Masters of Science Fiction

Season 1 Episode 1

A Clean Escape

Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Aug 04, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
149 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A Clean Escape
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, psychiatrist Dr. Deanna Evans interrogates a confused man who is suffering from a lapse in memory.

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  • Lacklustre

    A good punchy opening gives way to a drawn out series of dull conversational confrontations that finish with a predictable albeit logical ending.

    It fails from the beginning as the situation isn't really made clear and the story isn't framed enough.

    Clever use of special effects frame the timelime as somewhere in a mid-term future. This quickly gives way to a series of repetitional confrontations between the two main characters of the story. I found these to be dull and uninspiring. The drama is conveyed through the adverseral situation and dialogue between these two. Unfortunately it is such a letdown, it never allows the episode to recover from the initial middle act which I found to be confusing at first and then cliche. As the story is revealed from the lost memories of Watermans' character and the physchiatrists interrogatory questioning, That said the screenplay does hint at the gem of a troubling story that it is based upon. While neither of the main actors really convinces you of the serious nature of their plight, there is something here to at least satisfying in the latter half of the show.

    Fortunately in the UK this was not shown first, and probably a good choice to as it isnt the best episode in this intentionly short season. Its episodes like this that keeps SF from returning to mainstream TV.moreless
  • A good start

    This episode is a whole-closed up story so don't expect for soap opera...:) After you watch it you will probably ask a lot of question and of course it is also advised to people who are sci-fi fans. Everyone can think about how big responsibility is it to give such a power in one man's hand and what happens to this man if he fails.... Making wrong or good decisions and living with them are not always simple.

    Excelent storyline with two great performers who are keeping the vievers excited until the end of the film. And the End is very fascinating everyone will be shocked at the end of the movie.moreless
  • Psychiatrist meets with a man who does not remember his past. He has short term memory issues. She suspects he is maybe faking it but is desperate to rub the past in his face.moreless

    This worked for me for the better part of the first half. When it began to get political and potentially mirror the past I found myself fading toward disinterest. When it ended with them turning around and getting the man to remember his past (in an amoral way) they apparently so delighted in tormenting this man who was arrogant about the technology he created that they decide to waste precious remaining resources and time by going back and reassigning someone to reinterrogate him and continue to rub his families death and his mistake in his face until perhaps he has a psychotic break that drives him into insanity. I wish he had been perhaps meaner, uglier or something but you felt sorry for Sam Waterson and turned to greatly dislike the rest. A mediocre morality play with a bent sense of morality.moreless
  • Judy Davis is the master here

    OK, first off, this wasn't the most original story - post-apocalypse with a twist. And I'd like to go on record being Sam Waterston's worst fan - I hate the way the man overacts in the same way in every role he takes. He's a hack. Period.

    So, why did I rate the episode so high? Purely on Judy Davis' performance. She's the most amazing of actresses and the series was lucky to get her in their opener. Whether it's a big-budget movie or a small television show like this, she always manages to breathe life into her character. Dr Deanna Evans springs from the screen. Amazing work. If only the rest of the cast (and maybe the rest of the series) could keep up.moreless
  • "Masters of Science Fiction" is a new series which features single-episode story arcs based on works of some of the best science fiction authors.

    The premiere episode, based on a short story by Nebula award winner John Kessel, tells the story of a psychologist, Dr. Evans, who has spent the past ten months interrogating a man who is missing the past 24 years of his life, and whose short-term memory lasts for a mere 40 minutes. During Havelman's missing years, Dr. Evans reveals that numerous nuclear explosions were launched that destroyed most major cities and left the Earth's surface in ruins, forcing the 871 people that remained to seek refuge in an underground bunker.

    While "A Clean Escape" got off to a slow start, it did improve later on as more was revealed about the occurrences leading up to the catastrophic events that all but wiped life from the planet. The storyline was intriguing and no doubt piqued and held the interest of a fair portion of its Saturday night audience, but was still highly predictable and the twist at the end was definitely not unforeseeable. The show was saved, however, by powerful acting, and the fact that there was little competition in its given timeslot, with most other networks airing repeats.

    With a show such as "Masters of Science Fiction", featuring a different story and writer every week, it is difficult to tell whether the series will prove to be worth watching or not, but if you are a fan of the science fiction genre then this is a show that you may enjoy.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Havelman: There've always been people like you, Major. People who don't understand that progress is our birthright, that the greatest danger is that we shackle our genius as a people. If it had been up to you, you would've outlawed electricity, the automobile, the personal computer.
      Dr. Davis: Oh, maybe I would've.

    • Host: (closing narration) When the fate of so many rests in the hands of so few, can the failure to be accountable ever be forgiven?

    • Host: (opening narration) Are there events so impossible to forget that they become too painful to remember?

    • Havelman: There... You proved my point. One day it's the greenhouse effect, and then the next day we're poisoning the oceans. You live in a world of paralyzing fears, an irrational paranoia. If we surrender to that fear, we might as well be back in the cave.
      Dr. Davis: We are back in the cave.

  • NOTES (2)