Katarina Jones: I don’t love you.
Dr. David Eckland: You did once, and that can’t be erased.

This week begins one of the most conventional, though impressive episodes, with far-reaching implications for the series.

Title: “Meltdown”

Directed by Grant Harvey
Written by Richard E. Robbins

Amanda Schull as Dr. Cassandra Railly
Aaron Stanford as James Cole
Kirk Acevedo as José Ramse
Barbara Sukowa as Dr. Katarina Jones
Michael Hogan as Dr. Vance Eckland
Todd Stashwick as Deacon
Peter DaCunha as Samuel Ramse
Andrew Le as The Witness
Andrew Gillies as Dr. Adler
Murray Furrow as Dr. Lasky
Adrian Spencer, Michael Brown, Caleb Cosman as 1950s soldiers
Phil Borg as Man ‘Marshal
Sean Fowler as Time Traveller

Premise

The Witness damages the machine, causing disturbing time-effects and endangering the principal characters with a blend of horror and action tropes.

Not everyone survives.

High Points

This episode veered further into horror more than usual, and made for an interesting change of pace.

Low Points

Splinter radiation? Even for TV-SF, that strikes me as a little much, though it serves the purposes of this episode. So does the fact that the time-lost soldiers are conspicuously terrible shots.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 The central characters have to fix the Thingy or all will be lost! Part of the plan involves everyone creeping around a dark labyrinthine set encountering dangers! A noble character must sacrifice himself! A child must fulfill his destiny!

Story: 5/6 They handled these elements well, however, and this claustrophobic episode opens up several possibilities for the series.

Effects: 6/6 The damaged humans were suitably disturbing.

Acting: 5/6

Emotional Response: 6/6 The death was affecting even though it could be undone with time-travel. The disappearance of a key character, coming just when we thought the problems had been resolved, proves more powerful.

Production: 6/6 The sets look authentic. Were portions of this episode filmed at some aging industrial location?

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Meltdown” receives 34/42

Lingering Questions

-Where is Sam at the episode’s end?
-Is Sam destined to become the Witness?
-At least one of the years that flashed by before the epilogue was a plague year. Is the Witness’s choice of garb chosen for reasons other than general creepiness?
Why do the local raccoons keep leaving chewed-over make-up containers from someone’s garbage in our yard?