As with any story, everyone is going to have their own likes and dislikes. I thought I'd share some of the beta tester reactions we got on this episode. First the "likes". We got some very positive feedback from our betas, such as: (listed basically in order of appearance)
• Liz's voice-over in the Teaser
• Using aired episode lexicon such as "Antar".
• Ancestral memory.
• Michael talking about screwing up again and Maria's "Bet on you." response.
• Alex's WinZip explanation of releasing ancestral memories and Maria's response.
• Kyle's vocabulary scene.
• The "timer" in the eraser room scene.
• The conversation between Max and Liz after Chemistry class.
• The Tess/Kyle track/chem notes scene.
• Max/Ed confrontation scenes.
• The Kyle/Valenti humming scene.
• The interaction between Amy and River Dog.
• Spit-enhanced handshake between Isabel and Michael.
• Getting trapped in the pod chambers.
• Max's explanation for not kissing Tess.
• Hybrids and humans working together to stop Ed.
• Balcony scene.
• Reuse of aired episode scenes or dialogue such as "alien cell phone" and lab partner switch.
We also had some questions about some of the scenes, so I thought I'd share my answers in case members of our audience have the same (or similar) questions.
Q: Isn't "Antar's sun is dying" a bit cliché?
A: Sorry if you felt this was cliché, but we needed the Antarians to have a desperate reason for preserving their species. If they were just looking for other planets because theirs was too crowded, then our hybrids would not feel pressured, would not feel that what they did would affect their Antarian species that much. There has to be a possibility that the hybrids and Ed are the only living (or will soon to be the only living) Antarians left.
Q: If there were two crashes (1947 and 1958) which crash did Liz see in her flashback in Episode 116 (Sexual Healing)?
A: Per our storyline, the crash that Liz saw in Episode 116 (Sexual Healing) is from 1947, not 1958 when the hybrids' shuttle crashed.
Q: It seemed callous to leave the two wounded Antarians at the crash site while the others went to hide the pods. Is that because they were focused on their mission?
A: Yes, the pods were more important than the safety of their comrades, but they all understood that, so the other two did not feel abandoned. The mission is what was (and is) important.
Q: Why did you use a birthmark to determine who would be paired with whom? Is the birthmark a tattoo or genetic? If the Antarians are so good with DNA wouldn't they know what they would look like when they were older since they had manipulated their DNA?
A: My original intent was that it was a genetically engineered birthmark. The DNA manipulation was not for looks, just to ensure hybridization, and the small birthmark manipulation for identification purposes. Something that would not be too invasive (or unethical), but would be more secure than say wristbands that could come off or get mixed-up. Since there was more than one group they needed a secure way to identify which pods belonged with which groups.
Q: What would be the telepathic range of Antarians on a planet, and with the mothership, with and without the orb?
A: Telepathic range with the orb would be thousands of miles (the mothership would have to still be within Earth’s orbit) and full Antarians (like Ed) can see the orb beacon from thousands of miles away. The beacon can only be seen by human and hybrid eyesight a few miles away. Telepathic range without the orb would be a few miles.
Q: Does using their powers have to kill brain cells.
A: Yes, but ONLY if used EXCESSIVELY. When their powers are used in moderation they do not have ill effects, but when used excessively they can kill brain cells. There are reasons for this. First and foremost, if the hybrids can use their powers without impunity you lose a major plot point—should they keep their abilities from humans? If there is no harm to Max when he heals someone, why wouldn't he go out and heal everyone that he could? If, however, excessive amounts of healing are detrimental, then he must keep his abilities hidden because if humans found out he could heal them many would abuse his powers regardless of the harm it may cause him. Second, I believe in the philosophy of everything in moderation, nothing to excess. Most things are good for us in moderation, but if we abuse them they become bad for us. For instance, one glass of alcohol (for a non-alcoholic) is actually good for your body, but if you abuse it, it can kill brain cells! That's just one example but there are many more. The main point in this case is there have to be consequences to actions or things will get boring. Personally I feel that now that we know that Max was not only risking exposure by healing Liz, but also risking his health, that makes his sacrifice all the more special, even if he didn't know it at the time, because we know if he had to do it over again, knowing what he now knows, he would still do it.
Q: What is Tess's tone when addressing Ed?
A: Obedient. She was raised in what you might think of as a more military fashion. She's used to doing what she is told and Ed is used to her following his instructions. Since she knows no other way, she doesn't feel oppressed or frightened, she's just a good soldier; she's following the mission; the mission is what is important.
Q: Why is Ed talking to Mr. Evans?
A: Ed is evaluating the threat of the humans to the hybrids.
Q: Why did Ed feel he had to shapeshift into the hybrids to learn if the humans could be trusted? And why was he promising that nothing would come between them?
A: The shapeshifting was to ensure the humans would trust him enough so he could get close, the "promises" to make them relaxed, feel as if nothing has changed. He could garner some memories and feelings just from shaking their hands, but a kiss, just like between two Antarians, would generate more and since he wanted to learn as much as possible in a short period of time, he chose to use a kiss. It also gave us an opportunity to make (we think) better use of those "borrowed" scenes from aired Episodes 119 (Four Square) and 120 (Max to the Max).
Q: Why is Ed unsteady after shapeshifting? If he's weak how was he able to bounce Michael's blast back at him?
A: Ed is unsteady after the shapeshifting because he has now shapeshifted 5 times (into Isabel once, Max twice, and Michael twice), so he has expended a lot of energy; he's tired and not up to full strength. When he bounced Michael's power back to him he was reflecting it—using Michael's own power against him. Is Ed stronger than the individual hybrids—yes. Is he strong enough to take on all three hybrids when he is at full strength—possibly. Is he strong enough to take on all three hybrids and all three humans when he is at full strength—possibly not and definitely not when his power is not at full strength.
Q: Wouldn't Ed know that Tess knew how to access stored DNA? Why would he use this as his test if she could get them out?
A: As Tess explained, using the ability is not something that can be explained, you can only learn through released ancestral memory. But since some memories leak out, Tess knows how to use the DNA transfer ability, just like the other hybrids know how to manipulate objects and heal, etc. However, even if Ed knows Tess knows how, he doesn't know that Tess has Michael's DNA. So, since Tess can't explain how to do it, Ed assumes the only way they can get out is for Max, Michael, and/or Isabel (she could possibly have Max's DNA too) to release those memories through intimate physical contact. What's more important is that Ed doesn't care if they actually are able to access the stored DNA during this test, he's just using that as an excuse to get them to kiss so they will experience what it's like when two compatible Antarians kiss, because it will probably release some ancestral memory, and he figures once they have experienced this they will want to go back for more.