issues fighting demons at a Sci-Fi convention....


Scene 12: As Jeff and Andrew are returning to Dawn, Skye and Tracey, Andy is grabbed by a group of Klingons. Jeff is nervous at this turn of events until Andrew speaks to them in their rough language and they all share a laugh. Jeff, possibly meeting the limits of his own geek-ti-tude, goes to meet the others. He doesn't see Seven approach Andrew and slip him a note before wandering off ... Andrew's note tells him that "Jerri Ryan" wants to meet him in a secluded room, which Andrew takes as her having thought about his series pitch some more.


Commentary: This may get explained in some demon-magic way later, but I have to point out here that Jeri Ryan in her Borg makeup/catsuit wandering around the convention without being immediately mobbed is... unlikely... to say the least. It'll work outside of the story as a conceit, simply because this is a 'lark' type of episode in which we're not meant to take anything happening seriously (See BTVS: Dopplegangland & possibly AtS: Smile Time...), but in terms of story logic, well - this immediately jumped out at me.


Anyway, Andrew gets himself attacked in a utility closet by a growling whatsis, but manages an escape with some quick thinking involving a nearby mop.


Scene 13: He rushes back to his friends and reports the odd occurrence. While skeptical, Tracey convinces everyone they should at least take a look, especially when Andrew can produce the note he was handed, written in a far different script than that used by actual-Jeri.


Scene 14: In the Basement of Infestation, Kennedy and Faith have returned with a bag of bug-bombs to nip their roach problem in the bud. Alas, Faith has another phobic attack and returns to her tower of boxes. In annoyance, Kenn calls up the stairs for Plan B.

This turns out to be Xander. Kennedy informs him that Faith won't leave her tower of boxes and draws on his 'Willow didn't end the world after a talk with me' skills. Well, he does for a minute or two, until Faith tells him why she's not leaving her tower of stacked boxes.

He now panics as well, and joins Faith....

Kennedy, now really annoyed with this silliness goes deeper into the basement to set off her insecticide fog, warning them that if they want to sit there and die afterward, that's up to them.


Commentary: I'm not sure if this is just comedy silliness, or if there is a point being made about the difference between Kennedy's social class and Faith/Xander's here as well. Kennedy's family is rich and she's surely never had to deal with bugs worse than the occassional fly, gnat, bee or misquito. Faith has probably had prior exposure to the horrors of sharing a living space with a cockroach infestation... maybe even more than once, she would be very sensitive to them crawling around her in the dark.

It's also not difficult to think that Xander's mom wasn't exactly overly concerned with home-upkeep; at least not those parts of it which the neighbors would never see. And Xan did have to spend that year and some living in the basement full of junk and dark corners. It isn't hard to imagine that he may have woken up to feel something's legs on him in the middle of the night.

Kennedy doesn't know what the big deal is, because she's never been in the position of living with the things coming out at night all around you. Faith definitely does, and Xan may very well have run into this before, too. Although, I'm sure he fumigated himself - probably with three cans too many just to be sure. Faith, squatting in a cheap motel or empty building wouldn't have had such a luxury.

I don't know. It's an interesting social subtext in the scene which may have just been coincidence. I just don't find it all that wacky-funny.



Scene 15: At the convention, Rowena and Willow are still wandering as they're not aware of Andy's wild tale of nearly being attacked by a Borgified 'Jerri' Ryan. Ro is thinking like a Watcher and find it strange they haven't been able to see the others, but is distracted by Willow noting something and taking off at a run, nearly knocking her over.

It's not missing-group related though. It's the Xena display, where an enterprising metal crafter is offering replica swords, daggers and chakrams for sale.

While Willow enthuses about Xena, she finds out that Ro has also been a secret fan of the show... and that Ro has caught Giles watching it when he thought no one was around.

They make a date to re-watch seasons 1-5 on the DVDs that Willow has stashed away.


Commentary: I know that I'm, in general, lukewarm about the Rowena/Willow pairing sometimes, but in small scenes like this I do like them. Yes, this scene is inconsequential, but it's cute and the dialog works nicely.


Scene 16: Back with Andrew, Vi, Jeff, Dawn, Skye and Tracey ... they've somehow made it all into the Closet-of-Suspicious-Growling ... and despite the hallway light, it still manages to be dark enough for everyone not to be able to see anything....

Huh.


Anyway, someone comes along so they all have to be ready for a fight in the enclosed space....


Scene 17: The presence at the door isn't the Jeri-Ryan-alike, though, but Willow and Rowena. Will demands to know what they're up to and the story is explained. They also find the first victim, whom Andrew tripped over in the dark. He's alive, though he's been left with two wounds on his throat, looking much like tubules have injected him.

He's also paralyzed and when Ro dabs the wound with some paper towel, she comes away with a green residue. This is enough for her to identify what she believes their attacking demon is - shockingly, it is a shapeshifting species, not an actual Jeri-Ryan-alike Borg.

Willow puts a plan in place to catch and kill the demon, while hopefully remaining inconspicuous about it.


Scene 18: Back at the Council, Kennedy has had to recruit Robin in her efforts to get Faith and Robin off of the tower of boxes. He shares a look with Kenn and tells her this is just sad, which you know, hard to argue.

Robin goes up to the cardboard tower, grabs Faith in a fireman's carry and takes her upstairs. Kennedy exasperatedly tells him that she could have done that herself, she was trying not to coddle her.

They close the door at the top of the stairs and turn the light off -- leaving Xander to yell at them about leaving him down there!


Scene 19: At the convention center, Willow has used her local authority (we've seen that the Watchers Council has pull with at least the local police, and this seems to extend to other city sites as well) to recruit the security staff to be on the lookout.

In the meantime, Ro is getting more concerned about the Council because no one is picking up the phone. This was supposed to be Faith's duty, but she's been busy....


Scene 20: At the convention center, Andrew has purchased some hand phasers from one of the convention booths. With a little configuration, he's been able to shift the frequency of their sound effect whines to a higher pitch, which should help injure the demon they seek. He has also bought original Trek configuration communicators, equipped to work as walkie-talkies.

Finally, he recruits his Klingon friends, who are all heavily armed with their edged weapons as fighters... Willow frowns on this, until one of them demonstrates his bat'leth skills.




Scene 21: The plan to grab the demon is put into action, but when Willow, Vi and Ro rush the closet where they saw the demon go, the room turns out empty. Willow notices the grate and realizes the demon must be on the move through the ventilation system. She orders everyone to regroup.

After they leave, a metal trashcan in the janitor's closet morphs into the reptilian demon and then shifts again... into a Willow!




Scene 22: Everyone spreads out briefly in order to obtain some suitable weaponry and then a plan is made to make a thorough search of the center for their shapeshifter.


Scene 23: In the dealer room, Skye, Dawn and 'Koloth' are searching for the shapeshifter. Skye suddenly realizes that they
can't be sure if any one of them is actually one of them, so decides to make sure. She points her phaser at Dawnie and fires. An ear piercing whine goes through the hall, but she confirms that she, her girlfriend and the Klingon isn't the demon.


Commentary: I thought the inclusion of the guys dressed as Klingons was pretty funny at the beginning. But now, they're wearing thin... I understand getting into character, but all these costumed guys do is yell Klingon. Okay, already....


The discharge of Andy's improvised sonic weapon has Willow charging over to where Dawnie's group is. She berates Skye for drawing so much attention and takes the phaser away from her. But as soon as she does, another Willow is on the communicator/walkie-talkie, asking if everything is alright, as she heard the phaser go off.



With fake-Willow's cover blown, the demon assumes its more natural form and charges our threesome. Skye gets knocked back into their companion and they both go to the floor. Dawn is next, only when she gets knocked down, the demon follows and bites her on the shoulder.

Dawn complains about always being the one to be paralyzed.


Commentary: Yeah, that was cute.


Koloth manages to swipe a few times at the demon with his Klingon blade, but the demon makes a break for escape.


Scene 24: It manages to make it to a maintenance door, where it easily breaks through, and goes off into the maintenance tunnels beyond. Rowena and Willow spot it, but Skye's panic over the comm stops them for a moment. She reports Dawn's condition.

Willow calls Vi to report where the demon has gone and sends Rowena with Kang after the demon, as she goes to find Skye and Dawn.


Scene 25: In the tunnels, Vi tells Jeff and Kor that she can sense something up ahead moving quickly in their direction. They immediately flatten against the heavily shadowed wall to ambush the demon, but it turns out to be Ro and Kang. Jeff teases Vi about her 'Slayer sense' until it turns out that she was right after all... the demon was close... very close. They were just looking in the wrong direction.

From the ceiling, the demon drops down and puts the bite on Kang....


Commentary: There are two things that are mildly bothersome here: I'll stress mildly... one is the fact that the Klingons are acting so Klingon-y, even in the face of supernatural demon attacks. These are just guys in costume, remember.

The second is that proofreading failed to detect Kor being spelled as Kar through this whole scene... I must therefore go with the explanation that it is the guy-in-makeup's name, but it's annoying. This is especially so, since it was actually spelled correctly only a few sentences beforehand.



Scene 26: The demon is once again able to sprint off and it re-takes the Seven of Nine form as it dashes for the auditorium with the Councilmen and Andrew's friends in hot pursuit.

There follows a pursuit backstage, as out front, Jeri Ryan is taking fan questions. Andrew and Vi are able to trap the creature briefly on the catwalk above the stage, before the Seven-Demon rushes past Andrew, sending him over the side of the catwalk railing.

He dangles precariously 30 feet above the stage floor as the demon descends the ladder again. It runs into Kor (or Russ, as the man is actually named... so Russ Kar) and he swings at it with his bat'leth, but this barely slows it down.

As it tries to exit the stage, however, it finds Tracey - she's able to fire her phaser and the high pitch whine drives it back toward the stage. This has the completely unintended consequence of Seven of Nine running into Jeri Ryan in front of an auditorium full of people.

Tracey fires again and this drives the Komimitor onto its knees, as it morphs again, this time into another Klingon.


Alas, that is when Andrew's jury rig gives out and Tracey is left to run as the demon charges after her, pissed off.

It doesn't look good for Tracey (tripley so, I'd say, since I'd count her as a third tier character at this point), but then Andrew swings down by a rope from the rafters above, allowing him to smash the demon to the floor. Vi is right behind him, also rappelling down from the catwalk.

There is a brief battle, including Jeri Ryan being rushed by the, again morphed into its true form, demon and Jeff tackling her to the ground before Vi is able to decapitate it on the center stage to wild applause....

Andrew takes the opportunity to wildly kiss Tracey, which she jokingly chides him for by quoting Spock, "Not in front of the Klingons."


Scene 27: Thankfully, and naturally, the auditorium of spectators believe it was a presentation. Willow calls Faith for a clean up team from the Council now that there is someone there to answer the phone.


Scene 28: Two weeks after the wild event, things have returned to normal around the Council. Giles and Becca have returned from their honeymoon and Andrew, Willow and Ro are gathered in the kitchen. Giles comes in complaining that there are some odd charges on the credit card bill, $1500 worth and he's sure there has been some horrible mistake.

Willow asks what was charged, and Giles starts reading the list of items they purchased to fight the demon. What really sticks in Giles' craw though, is the $800 sword...


... When he looks up, he finds himself strangely the only one in the room....


Commentary: Okay, that was cute, too. And I love how Giles' first question is whether Faith has been buying more weapons.... *snicker*


Scene 29: In the corridor outside the kitchen, Willow demands to know why Ro didn't return the sword, but she says she tried. The seller wouldn't take returns, plus the demons' blood had stained it.

What Ro wants to know is just who bought the chakram...?


Willow gives shifty looks, and they all continue to hurry away from the kitchen....



The Good: I did like the much of the dialog among our teammates, especially Ro and Willow's scenes together.

The sly 'Frodo' reference to Elijah Wood was appreciated.

The last two scenes were a nice way to go out.

Tracey was given more to do... that was really nice. Now, they need to give Skye something. I also appreciated Vi being able to do some slaying.

Oh, that Robin and Kennedy opening scene was very well done.


The Bad: Hmmm. There was a lot about this episode I found very average and "meh", but for the bad? I think I'm going to have to place Robin and Kennedy's scene together (as fine as that was in itself) not leading to anything. It's almost criminal for Faith and Kennedy to have scenes together following this in which Kenn doesn't accuse Faith of hiding her mother's killer from her to protect "that vampire" or something along those lines.

I also just found the whole 'big, bad Faith is afraid of cockroaches' to not be all that amusing.

That big flub on Kor's name being repeatedly misspelled was also an irritating gaff, since it was repeated and it had just been spelled correctly a few sentences before.


Other Thoughts: The use of Jeri Ryan/Seven of Nine wasn't badly done, though how you couldn't have a follow up scene with her after her near attack on stage, I don't know. I also think Xander would have been so much better used at the convention geeking out with Andrew, Jeff and Willow. I would have had him buy a ticket and then complain about it off and on to Andrew about choosing Skye over him... or Vi... or Tracey, even when the girls weren't in earshot. Alternatively, Skye really didn't need to be there at all - Dawn could have easily claimed she was writing a term paper due on Monday - having waited until the last minute because she's gotten so fascinated with the Council's library.


The Scoring: I didn't dislike this episode, and there were parts of it where I grinned. But overall, it was definitely missing some polish. There needed to be a clevering-up of the dialog, more clever visual references (like Jeff's Frodo cloak, or much, much more of Vamp!Willow - sans fangs, even), or more of a slapstick feel to things (I'm thinking of a short scene where Willow tries to throw that chakram and it goes wildly sailing off like a big frisbee over the monster's head, or Vi going to load a bolt in the Chewbacca bow-caster replica, only for the cheap wire to snap). A little punching up could have turned this one into a hilarious (possibly even better than last) episode. However, as it stands:


A not unrespectable, but very average: 3.0 outta 5 stars.





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