Actual Play – Blue Gene: Episode 5 (3/8/2012)

Director: Leonard Balsera
Cast: Rich Rogers, Scott White, and Sean Nittner
System: Prime Time Adventures
Show: Blue Gene

Episode 5

This was our season finale and I was really excited. Frank was the spotlight character, but the outcome of the trial had a huge effect on Siddig. Namely, where did he sit on 17 murder counts.

The trial in two parts: Sloane had arrested Siddig for murder. While Siddig hadn’t contested the arrest or charge, his trial had been postponed while a board of commissioners ruled on a larger issue, brought to them by Frank Hunter. Should genetic re-sequencing be legalizes for military and law enforcement use?

Opening Scene

Frank opened the game addressing the commissioners “If it pleases the court, I present to you all of the cases that have been closed thanks to having a re-sequenced officer on the force…” and as Frank pulled up a holo vid to show the court, video faded into the shows intro and theme music.

Act 1

Act 1 was punctuated with court room scenes that showed just how impossible our case was.

Frank hunter vs. Curtis hunter.

After a really, really, REALLY comprehensive video footage depicting Siddigs misuse of power (a throwback all the way from episode 1 where Lenny took the last word to add in some cameras watching us), Frank and Curtis had what could have been a heart to heart. We flashed back to Frank in high school in a wrestling match that Curtis was attending (the first he had ever been to).

When Frank was just demolished by another student, instead of coming to comfort or encourage his defeated son, he regaled the titanic success of his experiment “Did you see that? He was so fast, so strong. His reflexes were amazing.” Hunter senior had used his son as his own personal test subject.

The flip was to determine if Frank could forgive his father for being such a bad dad. Nope. Wasn’t ready to forgive him, even 20 years later.

Solane vs Mallory

In the hallway of the courthouse the ex-lovers re-united for the first time since Sloane and Danielle had gotten back together. Mallory wanted to win s
Sloane over to her side. To support her in killing the case and Siddig along with it. Sloane’s resolve is incredible though. Mallory’s arguments were all sound but the cop knew her motive wasn’t. Someone else high up was controlling the DA and he wasn’t going to let himself be played like that, even if it did mean going down when his partner took the fall.

Siddig vs Frank

In the prisoner visitation area Siddig and Frank met to discuss the case. What they really talked a out though, was Curtis. Siddig tried to convince Frank his father had been looking out for him all along “We live in a cruel world Frank. You’re dad was tough on you to prepare you for it.” He took one of Franks “toys” and cracked open the case. Inside was the manufacturing information “Hunter Labs” embossed on it.

Flip reveals that even though he isn’t ready to forgive him (first scene), he does see that his father was trying to prepare him for a new post re-sequencing world.

Act 2

Not the court…the other court

I think by this time, the players, the characters, and the audience were all getting tired of the court procedures. Scott set a scene with Frank and Sloane in the place where REAL decisions are made: the basketball court.

The two of them played ball, notably without Siddig, and the normal rules applied. The person with the ball got to speak and carried extra authority while they did. Frank didn’t know what to do about his dad. He was conflicted between trying to honor his amazing accomplishments and his wishes to see all of those accomplishments destroyed.

Sloane hit the 3-pointer when he said “well, whatever you do, you’re not going to figure it out in court”.

BAM – I’m not sure if rich meant this or not but that was the perfect cue to all of us that this was the point in the episode when the show was going to heat up. We were leaving the court one way or another. (No Flip)

Breakout 

The next scene showed Siddig in his cell (it was Sloane’s scene but he gave it to Siddig for this) just as the exterior wall exploded. Out of the rubble and smoke stepped Sophie wearing a crazy exoskeleton suit of power armor. Her employed had given her some new toys!

She was here to break Siddig out and knew exactly what to say to get him to one with her. “There is someone inside the system that isn’t just trying to lock you up, they want to shut down the whole department. The only way you can help your friends is by coming with me and finding out who is behind this all. Now get your ass moving”!

I thought Siddig fighting her at this point would be lame stakes, he clearly was going to go with her. The flip instead decided that when Siddig turned to the camera in his cell he left behind a signal that Sloane (and only Sloane) would understand, and it would allow Sloane and Frank to find Siddig.

Mysterious Asian guy in a suit

Final scene of act 2 was Sophie showing Siddig the incredible resources of her new employer. There he found Shaun West and more revelation about this conspiracy from inside. Shaun had made some lame statement along the lines of “if they crack your firewall, maybe you should adopt their encryption algorithm” early in the scene. Later when the “Mysterious Asian guy in a suit” appeared Siddig corrected him “The phrase goes ‘If you can’t beat them, join them'” as he shook his new employers hand (No Flip).

Thoughts on this game

The heart of this game is crazy action sequences that lead to personal choices. What really matters in this show is what is going on in he minds of the cast and how they present that on screen (usually though sex, violence, and deception). When their ideal clash (as they so often do) we big the real meat of the game in their conflicts with each other.

The court, we figured out pretty early on, was not a good place to execute the tropes and the themes of this show. It created dramatic tension (a higher authority potentially destroying everything the cast cared about) but it wasn’t a good place to do our “thing”.  Rich’s line that led us out of the court and back into the action was pure genius.

This “conspiracy” that Lenny baked was all kinds of fun because it calls everything into question. Who can you trust? Clearly not Mallory, she works for them. What about others though? Sophie? Shaun? LT? Curtis?

The direction this show is going is a very, very good one for a season finale, as the status quo will definitely change one way or another.