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September 1, 2015

Surface: Episode 12

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 9th 2006 9:30PM

SurfaceAnyone who watches just one episode of Surface - say, tonight's episode, one of the best - and still says that Invasion is the best of the new sci-fi horror show, ought to have his head (and heart) examined.

Laura and Rich are on the run from the agents who broke into their hotel room, Miles' transformation is progressing (bad timing too, as a girl likes him), and the monsters are starting to attack and kill more and more...

Is it possible that this show can keep getting better and better? How is it possible that 12 episodes into a show with one main plot, one continuing arc, can continue to surprise and reinvent itself? This could have gotten boring by now, but by giving out info about the monsters as little as possible, but keeping Laura and Rich's story separate from Miles' story, and by expertly mixing the intense suspense scenes with the Spielberg-like drama, they've really created a special show.

Laura and Rich escape from the agents by climbing to another room in the hotel. Rich disables one of the agents and takes his gun. Laura sends a videotape plea to Sean to help them ("Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope"). Caitlin invites Miles to a beach party, where a boy vanishes in the water. His arm (or was that a leg, couldn't tell) is found the next day and a funeral is held. Meanwhile, the weird stuff keeps happening to Miles: eyes changing, electricity when he tries to kiss, other body changes), and it's all connected somehow to Nim.

But the big story tonight is a mysterious voice that contacts Laura and Rich via their laptop. He can see and hear them via satellite, and gives them a code that leads them to the library, where they find a bag filled with money and fake IDs. The voice tells Laura they want to meet with her. Laura and Rich meet with a woman flying an airplane, but the woman says that the voice wants to meet Laura and only Laura. Rich doesn't like it but Laura says it's OK. Laura is blindfolded and flown to a secret headquarters...and she guesses that the woman is the voice on the computer.

She works for a "corporation," and explains there is no real government coverup, that in fact that government is "largely ignorant" of what is going on with the sea creatures. She and others created the monsters. When Laura asks her why she would do such a thing, the woman answers: "because we could."

Three episodes to go this season...

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Goonies never say die!

January 21 2006 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Martha Plimpton was AMAZING in this episode. The quality of this show just shot up a hundred percent when she was on-screen. It felt like watching a whole new show. And I used to dislike her....

January 17 2006 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

(or was that a leg, couldn't tell)

Does a leg wear a watch? :)

January 17 2006 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like Surface. I wondered what was up with that scientist in the greenhouse. Was he some sort of crazy religious fanatic, attempting to bring about the end of humanity?

The Miles storyline is moving along slowly; the fact that something is happening to him is becoming more apparent.

People, I think you are all forgetting that, in order to succeed on network tv, scifi has to attract more than the usual scifi watchers. This is most likely why much time is spent on the everyday occurrences (Miles & his awkwardness with girls, for example). Invasion also has spent considerable time on developing its characters.

Look at Lost. The unusual elements were brought along slowly. Many episodes were just basic survival, character establishment and development. How long do you think Lost would have lived, if it had gone immediately into the Dharma Corporation and the push the button thing? Threshold had jumped straight into scifipremiseland. The people (who Felix Unger once referred to as "Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch") were probably confused. This (along with CBS' dismal track record in supporting its own scifi programming) is probably what doomed it. BSG (which I still think pales alongside of Farscape), doesn't have to ease its way into the comfort zone of Mr. & Mrs. Front Porch. Comparing scifi programming which must survive on network tv, with scifi programming which is located on a network dedicated to scifi, is just unfair.

January 17 2006 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As soon as the doctor said "because we could" I immediatedly thought of the dinner scene in Jurassic Park where they are talking about the ethics of cloning dinosaurs.

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could do it, they didn't stop to think whether they should."

or something like that... is this Jurassic Park underwater?

January 13 2006 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M.L. McFall

Really looked forward to this episode, but Atlanta channel chose to put that stupid Wife Swap on. Very, very disappointing and disgusted with the channel. Glad to be able to at least read about what happened.

January 11 2006 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Episode 12 is the best one so far.

And for all those who think that the acting is bad in Surface, I have two words for you: Martha Plimpton. Thank God she's come to the rescue. She's one of the finest, most under-rated, character actors around.

January 11 2006 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have one question. When the two fled the hotel room, how does the hotel handle this? I mean, do they keep charging the couple's Visa? C'mon writers...Don't leave us hangin' like this.

January 11 2006 at 10:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Invasion" is a terrible show - unlikeable characters, badly acted; no real action or suspense; and a glacially slow pace.

The sheriff and the brother-in-law/Jack Black clone/blogger are particularly annoying, but the whole cast pretty much sucks, and waiting for something to actually happen in one of the episodes is not quite as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow. After a dozen episodes, the plot hasn't advanced at all. If it didn't have "Lost" as a lead-in, very few people would watch.

"Surface" was weak at first, but it's getting a lot better as the plot gathers momentum. The last three weeks have been a significant improvement over the earlier Spielbergesque episodes.

However, my real favorite of the season's new scifi offerings was Threshold - it had the best premise, best cast and best execution, but got stuck in a lousy time slot and then dumped before it could find an audience. The natural audience was young men, so it's hard to understand why they chose to air it on Fridays, when most of the target audience isn't home. Here's hoping Carla Gugino gets another series with a network that's willing to stick by her show for more than six episodes.

January 10 2006 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Surface is good, and it is definately improving, but for my money Threshold was the best of the new Sci-Fi shows this season. It's a shame CBS was unwilling to give it a chance. If the reason for cancellation was the raitings, it's interesting that NBC is sticking with Surface even though it draws no more, and sometimes less, than what Threshold did. I guess that's the difference between being the number one network and the number three network. Given time, I think Surface could really be a good show, but it has a finite shelf life. There's only so much you can do with the direction the show has taken.

January 10 2006 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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