Sanctuary [Syfy, Fridays, 10/9C] had one of the more definitive cliffhangers in television – when last we saw Dr. Helen Magnus and her team, they were dead!
In the mid-season premiere, Pax Romana, Magnus [Amanda Tapping] awakens to discover that the death to which she and her team had been sentenced is reversible – amazing things can be done by a civilization that has been progressing for ten thousand years! Magnus has been revived because the leader of the underground city, Praxis, wishes to grill her for information about the whereabouts and plans of Adam Worth [Ian Tracey], the Jekyll/Hyde on whom Robert Louis Stevenson had based his famous novel.
Unfortunately, Worth isn’t the only problem facing the city. There have been an increasing number of tremors that are causing fluctuations in the city’s power and without the aid of hyper-abnormal Kamen [whom we first saw in the arc at the end of season two], could result in the world being destroyed by giant volcanoes.
One of Syfy’s lesser ratings lights, the creators of Sanctuary have worked hard to set up a reality that builds on the idea of mythical creatures being real and then expanding that idea in ways that are almost always fascinating. The main reason we can buy into the series’ concept is that – given the insane genius of the concept – the world of Sanctuary is developed in ways that make sense within that concept.
Pax Romana was written by series creator Damian Kindler and directed by Martin Wood. It deals with Adam’s Dissociative Identity Disorder, giving Will Zimmerman [Robin Dunne] some fun psychiatric moments, and has Magnus performing laser surgery on a giant hyper-normal that is floating in a bed of magma. Even without the betrayal of a key character – leading to Adam’s return to Praxis – Pax Romana would have enough fun for an hour’s entertainment – but it also includes Magnus finding her father, Gregory Magnus [Jim Byrnes], and Henry pulling a Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day and hacking a completely alien computer system. And then there are John Druitt’s moments with Adam – icing on an already tasty cake.
All of these little moments add up an hour of grand [and I mean grand in the Grand Canyon sense] fun. Sure, there are a couple minor plotholes, but they don’t amount to enough to distract from being engaged by the tale – and the cast members are clearly enjoying themselves, so why nitpick? Sanctuary exists, first and foremost, to entertain. It goes for the Wow Factor and frequently reaches it.
As for the question, where you go from dead? – if you’re the Sanctuary team, you go from dead to hero in under sixty mnutes.
Final Grade: B
Photos by Carole Segal/Courtesy of Syfy