A group of mercenaries hijack a truck expecting to find a cache of Stinger missiles inside. Fortunately for them, The US Army ships these deadly weapons in UPS trucks with just a padlock on the back door, and takes routes that lead them down narrow deserted alleys.
When they open the door, they are surprised by a soldier firing at them, but are able to take him down pretty easily. Then they are surprised that the truck was transporting a cryo unit and not missiles. My first assumption was it was stone crabs for some general on the taxpayer dime, but a sharp eye will catch the letters EBE on the unit.
And you better have a sharp eye. When they first see the unit, it clearly says EBE. After they fire back at the soldier, it still says EBE in two separate shots. But for some reason, the most important shot of the container just before the credits has the unit scarred by gunfire so the EBE is unreadable. So they screwed up on the order of the shots, and then why would you obliterate the most important word which sets up the episode?
There is another soldier, Washington, hiding in the truck. After she is subdued, one of the mercs fires at the container, breaking the seal. When the gang threatens the soldier to get information, an alien shoots out of the crate and turns one of the men to ice. For no apparent reason, the Major shoots the ice-man and he crumbles like Robert Patrick in T2. The alien zips around the warehouse, and for reasons I can’t figure, the soldiers open fire on the crate again — the one place they know the alien ain’t.
They decide to abandon the warehouse, but find the door iced over. The Major asks, “What the hell? Where’d this ice come from?” after he just saw an alien turn one of his crew into an ice-man. Yeah, what a conundrum.
They search the warehouse for the alien and a way to escape. That really is the next 20 minutes of the episode. Think of how suspenseful it was when the crew of the Nostromo was searching for their alien. This is nothing like that.
They aren’t given much to do, but a lot of the problem is the cast. Colm Feore is terrible as the beret-wearing major (he would later go on to be terrible as the President’s husband (referred to gratingly as “the First Gentleman”) in a season of 24). Where’s Michael Ironside when you need him? Jasmine Guy is simply not believable as the soldier who is willing to be tortured with a welding torch to protect the alien. There really is not one person to care about in this group.
There is just so much that makes no sense. Washington sets the major’s sleeve on fire so the heat will draw the alien. The major just waves his arm above his head rather than, say, taking off his flaming coat, or rolling on the ground.
Somehow the neon in a sign is able to kill the alien because it is “mostly made of helium.” Not really sure what’s keeping it from floating away, then.
Washington and one of the mercs are able to force an icy door open to escape. In the last shot, we hear a police dispatcher and see a frozen police officer. Did Washington just leave the door open and not secure the building? That can’t be right because the alien was already dead. Did the officer earlier just stroll in the front door when the whole group could no find a way out of the building? Why would the police have been called anyway?
A disappointing episode.
- On the plus side, Colm Feore was excellent in Stephen King’s Storm of the Century.
- Written, surprisingly, by Steven Barnes who also wrote the excellent Stitch in Time.
- Also surprising, it was directed by Brad Turner who directed almost 2 days worth of 24.