Review This Thursday - The Omega Factor-ep2 -Visitations


Member: Rank 8

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James Hazeldine.....TOM CRANE
Louise Jameson......ANNE REYNOLDS
John Carlisle.........ROY MARTINDALE
Nicholas Coppin......MICHAEL CRANE
Alec Heggie.......MITCH McRAE
Sheila Latimer.......MRS MARSHALL
Martin Cochrane......DOCTOR
Paul Young.........FRANK
David Bannerman.....ANDREW
Mary Anne Reid....SISTER (as Mary Anne Reid)
Jake D'Arcy........PAUL
Billy Riddoch.....ROBBIE (as Billy Riddoch)
Jay Smith.....DAVE
Natasha Gerson......MORAG
Joanna Tope......JULIA CRANE
Sheila Duffy .....VOICES

Directed by Norman Stewart
Writers Jack Gerson (creator) Eric MacDonald
Transmitted June 20 1979
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Member: Rank 8
Interesting second episode, lets start with the ending in the safe house. A house with a violent history, once occupied by Nazi sympathizers and weird cults led by Drexel. Unhappiness happened there people died, a girl possibly murdered by Drexel. Well her spirit is still there, a French girl possibly judging by the voices on the tape. The man on the tape, also a spirit, or a talpa as Dr Reynolds described it as possibly a thought that lingered behind and has independent substance, anyway this male phenomena escaped and inhabited the body of Mitch McRae. This seems clear, so presumably it is no more when McRae died, or is loose!
The automatic cameras in the house recorded an image of Julia, and this is a big bold proclamation the series is stating. Julia exists on the other side, or is it Tom projecting his thoughts. Surely though the camera wouldn't pick it up, so something actually manifested itself in the image of Julia. Tom certainly is powerful as Martindale says, but so far only as a receptor. He saw Mitch while doing experiments in Edinburgh for Martindale, while Mitch was down south. Was that the entity inside Mitch contacting him?. And is that really the same girl that caused Tom to swerve and crash and appeared in the house. Martindale says Drexel must be stopped, because presumably he is a dangerously powerful man, not because he caused the spooky goings on, at least I don't think so.
It was excellently done, very creepy and suspenseful.
Roy cleared up the early meeting with Julia in the last episode, nothing sinister, though she did lie to Tom about it, probably as Roy said because of Tom's suspicious nature. But Roy is pretty ruthless on the whole and quite a cold character, but is my favourite.
Mrs Marshall's comments about Julia not being ready to revisit this earthly plane, as she has to recover from the shock of her death, was clever,and got me thinking about death , as does this is series as a whole. We also know that Michael knew all the time about what exactly he was involved in with the dream experiment, and Julia was a colleague of Roy for some time, Tom seems not have realised this, so you can keep secrets from him okay, will this change as his power seems to have really developed recently.
More questions than answers.
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Member: Rank 3
One of the things I really like about tv from the 70's is the locations always feel real. I think it might have to do with the lighting, the 80's overlit most things, the 90's feels like everything was filmed cheaply and more modern things have this cinematic sheen.
The opening scenes do a good job of grabbing the interest. The two technicians come off quite believable trying to inject a bit of humour into what has become a frustrating job. Strange noises keep appearing on all their recordings, perhaps these were shocking at first but by the time we join them it's just an irritation and it's time for the pub.
Things then take a turn for the worse when something attacks Mitch and seals him in a room. Things appear to be going nuts and then calm, only for Mitch to appear at the door with a murderous look on his face. The effect on the face isn't bad but I think it might have been better to not show him at this stage to keep the mystery going.

Tom finally gets to confront Michael about the experiments. Michael is clearly uncomfortable and is in full defensive mode, he tries to perpetuate the lie about the walking holiday but Tom reveals he knows about the tests. I think Tom is very calm during these scenes, I think he knows his brother didn't mean to hurt him or put him danger and likely was told very little of the experiments.

Roy cleared up the early meeting with Julia in the last episode, nothing sinister, though she did lie to Tom about it, probably as Roy said because of Tom's suspicious nature.
I think there is something Martindale is holding back about this meeting. Let's assume it all happened as Martindale said so after her meeting Julia would then have to get on the train she was supposed to arrive on at an earlier station, to enable her to get off as expected for Tom.
Why not just be waiting at the station and say you caught an earlier train but he didn't answer so you waited, or go direct to Michael's flat and wait for Tom there. These seem like more likely actions for someone who just caught an earlier train to surprise someone.

We get quite a few scenes of Tom and Anne bonding which is nice to see, the two interact very naturally and comfortably. We also get more details of Anne and Martindale's relationship outside of work, at this stage it's still not clear if it friendship or something more.

The tape is pretty creepy and the idea of the recordings coming from an unknown source reminds me of The Stone Tape (1972)

Tom goes to see a medium. I wonder if it is the same actress who play Margaret Christie, the body from the first episode. There is no credit for it an the actress Sheila Latimer does seem to show up later in the series as a different character. Anyway it's a nice scene and she is very gentle with Tom. There is a nice sense of foreboding as she reveals danger is coming, is it to do with the house or the man they are visiting the next day? As Tom leaves Morag walks out of the shadows, is she really there or stalking Tom psychically.

The history of the house continues to rise the tension, with a bad and dark history. Also it ties Drexel into the thing as it was the site of one of his cults. I like how Drexel is always there, lurking in the background either by his past actions or through Morag.
There is more creepy ghost stories told by one of the technicians, his delivery of this story is excellent and really helps to add to the building tension. There is a nice moment when Tom goes into the recording room, as the conversation at the beginning of the episode begins to play we see a woman's face in the one way mirror over his shoulder. For a moment I wondered if it was the French girl or perhaps Morag but then Tom turns and it is revealed to be Anne watching through the mirror, good stuff.

The tension continues to build as the younger technician shows he's never played left for dead and follows the sound of a woman crying while the food goes rotten in seconds. Then much like the end of Ghostwatch all hell breaks loose, lights switch off and the automatic cameras fire. As everyone retreats to the observation room Tom goes to explore the house. Tom then comes under attack in the recording room experiencing physical attack and then severe temperature drop. It becomes difficult to know what Tom is saying or even who is speaking in this scene.
Then Tom turns to the mirror now seemingly possessed, it is a truly spine tingling moment. We see Morag stood somewhere in the house briefly illuminated by a camera flash and flashes of the windscreen and Julia from the crash.

I was surprised at the end when it was Julia who was apparently visible in the photos and not Morag. But then Tom reveals that he knew she was there and apparently was helping Julia protect him when her power was still too weak.

This was a great second episode, the tension building throughout the episode as more details of the house is revealed and then ending in crescendo at the house.

9 complaints to the catering department about the short shelf life of their sandwiches, out of 10