Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gemini Man Q&A

I received a comment from a gentleman named Tiziano Caliendo. In it, he thanked me for reviewing Gemini Man. (Thank you for reading.) With the comment, he mentioned that he re-watched the pilot movie and had a few questions on Sam's Invisible Man origin story. I tried to answer his questions as best I could. Most of my answers are from the pilot. Some are from the U.K. Annual. Some are guesses I've made from the show. All of these answers ramble a bit as I try to work out what is happening. So, please forgive any over-writing.

Here we go:

I always assumed the combination between the special radiation, the laser, the water and other contingent factors related to the mysterious satellite caused Sam's "invisibility". At a certain point, when they recovered his body, Kate Crawford [Abby] talked about the "field" of the invisibility "extending". Can you tell me what did she mean?

When the explosion goes off, we see a meter showing that the radiation has gone way up, which contaminates the water. Leonard says, "We have a nuclear reaction. Some kind of compressed flare-out." Then, they pull Sam up as he's still attached to his safety cable.

Sam's clothes begin turning invisible "The invisibility it seems to spread outwards from his body" is what Abby (Kate Crawford) says when this happens. "The field of invisibility is spreading. It's like a sheath." I'm no fake-scientist but that makes some sort of sense to me. Sam's clothes should turn invisible with him or else he'd have to strip naked every time he wants to remain unseen. That might work for him in Southern California but would be inconvenient elsewhere. (In H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, the clothes do not turn invisible.)

Then, the weird thing happens. When Abby places her hand near Sam's skin, her hand turns invisible. But...  that part of Sam's invisibility never comes up again. No one turns invisible when they're carrying him around. No one turns invisible when the life support breastplate is placed on him. So, I'm not sure about this one. As I said, I understand his clothes becoming invisible. But, the "Turning Anyone Nearby Invisible" thing is a big unanswered question.

I have three possible answers:

1) His DNA is still changing right after the explosion so maybe the invisibility field expands to make others invisible but then retracts to just cover Sam and his clothes because it exhausts too much of Sam's already waning energy.

2) The DNA stabilizer is meant to control the field of his invisibility. That doesn't explain how no one turns invisible before he gets it. So, it's a continuity error.

3) It was something Leslie Stevens (the writer) included in an early draft and forgot to remove from what was actually shot. So, it is a writing error.

I stick with #1. Soviet satellites with Atomic Lasers are crazy! Who knows what happens? 

Why did the Russian satellite fall from space anyway?

It's not stated in the episode why the Russian (Soviet) satellite falls. (I believe it's called the Virginia Pacifica.) It can't have been on purpose since it's falling into the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. The Soviet officials immediately order its destruction so it's something too important to fall into American hands. The Gemini Man Annual reads "The unscheduled descent of an an advanced Soviet satellite into U.S. Coastal waters..." Maybe the Soviets were trying to bring it down and miscalculated. Maybe it was orbital decay. It's never stated.

Who was Royce?

The "Royce Explorer" is called a "civilian research vessel" in the pilot movie and a "deep-sea recovery vessel" in the Annual. Mr. Royce is the head of Royce Industries who are a salvage company of some sort.

Why was he involved?

From the voice over radio dialog at the start of the pilot, it is a race against time. There is already a Soviet submarine somewhere in the area. The "Royce Explorer" happens to be the closest American vessel that can do the deep sea/ ocean diving required. Intersect is located nearby. Abby, Leonard and Sam are flown in to help. Royce and his crew are civilians. Intersect is the government. They're all chipping in to help retrieve this satellite and whatever it contains. 

So let me understand this. Did Kate use electricity to counter effect invisibility? What's the logic behind the cures they applied to Sam at the very beginning? What about the wrist watch? And why only 15 minutes? It seemed to me he had no watch or DNA stabilizer for days before they would come up with a viable solution.

Some initial rambling:

Abby says what happened to Sam is like "being hit with compressed lightning" and it's "affected his cellular structure." They get him to Intersect as quick as possible and hook up that breastplate to him, which is some sort of advanced life support device.

"The radiation distorted your DNA molecular field structure." Leonard says that that is what happened, per the research data. Earlier, Abby says something to Sam in a scientific vein and he asks her to dumb it down a shade. Sam doesn't ask Leonard to dumb his statement down so Sam must know what it means. I think it means "The explosion with radiation inside makes Sam invisible."

Abby says to Sam, "Your DNA helix is out of whack." The radiation from the explosion is changing Sam's DNA. Remember when The Fantastic Four went through the cosmic rays and got superpowers instead of dying? It's like that. Remember when Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider? Instead of getting some sort of radiation poisoning, he became Spider-Man. It's like that.

To answer the questions:

Does Abby use electricity to counter invisibility?

As I mentioned I'm no Fake-Scientist like Abby but it seems that electricity is somehow involved. It helps increase the energy around his body to bring him back to invisibility. They remove the breastplate, which is basic life support, and attach the armband DNA stabilizer. Sam becomes "part of the circuit. He's carrying close to 1,000 volts." Sam builds up a counter-field to the invisibility through Advanced TV Physics. But, it requires those Heart Paddle Electrode things that they use in medical shows to give Sam the final boost that starts him up again. He becomes visible. Abby says that the DNA stabilizer normalizes him and keeps him visible. Without it, he fades out permanently. 

Warning! This might not be real science here. 

Oddly enough, he's nude when he becomes visible again. But, there's no sign of them removing the invisible wetsuit when they put the breastplate on him. Unless they strip him nude on the Royce Explorer. That doesn't seem likely.

What's the logic behind the cures they applied to Sam at the very beginning?

The breastplate isn't a cure. It's simply to keep him alive as the Atomic Research department races to reverse the invisibility.

What about the wrist watch? And why only 15 minutes?

My initial thought is that digital watches were probably pretty new and exciting then. That's why they gave one to Sam, to make the show seem as hi-tech as possible.

In the Annual, Abby says "It's not a watch, Sam! It's a transistorised control to keep you visible." That's simple enough. It doesn't make much sense but it's simple enough.

In the actual pilot movie, the wrist watch is the "micro-unit." The armband is the "mother-ship." I think that means that the armband has more power and creates the circuit that bring Sam back to visibility. Once he's back, the DNA stabilizer watch keeps him steady. If something goes wrong, he can still get in contact with the armband. The gold contacts on the back of the watch keep in contact with Sam's skin and stabilize him and it never runs down because it is powered by "plutonium and cobalt chips." An atomic battery. One button turns the DNA stabilizer off so Sam can turn invisible. (Although, Abby says "one button" but her finger touches two buttons.) Abby has a "monitor" watch that keep her appraised of Sam's condition at all times.

As far as the 15 minute limit goes, I think that's related to when he collapses right before they take off the breastplate and put on the armband. I always felt like Sam's DNA was constantly altering, making him more and more into an invisible man. The arrival of the DNA stabilizer stops his body from fading out of existence in the nick of time. When Sam turns off the stabilizer, his DNA begins altering again and he turns invisible. Abby has calculated that he can be invisible for 15 minutes in a 24 hour period without permanently affecting his DNA.

(In the pilot, he fades out after 15 minutes. In the series, he becomes visible again after 15 minutes.)

Sam explained the feelings he proves when he uses the wrist watch. Can you please tell me what he said? 

All right. Here's the dialog in the pilot right after Sam is disconnected from the armband and is solely attached to the watch.

Abby: "Feel anything?"
Sam: "Yes. Like an elevator drop."
Abby: "No blackout?"
Sam: "No. Cold chill, though. Like a wind rushing around me."
Abby: "That could be a phase variation. A slight fluctuation in the frequency. How is it now?"
Sam:   "Fine. Fine. In fact, I feel great."
Abby: "Well, you should with a million dollar wrist watch shooting you full of atomic energy."

And when he begins turning himself on and off, Sam says it "feels like a bad case of the hiccups." But, he's probably goofing. You know Sam...  he's a card.

Abby: "When you come back to invisibility, was there any electric shock?"
Sam: "No. I noticed I have to work harder when I'm invisible. There's a definite sinking sensation."
Abby: "That was your energy running down so you've got a time limit."
(See the 15 minute question above.)

Well, I hope that answers the majority of the questions. At the end of the day, Sam's origin story is the same as most superhero origins: it doesn't stand up under too much scrutiny but if you go with the flow of the jargon and what happens onscreen, it can be a hoot.

It was very nice to re-visit with Sam, Abby and Leonard again. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. What a compelling post! You truly rule. Thank you so much, that's really touching.
    I will analyze point by point.

    1- THE INVISIBLE FIELD. Your point #1 is excellent. It was temporary dilation, like an "adjusting". His DNA was still in turmoil, as well as his power. So it makes sense a lot, if you ask me.

    2- I think it was some severe malfunctioning. Not a remote-controlling descent anyway.

    3- I missed the part of the Russian submarine. Okay. Just a coincidence of factors. Routine in most of the superhero secret origins.

    4- It seems to me the prevalent theory of the series is that our DNA structure creates some sort of "morphogenetical"/electromagnetical field for each organism. Which is fundamentally true. By altering Sam's DNA make-up in an impossible, never experienced before way, his electromagnetical field also changes in tune with the DNA.

    5- We can assume they managed to remove his wetsuit OFF-SCREEN, at the Intersect headquarters, despite it was invisible. Why not? Wondering if the wetsuit came back to visibility once not interfaced with Sam's molecular field anymore. Guess so.

    6- So Sam's DNA is always/gradually going from State A to State B, the DNA stabilizer just keeps it "intact". State B is being nothing, literally. So Sam's DNA always slides from State A to State B: invisibility is a "tunnel", a mere transitory condition, not a definitive condition.
    I didn't get the difference between Pilot and Series, as far the 15 minutes timespan is concerned.

    7- "Your energy running down", I think she means his "physiological energy", his metabolism.

    My final question is: how could his DNA "restarts" itself and restores its original code everytime he comes back to visibility? Since we've established his invisibility field is just the byproduct of his DNA's progressive "decay", so to speak.

    I think we must take that as gospel, too :) LMAO.

    Such a terrific discussion!!!! I love this blog.