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Recap / War Of The Worlds S 01 E 23 The Angel Of Death

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Season 1, Episode 23:

The Angel of Death

The episode begins with a shot of the Milky Way galaxy, panning towards Earth. A lone spacecraft that shimmers and glows descends through the planet's atmosphere towards the surface as night approaches.

Outside the planned site for a World's Fair exhibit in Seattle, a pair of security guards are keeping watch near the front gate. The unidentified ship lands on top of two observatory towers, while a guard exiting an elevator sees what's happening and looks on in confusion. The ship disappears in a beam of light that travels down the two towers, revealing what appears to be a woman wearing sunglasses and sporting an all-black ensemble. The guard tries to call for help to no avail, and the woman speaks in an unintelligible language before knocking him out. After a moment, she pulls out a device and uses it to translate her words into English, indicating that her "arrival is complete" and that she is beginning the "secondary mission"...

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The woman walks through the city patrolling. The next night, she is walking past an office building when she sees three men exit. Using a special sense, she sees them glow green, indicating that they're Mor-Taxians. She follows the three men into a nearby parking garage. The woman ambushes and kills two of them at their vehicle, and seriously wounding one, by firing red laser projectiles at them. She pulls the surviving Mor-Tax up and dramatically pulls off her glasses before asking him "where the leaders" are. The dying Mor-Taxian tells her that "you are not one of us" before he dies...

The next day, the Blackwood Project are meeting to discuss current developments at the estate. Harrison tells Suzanne and Ironhorse that there have been reports of 37 dead aliens in the last two days, and that they had nothing to do with it. While they wonder who's behind the killings, Norton appears and tells them to add the alien corpses found in the parking garage to the list. Blackwood speculates that the deaths may be the result of an Enemy Civil War, but the group agrees that more investigation needs to be done to find the culprit at the centre of the deaths. That night, the woman ambushes another alien, working in the guise of a janitor. The alien tries to pull a gun on her, only to discover that her presence has disabled his weapon. She asks him to tell her where the Mor-Tax leaders are, but instead of answering, he utters the "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner and jumps into an elevator shaft to his death. The woman pulls out the device she used when first arriving on the planet to communicate that is still no further along in her mission.

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After she leaves, the military gets word of the incident and cordons off the area. Harrison and Ironhorse arrive, and speculate that whatever caused the alien to leap to his death had him and the other Mor-Tax running scared. The following day, a group of aliens harvesting flowers for food at a nearby botanical garden collectively panic when they see the woman stalking them through the garden, and claim that she's a "Synth from Q'arto". Despite trying to flank her, the three aliens are systematically ambushed and killed by the woman, who subsequently breaks their walkie-talkies. The Advocacy, listening in from their base, speculate as to who's killing their soldiers and why, and pledge to take action...

Harrison and Suzanne attend the botanical garden the next day and find remains of the three aliens, while Ironhorse tells them that the individual responsible has no racked up an astoundinng 86 kills over four days, across five cities. As they leave the scene, one of the Mor-Tax soldiers hangs back with a crowd that's assembled to look on in shock at the melted corpses. Back at the Estate, Harrison reads some lab results Suzanne obtained via samples from the corpses, and speculates that the residue left behind after their deaths (which caused a reaction equivalent to creating glass) means that the assailant is using bullets powered by radiation. At the same time, the Synth records a status update in her device, saying that her current methods of interrogation are useless, and that she will switch to other methods of investigation.

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The team elects to ascertain more information about what is happening to the aliens by luring several of them into a Honey Trap, where they can be captured and interrogated. The team decides the best method to accomplish this is to broadcast intercepted (and unintelligible) alien signals from a derelict warehouse, position Omega Squad in secret to ensure that no one else breaches the perimeter, then capture the aliens for further study. Suzanne also reveals that she has perfected her bacterial agent, and that it should hopefully allow them to knock the aliens unconscious without killing them.

The Advocacy also get wind of the audio transmissions, intercepting them at their base. Despite figuring it's a trap, they decide it will be the best way to bring the figure killing their troops en masse into the open, and send a squad of soldiers to the source at the abandoned warehouse. The soldiers make their way inside the building, which is revealed to be filled with abandoned oversized toy displays, and locate the source of the signal, which is running on a pre-recorded loop. As they go to deactivate it, it triggers a blinding light that disorients them, and cannons filled with Suzanne's bacterial agent spray them. Confused, they start screaming and firing into the air as Omega Squad makes their way inside the building, but the operation is thwarted when the Synth appears and begins knocking out Omega Squadron troops and killing the aliens. Ironhorse, who is on-site monitoring the operation, runs inside and gets captured and knocked out by the Synth, while Harrison and Suzanne attempt to find him to no avail. One Mor-Tax soldier manages to escape in the melee, but takes a picture of Suzanne as evidence of the threat before he flees.

Afterwards, Harrison is fearful and claims that Ironhorse is dead, but Suzanne says that her samples of the alien corpses at the scene reveal the same method of death and traces used in the unknown party's ammunition, and reasons that Ironhorse may be pursuing her.

Cut to Ironhorse hanging upside down in a room, having been dragged off and captured by the Synth. She interrogates him, asking for the location of the Advocacy. Upon telling her that if he knew such a thing, he would have killed them already, she drops him. Ironhorse identifies himself, and the Synth identifies herself as "Q'Tara, of Q'arto", and she reveals that she's been sent to Earth to find and kill all traces of the Mor-Tax. When Ironhorse reasons that they have a common goal and could work together, she knocks him out and reads his mind to ascertain if he's telling the truth. Soon after, she wakes him up from the hypnotic trance she placed him in and says that she believes him, and that they could become allies to face their common threat. She tells Ironhorse that her race came from the same star system as the Mor-Tax, and that Q'arto wishes to protect humanity. She orders Ironhorse to tell the rest of the team about her intentions before he leaves.

At the Mor-Tax base, the surviving soldier meets with the Advocacy and tells them that the team were ambushed, but that he now knows who the leader of the attacking party was. He presents the pictures he took... which show Suzanne, mistaking her for Q'Tara. The Advocacy then sends three of their soldiers out to scan for Synth signatures, and they eventually track Q'Tara (who is meditating) to a complex on the outskirts of the city. They call the Advocacy and tell them they will need more soldiers to deal with "the assassin", as the three scouts are too few in number, and the Advocacy pledges to send as many soldiers as they can spare...

Harrison is busy shredding papers the next day, as a fallout plan in case Ironhorse was captured or killed, when he nonchalantly walks into the room. The team is glad to see him and welcomes him back warmly, and he tells them that he's been in contact with a new alien who will help them in the fight against the Mor-Tax. Despite his outward enthusiasm, the team can tell that he has been influenced in some way by her, and they ask if they can trust her. Harrison puts Ironhorse into a hypnotic trance a short while later, and uses the power of suggestion to coax Q'Tara's location from Ironhorse. Harrison tells Suzanne that it would be in the team's best interests to ally with her, as they both share a common goal. He agrees that combining their resources with Q'Tara's to kill the Advocacy might "just help us win this war".

The next day, the aliens watch as the Blackwood team arrive at the complex, and confirm with the Advocacy that the "Synth" (referring to Suzanne by mistake) is present. As they gear up for their assault of the complex, the team goes inside and meets Q'Tara, who momentarily blocks them in an energy shield until she confirms that they're friendly. Harrison introduces the team to her, and she tells him that she's proud of their efforts fighting the Mor-Tax over the last few months. She also tells the group that she will need to travel back to her planet shortly, as the conduit she used to travel to Earth can only stay open for a finite amount of time.

At that moment, an alien invasion force, led by the Advocacy using possessed firefighters, arrives. The Advocacy give one of the soldiers a Power Limiter to disable the Synth before they start heading into the complex en masse. From inside, Q'Tara notices what's happening and says that she didn't think the Advocacy were brazen enough to appear in person. Ironhorse orders the team to head to the roof to limit line of sight with the aliens, but Q'Tara tells them she can protect them, and orders them to hide while she deals with the invaders.

Backing into a passageway, Harrison and Norton hastily grab some nearby metal rods for protection, while Ironhorse pulls out the Uzi he brought as a backup weapon and Suzanne reveals a revolver General Wilson gave her for protection. They erect a makeshift barrier before the aliens run into the central room of the complex and begin firing. Ironhorse, Suzanne and Q'Tara dispatch numerous aliens, while Norton is shot in the shoulder. At the moment, the alien with the Power Limiter runs into the room and tries to use it on Suzanne after identifying her, to no effect. The alien realizes that he targeted the wrong person and that Q'Tara is the Synth, while the rest of the Blackwood team is injured and shot down during the battle. Q'Tara dispatches the rest of the attackers, but not before they use the limiter on her, which causes her to glitch out and fall to the ground. In the aftermath, Harrison and Ironhorse leave the seriously-wounded Suzanne and Norton behind the barrier while they tend to Q'Tara, and see exposed wiring.

Several hours pass, and Q'Tara heals herself at night while the mortally-wounded team lies around her. She uses a healing power to fix the team's mortal wounds, and they all wake up. As the group struggles to comprehend what happened, she tells them that her window of departure is closing and that she must leave. Harrison offers to escort her, still weakened, outside, while the rest of the group tends to each other.

Outside the complex, Q'Tara tells Harrison that he can't follow her into the other dimension, and uses her recording device to indicate that her primary mission is incomplete and that she requires reinforcements. She tells Harrison that they will meet again and puts her sunglasses back on before transporting back to her ship.

As the ship flies off, Harrison comments that, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship..."

Tropes:

  • '80s Hair: Despite being a synthetic being that logically should have no concept of fashion or style, Q'Tara used the equivalent of a can of Aquanet for the perm she sports throughout the episode.
  • Alliterative Title: "Q'Tara, from Q'arto."
  • Answer Cut:
    Suzanne: (talking about Ironhorse possibly being dead) I bet you Paul has (the aliens) right where he wants them! (cut to Ironhorse hanging upside down, having been captured by Q'Tara)
  • Artificial Human: Q'Tara is a synthetic being who, unless someone interested knew what they were looking for, would pass off as an awkward girl with a penchant for karate and a fetish for leather. She also has an internal power source, and needs to take breaks to recharge herself, requiring that the team protect her in the final act while she replenishes her batteries.
  • Badass Boast: When Ironhorse questions Q'Tara.
    Ironhorse: Where's the rest of your team?
    Q'Tara: I am the only one.
    Ironhorse: You're the only one against thousands of hostile aliens?
    Q'Tara: I am all that is needed to accomplish this simple task.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins and ends with Q'Tara beaming to/from her ship as an onlooker (the unnamed security guard, later Harrison) look on in awe.
  • Brainwashed: Ironhorse gets this treatment by Q'Tara, who forcibly reads his mind and plants a hypnotic suggestion in his mind to go back to the team and get them to come back to meet her. Luckily, her intentions aren't malicious, and the effect wears off a day or so later.
  • Brick Joke: The transmissions used by the Blackwood Project to lure in the aliens are speculated to be either distress transmissions or discussion of vital plans, but they don't know because they haven't deciphered the language. A couple scenes later, we get to hear right from the aliens what the transmissions are — and it's a recording of someone talking about gathering more water for supplies.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several aliens are seen gathering food for the rest of the Mor-Tax, much like they did earlier in the season.
    • Harrison mentions at one point that they've been unable to get any solid information on the alien presence or capabilities, save for Quinn's help.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Q'Tara runs roughshod over every alien in her path, becoming The Dreaded to them, to such an extent that they send an invasion force to try to wipe her out. It doesn't work, as she and the Blackwood team kill all of the invaders.
    • Played straight and subverted by Omega Squadron. The team's initial attempt to capture the aliens in the abandoned warehouse leads to them rushing in, having to deal with low visibility due to Suzanne's bacterial agent (which they should have known was part of the plan, as Suzanne and Ironhorse came up with it), and are then all knocked out by Q'Tara. Later, Ironhorse attempts to lead the team up to the roof in the complex to limit the alien's line of sight prior to the final fight, in an aversion of this trope, but Q'Tara tells him off and orders the group to take cover inside instead.
  • Destination Defenestration: One of the aliens takes this way out, rather than deal with Q'Tara directly.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Q'Tara's "mind-reading" of Ironhorse. After she knocks him out, her reaction upon reading his mind his her practically shivering in delight and all but screaming out loud. Some time later, after she finishes, she wakes up Ironhorse, who is sweating and complains about his mouth being dry.
  • The Dreaded: Q'Tara's presence immediately invokes this reaction from nearly every Mor-Tax soldier who sees her. One, upon coming face-to-face with her, decides he'd rather jump down an elevator shaft than face her directly.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The alien wielding the Power Limiter in the battle at the complex doesn't realize that the woman dressed in all black, moving erratically and firing red projectiles isn't the Synth until he tries to shoot Suzanne with the limiter, which does nothing at all. Even then, it takes several more seconds as he pieces the clues together while Q'Tara's in the process of mowing down the Mor-Tax soldiers.
  • Fem Bot: Q'Tara is a synthetic creature with female characteristics, and has '80s Hair, a black ensemble that emphasizes her form, and generally moves in strange, interpretive dance-like fashion.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Q'tara is an benevolent synthetic who has no problems whatsoever attacking and killing the Mor-Tax, even though she's just as violent (if not moreso) than they are.
  • Historical In-Joke: During the opening sequence, Q'Tara's Standard Alien Spaceship (a featureless oval... blob) lands in an under-construction park which is planned to be the future site of the 1997 World's Fair. The ship lands on top of a pair of towers, briefly taking the form of the famous 1964 World Expo Observatory Towers (the same ones seen in films like Men in Black).
  • I Shall Return: Q'Tara pledges to bring reinforcements to help the Blackwood Project before she transports back to her ship. The series ends without revealing if she ever did.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Q'Tara is a Swiss Army Knife of powers, including the ability to Detect Evil, levitate humans, construct an Energy Shield and use healing powers, as needed.
  • Not Himself: Ironhorse, after Q'Tara uses Brainwashing on him. Notably, the team figures this out almost immediately, and Harrison has to put him into a hypnotic trance to find out what happened to him.
  • One Man Army: Even before the Blackwood Project meet Q'Tara, she's already dispatched nearly 60 aliens, most of which occur offscreen.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: With the exception of turning her head robotically every so often, Q'Tara generally behaves and acts like a normal (if socially awkward) human being.
  • Series Fauxnale: According to information revealed by a member of the crew on a fanblog regarding the episode, this episode was originally intended to act as a series finale in case Paramount couldn't get the actors to re-sign for their contracts. Notably, the producers intended to have scenes shot where each character would take a fatal bullet and die before Q'Tara could heal them, though most of the cast refused to shoot the scene as written.
  • Shout-Out: The episode begins with a line (said by Harrison about Ironhorse) that "Paul is dead," referencing the famous fan theory.
  • So Proud of You: Q'Tara tells the team, particularly Harrison, that they've done well fighting off the alien menace over the last few months. For Harrison, the Team Dad, this hits especially close to home.
  • Stating the Obvious:
    Ironhorse: You're not the same kind as the aliens?
    Q'Tara: (in a karate pose, moving robotically around him) That is obvious to all.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Introduced in this fashion, as she beams down to the planet in the middle of the night sporting large framed sunglasses.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: The Brainwashed Ironhorse, who has been in contact with an entity of unknown capabilities, somehow makes it back through the security checkpoints at the Blackwood Estate before Harrison thinks to scan him for any unknown alien signatures. It won't be the last time Ironhorse does this, either.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Both Harrison and Suzanne have developed greater combat efficiency by the time the events of the episode occur. Harrison has taken stickfighting lessons from Norton, while Suzanne is revealed to have received a revolver as a gift from General Wilson, and is able to expertly shoot down several aliens during the ensuing battle.
  • Unresolved Plot Thread: At the end of the episode, Q'Tara beams back to her ship — but not before mentioning that a Mor-Tax invasion force is due to arrive on Earth within the next five years, and that she would be bringing reinforcements to help the Blackwood team. While another invasion force does arrive in the second season, it does so unprompted by the current situation on Earth, is far less than the estimate Q'Tara gave, and neither she nor the reinforcements she mentions show up again.
  • Walking Techbane: While it's not completely explained, Q'Tara has the ability to turn off both electronics (such as radios) or even physical weapons while they're in her presence. She uses this during the final fight to great effect in order to give the team an advantage.

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