With age comes wisdom, and Dr. Helen Magnus has over 100 years of wisdom, so I’m not surprised that Helen can find the real Area 51. Her plan is like her—risky and clever. Helen, Henry, and Bigfoot track an abnormal and tranquilize him. Government goons quickly rush in. After protesting their presence, Helen reluctantly agrees to give up the Abnormal. The goons drive away. Henry takes out his tablet. Planted on the Abnormal is a tracking device.
The real Area 51 is in New Mexico (the one in Nevada is a decoy). Helen and Henry have to go before the tracking device is found. Computer genius Henry hacks their way inside. They hide in a corner from a passing employee and slip through the closing door. Henry accesses the facility’s computer system, but the duo is discovered.
Instead of a holding cell, the two are taken to the boss’s office. Henry frets about lingering in prison for years, but Helen reassures him that won’t happen. Henry’s relief is brief; Helen tells him they are more likely to go before a military tribunal and “executed in secret.” During her conversation with Henry, Helen constantly observes her surroundings. Why are they in an office? And the decorations, they seem familiar to her, as though she should know the person in charge. The boss comes in, and he is—drumroll please—Nikola Tesla!
Yes, the magnetic vampire genius (who is still upset Edison stole his ideas) works for the government as the head of the facility. Helen immediately erupts and spouts a diatribe. After all she has done for Tesla, he repays her by working for the enemy. At the beginning of the season, Helen broke ties with the government, choosing to uphold the values of the Sanctuary over being controlled by incompetent fools. Tesla quickly retorts that someone has to deal with the Abnormals stranded on the surface after the invasion. Of course, the government had to woo him and eventually won his employment with a rather large salary.
Tesla forgives Helen for breaking in; he’s being a haughty ass, more so than usual. After the meeting, Helen knows Tesla’s hiding something. Henry asks how she knows this. When you know someone for over 100 years, you know when he’s being too stubborn to ask for help. As Helen and Henry are leaving, the lights flicker and the staff runs, screaming, “It’s happening again!” There’s a flash of light, and tentacles reach out and attack. The tentacles vanish as quickly as they appeared. Helen asks, “What the hell was that thing?”
Helen, with Henry following, burst back into Tesla’s office. Helen accuses Tesla of creating a genetic engineered mutant, but Tesla insists that he doesn’t know what the creature is. The attacks only started twelve hours ago, and he really cannot fathom or describe what is happening. Why didn’t Tesla call Helen? Well, she’s not on anyone’s speed dial, and cooperating with her is a federal offense. Helen offers to leave. Tesla says that won’t be necessary; he accepts her offer of assistance.
Outside of Tesla’s office, they see the tentacles appear again. This time Helen sees that the creature enters via an interdimensional event horizon. But for that to be possible someone would have to—Helen stops and turns to Tesla.
Tesla squirms. Surprise! He wasn’t quite forthcoming about the facility. The government did not just win his heart with a big check, oh no. The check is blank. The government is afraid that the Abnormal situation will become out of control, so they gave Tesla carte blanche without asking any questions. Is he testing on Abnormals? No, which is why he claims what he has done isn’t so bad; someone far worse than he could be in charge of the facility. What’s he spending his time and our money on? A new power source.
Based on the rift technology developed by Adam Worth, Tesla’s huge rift node is a generator that is designed to be an endless supply of clean energy. Tesla’s confident he has single-handedly ended every crisis on Earth. He’s even made his power source self-sufficient. The rift node uses energy from the rift to power itself. Tesla was so confident in his invention that he tested it twelve hours ago by powering Manhattan.
Wait. Did Tesla say twelve hours ago? Yes, he did, and Helen puts the pieces together. Since the creature can travel through dimensions, the node must be invading the creature’s habitat. The node must be turned off. Tesla says it can’t be. Helen demands that he turn off the machine. Tesla counters that this is his time for glory. Helen threatens to have Henry take the machine apart. Tesla says not to worry, that he’s “got this,” but when he thinks he has turned off the machine he discovers that the node can power itself better than he thought. Tesla beams. He has invented wireless electricity.
Helen doesn’t care about his invention. She goes to get the staff out of the building. The energy field being created by the machine is getting larger, and Helen is concerned the field will get out of control. Tesla and Henry work together, and they figure out they need to increase the resistance. The machine will need to be protected from the heat generated. They can build up the shield with titanium, but they have to go to the other side of the facility to get the materials. The tentacles appear again. This time Henry is taken.
If they collapse the field, Henry will be trapped. How can they find Henry? Henry’s tracking signal is picked up by the computer. Helen and Tesla come up with a plan. Helen will distract the creature as Tesla will travel to the creature’s nest. Since Tesla is a vampire, he will be protected from the radiation.
The beast comes. The beast’s body is round with a mouth full of sharp teeth; tentacles extend from all parts of its body. Helen leads the beast on a chase. Tesla finds Henry and brings him back before the creature can hurt Helen. They collapse the field, and the creature is put back in its nest.
The main story moves at a brisk pace; the action is quick, but the highlights from this part of the show come from the interactions between Helen and Tesla. Amanda Tapping and Jonathon Young devour what is on the page, let the contents stew, and deliver each line with delightful aplomb. Their timing is impeccable. They react and overreact as people with a long and complicated relationship tend to do. Each scene with them is rich and delicious. I could watch them for hours.
Counterbalancing the quick action of Helen’s storyline is the slow build of tonight’s subplot. Will returns to the Sanctuary after a failed attempt of escorting a group of Abnormals to Hollow Earth. In the kitchen, he meets Galvo, an Abnormal. Bigfoot brought Galvo to the Sanctuary because he wants to go back home. Galvo is an Abnormal of small stature with a loud belch and a tendency to talk long after any conversation is over. Galvo annoys Will and Bigfoot, and they agree to help him find a group of Abnormals.
Will, Bigfoot, and Galvo arrive at a church. A group of Abnormals comes out. We see them one moment. The next they vanish. Not just vanish, but disintegrated. The moment shocks me; I’m left breathless. Bigfoot and Will are stunned. Where’s Galvo? Gone.
Bigfoot and Will search for Galvo. Bigfoot finds him. Galvo is not an annoying lost Abnormal; he is as strong as he is small. Galvo killed the group of Abnormals because they were a weak bunch of traitors. He sends Bigfoot flying. Will flanks Galvo and is able to stun him so they can take him back to the Sanctuary.
Bigfoot broods on the roof. He’s angry at himself for not noticing Galvo’s true intentions. Everything is different, Will tells him, since the invasion. This does not help Bigfoot’s mood. His instincts are all he has. His instincts need to be better. He needs to be better.
Helen and Henry return from New Mexico. Henry’s werewolf nature protected him from the radiation. Has Helen heard from Tesla? No. She is certain Tesla is back at his job, but she is concerned about what will happen when the government starts to notice their weapon projects are behind so start expecting Tesla to deliver what he was hired to do. Just before the moment Helen is ready to completely give up on Tesla, images appear on Henry’s tablet. The images are files; not a few files, but all the files Tesla has. Is he sorry for his actions? Is he keeping with his stance that he is fighting from the inside? Or is he flirting with Helen? It’s Tesla. It could be one, all three, or none of those reasons at all.
Helen has gone rogue. And in the post-invasion sideways world, a little resistance can go a long way.
If you missed the last episode, read our ‘Sanctuary: Monsoon’ recap to catch up.