Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gemini Man Episode 11 - Return of the Lion

Unaired on the network
Directed by Alan J. Levi
Written by Steven E. de Souza

In Central West Africa, not to far from the Lampura Airport, there is a country about to burst into Civil War. Groups of armed mercenaries (including Mills Watson) patrol the border. The country was once run by a dictator named Jamada. In order to stop the civil war from occurring, the UN have hired Intersect to fly Jamada back into the country and back into power. Sam Casey will be the helicopter pilot flying this pompous, self-involved man past the mercenaries. Will Sam and Jamada get along in this mix of the earlier Gemini Man episode Targets and The Defiant Ones? Possibly. Except no one in those was a deposed African dictator.

 Pissed Off Sam
Uh Oh, it's Jamada!

This is probably the weakest of all the Gemini Man episodes. It is the mirror image of Targets. But, with less action and less suspense. In Targets, the viewer cares about Sam and (eventually) the scientist he's trying to free from the Bad Guys. (One can care about the daughter or not.) In Return of the Lion, Sam is trying to sneak a dictator back into the country he ruled so he can rule again. It's an interesting plot thread and it does make out Intersect as a true multi-national organization. They are there simply to do a job. Lucky for them because Jamada treats Sam and Leonard like garbage. On a purely entertaining level, apart from a sequence with Sam trapped in a downed helicopter and a sequence in handcuffs, this episode lacks the excitement of Targets.

Enjoy Mills!

It's not helped by Sam's basic question to Leonard which is, more or less: "Why are we putting a deposed African dictator back into power? And why do I have to fly him there?" I'm sure it's the sort of thing governments do all the time but Intersect isn't "governments." It's Sam, Leonard and Abby (who is not here). Sam never quite seems to shake a look of distaste he has throughout the episode. Leonard takes a "just doing my job" attitude. Jamada really does act like an aloof douche. Everything he says is grating. Yes, he is a dictator. I get it. But, the episode, even after handcuffing them together, never quite resolves their attitudes to each other.

 Early tensions are high
Not Nap Time
This is After The Crash

How could it really? Sam knows about Jamada from the news and his exploits. But, Jamada doesn't know anything about Sam except he can fly a helicopter. Sam's a hero. He helps people. He's a good guy. Jamada accuses Sam of being racist several times but Jamada hasn't seen 8...9...10... You're Dead so he hasn't seen the show dealing (very basically but dealing) with race. So, we're not seeing two new characters arguing with each other and learning about one another. We've got a hero that we've watched for a TV movie and 10 episodes and an African dictator. Surely, the dictator would be the one who needs to prove his humanity? But, Jamada doesn't care. And, Sam just wants to do his job. If only those mercenaries hadn't shot them down...

 Sam trapped in helicopter
Sam still trapped in helicopter (Invisible)

Part of the problem, aesthetically, with the episode is that it seems to run through the exact same woods as Targets. It all looks a bit too familiar. And, the budget seems to have been reduced. There is no huge army and a tank. There is no huge motorcycle/ car chase through a compound. There is Mills Watson and some grubby guys with guns. There is Jamada and Sam getting in fistfights. But, the show does pull off one Invisible Man coup: Handcuffed together, Sam frees them from the mercenaries by turning invisible. So, Jamada is seen running around with one side of the handcuffs up in the air, seemingly attached to no one. There is a moment when Invisible Sam takes a guy down as Jamada runs by him that is hilariously entertaining.

The Defiant Ones
(with one Invisible One)

The episode feels like it's trying something. No one is sympathetic here, apart from Sam, Leonard and some of Jamada's former "people." Both the "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" are, technically, bad guys. The difference is that Jamada's exterior is slowly knocked down. Especially when he and Sam sit down to dinner with the native people and they basically state that they are not looking forward to having Jamada return. The first chink in the armor around this arrogant dictator. Seeing Sam turn invisible and then having his life saved several times helps. However...

 The closest Sam gets to a smile
 They break fast with one another
The 7th or 8th Sam and Jamada fistfight
ends with guns pointed at them

Jamada is put back in power. The final scene is Sam and Leonard heading out of Africa. Jamada is making a TV announcement in which he seems to have softened a bit and he obliquely references his experience with Sam. Sam catches the reference and has a look on his face like "Maybe he's changed a bit." But, he doesn't seem completely convinced and I'm not either. Jamada will never have to see that family again and he'll never see Sam again. Are dictators well known for changing their entire worldview just like that? My guess is no but then my personality does not lean toward "dictator."

 Meeting with his dictatorial constituents
Sam saves the day!
(Leonard was already there. Should they have followed his route?)

The running around action in this episode is fine. It's always fun to see Mills Watson. Abby is missed. There are some wild Invisible shenanigans. And it is always nice to see Angry Sam. But, the locale is rehashed from previous episodes and whatever the message is that this episode is trying to get across doesn't quite happen. Maybe the ambiguity is the point. But, as this is the last episode and the show had never been ambiguous like this before, it feels like a mistake.

The final scene

So... this is the last episode of Gemini Man. I will not give a recap here because I have three more Gemini Man-related items to share with everyone. I know. A show that aired for a little over a month has some sort of subsidiary material? It sure does. And it's a little weird...

See you later, Sam. You will be missed

No comments:

Post a Comment