Web Video: The Other Side
"Look, there are two sides to this. My side, and the other side."The Other Side
—Virginia, Episode 15
is an action/drama webseries.
The show centers on Virginia
, a young woman who escapes being tortured at the hands of Turk
and subsequently tries to rescue the people who had been kidnapped alongside her, the States (so named because there are 50 of them, one from every State). Major characters include Colorado
, a turncoat State who is now Turk's right-hand man
, Virginia's former friend whose past with Turk's agency is the basis for the State Project; Hawaii
, one of the first States rescued by Virginia, and her closest friend and ally; Mr. Livingston Turk's mysterious boss
and some of his employees, Brent
. Season 2 introduces Texas
, two new States corrupted by Turk and Colorado. Season 3 has introduced four new recurring characters: Jesse
, employees of Mr. Livingston and Mr. Cain
and his son Jimmy
, an organized crime family with a connection to one of the States.
Every episode centers on one character, who receives a flashback somewhere in the episode, illuminating a small part of the show's expansive mythology.
The show premiered in September 2012, and is currently in its third season. It requires a bit of patience, in terms both the story and the cinematography, but it picks up a lot
of steam after an awkward beginning and improves practically with every episode.
This show provides examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Hawaii disappears for a stretch of five episodes in Season 2, presumably off being the Hero of Another Story.
- Accidental Murder: Nevada's death.
- Action Girl: see World of Action Girls.
- Advertised Extra / Billing Displacement: Ethan was in the title credits in Season 2 but only appeared in 4 episodes, less than Livingston, Brent, Georgia, Texas and Talia, who were all guest stars.
- Affably Evil: The Cains have it down to a science, particularly Mr. Cain. In his first proper scene, he treats Virginia to a candle-lit dinner with wine, speaks charmingly and cordially and expresses genuine empathy for her situation at several points. However, after he has perceived that she's lied to him and threatened his daughter, he becomes angry, bitter, and has her sent off to be tortured and raped. Yeah.
- Almost Kiss: Virginia and Brent in the Season 3 premiere.
- Ambiguously Evil: Arizona. She definitely does some pretty bad stuff, but she doesn't appear to have a motive for any of it. She justifies her presence at the State Fight with a shrug, and it's left at that.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Zigzagged. The States all undergo personality shifts after their Neural Implanting, but it's made clear that some things never change.
- Hawaii goes from Livingston's personal assassin to a man with no fighting ability whatsoever, but his attachment to Livingston survives the operation, as does his flighty nature.
- Nevada goes from a regular cheery high-school student to a cold assassin, but her devotion to her sister transposes itself as a desire to help the other States.
- Georgia's reluctance to commit to something is turned around 180 degrees (pre-State Georgia doesn't know if she should accept a full scholarship in Miami, post-State Georgia becomes a full-fledged member of Team Turk, reasoning that it's the safest place to be) but she never loses her desire to make her own choices. This one is partially justified, because she retains her memories from before the operation.
- Artistic License – Martial Arts: Yeah, right. One of the weakest elements of the first half of the show is its repeated attempts to invoke this, and ending up with choreographed fights that are not executed correctly. Season 3 manages to fix the problem, with the first big fight scene looking much more natural by invoking moves that a normal person with a little bit of training could and would use in an actual fight.
- Ascended Extra: The shining example has to be Brent, who appears as a wordless extra late in Season 1, and returned in Season 2 as a major character. Ethan and Livingston also qualify.
- Badass Family: The Cains.
- Back for the Dead: Hawaii.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Jesse and Alice after taking down one of Cain's men.
- Beard of Evil: A pretty good indication of whether or not a male character is going to be a villain is whether or not they have facial hair.
- Seemingly invoked by Colorado, who is shown in flashback to have his beard, but first appears clean-shaven. It appears he shaved shortly before he became The Mole, and grew it back once outed as a villain.
- Being Personal Isn't Professional: Turk dissuades Colorado from bringing a gun to the State Fight because it's "so impersonal", and he wants to look into Virginia's eyes as he kills her. He brings one himself, however, and uses it to kill Talia.
- Betty and Veronica: Hawaii (Betty) and Brent (Veronica) to Virginia's Archie.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Seems to run in the family for the Cains, all three of whom were introduced as rather charming and charismatic, and later turned out to be rather cold-blooded.
- Black and Grey Morality: The arguable point of the show. Turk and Colorado are clearly evil, but Virginia's isn't above murder, torture and putting innocent lives at risk to get what she wants.
- Black Comedy: Season 2, Episode 4, and entire episode of Virginia torturing Brent for information... while he flirts with her relentlessly.
- Blonde Guys Are Evil: Turk, Livingston, Ethan, although they're all dirty blonds. Doesn't really count, because Colorado (dark brown) and the Cains (red) are just as bad.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: By the beginning of Season 3, Virginia's sported all three.
- Bloody Handprint: On a shower curtain.
- Breakup Makeup Scenario: Virginia and Hawaii go through a version of this, given that they were never technically coupled. After growing increasingly frustrated with Hawaii's constant undermining of her plans, Virginia forces Hawaii to choose between her and Livingston. He chooses Livingston and leaves. Later, she contacts him again and asks for his help, and they reunite and even have their First Kiss. Then he dies.
- Call Forward: "The magical land of Oz". note
- Canada Doubling: So far it's portrayed several states in flashbacks. The show itself might not even take place in Canada.
- Cardboard Prison: The Facility. Virginia's broken out (and in) repeatedly and with little difficulty. It's lampshaded in Season 2, when nobody seems the least bit surprised when Talia breaks out offscreen.
- Cast Herd: The show can easily be broken down in different factions based on character's alliances. Starting in Season 2, the opening titles assign each group its own color. There's Team Virginia (White), Team Turk (Grey), Team Livingston (Red) and Team Cain (Purple).
- Central Theme: Loyalty.
- Child Soldier: Talia's backstory smacks of this.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Basically a motif at this point. The show opens on a scene of this, a so far every season has devoted at least one episode to somebody's torture.
- Season 1, Episodes 7 and 8: Virginia is tortured by Turk and Colorado, who drag in Hawaii halfway through in order to force her to talk.
- Season 2, Episode 4: Virginia unsuccessfully tortures Brent, who laughs it off and even starts flirting with her.
- Season 3, Episode 4: The Cains torture Virginia, Turk and Colorado. This one is notable because it features the first truly successful method a torturer has employed. That method, unfortunately, is rape.
- Con Men Hate Guns: Colorado, although he's not above brandishing on in the Season 3 premiere to rescue Turk.
- Cut Apart: Seems to be happening early in Season 2. There's no other explanation for how Virginia, Hawaii, Brent, Turk, Colorado, Ethan, Georgia and Texas can all be at the Facility at the same time and not encounter one another.
- Death Equals Redemption: Completely and utterly averted in every case. Nevada's last words are, in fact, a stubborn plea for Virginia to see things her way, rather than an acknowledgement that there may be more than one way to save the States.
- Designated Girl Fight: Virginia vs. Talia in Episode 2, and Virginia vs. Nevada in Episode 6.
- Driving Question: What did Talia see under the bridge?
- The Dulcinea Effect: All over the place with Virginia and Hawaii. Five minutes after they meet each other, he's already pledging that he'll do anything for her because she saved his life. However, it's Deconstructed in Season 2, where we get to see just how difficult it is for the two of them to stay exclusively loyal to one another when they have very different agendas.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The show's first season was of much lower quality, with very short episodes, and focus generally only given to Virginia and Turk. The second season is when it really started to Grow The Beard.
- Enemy Mine: Virginia says it word-for-word toward the end of Season 2, about working with Livingston, or at least Hawaii.
- As of Season 3, she and Brent are working for Livingston.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Texas is The Big Guy of Team Turk, although physically he's about the same size as Colorado.
- Fake Guest Star: Colorado in Season 1. Livingston and Georgia in the second half of Season 2. Jesse and Alice in Season 3.
- Fanservice: Virginia's escort getup in Episode 9.
- For Science!: Seems to be the reasoning behind Talia's operation/Eximius infusion. Turk basically states that she's been forced into it.
- Four Philosophy Ensemble: Team Turk in Season 2.
- Turk - The Cynic
- Colorado - The Optimist
- Georgia - The Realist
- Texas - The Conflicted
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The list of States seen in Episode 3, indicating which ones are still alive and what their real names are, has so far proven to be completely accurate.
- Talia can be seen in a few shots at the party in Episode 9, albeit with a different hairstyle and wearing a mask.
- Frontline General: Turk.
- General Failure: Turk, for most of the first two seasons, which eventually results in a Villainous Breakdown. However, after he splits off from Livingston, he gets much better, and Season 2 ends with a massive victory for his team ( Virginia's side of the State Fight incurs four casualties, including Hawaii and Talia, while Turk's side only loses Texas.)
- Government Conspiracy: It's safe to say that the States Program isn't public knowledge, given that it involves the kidnapping and eventual murder of fifty innocent people.
- Imperial Storm Trooper Marksmanship Academy: Turk seems to be a graduate, and this, coupled with Failing a Spot Check, allows both Virginia and Hawaii to get away toward the end of Season 1. We finally get to see Virginia's bullet wound in Season 2, where it becomes clear that Turk shot her at point blank range... in the shoulder.
- Ironic Echo: Characters have a habit of quoting each other whenever the tables turn in their favor. Virginia repeats Turk's "You underestimate me if you think that I would let you go/cave that easily" when she has him at gunpoint, and Colorado repeats Ethan's line about not being able to keep secrets with a job like this (which Ethan said to Turk) right before he kills him.
- It's Personal: The driving force behind Virginia and Turk's conflict, considering that he loses control of the States in the first episode of Season 2.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Talia was not actually killed in Episode 2. This isn't revealed until Season 2, but some viewers may be tipped off by the fact that she has a flashback episode that season.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Turk and Colorado are this to Mr. Livingston's organization. In Season 3, everybody is this to the Cains.
- Lima Syndrome and Stockholm Syndrome have both been avoided so far.
- Made of Iron: So far, Virginia has survived being tortured extensively (twice), stabbed, shot in the shoulder at point-blank range, and knocked unconcious several times.
- Mauve Shirt: Joyce the doctor. Texas is a debatable example.
- The Mole: Colorado is this for about five minutes in Season 1, but Virginia never really buys it. Played straighter in Season 2; Hawaii and Ethan are both moles for Livingston, spying on Virginia and Turk respectively.
- Mood Lighting: Scenes in the torture chamber. Always pitch black except for orange lights, contrasting the vibrant colors of the rest of the show.
- Mood Whiplash: Season 2 Episode 6, right after Ethan has been murdered and Turk has gone to war with Mr. Livingston, we get a triumphant, upbeat ending in which Talia is revealed to be alive and aligned with Virginia.
- Season 3, Episode 4, places a lighthearted flashback in between two scenes that are dead serious.
- Neural Implanting: The States were implanted with Talia's memories, and, as an unintended side effect, her enhanced fighting ability.
- Neutrality Backlash: Failing to pick a side and stay there does not end well for anyone on this show. The State Fight claims several victims by this principal: Hawaii, who tries to stay loyal to Livingston and Virginia despite their conflicting agendas; Texas, who fails to commit to Team Turk the way Georgia does; and Talia, who remains pacifistic during the battle despite her apparent allegiance to Virginia.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted in the Season 3 premiere; Virginia brings up how Hawaii was beaten to death by a 90-pound girl. She also indirectly refers to Ethan as a "goon" that she beat up, but she probably doesn't know he's dead.
- No Dialogue Episode: The Season 2 finale is this, excepting the flashback at the end.
- Non-Action Guy: Colorado and Hawaii both emphasize that they don't know how to fight. During the State Fight, they're both paired against girls. Colorado only wins his because he fights dirty, and Hawaii is actually killed during his.
- Not Named in Opening Credits: Three times now, Talia has appeared without a guest credit. In Episode 9, she wasn't credited because her character was believed dead at that point, and in Episodes 16 and 26, her appearance is supposed to be a surprise.
- Not So Different: Colorado believes this of Virginia.
- Now or Never Kiss: Hawaii kisses Virginia in Episode 21 as a sort of apology for not being able to accompany her to the State Fight. He ends up going anyway, which results in his death, turning this into a Last Kiss.
- Once a Season: Arizona only shows up in the last episode of each season to wreak havoc and then disappear.
- The sixth episode of every season has the flashback character die and then immediately receive their flashback.
- Virginia kisses a man in the penultimate episode of every season. In Season 1, it's Turk, and in Season 2 it's Hawaii.
- Only One Name: We know the real names of all of the States that were on the list, but only their first names. Even the non-State characters only go by one name: Turk, Brent, Ethan, Mr. Livingston. The only full name we've learned so far is Alice Kensington.
- Platonic Life Partners: Turk and Colorado, of the [Heterosexual Life-Partners heterosexual]] variety. Jesse and Alice, of the "could be a couple but aren't" variety.
- Precision F-Strike: Written down, no less. The first two seasons are otherwise totally devoid of any word worse than "shit", so it really stands out.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Hawaii, Ethan and Colorado in Season 2.
- Mr. Livingston and Georgia in Season 3. Brent is billed as a main character in the episodes he appears in.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Season 3, Episode 4, courtesy of Jimmy Cain.
- Real Song Theme Tune:
- Season 1: "Black Betty" by Ram Jam
- Season 2: "American Woman" by the Guess Who
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Colorado delivers one to Virginia in Season 2, about how her attempts to rescue the States always end in failure.
- Re Tool: Averted in Season 2. The entire first season of the show was Virginia vs. Turk, but after Turk loses custody of the States, the focus shifts to Virginia and Hawaii trying to rescue them, and Turk and Colorado having their own adventures with Ethan. However, halfway through the season, Hawaii ditches Virginia, Turk and Colorado murder Ethan, and they all go right back to fighting, this time with new allies.
- Running Gag: Colorado making fat jokes about Texas (despite being just as big, if not bigger)
- Scars Are Forever: Well, sort of. We finally get to see Virginia's bullet scar a full season after she would've gotten it, but it's only ever visible in that one scene.
- She-Fu: Actually averted, for the most part. Virginia's a skilled fighter, but she's usually pretty pragmatic about it, not wasting her time with flashy moves.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Notice that the name of the actor playing Turk is spelled differently in Season 2. That's because it was misspelled for all of Season 1.
- Super Serum: Eximius.
- Theme Naming: Justified. The States are named after the state from which they were abducted. So far we've met Virginia, Hawaii, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Georgia. Averted with Tennessee and Kansas, who go by their real names, Jesse and Alice.
- Title Drop: Twice in Season 2. Once by Virginia, and once by Georgia. Each time it refers to somebody different.
- Several tropes related to torture are averted
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Virginia, who's endured months of it, from many different people, still has a conscience.
- Torture Always Works: As far as we've seen, it never has.
- We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Virginia is confident that she'll be able to get something out of Brent, having been tortured herself so many times, but after an entire episode of kicking the crap out of him, he still doesn't talk.
- Unexplained Recovery: Virginia at the end of the first season. The last time we saw her she was tied to a chair and presumably bleeding from a point-blank bullet wound. Turk's appearance in the third season premiere was initially this as well, but we learn the circumstances of his recovery in a flashback.
- The Unreveal: On the list of States seen in Episode 3, Virginia is listed as deceased, so we don't learn her real name.
- Villain Episode: Season 2, Episodes 5 and 6, which focus entirely on Turk and Colorado's team, with Virginia only showing up briefly in each one.
- Villains Out Shopping: An episode opens with Turk and Colorado having dinner in a restaurant.
- Wham Episode:
- One of the earliest ones was Episode 3: Turk trades Virginia the list of States for the information she's promised him. After she hands it over, he stabs her in the chest. After he walks away, he finds that the "information" is actually a Precision F-Strike written in lipstick, and we cut to a wounded Virginia hobbling away with the list of States.
- Episode 8: Virginia, under heavy torture, gives up the information to save Hawaii. Turk shoots her point blank in the chest. Cut To Black.
- Episode 16: Colorado kills Ethan, and Turk speaks into Ethan's radio mic, telling Mr. Livingston to consider this a declaration of war. Elsewhere, the person Virginia called in the previous episode is revealed: Talia, who is alive and well.
- Episode 22: Texas, Hawaii and Talia are all killed in the State Fight. Virginia attacks Turk in a rage and impales him on a huge branch.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's not clear if the show is set in America or Canada. Colorado has a box of Timbits in one episode, but a few episodes later, his group is shown passing several New York City landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty. Ethan seemed to think they were going to Tijuana.
- World of Action Girls: No, really. All of them.