John Doe

Season 1 Episode 16

Illegal Alien

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Mar 14, 2003 on FOX



  • Trivia

    • The staff Sargent mentions being thrown in the brig which is a Navy term. The Air Force started as part of the Army and would use the term stockade for military prison.

    • They claim that the contract is worth billions. For a few recyclers? That's expensive even by government standards. And they can't be referring to the prime contract -- that's not going to get re-awarded over the failure of one part.

    • It's unlikely that anything west of the Cascades is 55 miles from a cell site, as they claim in the show.

    • The map shows the site being on the Olympic peninsula -- nowhere near the jurisdiction of the Seattle PD.

    • They refer to Air Force personnel as "jarheads" (which is used for Marines).

    • The whole premise by which they beat the laser sensors is flawed. Laser light is single frequency (color) -- not a mixture like white light. The notion of filtering out some frequencies before they reach the body is nonsense. Additionally, even if they were using white light beams rather than lasers, the strategy still makes no sense. You interrupt some frequencies before they reach the body, the rest get interrupted by the body. The whole beam is still interrupted and you still set off the sensors. They even foul up the greenhouse analogy they try to use to explain this. The glass in a greenhouse blocks UV radiation (which is incidental and has nothing to do with the operation of the greenhouse) and lets through the infrared, which is the necessary part.

    • The ground track for the LaCrosse satellite was impossible - it stayed in the Northern hemisphere. A satellite ground track must have the same maximum North and South latitudes, unless it stays on the equator.

    • Would a laser security grid large enough to protect the pod by approach from all directions really be effective in a forest? Falling leaves, branches, passing animals - seems like it would get set off all the time.

    • John claims the environment in the wilderness near Seattle is similar to that on Mars. No it isn't. They need the pod to be on the ground to simulate excursions on Mars' surface (rather than on a military base or in orbit on a station), but a desert setting would be much closer to Mars, and a lot easier to secure. See the Adventure Inc. episode "Fatal Error" for a (slightly) more accurate rendering of what such a Mars simulation experiment would be like. Or even the Stingray episode "Playback".

    • As he updates Colonel Dunagan on the status of the men in the pod, the Staff Sergeant salutes him. This is a common mistake: Air Force protocol doesn't require saluting indoors except during a formal report, which is not the case here.

    • Satellites take snapshots of the ground, not live video. There is no way they could have deciphered the Morse Code from the pod using real-time satellite photos. Plus what's supplying the beeping sound?

    • Why would the Air Force put such an important project out in the woods where anyone could come near it? Wouldn't there at least be a guard?

    • Why didn't the astronaut unlatch his own mask is he were suffering from hypoxia?

    • Aren't the technicians monitoring the pod in constant communication with it? They wouldn't be fooled by a video loop - wouldn't someone have noticed the clock, just as Avery does?

  • Quotes

    • Frank: Like how did Neil Armstrong get all the way out in the woods before realizing he left his space shuttle behind?
      Stu: Armstrong never flew in the shuttle.
      Frank: Keep bagging and tagging, smart guy.

    • Frank: This is why I'm not a outdoorsy type. Taking my kids to the zoo twice a year is about all the back-to-nature I need.

    • Frank: "Digger." I know where you got the name – it's about all that crap you're always shoveling.

    • Digger: John Doe, superhero. We ought to get him a little costume, you know. A cape, some tights...

    • John: I'm glad I wasn't involved in the alien thing.
      Digger: Imagine that - the whole world does not involve around John Doe.

    • (later)
      Digger: That part I said about a costume and cape - I actually kinda meant that.
      Frank: Yeah, I could see him in tights.
      Digger: Oh yeah.
      John: Now that's disturbing.

    • Avery: Tell me everything you know about our government's secret space program.
      John: Didn't know we had one.
      Avery: Does that mean we don't have one, or is it possible if it's secret even you don't know about it?
      John: Either. Both. I don't know. Good question though.

  • Notes

  • Allusions

    • Frank: Great. So we stumbled on the movie set of Capricorn One.
      A reference to the 1978 movie about how the U.S. government fakes a Mars landing and then kills off the astronauts involved. Probably best known for being one of O.J. Simpson's starring roles. The idea of a fake transmission is seen in both that movie and here.