Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bionic Woman: Episode 5/106

Jaime finally gets some love action for the first time since Dr. Will died (well, there was that incident with the guy in the bathroom but that didn't last long)

[I wasn't planning to post this here. But - to put it as briefly as possible - I've been posting on my Blogspot blog about Bionic Woman and I created a mirror blog at TV Guide's Web site for those posts. And this one was selected on Thursday as on of their four "Featured Blogs". So, what the heck. It's my tiny contribution to promote Quality TV.]

This week's episode was "The Education of Jaime Sommers" which shows Jaime more in a regular operating mode with the Scientists Cult, aka, the Berkut Group. There wasn't any suggestion in this one that I caught about her being new to the spying-and-karate-fighting gig. (Achtung! This post contains plot spoilers.)

The short plot (the one for the episode) was Jaime tracking down an operation that was channeling mind-control chips to Al Qa'ida. The long plot (the one for the continuing story) was Jaime getting romantic with Tom.

Jaime gets sent undercover as a British transfer student with the cover name Clarissa Whyte into the class of a professor who produces brain chips that terrorists are somehow getting and using to control people. Jaime becomes attracted to a teaching assistant. It turns out he's really a CIA agent and the two of them catch the bad guys. With the requisite long jumps and karate fights for Jaime.

Go ahead, punk! Make my day! Jaime deals with a night stalker

The charm and cautious vulnerability that Michelle Ryan gives to the Jaime character were clearly carrying this episode. The idea of her achieving her college fantasy for a few days, even writing an "A" paper on James Joyce, was an endearing touch.

So was her flirtation with Tom at the party while we get to hear geeky Nathan's jealous-guy commentary on the encounter. Nathan's skeptical comments about Tom, though, turned out to be on the mark.

No Bionic Sarah in this one. This one was noticably less dark than the first four installments. But they need to start digging into some of those Summers family secrets. We need to meet Nathan (Jaime's and Becca's father) soon.

First lover's quarrel: You're with the CIA? What, you're with the Berkut Cult?

But even without Bionic Sarah, we had two other partly-bionic characters, the soldier who started killing people at the first. The threat of the night, people with chips in their head losing control of themselves and getting violent with people, is obviously a theme that has been big with Bionic Sarah right from the first scene of the first episode, and is a shadow haning over Jaime. That moment where her nighttime assailant asks for her help because he's out of control of himself could be a foreshadowing of Jaime's future problems.

One plot device I enjoyed was the business about Jaime's cell phone. On Alias and La Femme Nikita, everyone had magical devices embedded in their ears. Here Jaime has to fumble around with a cell phone. Even with all that advanced cyber-stuff in her head, they can't beam audio messages directly into her skull. Technology always has its bugs. But that made a good "reality-grounding" device in that episode to offset the sci-fi whopper we have to swallow as part of the basic story line.

The short plot had a couple of loose ends dangling:

Why did Shawn send the test subject after Jaime? Apparently the intent was to murder her. Did he suspect her of being a "nark" of some sort after him? In the plot set-up, he would have had to consider her a desperate threat to try to kill her, because he presumably woundn't have wanted a link to the berserker episodes at his campus.

Even as a carefree college student, Jaime is still dark and stylish

Small but notable: how does Jaime alibi an absence of at least several days like this to Becca? They need to fill in that gap of her general cover story to Becca about her "new job".

What exactly was Tom doing with one of the brain chips in his apartment, hidden not terribly professionally in a taragon can? Didn't he notice that Jaime had taken it? Or has the CIA been required to drop its standards to get more recruits like the Army has been doing for the last few years?

Speaking of light CIA training, you have to wonder how Tom processed the fact that Jaime ducked out of the party with a sudden bad earache, then proceeded to slip into the professor's lab in the middle of the night, supposedly to get a copy of the class notes.

Quote of the night, Antonio to Jaime, when she protests that her "gut" tells her that Tom is an all right guy: "The last time you listened to your gut about a guy, he had your limbs replaced."


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