Tuesday, January 10, 2006

TV REVIEW: Surface, Episode # 12

Following their successful (?) appearance on MSNBC's "The Countdown," Rich & Laura get tagged by armed operatives of the "Agency for Strategic Intelligence," and flee their hotel room. Really and truly fugitives now, Rich and Laura manage an escape (and Rich steals a gun...) but are contacted by a secret benefactor, one utilizing technology outside "the public domain."

Meanwhile, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Miles twice zeroes in on a first kiss with his new would-be girlriend, Caitlin. The first time, his lips generate static electricity at a crucial instant; and on the second attempt, the kiss gets unexpectedly...goopy. Boy, Miles is going to need a therapist after this...

And thus we've seen Surface, episode 12.

Actually, quite a bit of crucial stuff occurs in this installment. Laura and Rich separate (which made me nervous; since they've been working together now for weeks...) and Laura visits the secret headquarters of "Mr. Big," her benefactor. Turns out Mr. Big is a Mrs., a scientist (played by Martha Plimpton) who once worked for a nameless Corporation ("a shell within a shell within a shell") to alter "RNA Enzymes."

The short story: she (and about 2,500 other scientists...) engineered the sea creatures now making mincemeat of the food chain. Laura seems disappointed by this discovery. I guess she wanted the creatures to be naturally occurring "creations" rather than designed by the hand of man. She asks the Plimpton character why anyone would design these ravenous sea monsters, and Mrs. Big's response is the classic line from any over-reaching scientist.

"Because we could."

Because I'm a sucker for stories about people and their pets (just see my devotion to my cats in this blog's catnaps...), my favorite moment in this Surface episode involved Miles reuniting with Nimh in the Aquarium. The lovable little creature ran up to him, sat on his lap, and began the lizardly equivalent of a "purr." Awww. That's cute! As all pet lovers know, it's a wonderful feeling when an animal comes to you, unsolicited, because it genuinely wants to be with you. Very sweet.

Of course, I'm aware that there are many angry TV watchers out there who swear that Surface jumped the shark last week when Nimrod came back to life in the episode's teaser. I agree that the development was lame. I mean, could the makers of the show at least arranged to have a little tiny bit of suspense about his return? But overall, I'm glad Nimh isn't dead. He's actually my favorite character on the show; and Surface wouldn't be half as good without him.

Otherwise, Surface appears to be repeating the Buffy the Vampire Slayer playbook, at least in Miles' storyline. You see, Miles is beginning to change. (He spends an inordinate amount of time in the episode barechested, staring at himself in the bathroom mirror). Like a man bitten by a werewolf, his metabolism is transforming. He's giving off static *ahem* discharge, and when he kisses Caitlin, he secretes that goopy white stuff out of his hands. Yikes. Thus adolescence is equated (once again...) with something along the lines of lycanthropy. Only it's sea-monster-thropy here, I guess. But the bottom line is that horror and puberty once again are going hand-in-hand, like chocolate and peanut-butter in a Reeses cup.

Also, based on Miles' and Nim's reaction to the presence of the creatures nearby in the ocean (where the free ranging beasties kill some night-time surfers...), I'm beginning to wonder if the sea monsters share a hive mind of some type. I predict they do; and that Miles' "good" relationship with Nimh will ultimately be the thing that saves all mankind. He'll be able to tap into the sea monster collective and let them know that their presence is harmful to humanity and marine life. That's my official prediction.

Only three episodes of Surface left this season; and it's not airing next week, so NBC can accommodate the Golden Globes. I hope Nimh is nominated for something... "best dramatic performance" by a CGI sea monster. (The competition is stiff this year, what with Invasion and all...)


  1. Anonymous12:55 PM

    "Nimh Phone Home"... or something like that.

    Oops -- wrong movie!

    SURFACE is still warmed over Spielberg hash.

  2. I don't disagree. But sometimes, re-heated Spielberg goes down smooooth.