Bryan Fuller’s ‘High Moon’
“High Moon” aired last Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm on SyFy. This television movie was repackaged from a pilot developed by Bryan Fuller which SyFy had passed over. It is based on the John Christopher science fiction novel entitled “The Lotus Caves.” An investigation surrounding an exploded moon buggy landed Ian Thurgood (Chris Diamatopolous) in a complex case that involves his brother, convict Martin Thurgood (Jake Sandvig); strange growing moon flowers; Russian spies and a race to monopolize the moon. Read on for further details.
In the future, prisoners are given a choice of whether to spend time in jail or to work as miners — to mine the gas helium from the moon. Two such prisoners, Leon (Toby Hargrave) and Martin Thurgood (Jake Sandvig), were tasked to investigate a satellite that had crashed from the sky. As the two investigated, Martin found that the satellite had been sabotaged and immediately suspected the Russians. While investigating this lead, he noticed a plant root growing beneath the surface of the moon. Following it, he discovered a lone flower, which he picked. This caused a fireball to erupt from a nearby vent, and the moon buggy exploded as the pair were swallowed into a sinkhole.
Martin’s brother, Ian, who works for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, was sent over to the American Lunar Station Tranquility to investigate the explosion that his brother was caught in. On the shuttle ride from Earth to the moon, he was joined for a while by Eve St. John-Smythe (Charity Wakefield), an entrepreneur whose goal was to allow humans to enjoy the moon, as it was what her father and grandfather were working on.
At the lunar base, Ian was greeted by Yama Winehart (Dana Davis), the first and last lunar born baby, who is also the daughter of General Winehart (Peter Macon).
General Winehart revealed that the Americans, Indians, Japanese, Russians, Brazilians and Mexicans all have a stake on the moon, and that they all have been mining helium gas. The Americans ingeniously use prisoners who chose to work as miners, as their workforce, and one of these was Ian’s brother, Martin. Ian realized immediately that the General wanted him to see the mugshot of his dead brother in order to see if he would crack, but this plan backfired.
The General then told Ian that he suspected that the Russians had something to do with the explosion as they had the technology to do it, and because they, unlike the Americans, were situated on top of the smallest helium deposit on the moon and were waiting for any chance to attack and get the American base. However, the General informed Ian that they were currently getting proof, but they all have to be careful on how to go about the case, as he had a Russian spy.
Unlike the Americans, the Russians used soldiers as miners. At the tunnels, Commander Major Trofim (Kirby Morrow) questioned the decision of Sergeant Stanislav “Stan” Stavin (Jonathan Tucker) to allow the rest of the platoon to go on break. Stanislav countered by telling the Commander Major that morale had been low since the attack on the American base and asked if the Russians did attack the Americans. However, he did not get any answer, which prompted him to ask what the tunnels they were in were really meant for. The Commander Major replied that mining helium is faster than the sun producing it. The Commander Major then ordered that the tunnel that they were in be blown up so that the Americans would not discover that they were going to use it in their plan to steal helium from them.
Meanwhile, Yama collected evidence from the moon buggy in outer space. There, she found a piece of a bomb and saw something floating in space, a red flower, which she held. However, she let the flower go as she was bumped into by a person whom she thought was dead. It turned out to be Martin Thurgood, who managed to stay alive by using the oxygen of his dead companions to keep himself alive.
Martin woke up in a containment cell, as he was being suspected of causing the moon buggy to explode. After a brief reunion with Ian, Martin tried to convince him that there was a flower growing on the moon. However, Ian did not believe him as it was impossible for that to happen. He was focused on the task at hand and asked Martin if he was working for the Russians, which Martin denied.
The General learned that Ian had talked with his brother and let him know that he did not approve of this, as it would appear that Ian had been compromised and biased in the investigation due to the involvement of his brother. Since the General was trying to take him off the investigation and the moon, Ian called the Secretary of the Air Force (Gary Chalk), who ordered the General to fully cooperate with Ian’s investigation. As Ian walked out of the General’s office, he asked for Martin and the Russian spy’s files.
Outside, the General met up with his Russian spy under the pretext of playing some lunar golf. There, he revealed to Stan that he was suspicious of the Thurgoods. Stan mentioned that the Russians were collapsing the tunnel they were going to use to steal the American’s helium and revealed that the Russians had not stolen any helium yet. This puzzled the General as their helium supply had been steadily depleting.
Meanwhile, Martin investigated ground zero with Sergeant Holt, who claimed that Ian had sent him to help Martin find out what really happened. Martin went down the cavern alone and encountered glowing plant roots that seem to be sentient, as they move slightly when he tried to touch them. However, his investigation was cut short when an Indian assassin appeared and tried to kill him. The Indian stabed him enough to create an oxygen leak in his suit, which prompted him to stab himself after the Indian became unconscious in order to breathe again. However, he was finally pulled back up after discovering a planted bomb in the cavern.
He was then handcuffed and placed in a holding cell once more and was confronted by a furious Ian who doesn’t really listen to him, even after he mentioned that an Indian had come after him. Ian also revealed that he did not send any sergeant to help Martin. At the General’s office, Ian and the General questioned the sergeant who had been with Martin. However, before he could say anything, his brain exploded via a brain bomb, leading Ian to conclude that Stan was compromised.
The Russian tunnels were now ready to explode. Stan, upon orders from the Commander Major, brought him to where he was drilling the previous week. Here, he was given a ring by the Commander Major, who turned out to be Stan’s lover. However, after a brief moment together, Stan was abducted by the Americans.
Back at the American base, Stan revealed that he did not try to kill Martin and that the Russians would not have gained anything from their planned attacked. It turned out that the Russians wanted to control oxygen, which Eve St. John-Smythe and her company controls. If one controls the oxygen, that person would be very powerful. He was shown the bomb fragment, which he identified as Indian technology.
Ian and the General stepped out for a while in order to discuss what Stan had revealed. Ian informed the General that he did not believe that Stan was working for the General. Meanwhile, Stan used his robotic mechanized hands in order to escape from his holding cell.
Yama visited Martin at his holding cell and revealed that she saw the flower as well and wanted to investigate more about for scientific progress. As Yama exited the cell, an Indian assassin appeared and pushed Yama away. Before he could do any harm to Martin, Stan appeared in the holding cell and fought the Indian. Yama, who was able to gain control of her scooter, rammed into the Indian, which exploded into blobs of gel.
Stan proceeded to question Martin on what he knew so far, seeing as everyone thought that he was out to kill him. Martin then told Stan about the flower and suggested that he go with Stan as he was more useful outside than inside. Yama then gave them her universal access key so that the pair could escape and infiltrate the Indian camp to learn more about why they sabotaged the moon buggy and why they were after Martin.
While Stan was interrogating Martin, it was revealed that he had a camera hidden in his throat, and Eve St. John-Smythe was listening to the entire conversation. As soon as she had learned that the Indians were involved, she immediately tried to contact the Indian Ambassador.
Yama investigated the flower pollen which had left some traces on Martin’s suit. However, when she touched it, she ended up absorbing it. Meanwhile, the General and Ian were alerted to the fact that Martin and Stan were missing. Yama came walking into the room to inform them that Stan and Martin were not in cahoots with the Indians. Ian then realized that Yama had given the pair her universal access key, and the General grew concerned as Yama could now walk in artificial gravity. As a person born on the moon, she can’t walk in artificial gravity.
At the Indian base, Martin and Stan discovered that it was empty. Walking around, the pair noticed a big statue of Shiva. Martin then discovered that it seemed like air was coming out of its mouth. Stan investigated the statue and found a way to open the mouth, which formed a tunnel. Upon entering the tunnel, they discovered some more flowers in a cavern that was similar to the one that Martin had gone through earlier, realizing that the Indians might have been able to create artificial oxygen. However, their investigation was cut short by the entrance of a pair of Russians led by Trofim, who revealed that Stan was a spy, and that the ring he had given him had a tracking device. However, before anyone could shoot each other, a big green T-Rex came upon the scene, forcing them to run. However, the mechanical dinosaur was able to catch Martin.
Inside, Martin discovered Yama and her Japanese friend, the automaton Kiko. Yama informed Martin that she had absorbed the pollen of the flower, which caused Martin to be concerned, as the Indian might have turned into gel because of the flower. With the help of the T-Rex and Kiko, they decided to dig through the moon’s surface in order to find those flowers.
At the American base, Eve warned Ian and the General that the Indians had all disappeared and that the Russians were there. However, as Ian was determined to rescue his brother, they all decided to go.
At the Indian base, Trofim was having difficulty accepting all the lies that Stan had told him during the course of his mission However, Stan reassured him that his love for him was real. He also revealed that he was working for Eve St. John-Smythe for two reasons. First, she was the one who had helped him put himself back together as he was an amputee and because he believed in her cause — to secure the moon for the future of humanity. However, they are interrupted by screams which came from their other Russian friend, who was eaten by a human cephalapod.
The General, Ian and Eve entered the Indian base with their team in order to investigate their disappearance. Ian followed Eve and asked her what she had pocketed from the desk near the communications terminal. Eve revealed that it was a note written on paper that stated that the Indians had not used oxygen for three whole months. All of a sudden, the Indian ambassador appeared, telling them that there were many eyes that could see them. After he disappeared, many eyes appeared in the thin air. The Russians then appeared, as they were trying to escape from the cephalapod. Stan, using his mechanical removable hands, used it to secure a weapon and to make sure that he and Trofim got out safely. The pair were able to escape in a buggy, where Stan drugged Trofim so that he would not remember anything of the past day.
Prior to this, Ian was able to contact the Secretary of the Air Force and told him to quarantine the moon until there were more answers.
As the cephalopod was way inside the base, Eve, the General and Ian were able to escape. Aboard her shuttle, Eve forced Ian and the General to work with her, as she controls the oxygen supply, and she was the one who really stopped the Russians from monopolizing the moon.
Kiko, Martin and Ian realized that the flower had been living underneath the moon’s surface and had been feeding off helium. It grew farther and farther until it had popped out of the surface of the moon. However, Kiko struck a sinkhole, causing all of them to collapse.
Kiko sent out a distress signal for the General, while Yama tried to help Martin who was stuck underneath one of the dinosaur’s parts. As his oxygen was getting depleted, Yama gave some of hers to him before running off into the caverns to find a way out.
Ian and the General appeared, just as Martin was about to lose consciousness. Now, finally, Ian believed Martin’s story. However, Yama was not with them.
Yama, started to lose oxygen as her supply quickly depleted. However, she saw the flower in the distance, and her suit told her that she was entering an oxygenated field. She removed her helmet and found that she could breathe. However, in the distance, she saw a glowing blue light coming from deep within the cavern. Investigating it, she found herself in a garden of Eden, as she discovered a garden full of plants and trees. However, in the darkness of the trees in the garden, several pairs of floating eyes appeared.
What do you think of the repackaged pilot turned into a television movie? Do you think that SyFy made a mistake by passing up the chance to make it into a series? Let us know by posting your comments below!
And that is it for SyFy’s “High Moon,” which aired last Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy. For more news and updates, including spoilers and recaps, on upcoming and currently airing television shows, keep following Movie News Guide (MNG).
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