Though there was a slight up-tick of a hundred thousand votes or so last week, things don’t look at all good for the future of Tower Prep. The ratings are weak, promotional support by Cartoon Network has been virtually nonexistent for the last couple months, and the fact that they’ve been burning the episodes off two at a time during a period when most of their audience is on vacation and viewership is traditionally way down STRONGLY suggest that the die has been cast.
I don’t know that for sure, but it certainly looks dead to me, which is a horrible shame as this is my favorite new show of 2010.
PLAY BY PLAY
We pick up with Team Archer in the observatory, grousing about their losses - the disappearance and apparent destruction of The Broken, the various failed attempts and reversals - they’re a bit glum. Ian blows it off saying they’ll just keep trying, but everyone else looks like they’re gonna’ throw in the towel. Just then a plane flies over the school and someone bails out.
After some hustle and bustle, it turns out to be Connor, the Infiltrator from a couple weeks ago, who told Ian he was the liege of Tower Prep, and then vanished. He explains that as the military kid said last week, there is no wall. It’s a combination of hologram, hallucination, and nasty electric shocks administered by Whisper 119, which has some psychic abilities. Whisper had a flaw that Connor and his people were able to exploit: It had begun to dream. They made it doubt it’s mission just enough that they could get in and out through the wall. Unfortunately, Sato System’s upgrade of Whisper to version 120 ended that avenue.
They have, however, found another way in and out - a disused and forgotten drainage vent in an abandoned kitchen in West Campus. Connor goes off to open it - it can only be done from inside for the most tendentious of plot-driven reasons - but he gets blown and rushes back to Ian’s room with a vial of Chemica Desin 2.0, and tells him to keep it safe as it’s “The end of everything.” He’s then caught by gnomes.
Ian is now aware that there’s a mole in their group, and confides in Gabe. They agree it’s either Suki or CJ, so of course you know it’s got to be Gabe, right? I mean, he brings nothing else to the game apart from comedy relief, so he’s got to be the snitch.
Headmaster pretty much nails Suki over the phone call she made to her dad last week, though he can’t get Archer. He tells Suki’s brother to take her out of the school, and has her put in solitary. Gabe gets caught with the Chemicadesin entrusted to him by Ian, and is sent off to West Campus. Ian finds the abandoned kitchen of mystery, and gets surrounded by Gnomes with no hope for escape.
“Ok, let’s just get this over with, because I’ve got some place I’ve gotta’ be.”
As he gears up for the big fight, we get the big reveal that I’ve been suspecting since Episode 5 (“The Rooks”): That CJ is (A) The mole and (B) Headmaster’s daughter. So Gabe’s got that going for him. So he can count his blessings while they lobotomize him.
West Campus was originally a biological research laboratory.
Coach was sent to West Campus when he was a student for some unspecified infraction, and it still really scares him. People do come back (they finally expressly say it) but no one ever talks about it.
Nurse and Ross (Emily Wright’s campaign manager, who was infecting all of Emily’s opponents in “Election”) are over at West Campus. Clearly Chemicadesin 2.0 is her handywork.
Cal makes a big deal about how he wants/needs CJ to trust him, then darts away. There’s no payoff or resolution to this, though it felt like a setup for something that should have showed up later in this episode or the finale, but, nope, nothing. I expected them to yank the head off the red-eyed gnome and have it be him, but, again, nope. It’s just a “Don’t forget I’m on this show” scene. Thanks, great, can I get my per diem please?
Speaking of which, the red-eyed gnomes seem to be kinda’ like the gold centurions in Galactica ‘78: Officer models.
Clues that CJ wasn’t what she claimed:
1) She said she had no memory of life prior to Tower Prep
2) Last week she said her dad wouldn’t understand her escaping, but how could she know that if she had no prior memories?
3) When talking to Headmaster about the dance, she said “I’m owed this.”
A brisk, well-directed episode. Everything hummed along, and there was a nice scaling-up of tension and risk, reaching a peak with the final reveal that they’ve all been betrayed. There’s some nice structure in that they’ve always emphasized they’re strong as a group, but in this episode the group is split apart and they’re all screwed, screwed, screwed.
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?
What, are you kidding me? Of course yes!
A PERSONAL NOTE
It’s come to my attention that one or two people attached to the Tower Prep production staff have visited our humble little site. If someone connected to the show should happen across this, please contact me at email@example.com as I would love, love, love to talk to you about the series.