Tuesday, May 28, 2013

XIII - Pong

XIII (Stuart Townsend) awakes in a cargo container on the Chinese docks just outside of Shanghai. His continued survival will depend on convincing the warring factions within Xu Cooperation and the Chinese Government that he's their agent Victor Gong, beginning by trying to convince Victor's girlfriend Ai Ning (Sarah Lian). Although M. Pong (Ho Chow) is willing to let "Victor's" memories come back naturally and lead them to the third and final Tesla letter, government stooge Winslow Wong (Jack Yang) is less patient and far less convinced that Victor is who he says he is.

Back in Washington the ever-increasingly erratic President Carrington (Stephen McHattie), who has begun to hallucinate dead old army buddies walking around his secure bunker, tries to hold onto power after declaring Martial Law hoping to delay the transfer of power and keep President-Elect Harriet Traymore (Ingrid Kavelaars) out of the Oval Office until he can dismantle the HARPE Project and cement his legacy. Traymore has other plans. Meanwhile Mozambique (Wole Daramola)  kidnaps a reporter (Kristi Angus) to share the true story, but things don't go quite according to plan.

The more time XIII spends as Victor with Ai Ling the cloudier his perceptions become as he begins remembering half-lost memories of Victor's past life with his girlfriend. After failing a test from Wong, and prevent his capture, XIII returns home where the resurfaced memories, whether his or those of Victor, lead him to the final Tesla Letter. Despite his initial reluctance, XIII finds himself wanting to assume Victor's life. However, the final scene shows us why that's not possible as Ai Ning delivers the letter to M. Pong and demands the return of the true Victor Gong as her payment.

The Victor/Ai Ling relationship is interesting as it continues the theme of last week's episode by showing a different side to XIII's cold-blooded doppelganger than we'd seen so far. Sarah Lian is a pleasant, and completely unexpected, addition to the cast who I hope to see far more of during the rest of the season. Her inclusion, and the unusual role XIII finds himself forced into, provide the right ingredients for the best episode of the series. For a show always dealing with misdirection and half-truths, XIII visions of Victor's memories (whether his or implanted into him during his reconditioning by his darker self), certainly muddy the water as things begin to pick up leading into the season's remaining four episodes and the return of the real Victor and Betty (Roxane Mesquida).

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