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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Life Lessons"
Written by: Jennifer Flackett
Directed by: Daniel Sackheim


Gaal takes advantage of True's youth and disenchantment with her situation to manipulate her friendship and further his evil plans for the group.


Watch the episode on YouTube


Didja Notice?


This episode is narrated by True Danziger. She remarks that it has been two weeks since the team crashed on G889.


Gaal constantly refers to True as Poppet. This is a British term of endearment for a girl. The term also means "puppet", which plays ironically when, at the end of the episode, True remarks in her narration that she never found out what "poppet" means, not knowing that Gaal has been pulling her strings since they met (and still is).


True remarks that she feels like a prisoner here, with all the rules and the wristlock she (and Uly) have to wear to monitor her whereabouts. This is ironically similar to Gaal's situation when he first arrived on G889 15 years ago, as a genuine convict; his grasp of this allows him to manipulate True's feelings towards him and against the people on the Eden Advance team, even her father.


Working on the broken DuneRail, Danziger finds that the solar converter is shattered. But just one minute later he tells Devon the crystal fuse is missing. A bit later, we see Danziger remove a partially-shattered transparent cylinder from the undercarriage of the DuneRail, presumably the previously-mentioned solar converter. And that night, Gaal is seen handing off something that looks like a large, glowing spark plug to a Grendler, presumably the crystal fuse. One could assume then that Gaal shattered the cylinder in order to steal the fuse inside to prevent the group from moving any further while he made his plans.


As the foal is emerging from it's artificial placental sack, Yale exclaims, "Oh, my God! It's an Equus callabus!" He's trying to state the scientific nomenclature for the domestic horse, but (oddly, since he's a cyborg tutor) he mispronounces it. He should have said, "Equus caballus".


Uly decides to name the new horse Pegasus. Pegasus was a winged horse in the ancient Greek mythology of Earth.


When True is crying over not having her own horse like Uly's, Gaal exclaims, "A horse...a kingdom for a horse!" This is a famous line from Shakespeare's play Richard III.


Doing food inventory, Bess discovers that two boxes of alpha-glutenate are missing. Alpha-glutenate does not appear to be a real world food product, but gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains. In previous episodes, team members have been seen eating semolina bars, another wheat-based product. Even today, wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in the human diet worldwide.


   As Yale does a search of his own database for background on Gaal, we see lines of information scrolling across the screen via the POV of his left eye. The lines indicate that no data on Gaal is found in Yale's general database. Yale then searches through records of the galactic exploration projects Pontel 1-6; no Gaal found. Looking in the personnel records of Pontel 7, of which Gaal had indicated he was a member in "The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)", Yale also finds no listing of Gaal. We do see the names of other participants in the Pontel 7 project: J.T. Murrah, A.L. Pfaffinger, and M.J. Pabone. (J.T. Murrah is likely a wink to John T. Murrah, who was a visual effects compositor on the two-hour pilot episode "First Contact"). Spying the E2 tattoo on Gaal's neck, Yale's database reveals a sanitation program on the stations by that designation, established in 2159, the program being designed to rid the stations of non-recyclable waste, with the waste locations being classified, but possible location given as "E2 G889".

   The odd thing is that Yale doesn't seem to react to the possible location of the waste as being G889 until Morgan makes a remark about it later. According to the stories they were always told on the stations, G889 has been essentially untouched by humans until the Eden Project, so shouldn't he immediately be suspicious of anything suggesting past use of this world?


True tells Gaal that at a synth-arcade she rode a bronco horse for the first time and no one was able to break her record, staying on for 22 minutes. Presumably a synth-arcade provides robotic or virtual reality experiences such as bronco riding.


As True tries to show Gaal how to use voice commands to operate the TransRover, he jokes, "Like, um, 'open sesame'?" The phrase "open sesame" as a magical command originates from the English translation of the classic Arabic tale, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.


The person that's supposed to be True riding the horse at 28:43 on the DVD looks rather larger than young actress J. Madison Wright, don't you think? Must have been a stuntwoman for this particular shot.


As a reward for their servitude, Gaal gives two Grendlers each a leaf smeared in his own blood, which they devour and seem to enjoy immensely. Is he trying to inculcate a taste for human blood in them so they will want to kill the colonists? In the later episode "Brave New Pacifica", we see that some Grendlers seem to be addicted to human blood from a medical case of human blood scavenged from one of the cargo pods.


When Gaal discovers True spying on his transaction with the Grendlers, he says, "My, Poppet, what big eyes you have." Obviously, Gaal is quoting from the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood". Ironically, he is speaking as if he were the innocent girl and she the wolf, but we know he is truly a wolf in sheep's clothing.


At 40:03 on the DVD, there appears to be a jet contrail in the sky, which shouldn't exist on G889. Unless a Grendler is flying around in the VTO aircraft missing from the cargo pod found in "First Contact" Part 2? Yeee-haaaaa!


Notice that the white diamond-shaped spot on the horse's head appears to have been painted on in shots throughout the episode.


If you watch closely, it becomes obvious that the location where True falls off the horse and rolls over to watch Gaal riding away, is different than the one she stands up at as her father races up in the DuneRail.


If you watch carefully at the moment Danziger knocks Gaal off the horse at about 44:03 on the DVD, a telephone pole can be seen on the horizon in the background!


As Danziger and True pull away from Gaal in the DuneRail at 46:23 on the DVD, there appears to be a tower of some kind on top of the mountain in the distance.


Memorable Dialog


two little steps from camp.wav

usual mischief.wav

I hate this planet.wav

is that you, Poppet?.wav

he's not of your caliber.wav

I hate this dirty, filthy planet.wav

my kingdom for a horse.wav

a place where magic happens.wav

why do you say things like that?.wav

Gaal would say the Grendlers took the boxes.wav

that's the spirit.wav

never doubted you.wav

I couldn't be more proud.wav

all these Grendlers wandering around.wav

Mr. Danziger has disappointed me for the last time.wav

what big eyes you have.wav

you must trust me, Poppet.wav

whistle for yourself.wav

I will shoot you.wav

the land where magic happens.wav 


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