After last week’s big revelation that Biggie could be a traitor, I was expecting a thrilling continuation of that story. Instead, ‘Sanctuary’ gives us a filler episode about the tensions between Will and Magnus.
At the Sanctuary, Will and Magnus discuss combining some of the smaller Sanctuary stations because the Sanctuary network is having financial problems. Henry has been able to find out some of the movements of SCIU thanks to Henry shifting through Tesla’s files and finding usernames and passwords. Henry has found out that there are three teams; one is going to the high desert in Bolivia. This catches Magnus’s attention because she remembers her father looking for a very elusive Abnormal; her father was the only survivor of an expedition to find the Abnormal in 1909, and he left instructions to never seek out the feathered serpent in the Bolivian mountains. Will and Magnus go to Bolivia to stop SCIU.
Magnus and Will arrive after SCIU. They try to free the serpent from SCIU, but a female member of the team hits the duo with a sonic energy weapon. After they wake up, the leader of the SCIU, the woman who shot them, tells Magnus that they know what they are doing and so on. We know what is going to happen. The grunts of the team shoot the roof of the cavern, this disturbs the serpent, the serpent frees itself, and the commotion results in a cave in. Will and Magnus are trapped. The fate of the SCIU team is unknown.
Back at the Sanctuary, Henry makes a recording to his future son. Since he didn’t know his parents, Henry wants to make sure that his son knows who he is in case something happens to him.
Magnus has bruised ribs as a result of the cave in. Will was shot. Magnus rummages and finds some basic medical supplies. Without painkillers or anesthesia, Will screams as Magnus removes the bullet. They need water. Magnus listens and hears running water. She finds an underground spring. Both drink the water.
Will heals. They realize there is something special about the water. Magnus knows that the Abnormal was believed to be a god by the Aztecs, a god who granted believers strength and wisdom. Magnus realizes that the Abnormal is not the source, the water is. However, the water does not last. The water is a drug. You get high from the initial rush of healing, strength and wisdom, but the more water you drink, the harder the crash. When you crash, you weaken, and your wounds will return.
Because of the water and of the lingering anger Will has towards Magnus because of what could have happened to Abby (events in the ‘Fugue’ episode), Magnus and Will engage in a cycle of arguing, sort of coming to an understanding, more bickering, and some more understanding. As they crawl, walk, swim, and walk their way out of the cave, Will talks about how he is tired of being the expendable human on the team, how he is upset that Magnus wants to achieve her goals by any means necessary, how he finds her jaded and thinks she needs the risk of death to make her feel alive, and how he thinks she can’t or won’t let anyone close to her; once someone fails to meet her expectations, she will push them away. He mentions Druitt, Watson, and Ashley. When Will mentions Ashley, Magnus responds, “You bastard.”
Magnus does defend herself. She says that life is not a popularity contest. She makes the hard decisions, even risking friendships in order to do the right thing. She tells Will that she would never risk his or anyone’s life for some flippant, cavalier reason. And she has learned that anger can be a great motivator by helping people overcome their fear.
Back at the Sanctuary, Henry continues to record a video to his son. He demonstrates his invention, a personal energy shield. His attempts to power the device up are very funny moments of small explosions and other mishaps. His main obstacle is finding a small light power source for the device.
Will and Magnus come to a small lake. The serpent appears! The serpent looks huge and menacing, and it moves quickly and fluidly. Magnus and Will dive in and swim to the other side. Magnus realizes that the serpent does not like the sun. They need to find a way past the serpent. Thinking the solution to the problem will be difficult to find, Will drinks the rest of the water they have. He goes on the ultimate mind-expanding trip; he sees colors, and the solution presents itself. He throws rocks, knocking parts of the roof down and exposing sunlight. He spots a current that will take them out of the cavern. Will knows that when the water wears off his body could completely shut down.
As they make their way out, Will wonders if Magnus selected him when he was younger because his mother was killed in a monster attack. He thinks his scholarship to Harvard was paid by her. He feels like he has had no choice; his life was dictated by Magnus even before he met her. Magnus admits that she picked him, but she does not and cannot control life like a game of chess. If he didn’t want to be a part of the Sanctuary, he could have said no, and she would have respected his decision.
They reach an opening. It seems like a dead end, but Magnus finds a way out. However, Will is too weak to make it out. Magnus decides to go back to the place of the cave in and get more water. When she reaches the source, the monitor on her wrist becomes distorted. Magnus realizes that the rocks have a strange property. She takes a rock.
Magnus returns to Will. He drinks. Magnus takes the rock and puts it on the flashlight. The dead flashlight turns on. The rock is a light and small power source.
Will and Magnus make it back to the Sanctuary. Because he drank so much of the special water, Will has to be weaned off the stuff. Magnus tells Will that he was never part of some grand master plan; she had no idea how things would turn out when she made him part of her team. Magnus confesses that the hardest part of spending 113 years alone was worrying about messing up the timeline and never seeing the people she cares about again; she had to watch awful things happen again, and she felt terrible about not being able to change anything. It is a fate she doesn’t wish on anyone, including her worst enemy. She has always had to carry the burden. Will tells her that it is time for him to become her partner; he wants to share the load. He asks her to tell him what she has been keeping from him. Magnus tells him that she will tell him when he needs to know. “Trust me,” she says.
Yes, Will and Magnus needed to clear the air, but did we need an episode that was basically a therapy session in a cave? Not really. This might have played better after ‘Fugue,’ which aired about three weeks ago, or the issues could have been woven into a story with a stronger plot. The special effects and performances were good, but the plot was very weak, almost nonexistent. With only two episodes left in the season, this filler episode is a sour note in an otherwise solid season of ‘Sanctuary.’
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read our ‘Sanctuary: Acolyte’ recap.