Friday, October 12, 2007

Bionic Woman—Sisterhood

The Upshot from NBC: Jaime (Michelle Ryan) is tasked by the Berkut Group to watch the daughter of a Canadian defense contractor. At the same time, she must decide whether or not she is going to help Sarah Corvus (Katie Sackhoff), the first bionic woman, save herself.

This week’s episode was a noticeable improvement from last week but it’s clear that Bionic Woman is still struggling to find its way.

Unfortunately for Bionic Woman’s lead actress Michelle Ryan, much of what worked in Sisterhood centered around guest-star Katie Sackhoff’s Sarah Corvus.

It’s not that Ryan was particularly bad in this episode—indeed we saw her displaying a growing comfort with the demands of her character—it’s just that by contrast, Sarah Corvus is just so much more compelling.

This is especially true in the way that Sackhoff portrays Sarah in equal measure vulnerable, dangerous, sympathetic and contemptible. She’s the classic case of the proverbial bad girl who kills her family then seeks the mercy of the court because she’s an orphan.

It’s not that Ryan is incapable of carrying an episode or of the series but this week, guest-star Sackhoff picked up much more of the dramatic slack than she should have.

One of the best moments of this week’s episode also proved to be the most telling. The scene opens with agency director Jonas Bledsoe (Miguel Ferrer) declaring his undying love. The shot opens up and we see he’s talking to the Berkut Group’s resident security consultant and shrink Ruth Truewell (Molly Price). The shot opens up even farther and we see Jonas is hooked up to a polygraph where Ruth declares a perfect reading.

How does he do it she asks? He replies that he’s been married. (Married fanboys dare not comment on this part of the show).

But looking deeper into the scene, FanBoyWonder readers will recall our comments last week noting Jonas’ personality about face in dealing with Jaime—first he threatens her life, then he wants to “help” her. This week he’s somewhere in-between.

But the viewer has seen him effortlessly beat a lie detector test. Jonas it would seem is a skilled liar and an emotional chameleon.

We’ve also learned this week that Jaime has both a GPS chip in her bionic implant and a live camera feed broadcasting from her ocular implant.

In an odd bit of team work, Sarah teaches Jaime how to turn off her lojack while railing at how “objectifying” the camera is to the dignity of Bionic Women—and perhaps they should form a union.

Meanwhile, Jaime’s babysitting job is little more than a plot devise meant to put Jaime in place to fend off a pack of Serbian thugs who come for the Canadian defense guy’s brat.

Sarah comes to Jaime because she is dying. Bionic inventor Dr. Anthony Anthros (Mark Sheppard), fresh from his escape from a maximum security prison, tells Sarah her bionics are old and he needs to examine Jaime to find a cure for her. Sure does suck to be a prototype bionic babe.

While not unsympathetic to Sarah’s plight, Jaime is not willing to put herself in the lion’s den for the woman who caused her “accident”, killed her unborn child and shot her lover (who isn’t dead, but will be back during sweeps month—mark our words).

Sarah forces the issue by standing ready to kill Becca (Lucy Hale) in Jaime’s apartment unless Jaime plays ball. Note we’re only three episodes in and the writers have already played the Becca the Girl Hostage card.

Clearly outmatched by the more powerful other bionic woman, Jaime talks Sarah out of killing Becca while activating her bionic homing beacon. Yet Jaime warns Sarah off before the ninjas show up. Talk about mixed messages. To be continued.


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