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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Better Living Through Morganite" Part 1
TV episode
Written by: P.K. Simonds
Directed by: Jim Charleston


An earthquake reveals a mineral that can be used as an energy source.


Read the full summary at the Making of Timelines Yahoo Group


Didja Know?


The title of this two-part episode is a play on a DuPont advertising slogan. DuPont is a chemical company which enacted the advertising slogan "Better Things for Better Living...Through Chemistry" in 1935 and which stayed in place until 1982. The variation "Better Living Through Chemistry" was used by other products during that time to avoid copyright infringement, and actually became more well-known than the original, often as a sarcastic commentary on modern life and commercialism.


Didja Notice?


This episode is narrated by Morgan. He comments that it is night 66 on the planet.


Devon refers to the holographic projector built into Yale's cybernetic arm as a hologrip.


In this episode, the group discovers a mineral known to the Terrians that is able to absorb and store tremendous amounts of energy with which it comes into contact (such as lightning) and then release it in a relatively low, steady quantity. The mineral comes to be known to the humans as Morganite, in Morgan Martin's usual propensity to name new discoveries on the planet after himself (see Leather Wings). The Terrians refer to the mineral as sunstones (as revealed in "Better Living Through Morganite" Part 2).


Although he doesn't say anything, when Devon asks what they should call the new mineral at 10:35 on the DVD, you can see Morgan thinking already that it's "Morganite".


The geo-lock unit in Morgan and Bess' possession in this episode does not look like the one they obtained in "Natural Born Grendlers". This one is quite a bit larger. It seems the producers must have decided to have the prop redesigned, especially in light of the fact that "Natural Born Grendlers" was not shown on the network during the regular season run, but only later, during the re-run season, so the device needed to still be introduced to the audience.
Original geo-lock from "Natural Born Grendlers" Geo-lock in this episode


Bess and Morgan test the geo-lock on a small patch of land first, even though they already did so in "Natural Born Grendlers". Again, that episode had not been aired during the regular season, so the producers may have felt a need to demonstrate its use to the audience before the episode's cliffhanger climax. Fortunately, they do also provide a reason to test it again in that Bess finds the unit to be leaking when she opens it, possibly due to damage from the quake earlier in the episode.


It's fairly easy to miss, as the scene goes by so fast, but at 13:42 on the DVD, notice that Morgan's scarf gets caught on a tree branch as he and Bess are running from the expanding geo-lock effects. Then, at 13:58, the scarf is seen in a petrified form on the tree after the geo-lock effect has completed. (Although, notice the scarf gets hung up in the branches at about shoulder level to Morgan, but after petrifaction it is only a little above waist level.)


At about 16:09 on the DVD, the boom microphone recording the actors is seen quickly dipping below the top of the screen.


As Danziger dismisses the small group he has gathered to decide how to monitor Yale, he says, "All right. Take your full five. I'll see you out there." I'm not sure what he means by "full five". Anyone out there know? 


At 34:56 on the DVD, during Yale's flashback, notice that the logo on the wall behind the terrified woman is the same one on the greenhouse exterior in the Eden Advance group's winter camp, which was indicative of a group of outlawed biologists from the stations. This is why he was able to recognize the logo from his own memory rather than from his databank, as he was surprised to realize in "Moon Cross".
Logo in Yale's flashback Logo on greenhouse in "Moon Cross"


In Yale's flashback, the biologists ask him for sanctuary under the Federal Agreement of Science. Whatever that is.


Losing control of himself in his fear that he may be reverting to a criminal mindset, Yale smashes his cybernetic arm against a tree, causing what appears to be significant damage to the prosthetic. Was he able to repair it for later use beyond the basic grasping function of the hand?


Considering the geo-lock is shown here as capable of petrifying anything animate or inanimate for a diameter of at least up to a kilometer, are there any measures in place on the devices to prevent them from being used as weapons? It seems that with one of these, you could petrify an enemy from a distance before they even had any idea you were around. 


Memorable Dialog


that big elephant in the middle of the room.wav

that's what scares me.wav

the one thing I liked about this place.wav

you people embrace every new thing without thinking.wav

we'll call it Morganite.wav

I should be so lucky.wav

rabid animals.wav


a few good anecdotes.wav

to the survivor go the spoils.wav

right and wrong.wav

an artificially rehabilitated criminal like all the others.wav 


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