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Act 10: Winter Night Phantom

 

Review by Brian Shea

August 30, 2012

 

Summary

 

Dastun dreams of himself sitting alone in a movie theater, watching a movie in which a young woman is shot on a dock during a snowy night. She is lifted up by a man in a law enforcement uniform and says something in a foreign language, "Vous si gentil" ("You're so sweet" in French) before passing away. In real life, a small green robot walks through a tunnel towards a large church where mass is taking place. A person sitting in a truck labeled Marble Balloons controls the robot. The robot crawls out of a trap door in the floor of the church. A little girl touches it and it explodes, blowing up the church. Dastun, who was sleeping at the Military Police HQ, wakes up from his dream and tells a young officer that he was having a dream that keeps occurring. He receives a call about the destroyed church. The officer tells him that there were 46 casualties, including Sam Lawrence, a former member of the Paradigm Justice Department. A similar bombing occurred at the Department of Justice 10 days ago. Dastun wonders why the bomber is only targeting over the hill city officials. Dastun spots a woman standing by the sidewalk who looks identical to the woman in his dream, holding a red balloon. The officer says they found the bomb detonator nearby and it may provide them some clues. Dastun looks towards the sidewalk again but the woman is now missing. Roger narrates about Dastun, who is committed to the Military Police above all else. Roger thinks in a different sense he's as needed in the city as he is. One of the technicians at the police station tells Dastun they found a word from an unknown language, "fin" on the detonator. Dastun returns to the crime scene and thinks of the mysterious woman as a red balloon rises into the sky behind him. Later, Roger stops by the Military Police HQ to see Dastun just as he is leaving. Roger says he was in the area and thought he'd drop by. Dastun says his timing is bad and that he has to go in front of an inquiry committee. Dastun asks Roger if he knows what "Vous si gentil" means, but Roger says he's never heard of it. The officer drives Dastun to the Paradigm Corporation where Dastun reports to the inquiry committee as Alex Rosewater watches. Dastun claims the string of terrorist bombings have some inexplicable elements to it. He thinks there is a possibility that the terrorist is not from Paradigm, but rather a foreign country. The committee members find it preposterous as the rest of civilization was wiped out and Paradigm is all that is left. Dastun is ordered to have the Military Police go on full alert at once. Angel, who was acting as secretary for the meeting reports to Alex Rosewater. Angel is worried and says that Dastun is in frequent contact with Roger. Alex Rosewater isn't concerned and says it won't hurt his plans if people learn of the existence of foreigners, in fact it might be beneficial. He heads to another committee. Dastun departs and is angry at the inquiry committee, whom he thinks considers the Military Police as mindless watch dogs. Dastun dreams of the woman again, waking up in his office. He heads to the bathroom to throw some cold water on his face. Dastun reports to his superior who is ordering he be taken off the case, based on pressure from the inquiry committee. Dastun heads to the Amadeus bar to get a drink. He imagines himself standing on a dock, asking the mysterious woman who she is. The terrorist strikes again, killing another elderly retired government employee, along with 26 additional innocent bystanders on a bus. Dastun heads to the scene and watches. The young officer who was accompanying Dastun was also killed. Dastun heads to the movie theater where he watches a cartoon. On the way out he sees the mysterious woman again. He chases after her, but she escapes in the crowd, releasing the red balloon she was carrying.

 

Dastun heads to see Roger at his mansion. Dastun tells Roger about his dreams, and that they are based on an old movie he saw when he was a kid. He tells Roger about the woman, and how she is shot, likely by the man she loves. She says "Vous si gentil" as she dies. Dastun thinks it must have been a foreign language from the country where the movie was made. He tells Roger about how he thinks he's seen the woman in the flesh. Roger says he'll do whatever he can to help. The next day Dastun attends the funeral of the young officer. He returns to duty a few days later, which is considered irregular, but nothing is done about it. Dastun reports to the inquiry committee again. Roger goes to see Big Ear to learn more, Big Ear leads him to another person with whom Roger speaks. Roger meets with Dastun in an amusement park located in one of the domes. Dastun says Oliver Garland, a senior counselor of the Justice Department will be giving a speech to a crowd of children here. Roger thinks it would be smart to call it off. Dastun says all he can do is follow his duties. A larger version of the robot the terrorist was using, 'Eumenides' bursts out of the water near the dome. Roger tells Dastun that based on his research, the woman in his memories was an actress named Sybil Rowan who starred in a movie called Winter Night Phantom. No copies of the film remain, as they were all burned 30 years ago. Roger says that 30 years ago, the counselors of the city, who reported to Chairman Gordon Rosewater expelled anyone from the city who had anti-government leanings, including Sybil Rowan, who was a symbol for the anti-government groups. Roger says she was thrown in prison where she lived the rest of her life and passed away. Roger says there was another rumor about Sybil Rowan being from a foreign country. Roger says that's all he was able to find out, and Dastun thanks him. Dastun sees a red balloon rising into the sky and spots the Marble Balloon truck driving off. He chases after it. Garland heads on a stage before the audience. The Military Police have swept the park and found no sign of explosives. Eumenides blasts at the dome with lasers and continues towards it. The audience flees. Dastun continues to chase the truck as Eumenides enters the dome. Alex Rosewater watches via a surveillance camera, calling it a crude entrance, but appropriate for a pathetic foreigner. Dastun reaches the truck, which is parked by the dock as snow starts to fall from the sky. No one is in inside but he spots the mysterious woman standing on the dock nearby. Eumenides is prevented from attacking some civilians by Big O, which grabs its arms and pulls it back. Dastun steps onto the dock and asks the mysterious woman who she is. She calls herself a phantom and that she grants eternal sleep to an accursed past. The woman holds the detonator for a giant bomb that is contained within Eumenides. Roger realizes Eumenides contains a bomb inside it and that he has to be careful with how he deals with it. Dastun tells the woman she's taking the lives of innocent people and he won't let her get away with it. She calls him a pathetic lapdog of Paradigm. She is about to pull the trigger of the detonator, so he shoots her. Eumenides suddenly stops functioning. Big O lifts it up and destroys it with it's eyes lasers once it has been tossed a safe distance away. Dastun lifts up the woman, asking why she did it. She says she merely did what she thought was right and must be done, and they they both did their duty. She says she felt it would turn out like this for a long time, and he says he's felt the same, for as long as he could remember. Seeing that he is crying, she puts her hand to his face and says "Vous si gentil", passing away. Roger narrates on there being no record of Sybil Rowan having a daughter, and that there's no need to continue to dig up a buried past. The narrative flashes back to Dastun as a kid, watching Winter Night Phantom as a blonde haired girl sleeps in his lap.

 

Commentary

 

This is my personal favorite episode of the entire series. With the complete lack of Dorothy (this is the only episode in which she does not appear), Dastun is given more development and focus than he receives in any other episode. The plot regarding his dreams coming to life are very similar to (and perhaps inspired by) Twelve Monkeys, one of my favorite movies. The ending of the episode is one of the more emotional scenes of the series. The episode also introduces some additional mysteries to the show, in particular the existence of foreigners and that Paradigm may not be all that's left of civilization. This is a type of episode where Big O probably could have been left out of the episode entirely, although the scenes featuring it were fairly short and did not detract overall from the episode.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

5 out of 5 stars
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The Big O Episode 10 The Big O Episode 10

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Buy the collection (eps 1-26) on Blu-ray from Amazon

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