A Station Eight Fan Web Site


The Phoenix Gate

Search Ask Greg

Search type:

Displaying 1 record.

Bookmark Link

Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"

Time to ramble...

Chapter XLVI: "Walkabout"
Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Story: Michael Reaves
Teleplay: Steve Perry
Director: Dennis Woodyard

Focus here was on Fox being in the family way and on Dingo. At this point, I often (almost) forget that Fox was ever in the Pack, she seems so beyond them now. But there are a couple of nice reminders throughout the episode, that as "Grief" dealt with Jackal, Hyena, Wolf and Coyote (i.e. the LEAST human members of the Pack), "Walkabout" reunites the MOST human (former) members.

"Walkabout," is one of my typical one-word titles. I kind of had an ambition to hit every inhabited continent at least once on our World Tour. Couldn't skip the land down under therefore, and couldn't go to Australia without Dingo, of course. But this was also our opportunity to present a demonstrably pregnant Fox and to introduce her mother Anastasia, voiced by the incomparable Kate Mulgrew -- whom I've loved since her amazing run as Mary Ryan on Ryan's Hope.

When the skiff first appears, my kids (Erin & Benny) attempted to guess the location: Asia, Africa. Then they see the kangaroo.

Then they see the advancing "Gray Goo". Or silver sheen. That was another concept that Michael and I wanted to cover: nanotechnology and the threat it presents, i.e. the Gray Goo Scenario that Anastasia describes later. Oh, and artificial intelligence. More on that down below...

Unfortunately, the Gray Goo as executed here never really worked for me visually in the episode. It gets the idea across, but it's never got the precision that I wanted. And it's terribly inconsistent for a mono-maniacal computer program. It's kind of all over the map.

He's seeking a clean slate, a fresh start. But it's not that easy. When Goliath spots him later, and Angela asks who he is, Elisa says: "He's not one of the Good Guys." Erin countered: "Trying to be."

Benny saw him activating his armor and immediately figured out what he was up to. How did he know? Because he's seen the concept more recently on the new "The Batman" series. Dingo's using Batwave!!!! (Dingowave?)

I love the visual of Dingo's armor opening up in back to let him step right in. Then closing up around him. There are some great armor moments in this episode.

[But some awkward movement throughout. There's a shot of Goliath falling to the ground and landing on his back, before rapidly flipping over onto his hands and knees to hold his head. It's very clumsy. And Fox runs very well for a pregnant woman, don't you think?]

Dingo also has some nice lines... (particularly: "Always did fancy a trip to Disneyland.") ...and Jim Cummings-provided Australian slang like "Ripper" and "Sheila" (referring to Elisa -- though Sheila is also my mother's name)

Erin wanted to know if we got sued for calling the computer program "The Matrix". I explained that this episode pre-dated the movie. So a couple of minutes later she asked why WE didn't sue the movie. (Where did she get so law-suit happy, huh?)

There are some great moments between Fox & Anastasia. Some moments where you can hear Fox practically reverting to her teen self with lines like "Mo-ther!" And I like when Anastasia plays on that by saying, "Humor your mother." Relationships trump science fiction.

When Fox says, "Your grandson just kicked me..." Erin said, "I'm her grandson," referring to the fact that Erin provided the voice of Alex Xanatos in "The Journey." But this was a bit of a reveal. In "Outfoxed", we revealed that Fox was pregnant. Now we reveal the baby's gender.

I also like Fox's "Where are my manners?" line.

And we get a bit more feeling for the Renard clan as Goliath realizes that Fox is Halcyon's daughter, and as Anastasia dismisses discussion of her "ex-husband."

I never knew what that "instrument" was called before working on this episode. Carl did a great job of providing some unique scoring to this episode (as he had with Hound of Ulster). The Theramin work. And the Didgeridoo (am I spelling that right?) Cool stuff. Both added greatly to the ambiance and helped compensate for some weakly executed gray goo.

Mr. One-Note, huh? You must use the Dream-Time. Find the Dream-Time. Enter the Dream-Time. Okay, okay. We get it.

There's potential in that character, which I wanted to explore in Bad Guys. But I don't think we found it here. Part of the problem is the accent. I don't know what I'm hearing exactly, but it doesn't sound like the accent of an Australian aborigine. I like James Avery's performance, and I'm not being critical of him, but he was hampered by our accentual ignorance and the one-note nature (as written) of the character. Still he has some decent moments, I suppose. At least enough that I wanted to make him Harry Monmouth's surrogate father in Bad Guys. I just wanted to get the accent right by that time.

And what is the Dreamtime, exactly? I'm not sure we got THAT right either, really. I think we just played it like the inside of Coldstone's head. That was probably my fault. Again, we just didn't always have the time to do all the research we would have loved to do.

I haven't watched "Walkabout" in a few years, but I see the Bad Guys Reel EVERY year at the Gathering. So I'm used to hearing Jeff Bennett as Matrix. But here we have Jim Cummings as Matrix, and it does sound very different, despite all the electronic filtering and futzing we did on both actors in the part. In the episode, we cast Jim as Matrix because he was already there as Dingo, so it saved us money.

But when we developed Bad Guys as its own series, I decided to recast Matrix. Not because Jim isn't great or because he couldn't handle doing two voices on a regular basis, but because we wanted to have the freedom to play with Matrix's voice a lot. And we didn't ever want him to sound like Dingo. So I brought in Jeff, because, well, I just love Jeff.

There's some interesting visuals in the Dreamtime. I liked how each of the combatants used what they know. Goliath uses a medieval shield and recreates the Trio & Hudson to fight with/for him. (It was also a conscious attempt on our part to get those four in the episode -- at least visually. We knew even then that we were short-changing them during the tour and that the audience would be missing them.) Dingo "upgrades" his armor again, saying with relish "I like it." _I_ like how he dived down into the "stuff of dreams" to revamp the armor. And Matrix uses waldo-like arms to fight and capture his opponents.

Of course, Dingo (and the writers including me) are grasping at straws with that whole "Law and Order" thing at the end. It's Artificial... but, hey, so is Matrix's Intelligence. As Dingo says as his armor tranforms yet again (looking positively gorillaish for a second or two), "Australia's got a new kind of hero, mates!" And I like how he revealed that he liked PLAYING the hero when he and Fox were on the Pack TV Show. You never know what you've got until it's gone, eh, Harry?

Of course, we were building up our international cast of heroes, but the idea behind Dingo & Matrix soon evolved into Bad Guys. And I think they work very well together and as part of the larger group in that piece.

Erin thought that the Shaman was the real hero of the episode. I like that she thinks that. Accent or no accent.

Anyway, that's my ramble...

Where's yours?