Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blast from the Past #396: notes on Ep. 76 outline

Subj: notes on Ep. 76 outline
Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:05:21 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on the Ep. 76 outline.

        1.) Here I go again! Hopefully my computer won't crash and lose everything that I've already typed twice.
I like the idea of the sonic device which flushes (no pun intended) Splinter and all the rats out of the sewers, but it does raise a possible problem, i.e.: Given how well this thing works, what's to keep Bishop or one of his associates from using it again and again in future episodes? I have a couple of suggestions for how to resolve this:
--have Don figure out -- either in this episode or in future episodes -- how to (a) "soundproof" the lair to keep Splinter safe, or (b) create some tiny earplugs that protect Sensei from this kind of sonic attack, or (c) both.
-- have Bishop or one of his minions mention in passing that this is pretty much -- practically speaking -- a "one time" use device. The reason for this is that because it creates such a disruptive mass "rat panic" and forces legions of rats out of the sewers all at once, repeated uses of it would of necessity bring down some serious investigations of the causes, and perhaps lead to inconvenient revelations about the users.
On a related note, while there is nothing inherently wrong about one large device broadcasting this sonic attack, I wonder if it would be a cooler visual if done like this: Various vans and trucks, disguised as municipal service vehicles, park near/over open manholes and their operators dump hundreds or thousands of small (egg-sized?) devices, which fall into the sewers and are carried hither and yon by the various streams and currents, effectively spreading out in a huge net of "nodes". Each of these devices is a lower power version of the large unit described in the outline, but because they are more widespread they actually have wider coverage.
These things could also be, given Bishop's penchant for and abilities in genetic engineering, bio-tech based units -- and they only operate for a short period of time, then rot and decay away, leaving no evidence. Sneaky!

2.) I like the inclusion of the idea I suggested about the counter-extraterrestrial organization being begun a long time ago -- the Civil War-era soldiers and President Grant bit are perfect.

3.) I'm not clear why the Turtles would think of taking Splinter to April -- why would they think she could help? Doesn't seem to follow logically, and I suspect that Don would be at least as capable as April of coming up with an on-the-spot theory about what might be afflicting their Sensei.
However, I do think it makes sense that they would take Splinter out of the sewers and aboveground... especially if we tweak the effects of this sonic attack a little bit, and have the Turtles themselves be able to hear, very faintly, the noise that is deafening to Splinter. This would allow Don to quickly come up with a theory about what might be happening, and thus lead to the plan to get the hell out of the sewers -- he could even use some kind of sensor gizmo that could show the sound waves propagating through the sewers.

4.) Re: the following:

"NOTE:  LeatherHead and Professor Honeycutt (a.k.a. the Fugitoid), who’s still “living” inside a palm pilot/computer, are both working building something with a little more space and mobility for the Professor (perhaps a hover disk with more memory and controls and abilities to link up to other systems and a round screen for a face).  They are doing this as the turtles arrive on the scene."

I need my memory refreshed -- what happened to the original Fugitoid body? Was it destroyed, or does it still exist somewhere? I can't recall.

5.) If someone could come up with a cool visual idea for how Bishop's subway car can quickly and easily change tracks -- I'm thinking of perhaps some kind of extending-arm system whereby the car's wheels would be on the ends of sturdy folding/telescoping arms which would allow the car to actually elevate itself several feet off the ground (and the tracks) and "crab walk" for short distances so that it could get up off one set of tracks, and "walk" over to another, then set itself down on those tracks, ready to roll again -- it would make me happy, and also add a lot more flexibility into the vehicle.

6.) Re: the following:

"Leonardo:  “Don’t let them seal that door!”

The commandos try to seal the door, but …"

Just so we're totally clear, the door in question is NOT the door of the subway car, but the door to Bishop's secret HQ. Yes?

7.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, Bishop is packing up DNA samples and hopes to accelerate Splinter’s “donation” of DNA; poor Splinter lies in unconsciousness having his life drained away."

There seems to be a somewhat strange treatment of science here, with the implication -- apparently -- that Bishop is "draining" Splinter of his DNA. I don't quite see how that could happen, unless he is literally sucking DNA out of Splinter -- which I think would cause severe physical damage -- not just lack of consciousness. Also, DNA -- being a basic part of cells -- can be replicated by culturing those cells. So Bishop wouldn't have to basically take Splinter apart cell by cell to get what he wants -- all he really needs is a substantial sample (which could be a vial of blood).
I think the writer was trying to do something which would work in parallel with the Turtles' struggles, a "ticking clock" which they needed to beat. Here's another idea: Bishop got the sample that he needed from Splinter, enough to perform all his future experiments, and while he has no immediate need for the rest of Splinter, the mutated rat is too interesting a specimen to just trash. So Bishop gives the order to preserve Splinter's body in a thick, clear, quick-hardening plastic -- a unique polymer of his own design, which preserves organic specimens perfectly without decay -- which is slowly flowing into the small chamber in which Splinter is imprisoned. As the clock ticks down and the fight rages, will the Turtles win out and rescue Splinter before he is encased in a solid block of clear plastic like an insect in synthetic amber?
If we used this idea, it might even be handy in the resolution of the battle if the Turtles or the Fugitoid can somehow turn the flow of the sticky polymer against their foes.

8.) Re: the following:

"Bishop finishes his leap … coming down right on Leonardo’s swords, which run Bishop through."

Cool -- but can we get away with it?

9.) Re: the following:

"With the DNA case in hand, Bishop makes it to an escape elevator, which takes him to the street above.  Close on, his wounds from Leonardo’s katana heal … almost vampiric in manner … his blood isn’t even red … it’s a greenish blue … there’s something about Bishop we don’t know yet …"

That's for sure! I hope we can at the appropriate moment bring this all together in a way which makes sense.

10.) Re: the following:

"The figure at the desk is upset … and perhaps a tad nervous.  Bishop has spent too much already.  There are a lot of questions that are being asked!

There’s an uncomfortable silence.  Then …

Bishop:  “You don’t want to get on my bad side, Mr. President.  It wouldn’t be good for your health.”

The President stays calm … “All right, Agent Bishop.  I’m going to ignore that threat because I know your work is important.  What is it that you need?”

Bishop:  “Give everything I ask for and it’s all going to be just fine.”"

While this is a little better than the original, I strongly feel that Bishop's behavior here is way too overt and not anywhere near subtle enough. I suppose we can address this at script stage, to get across the creepiness and menace of Bishop without the President looking like a wimp, or Bishop looking like an overly aggressive idiot.
Part of how we could accomplish this might be to have the President's finger hovering near a hidden "Panic Button" while he is talking with Bishop -- the pressing of which would bring in a whole squad of heavily armed commandoes.

-- Pete

1 comment:

  1. Leatherhead has been interpreted as a villain, a ally, and a neutral character. Which of those did you perfer with the character? He was one of the very few TMNT characters that has been presented in so many ways.

    I hope you flipped through IDW's NInja Turtles#1 even if your not big into collecting comics these days. The one down side to an amazing issue is the lack of a Peter Laird credit outsdie the created by.