Threshold: Blood of the Children

Threshold improves this week, but still falls short of the hype the series has generated.

Writer: Anne McGrail
Director: Bill Eagles

Cast
Carla Gugino as Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey
Charles S. Dutton as JT Baylock
Brent Spiner as Nigel Fenway
Robert Patrick Benedict as Lucas Pegg
Brian Van Holt as Cavannaugh
Peter Dinklage as Ramsay
Steven R. McQueen as Jordan Peters

Plot:

An investigation into signal-related activity at an elite military school proves that contamination has spread beyond the crewmen who survived the alien encounter in the first episode.

High Points:

The twist, of sorts, when we learn about the motivations of the children whom we thought were infected worked for me. It’s a pity they followed that with a quick, shoddy resolution.

Low Points:

I don’t care how secret they want to keep alien contact. I don’t care if it means that you risk losing rather than inform more people (well, actually, I do, but let’s move on). You would tell a few more people so that your brain trust would not be wasting time doing menial chores.

In cutting some slack for the plot-hold-riddled pilot, I said that I’d accept the super-brilliant überbabe whose hair and makeup remains impeccable even under the most desperate of circumstances. Well, I take that back. It’s too much, under too many disparate, desperate circumstances. Does she have a clause in her contract that she can never look like anything less than a model about to take the runway, or is this the old Brannon “Decontamination Chamber” Braga at work?

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6. This week’s drinking game will focus on horror movie clichés. I also hope they spread beyond “Team vs Infected Guy” plots. That’s going to get old fast.

Effects: 4/6. This episode features few effects, but nothing that stands out as a poor effect. Negative-flash-o-vision is, thankfully, gone this week.

Story: 4/6. A little better than last week’s, but I don’t believe in the characters enough to care, and the Threshold protocols leave much to be desired, especially if you’re one of the six people constantly facing danger without adequate resources.

Acting: 4/6. Nothing great, and nothing really bad. Also—-and I don’t know if this goes under “Acting,” “Production,” or “Low Points”-—with all of the actual children in this episode, why did they cast an obvious adult as Jordan Peters’ roommate?

Emotional Response: 4/6. The funhouse sequences will cause some reaction in some of the audience.

Production: 5/6.

Overall: 4/6.

“Blood of the Children” receives a score of 27/42

Additional Comments

This episode improves over the first one, but I doubt I’ll be watching further. At least, this won’t keep me in Friday (and next week, Serenity arrives). If no reviews are posted, do people want a discussion of this show?

The Timeshredder’s reviews may be found here.

16 replies on “Threshold: Blood of the Children”

  1. rickyjames says:

    We Are In Real Trouble…
    …once the transdimensional Christms ornament discovers free wi-fi hot spots instead of laptop computers in nearby aircraft. I mean, your brainwashed goons will just infect the janitor who explodes to attact the local heat and go DAYS before plugging the infected laptop into a phone jack like he’s supposed to, waiting for first the headmaster of the school and later the government uberbabe to show up, the latter all clingy, dripping wet from setting off the decon gel, er, water sprayers. What WAS that part all about? As near as I could tell, there wasn’t even a STUPID reason for her to do that, it just came totally out of the blue. I swear I half expected her to to wave the gun at the hormonal kid in front of her and say, “Start touching … and make it good!”

    Unlike this ep.

    • Damien says:

      Re: We Are In Real Trouble…

      …once the transdimensional Christms ornament discovers free wi-fi hot spots instead of laptop computers in nearby aircraft.

      My first thought was… ok, this is the year 2005, most fancy colleges (like this one) have been near 100% wifi in a few years. And its a good thing there’s no Starbucks across the street to pick up a signal from, or a dumbass teacher who wanted to have his own WAN in his office / classroom.

      Very dumb.

      Damien

      • teraph says:

        Re: We Are In Real Trouble…

        My first thought was… ok, this is the year 2005, most fancy colleges (like this one) have been near 100% wifi in a few years. And its a good thing there’s no Starbucks across the street to pick up a signal from, or a dumbass teacher who wanted to have his own WAN in his office / classroom.

        This wasn’t a fancy college, it was a military boarding school for kids. One of the students even says they are only allowed to access the internet in the computer lab. (Which probably makes it more restrictive than many military schools, but still within the realm of possiblity.)

        My complaints with the episode and the laptop are a little different.

        Presumably, they killed the network and power so no one could plug into an ethernet port and get to the internet. So why are they worried about him finding a phone line? Did he get a dial-up account just in case he didn’t have access to the computer lab? (Thus violating the rules of the school – which prior to his conversion he would probably have been unlikely to do.)

        Also, the Threshold team says their trying to cut access to the phone lines, but that the lines are buried. The worst case scenario planner doesn’t know how the phone lines work? They could cut access at the phone block inside the building (and hope there isn’t more than one); or they could cut it along the road, where the phone company has above-ground access points; or they could cut it at the local CO building and cut access to the entire area.

        And I’ll just ignore the fact that the signal appears to be in a format that can even be emailed (it messed up the computer, *and* saved itself in an easy to use audio file?), and that the format is lossless enough that the audio is complete enough to actually have an effect on the listener, and that it’s small enough that sending it over a dial-up connection wouldn’t take a looooong time.

        Yeah. Another sci-fi show where no one writing the show knows how computers work…

  2. rickyjames says:

    Oh, I Forgot My Favorite Part
    You’re in an alien infected school, you’ve got a missing headmaster and a blood soaked crime scene, you find yourself alone in the Creepy Dark Place whith a guy you suddenly realize has blood all over his hands, and you CLOBBER HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH A BOOK AND RUN, waiting until you’re SOAKING WET WITH CLINGING CLOTHES to pull out your gun and boss the hormonal normal kid around.

    Sheesh.

    • rickyjames says:

      Re: Oh, I Forgot My Favorite Part

      CLOBBER HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH A BOOK AND RUN

      Into the basement no less.

  3. rickyjames says:

    Where This Is Headed
    Beware, I’ve figured out where this series is going for the season cliffhanger! In Ep 1 we established the Prez isn’t being told of Threshold activities and in Ep 2 both surface ships and aircraft were infected. Ergo, the last ep this season will reveal Dubya is an alien and an nearby Trident ballistic missile sub was ALSO infeected back in Ep 1 as the REAL alien target and is ready to fire on America upon Crazy Presidential command!!! You have been warned.

  4. valen1260 says:

    points to complain about
    Ralph Nader’s name seemed mentioned in a negative context, and seems to fit with the anti-N Korea propaganda from last week.

    “They don’t want you to be robot’s. They want you to be men.” Are we talking about the same military? Robots follow orders. Men do not.

    How is blowing the non-computational monitor off the laptop going to stop it from transmitting? I’ve dropped a laptop and destroyed the screen, and it still worked.

    “He can’t do anything without power.” Then why are you so worried about the phone lines? Or the cable lines, for that matter. We all know phones get their power through the line, and we know laptops have batteries. So, yes, he could do something, and did.

    Invoking The Silence of the Lambs does not make your show any better.

    I live in central Kentucky, and I’ve never heard “Please?” instead of “Excuse me.”

    This show is quickly falling off the TiVo.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: points to complain about

      Ralph Nader’s name seemed mentioned in a negative context, and seems to fit with the anti-N Korea propaganda from last week.

      We might expect that attitude from these characters, however.

      How is blowing the non-computational monitor off the laptop going to stop it from transmitting? I’ve dropped a laptop and destroyed the screen, and it still worked.

      Damn. Mentioned this to my wife, at the time, and then forgot to put it in the review. For that matter, Caffrey appeared to whack that kid in the back, and not the head, which would’ve had a different effect.

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: points to complain about
        Only comment on the Robots vs. Men comment is typically people in a millitary
        academy are becoming officers, not enlisted grunts. Officers are expected to
        have a tiny bit of cranial capacity.

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: points to complain about
      Also, converting the natives into yourself is NOT an invasion. What does it accomplish? You’re either invading because you need resources or because you have the power to do so without serious cost. If the supposed invaders need resources, then invading by increasing their population isn’t going to solve anything.

      • bombadil says:

        Re: points to complain about

        Also, converting the natives into yourself is NOT an invasion. What does it accomplish? You’re either invading because you need resources or because you have the power to do so without serious cost. If the supposed invaders need resources, then invading by increasing their population isn’t going to solve anything.

        There are plenty of stupid plot holes to complain about, but this isn’t one of them. Sending a signal that creates agents inside your target’s territory sounds like a pretty good plan for invasion. The local agents can wreck the Earth defenses and capability to respond to threats, they can prepare a landing site/beachhead for the real invasion, and they can build whatever machines are necessary to send the real troops in.

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: points to complain about

        Also, converting the natives into yourself is NOT an invasion. What does it
        accomplish? You’re either invading because you need resources or because
        you have the power to do so without serious cost. If the supposed invaders
        need resources, then invading by increasing their population isn’t going to
        solve anything.

        Hold up here.

        Remember the conversion ratio? 18 people, 6
        convert the rest die. That’s an immediate 2/3rds reduction in population if
        that ratio holds. Also who’s to say these ‘infectees’ are really the future
        population? Maybe they’re the grunts to change the place physically a bit and
        then used as lunch or something when the insects in a glass forest arrive.

    • Damien says:

      Re: points to complain about

      How is blowing the non-computational monitor off the laptop going to stop it from transmitting? I’ve dropped a laptop and destroyed the screen, and it still worked.

      It’ll work… but it probably stopped working right there and then due to electrical problems caused by the faulty screen. That’s what I was taking it as. Yes, its a little dumb they always shoot the screens and not the boxes, but people is mud and will go for it.

      Damien

      • Trekkie says:

        Re: points to complain about
        Yeah since it was a Dell, sure. But my IBM Thinkpad had water dripping on it
        from the ceiling and it just fried the screen, hooked up a CRT too it and it was
        still sending/receiving email.

        though I’m not going to shoot it with a revolver and see how it
        survives.

  5. is says:

    stupid all-powerful aliens
    Basically… I’ve got to assume that the alien is just tooling around in their car. As previously pointed out, there are plenty of lost opportunities to infect and invade. These are opportunities that wouldn’t be missed by aliens unless they’re incredibly stupid.

    So basically we have a big accident. Some alien kids took the keys to dad’s car and slid off the road in the vicinity of Sol. By the time the kids got the car back on the road, the effects of the alien showtune playing on the car radio were already embedded into the local intelligent life.

    I personally liked this episode a lot better than the first, but the plots holes are simply growing. My wife is far less concerned with plot holes and will probably continue to watch it. I suspect that the average person watching is willing to suspend a lot more belief than most sci-fi geeks are.

    • bombadil says:

      Re: stupid all-powerful aliens

      the plots holes are simply growing. … I suspect that the average person watching is willing to suspend a lot more belief than most sci-fi geeks are.

      The problem with suspending too much disbelief, even for non-geeks, is eventually you accept that pretty much anything can happen. If your main characters are in trouble and you would be equally willing to accept them being saved by (a) a singing purple dinosaur cleaning up the problem or (b) the Fonz water skiing over the danger, then you have nothing left to care about.

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