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A SciFi Original Series
Desert scape at night. Calm. Suddenly ... explosions, shouting men, most in British Tommy gear, charging across the terrain, drawing some artillery or tank fire as they go. Text types across the screen.
Typed subtitle: NINETY MILES EAST OF EL ALAMEIN, EGYPT - OCTOBER 1942
Group of Tommies running across rugged desert, scrambling through a wadi, other scrambling out of it (it seems to have been used for combat trenches). There's a wind coming up now, sand whipping around, hampering the soldiers.
Low camera, panning down, as more explosions strike nearby and gunfire can be heard. Two Free French (FFF/FFL) soldiers are going along the wadi. PIERRE starts as a shell hits nearby. "Never mind the explosions," says JACQUES. "The wind's what's going to kill you." (They speak French, with subtitles. We only see subtitles when the only folks present are non-English speakers.)
They spot a darkness in the wadi wall. A bit of shelter? A crevice? They slip into it. More explosions, as dust falls around them in the near dark. JACQUES: "Great -- but this does't help us advance against the Boche." PIERRE: "This goes back further." One switches on a flashlight. Support beams? JACQUES: "Well, that doesn't mean --" The flashlight catches a dusty German flag, complete with swastika, tacked to a cross beam. JACQUES: "Okay, let's see."
They poke around a bit. "At least we're out of the wind," says JACQUES. PIERRE looks down a side passage, brow furrowed. "I don't think so." JACQUES joins him ... they aim their beams down the passage ... eye widen, arms up, flight goes scattering around, sand and wind swirls and whips around them ... they scream ...
MAIN TITLES and COMMERCIAL
ACT I - SCENE 1 - BRIEFING ROOM
Typed subtitle: DEBDEN AIRFIELD, ENGLAND - HQ, OMEGA SQUAD
Col. Edward Phillips, commander of the Omega Squad, is lecturing in a small briefing room, complete with slide show. The team is sitting in hard wooden briefing chairs in the darkened room.
PHILLIPS: "Field Marshall Montgomery (slide) is requesting our assistance in an investigation in Northern Africa, in response to reports of some of the Free French. (Eyes meet with MARIE) Dear Monty's having some difficulties with Rommel out there (slide, slide). There's some weird rumor, originally started by the Frenchies, that Rommel keeps getting bailed out of defeats by the massive sand storms (series of pictures of sand storms, impact on men and equipment - slide, slide, slide) -- and that, somehow, that's intentional, that they're being controlled by the Germans and Italians. Hogwash, of course. But I'm going to send you three down there to prove it's not the case, so Monty loses any excuses for not kicking Rommel's ass. Go out, investigate, find out what's going on."
AUGUSTUS: "Any eyewitnesses? Anyone we can actually talk with down there?"
PHILLIPS: "This was all just hearsay and rumor -- until we lost an entire FFF company. Reports are confused -- but nobody's been able to question or even locate any survivors. [Thus incorporating last episode's TEASER #2] It wasn't close enough to the battle lines to have likely encountered Germans, and we can rule out the Italians at this point as any sort of threat. Nobody seems to know what happened. If we can find them, we can find what cause them to disappear. You'll be further briefed by one of Monty's officers when you get there. Your plane leaves in three hours."
ROGER: (Raises his hand, gets called upon. Has sort of an impish smile on his face.) "Does this mean we get to take leave in Cairo?" (General chuckles all around.)
PHILLIPS: "You're all excused. Except you ... Corporal."
PHILLIPS gives ROGER the eye for a long time. ROGER's regretting his comment. PHILLIPS finally begins, "It's no surprise I didn't want you on this team. After what happened last time ... well, if it's a surprise, then -- surprise!" ROGER swallows, not sure how to react. PHILLIPS continues, "It's also no surprise I wouldn't have had myself on this team, either. Nothing but mumbo-jumbo, while there's a real war to be fought."
That's too much for ROGER: "Now, sir, to be fair ..." PHILLIPS gives him a look. "Yes, sir."
As the scene goes on, we realize that PHILLIPS, their commander, doesn't really know all that much about his command. Which begs the question of why, as well as who therefore put the team together.
PHILLIPS: "On top of all that, this ... informal, interoperational group, it's asking for trouble. This Brit, for example, there's rumors about him. And I don't trust that woman. You're the only American in the field with them -- which means I need to put you to work. The Brit can shoot, of course. The woman has some connections. God knows what you contribute, but you're damned lucky -- you wouldn't last a minute in the normal troops."
ROGER swallows. "I, uh, count my lucky stars every night, sir."
PHILLIPS: "The woman's got connections with the triple-F, the Free Frenchies, but there's something else going on with her. She's not even proper military like the Limey. I want to nail down what her deal is. And I think it's likely to come to light, down in the desert. We run a tight ship down here, we have certain standards, and if she does something that crosses that line, I want to hear about it.
PHILLIPS: The higher-ups have documented some abilities about St Jean and Weld. But you, the big clairvoyant -- that could just be lucky guesses. I could make life difficult, if you don't show your worth in some fashion.
ROGER: Looks like he wants to say something, but instead sinks down in his chair. "Whatever you want, sir."
PHILLIPS: "Just what I wanted to hear. Soldier." ROGER stands up, snaps as tight a salute as he can, then does all but flee the room. He slams the door behind him, leaning on it, sweating, eyes rolling. We cut back to PHILLIPS, watching the door, hard-eyed look with just a hint of "I got 'em" to it.
ACT I - SCENE 2 - AUGUSTUS HOME
Typed subtitle: BROCKMORTON, WELD FAMILY ESTATE
We see AUGUSTUS bustling about the room, packing up stuff for the mission. We hear a voice, "Augie, do you have to do that right now?" and pan over to MILLICENT PEMBROKE played by Sarah Alexander). She's lying in his bed, sheet pulled up. On the elegant chair by the bed, folded up neatly, is her WAAF uniform.
Back and forth dialog between them, as he packs (some is clothing, some is -- odder stuff, not clearly seen). He's not seemingly paying direct attention to her, answering her questions breezily, but we keep getting glimpses of his face, and realize that's something of a facade. "Only have another hour to be back at base, my dear." "Are you coming back?" "Of course, assuming I survive." "Of course you're coming back -- but when?" "A week, perhaps. If things go pear-shaped, maybe longer." "Will you be bringing me a present?" "Assuming there's anything of interest there, certainly." "Well, there's always souvenirs. Bring me a German helmet, maybe. Or a bottle of French wine, or some of that Greek stuff, retsina, or ... well, where are you going?"
The discussion is getting either a bit serious, or a bit dangerous. Why is she asking all these questions. AUGUSTUS turns back to her with a smile. "Really shouldn't say, you know. But -- afterwards, maybe we can have some more of this." He grabs up the bottle of champagne, and heads back toward the bed with her ...
ACT I - SCENE 3 - MARIE'S QUARTERS AND FLASHBACK
Typed subtitle: DEBDEN AIRFIELD, ENGLAND - OFFICERS QUARTERS
MARIE is in her quarters, in a chair, smoking and reading a letter. She takes a deep drag ...
(Production note: The exec producer is adamant about allowing historically-accurate levels of smoking in the show, despite protests from health groups, broadcast standard types, and so forth. The Net discussions boards have all sorts of rumors of pitched battles in the network headquarters over it. There's also speculation that, in some episode, it might turn out to be a problem for the characters, "making a point" about smoking.)
All we can see at the top of the letter is the salutation, "Ma cheri --" We pan across the smoke curling lazily from the tip of the cigarette, and the smoke turns black and white ...
... we're in a flashback, Paris, 1930 or thereabouts, in a jazz club. She's with FRANCOIS DUVAL?. He's a bit older than her (visually), but still has the eager fire of youth. It's clear there's Something Between Them.
(This is all in subtitles under the French.)
FRANCOIS: "There's nothing in Paris for someone like me. In Algeria, there's opportunity, a job waiting for me." He looks at her, and has to ask. "Why don't you come with me?"
"What would I do in Africa?" "Drink. Lie about. Terrorize the natives." "You are too ambitious." "So you can let me work, and you can lie about, and I will let the other men be jealous of my having you, and earn promotions from my boss for having such as you at home." "What sort of promotion do I get? Will I get a lapdog to occupy me while my silly boy is at work?"
FRANCOIS laughs. "I am ten years your elder. I am no silly boy. But ..." Looks at her. Suddenly serious. "You want a promotion? Are we talking of this, then?"
FRANCOIS: "You think I am silly, then? No, I am not silly" (he announces to the entire cafe). And he gets down on one knee and proposes to her!
MARIE: A long look. After a beat, a small laugh. "You are not being silly, now. You are being ridiculous." It's not cruelly framed, almost innocent in how she says it, but ... his smile dies a slow, agonizing death.
FRANCOIS gets up. "I am being ridiculous. I ... apologize. I -- I have things to do." He turns, and walks out without another word. We turn back to the table, where Marie looks after him ...
... and her lips are exhaling smoke, and we pull back and see that we are back in the present, looking at the letter. Was all of that during a single draw on the cigarette, or ... how long was she holding her breath, anyway?
We get a shot of the letter she's reading. The paper is old, and the greeting at the top reads "Ma cherie." Now, she allows a sad expression on her face.
ACT I - SCENE 2 (CONTINUED)
AUGUSTUS and MILLICENT are curled up in bed. He's sitting up, leaning against the headboard, she's lying against his chest. They're passing a large cigar back and forth.
MILLICENT: "Tell me you'll miss me ... and not be joking."
He nuzzles her hair, inhaling deeply from it. "Yes ... indeed." And then gets up, starts pulling on his clothes, quickly. "I need to get back to the base."
She looks at him, as he reaches the door. "I love you."
(Production note: The viewers probably notice, by this point, that every character's scene has been, so far, about Getting Out of Something as Unpainfully as Possible.)
He looks at her. Quick flash in his head of his brutality against the German sorcerer-soldier last episode. He says, "You're far too precious to me for that to be a good idea."
She wasn't expecting it. He exits. She looks crushed -- aback -- looks around -- finally taking in the weird crap, weird occult rifle ... "He really believes it," she whispers. Her eyes go from bright to soft. On the one hand, he was honest and nice. On the other hand, he's a freak.
AUGUSTUS is walking down the hall. SISTER's voice says, "You did the right thing, brother. It helps to keep your distance." AUGUSTUS replies, "It helps to do the right thing while I can." "Noble. And you cannot trust her kind." [Thus incorporating last episode's TEASER #4 V/O]
ACT II - SCENE 1 - EGYPT
Exterior shot of a DC-3, flying over ocean.
Cut to the interior. AUGUSTUS is working on the elephant-gun gauge bullets for his rifle, making some sort of sigils or patterns on the points. MARIE is looking out the window at the daylit ocean below. ROGER is looking at the two of them, then looking around troubled.
Exterior, plane landing.
Typed subtitle: RAF AIRFIELD, EL DABA, EGYPT
A British officer, LEFTENANT SMYTHE, pulls up in a jeep. He checks the stripes on their arms, nods in satisfaction, and glances at the retreating backs of Marie and Augustus. "So, those are the experts?" "Yes sir," answers ROGER. "Well, about bloody time. We've sent out two groups to find out what happened to the Frenchies, and neither has returned. At least this lot can go play cannon fodder while we fight the actual damned war, eh?"
ROGER nods, a bit nervously amused. "We'll do our best, sir."
SMYTHE starts. Stares. "You're not -- surely you're -- you're on the team going out there?" Realizes he's put his foot in it. "Well. I'm going to ... brief the others. You -- carry on." ROGER and TOMMY salute, which SMYTHE returns crisply, then stalks off toward the plane's gangway.
ROGER: "You know, it doesn't make any difference between Lieutenants and Leftenants, I always feel at home."
TOMMY laughs. "Let's get the rest of this equipment downloaded, and get outta this heat."
They continue working on crates of stuff in the cargo hold. ROGER looks around, then says, jerking a thumb up toward the passenger section of the plane, "So -- the squad. What -- what do you know about those guys?"
TOMMY: "You mean, you guys, right? I mean, you're on roster for this little party, aren't you? You were part of Squad 13, too." ROGER gives him a bleak look. TOMMY relents. "Okay ... what do you want to know? I've picked up a few things, maybe."
ROGER glances around again, conspiratorially. "Like ... what?"
CUT TO ...
ACT II - SCENE 2 - VARIOUS INTERIORS
It's a bit later, obviously. The squad is in another briefing room. SMYTHE is pointing to a big wall map of Africa. "Right. Here, here ... here ... here, and here. Each time, we've had Rommel dead to rights, one of these bloody desert sandstorms comes up, gums up the works, gives the blighter a chance to escape, withdraw, consolidate forces -- or launch a counter-attack. Man's got more luck than a cat. We've superior manpower, superior equipment, and, now under Field Marshal Montgomery, superior leadership. But Rommel keeps holding on. And then all these rumors that the Nazis have some sort of weather machine making these sandstorms -- utter hogwash, everyone thought, until we lost an entire company of Free French, and then --"
SMYTHE glances at ROGER, uncomfortably for a moment. "-- two rescue teams sent in to find them. We've only a few stragglers from the Frenchies with garbled stories for you to go on."
Exterior of a barracks building. A Free French flag flutters limply before it.
Inside, MARIE is talking with a trio of soldiers, lying in cots. They're a mess, unkempt, clearly traumatized, bandaged. It's a gabble of French -- which, since Marie can speak it, we get subtitles for. "The sands -- the sands were alive." "It was inside, within --" "No, below. We were in the pits of hell, and --"
We're focusing on her face in the foreground as she tries to follow along, tries to get them to speak more calmly. Then, an unfocused figure steps into the background (rack focus). A voice: "Hello, ma cherie. It has been a very long time." The focus shifts -- it's FRANCOIS.
Another smoky cafe, though this one is clearly not in partying Paris. A few soldiers and local Egyptians are in the background.
FRANCOIS: "You have not aged ... a bit."
MARIE: "You remember me with dim eyes, then."
He shakes his head. "No, my hair has grown sandy, and not just from the winds and dust. You ... are the same. Unfortunately, the same." He takes a sip of coffee, looks at her. "You are here to save my men. You did not used to be so political."
She looks at his uniform. "Neither were you. I see you have remade yourself"
He shrugs, Gallic. "After the Boche took Paris, after the Vichy dogs surrendered. I had a shop in Algier, but I could not stay there ..." He trails off.
FRANCOIS looks at her. "What good are you here? You are -- you do not even have a weapon."
She smiles, humorlessly. "Obviously, there is much you do not know of me."
That pain from a decade or more ago is still in his eyes. "You wound me in this but ... people who belong to me, who trust in me, are missing. You have been sent here to rescue him. But why are you involved in this? What can you do?"
MARIE shakes her head. "I am sorry, Colonel, but that is classified."
He stares at her. "But ... to me? You would talk that way to me?"
MARIE: "If it meant saving your men, yes."
ACT II - SCENE 3 - INTERIOR, BRIEFING ROOM
The group, with SMYTHE, are clustered around a large ordinance map of the El Alamein area.
ROGER has his eyes closed. His hands are moving across the map. "Here. And here. And --" Squints behind closed eyes. Shakes his head. "Around here. Somewhere."
AUGUSTUS: "Give me your finger." "What?" AUGUSTUS grabs it. "Here, hold still." Pricks it with a small, sharp blade, an athame. "Ow!" AUGUSTUS scrapes away some of the welling blood onto the blade, pokes his own finger, does the same, then pulls out a small brush, and paints with the combined blood on the map, some sort of oriental-looking glyphs. "Try it again."
Roger looks at the map, his vision zeroes down to some feature on it, WADI AL-HABB. It suddenly zooms in further, to the cave at the beginning, backing up in quick reverse on the two soldiers, as they enter, and back beyond, with explosions about, but amidst it all we see a figure we didn't see before, from above the wadi, looking down on it, in an Italian officers uniform, with an odd sigil in his lapel. His name is VERDUCCI, and he looks up and *into the camera* (i.e., looking at ROGER's PoV).
ROGER: (V/O) "What the hell?"
Back in the briefing room, ROGER's finger is on the wadi -- he mutters, very softly "Verducci" -- and keels over, his finger leaving a bloody swatch on the map.
MARIE catches him, quickly and surprisingly gently.
ROGER comes to consciousness after a moment, leaning against the wall by himself, seemingly forgotten, as MARIE and AUGUSTUS and SMYTHE are pointing at the map and discussing logistics to get there. AUGUSTUS spots he's conscious, goes to him, pulls out a silver hip flask, and gives him a swig.
AUGUSTUS: "You said something as you fainted." ROGER starts. Guys don't faint. "You said --"
ROGER shakes his head, trying to clear it. "Yeah. Ver -- Verducci. Yeah, he was in my vision, this guy, Verducci. Some sort of Italian." He sees a look on Augustus' face. "You know him?"
ACT II - SCENE 4 -- BROCKEN MOUNTAIN (FLASHBACK)
(This is shot in B&W flashback mode)
We see another figure in similar robes, then another, but now we're in black and white "flashback" mode.
Typed subtitle: THE BROCKEN. WALPURGISNACHT, 1922
The elders are in the most elaborate robes. There are also younger ones, in less ornate robes, keeping up a chant. One of them is the younger AUGUSTUS.
We continue to pan around. It's an international gathering, all races, and both genders. The youngers chanting in unison, the older ones doing their incantations, both before the bonfires and at the central platform. It's clearly been built for the occasion. Upon that platform is an altar, with several elders standing behind it, a circle of youngsters around it.
Upon the altar, a pentagram has been drawn in some dark liquid.
Close-up of the pentagram. An infant is placed within it by robed arms. Holy crap, they're to sacrifice a -- Another infant is placed. Twins. Yikes.
This is stared at by AUGUSTUS, who is in the circle around the altar. He falters in his chanting. Across from him, we see one of the elders at the altar look up at him with a glare. It's his uncle, FORTUNATO?. The figure beside him looks up as well at the disturbance -- with a smile. It's VERDUCCI, looking very close to the same age as we've seen him in the present.
(Production note: Augustus' uncle's name has not been used in dialog as yet. If another name is desired, it can still be substituted until that happens.)
FORTUNATO picks up a large, ornate dagger from the altar -- then reaches across and grabs AUGUSTUS' wrist ... and puts the dagger into his hand.
AUGUSTUS and FORTUNATO lock eyes. AUGUSTUS is looks both firm and pleading in his face. FORTUNATO is implacable. Chants continue in the background.
VERDUCCI leans over, murmurs something to FORTUNATO, then turns to AUGUSTUS. AUGUSTUS Po V? as VERDUCCI says ... something ... we can't make out the words, save for a loud, overwhelming echoing sound of something in his head ... as everything fades to white ...
... Close-up of AUGUSTUS eyes, vacant, then blinking, looking around, confused. He looks down, his eyes widen, and we stagger back, seeing him drop the dagger which, along with his hands and arms and robe cuffs are stained with blood (we never actually see anything, just the reaction).
He looks around ... the ceremony and evening are breaking up. To one side, we see FORTUNATO, stony-faced. Beside him is VERDUCCI, who smiles, and claps the uncle on the shoulder. They walk up, with only VERDUCCI throwing a glance back at AUGUSTUS
ACT II - SCENE 3 (CONTINUED)
AUGUSTUS stands back up. He's not looking at ROGER any more, but into the thousand-yard distance. "Verducci. Bloody hell."
Interior of a cave. There are flames in the foreground, and blood dripping from the walls (a literal "bloody hell"). We see a robed figure lowering a dagger, and a screaming voice cuts off. He pushes back the cowl of the robe, and we see it's VERDUCCI, that sigil he had before now in a chain around his neck. He turns to one side and says, "Bring me more of the men."
(Production note: This was originally shot to be shown as a contiguous scene, but was re-edited at the last moment to follow up after the flashback, as a better lead-in to the break.)
ACT III - SCENE 1 - WADI AL-HABB
Typed subtitle: WADI AL-HABB, EGYPT
Under the following dialog, a pair of Land Rovers in military colors have pulled up to the edge of the wadi. The squad disembarks, gathers their gear. There are no escorts, and the drivers are clearly told to stay with the vehicles.
AUGUSTUS: (V/O) "Blood magic -- summoning -- possibly demonic -- not necessarily weather, perhaps a spirit of the desert -- a djinn. A darker one, if he uses blood sacrifice"
ROGER: (V/O) "How do you know he's using blood sacrifice?"
AUGUSTUS: (V/O) "Trust me ... he is."
As they descend into the wadi, Marie looks out to the west. The sun is setting. She licks her lips.
They walk the wash. AUGUSTUS: "Along here?" ROGER: "I dunno -- and what I saw, I'm not sure I want to know."
They get to the cave entrance, as in the teaser. Only now -- there are flies buzzing around -- not going in, just buzzing around the entrance.
ROGER: But, yeah, along here, I think.
They brush aside the flies, and pull out flashlights. They make their way down the cave, recapping briefly what had been seen. They get to the branch where PIERRE and JACQUES met their end. The lights play on brownish (from blood and remaining tissue) skeletons against the wall.
AUGUSTUS: "They've been completely flayed."
MARIE: "No, they haven't." She pulls one down from the wall. In the "shadow" of the bones, the flesh and uniforms remain. She lets it drop.
AUGUSTUS unlimbers his gun. ROGER's is already out, as he looks around in all directions with his flash. MARIE looks at the bodies, bites her lower lip -- hungrily -- and turns away. She looks down the passage -- and we see her nostrils flare. She starts off, the other two following.
As they proceed, they can begin to hear something. Noises. Clatter. There's a flicker of light ahead, flame. ROGER sniffs - starts. "That's the smell of blood."
ROGER: "So, what do you think we should do?"
MARIE closes her eyes. We see outside the sun nearly set -- but not yet. "We should reconnoiter, carefully."
AUGUSTUS: "That would probably be the wise course. I think --"
Suddenly, from ahead, screams, in French, abruptly cut off.
They charge forward, AUGUSTUS trying to change out the ammo as he goes to put in something with different symbols on it.
They enter a largish cavern, sandy floor, rising to the back, a half-crescent pit bowing toward them. We get a series of quick shots, of the setting, cutting back to Our Heroes' faces as they take it in.
All over the peninsula behind the pit are large brass bowls, full of blood. Along the walls are shackled French prisoners. Many of the manacles toward the back are empty. In the center, amidst the bowls, and behind rock altar, is VERDUCCI. Beside him two Italian soldiers -- one catching blood dribbling off the altar into a bowl, the other heaving a slain body into the pit.
VERDUCCI looks down at the group and smiles ... at ROGER. "I was wondering when you'd arrive."
ACT IV - SCENE 1 - INTERIOR, THE CAVE OF THE WINDS
The three protagonists are drawn up at the entrance of the cavern. VERDUCCI, his robes stained in blood, is still smiling. "I'd tell you you were too late -- but it was too late months ago. You will be but more bones left in the sand." His gaze turns to AUGUSTUS. "And once again, young Master Weld, you will be unable to save a life, no matter your will."
Augustus raises his rifle, and Roger starts fanning the Italians with automatic fire.
Marie nostrils are flaring (close-up) as she turns to the French troops -- who, themselves are in bad shape, beaten and blood. She closes her eyes as she unlatches the manacles -- and one collapses against her, soaked in blood. (In French) the soldier says, "Kill me ... please, kill me ..." She recoils ...
MARIE tries to push him away, but he holds on. He has a horrible, painful wound in the abdomen -- and she comes to a horrible decision, and begins to strangle him, her face twisted in anger (it's awful, but a damned sight better than what she wants to do). [Thus incorporating last episode's TEASER #1]. It's not yet night, and she doesn't have the strength the break his neck but despite the strangulation, his eyes are soft, forgiving her, thanking her ...
... and she drops him, dead, to the ground, and her hands are slick with the blood of his wounds. Her eyes are dark, her hunger is terrible, and she slowly raises one hand to her mouth, licking, her eyes glancing about and ...
ROGER guns down the two Italian assistants, but the gunfire does nothing to VERDUCCI. He turns to MARIE ...
And sees her licking off her bloody hands, a moment before she sees him seeing her.
AUGUSTUS fires his first round [Thus incorporating last episode's TEASER #4 visual], a huge elephant gun shell arcanely bound in gold wire (Matrix-style bullet-time slowdown), hurtling toward VERDUCCI ... and a figure, THE DJINN, swirls up from the pit (cf. the Sandman in Spider-Man 3) and bats the round away.
THE DJINN It laughs, dark and impossibly deep, scooping its hands into the bowls of blood, absorbing it into its sandy, windy self. In response, the remaining soldiers on the wall are pulled forward (though still shackled) toward it, and unearthly screams come from the bodies in the pit>
There's a moment of stillness, and THE DJINN raises a bloody hand to its mouth to lick it off - quick cuts of VERDUCCI laughing, THE DJINN licking its hand, AUGUSTUS staring, MARIE licking her hand (same pose), ROGER staring (but at which?), VERDUCCI laughing ...
THE DJINN roars, and moves toward our heroes across the pit. ROGER opens up with his SMG, but the bullets are impacting with no effect. He continues to fire, shouting, "This isn't helping!" (Thus incorporating last episode's TEASER #3) as THE DJINN walks on air across the pit, toward them --
-- and MARIE (flash image of the sun vanishing below the horizon) goes into feral mode, leaping past ROGER to attack THE DJINN -- which seems more vulnerable to her blows than the bullets. She strikes him, ducks aside, dances around him attacking savagely, razor-sharp quicksilver until THE DJINN get a lucky shot in, backhanding her to the wall, where she lies, stunned. The DJINN turns, roars, and bears down on her, claws and swirling sand ...
AUGUSTUS sights down the rifle and VERDUCCI, who's watching the show. AUGUSTUS shoots again. This time, THE DJINN is busy, and the bullet takes off VERDUCCI's arm. The Italian drops, and starts trying to crawl toward the pit, as AUGUSTUS moves in.
THE DJINN abruptly halts its charge on MARIE, drawing back ... because she's vanished! It looks around, and sees ROGER, who has a fist clenched and is muttering a fast sing-song rhyme, over and over again, "Hide and seek // Do not peek // Cannot find me for a week."
THE DJINN starts to turn on him, and ... MARIE appears on the creature's shoulder, cranking its head back, ripping out its throat -- and there's blood and wind and sand in a swirl, and she's ripping at the creature which is roaring (weaker and weaker) in pain. We see zoom in on ROGER, his chant forgotten, staring gape-mouthed at what she's doing (which saves on the CG budget at this point).
Down shot on VERDUCCI, crawling one-armed. He hears footsteps, and looks up, to see AUGUSTUS. He laughs. "We were wrong about you, Weld."
AUGUSTUS' face twists. He's holding the empty rifle like a club. "Neither of you were right about anything in your life."
VERDUCCI chuckles for a last time, which turns into a bloody cough. "No, we thought you were weak ... but you've grown up ... just like us."
AUGUSTUS swings the rife, smashing it across VERDUCCI's face. Up shot at AUGUSTUS, who pauses, staring, face contorting. Then he swings again, and and again, and again, savagely (we see only his upper body and face in this). "SAY ... HELLO ... TO ... UNCLE!"
DENOUEMENT - AIRFIELD
Back on the tarmac. The team plane is starting up. MARIE is at the foot of the steps up to the plane. FRANCOIS is there. She is looking at him quietly, as he searches for words. Finally, he says, "Thank you -- for saving my men. I -- have a gift. A reminder" Hands her a bottle of wine, festively wrapped. "Not easy to find in this part of the world but -- it is the same year as before."
She looks at him then takes it. "Yes. It was a very good year. You are ... very kind." Their eyes meet. Will they kiss? We don't know because we cut to ...
... later, on the plane, its drone in the background. AUGUSTUS is polishing his rifle, diligently but distractedly, his thoughts and eyes far away. Finally, he says, "I assumed the best way to deal with the Djinn was to focus on the one who'd bound him. I fear that's where I ... focused. How did you two finally deal with the creature."
MARIE looks down. "It was weakened ... by the sorcerer's distraction." She glances up at ROGER.
ROGER breaks eye contact. "Yeah. Teamwork. We did it with teamwork." He looks back at her. She is still looking at him.
Flashback effect - ROGER and TOMMY are loading up the plane. TOMMY: "So, kid -- you figure out anything about your team?"
ROGER (looking a bit bleak): "Yeah --"
Back to present, same expression on his face, pulling back from him.
ROGER: (V/O) "-- yeah, I think I did."
TEASER FOR THE NEXT EPISODE:
Next time, on Strange Allies
END TITLES, with this historical note
In October 1942, the Second Battle of El Alamein ended with defeat for the Germans at the hands of Montgomery's Eighth Army. No convenient sandstorm came to the Rommel's rescue during the remaining defensive campaign, and in May 1943, the remaining Axis forces in North Africa surrendered to the Allies in Tunisia.
TRIVIA (from IMDB)
In an early draft of the script, VERDUCCI and FORTUNATO have a longer verbal fencing match about AUGUSTUS. "Your nephew appears to have certain qualms about this. Tsk. Talent does nothing without the wherewithal. He needs more spine. A pity, how sometimes the blood grows thin."
In an early draft of the script, FRANCOIS was in Tobruk, but that was in Italian-controlled Libya, not French North Africa.
In an early draft of the script, FRANCOIS was not given a last name. The writer noted that he was likely to be dead by the third act, so didn't need one. He was originally intended to go on the expedition into the cave, where he'd be killed by the Djinn, but the script ran long, so a final draft had him stay behind and he was given the last name DUVAL.