Comics Continuum 2/9/04
MUTANT X'S "ART OF ATTRACTION"
"Art of Attraction," a new episode of Mutant X, will air in syndication this week. The episode is written by Alfonse Ruggiero and directed by Andrew Potter. Below the photos is a thorough plot synposis, with spoilers. (Click on the thumbnails for larger images).
At an art gallery opening, Lexa (Karen Cliche) poses as a waitress in an attempt to locate a particular piece of art for the Dominion. Via comlink, Brennan (Victor Webster) and Jesse (Forbes March) tell her that the painting is in a room in a guarded corridor. Lexa is about to head for the corridor when Randall Blake (Lyriq Bent) steps in front of her and begins flirting. Flattered, Lexa sees Shalimar (Victoria Pratt) across the room and moves on.
Moments later at the entrance to the hallway, Shalimar distracts the guards allowing Lexa to slip inside. Using a code Jesse provides, Lexa enters the room only to find Blake stealing the painting. He knocks her down with a beam of dark matter, but just as he¹s about to hit her again, she fires off a laser. The two energies combine into a massive explosion and they both crash into a wall, triggering an alarm. As Lexa and Blake flee the scene, they hear guards close behind and Lexa grabs Blake and makes them invisible. Once the guards pass, Blake kisses Lexa and then warns her to stay away from him.
Back at Sanctuary, Lexa's Dominion contact demands that Mutant X retrieve the painting. Lexa then goes to see Jesse and Shalimar, who are examining a holographic image of the artwork. She tells them there's a code hidden inside that could threaten world security if it falls into the wrong hands.
Knowing Blake is after the art, Lexa and Jesse head back to the gallery immediately. Alone in the media area, Shalimar is startled by a 3-D image of a face that appears on a computer screen and says her name. The face informs her that the scientist who owned the painting, Illich Sefchek, is the key to what's going on and to remember the number 380735.
Meanwhile at the gallery, Lexa sees a strange shadow moving along the floor and realizing it's Blake, takes off down the corridor. Unable to open the door with the code she used earlier, Lexa tries the number Shalimar was given by mysterious informant. The door opens and Lexa runs in, cuts the painting from its frame and puts it into a container.
Just as she's about to take off, Blake walks in and demands she give him the painting as it is part of a series of three of which he already has one. Lexa refuses and fires off laser beams at him, but Blake retaliates with a blast of dark matter that overpowers her. As Blake closes in on her, Jesse suddenly phases through the wall and pulls Lexa back into the hallway.
The next morning, Jesse discovers part of the code hidden in the painting.
Realizing that they¹ll need all three paintings in order to interpret it, Lexa decides to ask Blake to partner with her to find the third.
A short time later, Jesse and Lexa arrive at a high-class bar that Blake owns. Lexa enters and is immediately met by Blake, who agrees to work with her to get the final painting.
Meanwhile, Shalimar and Brennan are at the computer when the 3-D face appears again. Shalimar keeps the face engaged in conversation while Brennan attempt to trace the transmission. Before the trace is complete, however, the screen goes black and the face disappears. Digitally analyzing the conversation, Shalimar hears the name of a Chinese restaurant and she and Brennan head out.
Back at Blake's bar, Jesse joins Lexa to verify the paintings are real, but when Jesse and Lexa turn their backs, Blake makes a duplicate of their painting and hides the original. Unknown to Jesse, Blake hands him the copy and then tells him to leave since he'll only deal with Lexa.
Later, Brennan and Shalimar are leaving the Chinese restaurant when a pay phone rings. Shalimar picks it up and immediately recognizes the voice of the mysterious informer. Using her feral hearing, she picks up the sound of a neon sign in the background. Spotting a neon sign on a building in the distance, she and Brennan race towards it. Inside, they hear a loud squawk coming from one of the rooms and when they burst in they find a stack of discs on a chair and a parrot saying "Good work, Shalimar."
Back at Sanctuary, Brennan and Shalimar download a file that shows Sefchek created a cost-effective method of processing water into hydrogen power, something scientists have been working on for years.
Brennan and Shalimar then trigger an alarm on Lexa's private line to contact the Dominion and when he comes on the screen, Brennan demands a meeting.
Meanwhile, Blake tells Lexa that the third painting is part of a collection belonging to a Russian mob boss and they devise a plan to break into his estate.
When Jesse comlinks Lexa to tell her Blake switched the paintings, she decides to do whatever it takes to get back the original. Seducing Blake, Lexa discreetly places a tiny transmitter on the back of his earlobe.
Across town, Brennan and Shalimar wait in a dark alley. A black sedan pulls up revealing the shadowy profile of the Dominion contact who tells them that the impact of the pollution-free fuel technology could shift the balance of world power overnight. He adds that the Dominion has controlled the evolution of technology for hundreds of years and plans to release the formula when the world is ready for it.
Lexa and Blake arrive at the Russian mansion and make their way to the painting. Inside the room, Lexa uses her powers to bend the lasers protecting the artwork as she walks towards it. She then cuts the painting from its frame, puts it into a tube and hands it to Blake, who sets off an alarm and disappears.
Hearing a guard approaching, Lexa makes herself invisible, but the laser beams outline her body and the guard aims his gun at her. A blast of electricity suddenly slams the guard against the wall and Brennan and Shalimar come charging in.
The three then run outside to the Helix where Jesse informs them that Blake is heading for the train station. There, Shalimar sees Blake placing the paintings inside a locker. As Jesse moves behind the locker, Shalimar distracts Blake, allowing Jesse to phase the paintings out and replace them with fakes.
Back at Sanctuary, Mutant X agrees to turn over the paintings to the Dominion and to keep a set of copies for themselves.
Moments later, Shalimar is in her room when her laptop comes on and the 3-D face appears on the screen. Angry that the person won't reveal his identity, Shalimar cuts the connection to the man, who unbeknownst to her is Adam Kane (John Shea).
© Comics Continuum
Starburst 2/9/04, on Adventure Inc.net
The Art of Attraction
Written by Alfonse Ruggiero
Directed by Andrew Potter
The Dominion ask the team to break into a vault and steal a painting, which has a formula encoded into it.
Lexa's initial attempt to take the painting are interrupted by a Mutant named Randall Blake, whose dark-matter powers make him a tricky opponent. Jesse and Lexa try again, only to encounter Blake for a second time. They escape with the painting, but he has revealed the need for the other two, and the fact that he is in possession of one of them. It's not long before they team up in search of the final one.
While trying to deal with the wily Blake, the team begin to have doubts about the Dominion's agenda, especially when a mysterious source contacts Shalimar. His intervention causes them to bypass Lexa and contact the Dominion without her, to learn more about the information they're recovering. By the end of the episode various double-crosses have been perpetrated, and the team's relation to the Dominion is altered.
This is a tricksy little episode, with lots of playful twists of perception to keep you guessing everyone's agenda, or when they're going to make their move. A bedroom scene with Lexa and Randall adds to the fun, as the introduction of this deceptive character adds to the confusion the team is clearly already feeling in the trust department.
The Best Bit
The disappearing third guard who never makes it to the top of the stairs. Not deliberate, but amusing never-the-less.