For the Adherent of Pop Culture
Battlestar Galactica ] Buckaroo Banzai ] Cliffhangers! ] Earth 2 ] The Expendables ] Firefly/Serenity ] Galaxy Quest ] Jurassic Park ] Land of the Lost ] Lost in Space ] The Mummy/The Scorpion King ] The Prisoner ] Snake Plissken Chronicles ] Star Trek ] Terminator ] The Thing ] Total Recall ] Tron ] Twin Peaks ] UFO ] V the series ] Valley of the Dinosaurs ] PopApostle Home ] Links ] Privacy ]


Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
"First Contact" Part 2
TV episode (45:33-end of "First Contact" on the DVD)

Story by: Billy Ray and Michael Duggan & Carol Flint & Mark Levin
Teleplay by: Michael Duggan, Carol Flint and Mark Levin
Directed by: Scott Winant

 

The Eden Advance team finds that G889 is not as uninhabited as they'd hoped.

 

Read the full summary of "First Contact" Parts 1 and 2 at TV.com

 

Didja Know?

 

The robot Zero is portrayed by Tierre Turner, the show's stunt coordinator.

 

Didja Notice?

 

Yale seems pretty convinced that the cargo pod they've found should have had a VTO (Vertical Take-off) aircraft inside; he mentions they should find one there in "First Contact" Part 1 and is disappointed that it was apparently taken by whoever broke into the pod and robbed it, as discovered here. So, what did happen to the VTO? Apparently, Gaal (the criminal who shows up in the following three episodes) does not have it or he'd be using it, judging by his desire to obtain one of the Eden Advance vehicles. We never really learn who robbed the pod; presumably it was the Grendlers, who become known as opportunists in obtaining property in later episodes. What would they do with a VTO, not knowing what it really was?

 

At 44:59 on the DVD, O'Neill is looking at a Grendler footprint in the dirt just outside the forced-open door of the cargo pod.

 

The team discovers three usable ground vehicles in the cargo pod: the large, red TransRover; the small, red ATV; and the yellow, dune-buggy-like DuneRail.

 

The large TransRover vehicle is made by Hummer, as evidenced by the prominent brand name on the front. Hummer was a real world brand at the time Earth 2 was in production, but which was closed down by its parent company AM General in 2010. Still, it's not inconceivable that the brand name could be remarketed by the year 2192.

 

At 49:28 on the DVD, we see Commander O'Neill carrying a different rifle than we see in later episodes of the series. Page 146 of the novelization reveals that it was recovered among the cases left in the cargo pod and was his personal antique hunting rifle. The rifle does show up again a time or two in later episodes.

 

At several points during Alonzo's run through the cave tunnel system in his dream, we see what appear to be large, round light fixtures in the ceiling! The most prominent sighting is in the top-left corner at 50:59 on the DVD.

 

 

I wonder if the location for the scene of Commander O'Neill's koba encounter of the third kind was picked for its resemblance to Vasquez Rocks, where the battle between Captain Kirk and the Gorn took place in the original Star Trek episode "Arena"?
Location of koba encounter (New Mexico) Vasquez Rocks (California)

 

During the burial ceremony of Commander O'Neill, Yale has modified the classic Anglican burial liturgy, adding "universe to universe" to the well-known "ashes to ashes, dust to dust." 

 

The word "Terrian" for the humanoid civilization inhabiting G889 is probably derived from "Terra" the Latin word for Earth.

 

When Alonzo looks at the visiting Terrians through a monocular device (the novelization seems to indicate it is called a telescanner) at 1:00:21 on the DVD, notice that it gives the latitude and longitude of the location on G889. But when Morgan looks through it later at 1:16:32, the lat-long is much different! There shouldn't be any significant difference! Possibly the device was made to lock onto Earth coordinates by satellite or star patterns and is unable to adjust for its presence on G889?

 

At 1:07:37 on the DVD, the koba appears to have already regrown the claw it shot at Commander O'Neill earlier.

 

At the site of Uly's disappearance underground, Danziger orders everybody else back to camp for safety, except for Devon. Yet, in the very next scene, a number of people are seen with them as they search for an entrance to the underground tunnel system.

 

Julia uses the term REM in reference to dream sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement and refers to the rapid back-and-forth movement of the eyeballs under a sleeping person's closed lids when they enter dream sleep.

 

Some of the Terrians sounds, as heard in the dream plane, are similar to the songs of humpback whales on Earth.

 

When Devon calls for a vote on whether the group should head to New Pacifica, only Morgan and Bess do not raise their hands in favor (though Bess gives Devon a smile). Note that Yale, standing off to the side, seems to have excused himself from the vote. Notice also that Zero's head swivels around as he watches the results of the voting members. (In the novel, the entire team raises their hands in favor, Bess helping Morgan to raise his, and Yale does not abstain either.)

 

At the end of the episode, when we see the man we will later know as Gaal, he is wearing a bone necklace. In "Promises, Promises" he reveals to True that the bones are Terrian and they keep the Terrians from attacking him, apparently giving them a false sense that he is one of them.

 

Notes from the novelization of "First Contact", Earth 2, by Melissa Crandall

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published December 1994)

Pages 140-end cover the events of "First Contact" Part 2.

 

Page 145 reveals that, except for the Earth-like G889, the only life found on other worlds so far have been variations on plankton.

 

On page 150, Alonzo refers to Dr. Heller as a chromo-tilt. This is a reference to her having genes modified by her parents in the womb, for work in the bio-sciences, as she reveals to Devon in "First Contact" Part 1.

 

Also on page 150, Julia seems to refer to the humans who used to live on Earth as the Ancients.

 

Pages 155-156 feature a scene not found in the televised episode. It details Morgan and Bess' night in their private camp and the next morning, when Morgan tries to repair the beacon, they encounter creatures that will later be identified as Grendlers in "The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)".

 

Pages 155-156 seem to indicate that Morgan and Bess spent the night outside, sleeping next to the campfire. Wouldn't they have been better off sleeping inside their escape pod?

 

On page 158, Bess reveals that rats are still alive on Earth (seemingly one of the few species to have survived humanity's misuse of the planet).

 

On page 172, Commander O'Neill tells Danziger he had previously used his antique hunting rifle at the Officers' Hunting Preserve, which is apparently an invitation-only retreat for high-ranking or decorated military officers.

 

Page 186 indicates that the TransRover is an antique, at least in Danziger's estimation.

 

Page 187 reveals that New Pacifica is about 5,409 miles away from the site of the salvaged cargo pod. Yet, Leather Wings suggests that it is only about 3,000 miles away. The 3,000 mile figure seems the more accurate as, even here, on page 259, Devon tells the Eden Advance team they can reach New Pacifica in 9 months if they can average 12 miles a day; that would equal around 3200 miles.

 

As Danziger works on the TransRover on page 187, Zero indicates that he is equipped with a variety of sceptors and retractors. Presumably, these are types of tools. Danziger asks True to hand him a number nine anthro-sceptor and the televised episode shows her handing him a multi-socketed wrench (the stem "anthro" means human; not sure how that plays into describing a wrench among a society that has not yet met another intelligent species; perhaps "anthro" here designates a tool not used by a robotic assistant?).

 

On page 189, Danziger thinks of Devon's platitudes about their circumstances on the planet as Pollyanna-ish. Pollyanna is a character appearing in a number of children's novels; she is known for an unfailingly optimistic attitude.

 

Zero seems to behave a bit more human-like in the novel than in the televised episode and even seems to lean a bit towards comic relief. As he approaches the Terrians when they appear on the ridge overlooking the human camp for the first time on page 197, Zero hums the "Battle Hymn of the Republic". The song was written by Julia Ward Howe in 1862, using the music of an 1862 song called "John Brown's Body", about the abolitionist. Since Zero is only humming the music, not singing the lyrics, he may actually be humming the original "John Brown's Body" song, whose lyrics describe a brave soldier who gave his life against the enemy to free and protect the enslaved, which may be a bit how the robot feels about his current assignment.

 

On page 202, Danziger thinks of G889 as terra incognita. This is a Latin phrase for "unknown land".

 

Pages 217-218 feature an added scene not in the televised episode. After Uly has been knocked off of the ATV in his tussle with True, the koba, also apparently knocked off, joins him and the boy begins playing and laughing with the cute little creature. The koba runs off as the ground begins to shake with the arrival of the Terrians who snatch Uly underground.

 

On page 245, Devon refers to the tranquilizer she takes as a sedi-derm. In the televised episode she simply calls it a sedative.

 

Page 252 features a brief moment not included in the televised episode. After telling Alonzo that humans have been on G889 before the Eden Advance team, the Terrians form an image in the dirt floor of the cave in front of he and Devon which reads E2. This is superficially representative of the show's title Earth 2, but we will learn in "Life Lessons" that E2 was the code name of the program that brought convicts to G889 15 years ago.

 

On page 259, Devon tells the Eden Advance team they can reach New Pacifica in 9 months if they can average 12 miles a day. In the televised episode, she says 20 kilometers a day instead. That is almost the same distance; when the English units are converted to metric, 12 miles equals 19.3 kilometers.

 

On page 261, as the Eden Advance team begins their march to New Pacifica, the group is described as a "ragtag line made up of a few mechanized vehicles, a robot, a cyborg, and a group of people bursting with optimism." Possibly the use of the word "ragtag" is a reference to the original Battlestar Galactica, in which the scavenged spaceships of a struggling, fleeing humanity is referred to as a "ragtag fleet".

 

At the end of the novel, it is Danziger driving the TransRover, but in the televised episode another colonist drives it.

 

The novel reveals that "koba" is the Terrian word for the little creature befriended by True. In the TV series we only know the term as it is offered by Gaal in "The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)", without explanation.

 

At the end of the episode, we merely see Gaal watching the retreating wagon train of colonists. At the end of the novel, Grendlers are digging up the grave of Commander O'Neill with Gaal's supervision, as seen in "The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)".

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Why is Alonzo singled out as the Terrians point of contact in the dream plane? Is it because he has spent the most time asleep due to his many long periods in stasis as a pilot? Does his lack of dreams otherwise (as revealed in "First Contact" Part 1) play a role?

 

Why does Danziger not tell anyone what he knows about Morgan's cowardly action of launching the first escape pod from the advance ship with only he and Bess aboard?

 

Memorable Dialog

 

easy there, pal.wav

universe to universe.wav

you didn't scare me.wav

there's a lot we don't know about this place.wav

maybe we're not supposed to go to the end of the universe.wav

20 kilometers a day.wav

aliens landed on a distant planet.wav 

 

Back to Earth 2 Episode Studies