Episode: Sanctuary 4.03 – “Untouchable”
Original Air Date: October 21, 2011
Screencaps by rawr_caps.
The Sanctuary’s future hangs in the balance as the team faces the scrutiny of a UN investigation following a botched retrieval mission in Jakarta. The inspection team is led by a new character, Greg Addison, who is at odds with Dr. Magnus on who should control the Sanctuary. In the middle of this situation, Henry’s girlfriend, Erica, shows up on the Sanctuary doorstep bearing unexpected news for the team in Sanctuary episode 4.03, “Untouchable”. If you haven’t seen the episode, spoilers await.
The episode opens with Will briefing Magnus on Addison. Biggie and Henry join them with reports on the readiness of the Sanctuary. The doorbell rings. Has the UN team arrived early? But a valid access code was used to bypass the gate’s defenses — Henry’s code, which, to the best of his knowledge, he doesn’t remember giving to anyone.
Biggie opens the door to Erica, Henry’s girlfriend, and like Henry, a HAP, or as they’re more commonly known, a werewolf (Episode 3.06, “Animus”). She has big news that needs to be delivered in person. Henry’s going to be a father — she’s pregnant!
We return from the titles to Jakarta, Indonesia. In a local market, Magnus and Will seek information on an abnormal who requires a daily diet of a certain kind of fish. A contact points them toward a tall, bald guy.
Cut back to the Sanctuary — Henry is relating the account to Erica. The man they’re seeking is known as a crixorum, an abnormal with the ability to control or communicate psychically with others, even over long distances. Magnus believes he was the one controlling the forces during the abnormal uprising. Everything went sideways during the mission. Next thing the Sanctuary team knew, the UN gave two days notice to prepare for an inspection team to “go through the underwear drawers” (Henry).
The UN team’s stated purpose is to study the way the Sanctuary operates and whether it should continue to receive funding from the people who hired
Addison: “You know, the ones running the world.”
Magnus guides Addison on a tour of the residents section, “the menagerie, where they keep the freaks and monsters” (Addison). Helen, offended by his obnoxious attitude and terminology, says she’s aware he’s acting in this manner to put them on the defensive. He replies, “It’s working.”
In his view, Helen Magnus has enjoyed carte blanche in the world concerning the Sanctuary network for far too long. The Sanctuary harbors monsters and he’s the only one standing between the human population and rogue abnormals who wish to wreak havoc on the world. When they visit the computer lab, Helen is upset to find the UN team installing their own equipment. They claim they must because the Sanctuary system is archaic. She insists the UN team only has permission to receive short-term access to the Sanctuary’s existing system or it could compromise the security system. Addison: “Given what they keep in the building, we have no choice.” The insult provokes a violent reaction from a hormonal Erica. She pushes him against the wall and screams, “We’re not monsters!” This episode seems to be setting an arc for the season — conflict between humans afraid of the abilities of abnormals and who view them as monsters versus abnormals and the Sanctuary forced to fight those stereotypes.
After examining Erica in an iso lab, Magnus gets a text from Will and heads to the computer lab. On the way, she encounters Biggie. This scene is one of those humorous gems that the writers drop seamlessly into every episode, and for many fans, is a vital part of the ambience we love about Sanctuary.
Biggie: Addison asked for coffee.
Magnus: Philistine. I trust you did your best to make him feel welcome?
Biggie: Yeah, I pretended I didn’t know how to talk.
Magnus: I don’t suppose he fell for it?
Biggie: He started dissin’ the Rays. We had words.
Addison interrogates Magnus about Jakarta. He believes she’s withholding vital information about the crixorum and accuses the Sanctuary network of failing in their mission under her leadership. At the Jakarta market, Will and Helen follow the man believed to be the abnormal. To block his power, they listen to music. Suddenly, armed special forces surround him. Terror and chaos ensue as the special forces turn their weapons on each other and the man flees. Addison’s assertion is that the Sanctuary people should have been able to predict such an outcome. Magnus counters that the crixorum’s abilities were the reason only she and Will were doing the retrieval, not a fully equipped and armed Sanctuary team. As they face off, Will realizes Addison was the one who sent the armed forces.
Meanwhile, Henry and the UN team lead, an attractive female computer whiz, clash over the Sanctuary’s technology. She wants blueprints for all weapons created for Sanctuary use, like the hand-held invasive scent directional detector, the Smell-O-Vator. When Henry tells her blueprints don’t exist, she ascribes the lack to “jerry-rigged” weapons.
Magnus and Will realize the UN wants the crixorum, or as they refer to him, the creature, under their control. Addison and those he works for would rather kill an abnormal than allow the Sanctuary to “control” him — drawing a line that divides the governments and the Sanctuary into opposite, competing “sides”. Addison informs them the autopsy revealed the man killed in Jakarta wasn’t an abnormal and demands to know the truth.
Addison questions Magnus and Will separately. He reminds her that he’s the man “who can bankrupt your Sanctuary with a phone call.” According to Magnus, they realized the fleeing man was not the true crixorum; their informant was the real abnormal. Addison points out she omitted this from her official report and concludes it was because Helen and her people wanted to be seen as the “heroes” when the abnormal was caught.
When the UN team leader asks Henry how the sonic oscillators used in the stunners were created, the scene becomes a wonderful and funny nod to the Nikola Tesla character that also weaves in facts about the real Tesla.
Erica discovers the UN team’s real agenda is to break through the Sanctuary’s firewalls and gain access to records, inventories, microfilms plus Magnus’s research and, more important, her father’s research on abnormals.
Addison pressures Will to betray Magnus’s confidence, revealing he knows intimate details of Will’s childhood — details contained only in a sealed file. He offers the management of the Sanctuary to him if Will comes clean about what really went down in Jakarta. In Will’s version, he and Magnus cornered the true crixorum and Magnus offered to have a Sanctuary team return him to Hollow Earth; that his people had gone back and were rebuilding. Will claimed he accepted the offer.
Addison confronts Magnus about sending such a dangerous “creature” to Hollow Earth. He gives an ultimatum: Be forced to close or accept the supervision of the UN Security Council. He drops the real bombshell with a smile. “I’m your new boss.”
Magnus orders him and his team out of the Sanctuary inside 10 minutes and threatens to arrange to have him eaten if he ever returns. The Sanctuary team is stunned. “You just told the world’s governments to take a flying leap!” (Henry)
How does Magnus plan to keep the Sanctuary functioning without funding? Maybe Helen had time for a bit of reflection during her 113-year sabbatical. Could she have a few secrets and not just a gun hidden under her bustle? There are things Addison doesn’t know about Dr. Magnus or the Sanctuary.
Alas, we will have to wait for the next episode to know more ourselves.