Seven Days (“X-35 Needs Changing”)

Season 2 Episode 17
Date of airing: April 5, 2000 (UPN)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.0/3 in Households

This episode was alright. Even though I was a bit annoyed about the writers first “choosing” to have Parker and Donovan on the mission, it made sense later that Olga would accompany Parker instead, due to the Russian angle of the story, although I would have loved to see the writers trying to adapt a THREE MEN AND A BABY kinda film for this episode, only to cut out a man and set the story in the middle of a war-torn country. Having two guys protect the baby is a more fun premise, and SEVEN DAYS is definitely not alien to the premise of a funny story, but I guess it was much easier to write the premise with Olga in it, because motherly instincts are apparently a hot thing. It does show though that SEVEN DAYS has once more ruined a great chance to make an average premise a lot more entertaining. So, if this show ever gets a reboot, Claire’s love interest in “Parker.com” should be replaced with Olga, and Olga should be replaced in this episode with Donovan. Somebody could also make a fan-fiction story out of this, and maybe I will read it.

Olga has had enough of this crap.

Anyway, the story wasn’t much of a burner. In fact, it was just a plot device to awaken specific intuition ad emotion in Olga, and have her care deeply about someone she would normally not care about. The idea of her being a mother seems alright for the show, and it’s definitely an idea to work with, but Olga’s change from a scientist who thinks of Project X-35 as sound to a woman who would protect this baby with her life looked a little chopped-up, let alone underdeveloped. Besides that, the writers have done absolutely nothing with the premise of a genetically altered baby and what it can do to the world. Enter James Cameron, whose DARK ANGEL pilot was already greenlighted by the time this episode was produced, and would air the following Fall on FOX. Who knows, maybe this episode of SEVEN DAYS could be seen as an idea prequel to DARK ANGEL. What I want to say is, the writers took a futuristic story for this episode (a genetically altered baby who could either be James Cameron’s Max or Stan Lee’s Steve Rogers) and did absolutely nothing with it except make Olga look like the baby’s mother.

Meanwhile, the story was set in Chechnya, which was not the first time SEVEN DAYS brought the action into these kind of woods. It makes me wonder what the writers had with the country and why they thought that Chechnya was a bombed-out country that looked like it just survived a nuclear war. It’s also common for the show to depict crappy villains when they come from war-torn countries, and this episode wasn’t special in any regard about that, hence the undeveloped villains of the story and their motives of kidnapping a baby and keeping it for themselves. I guess they saw in X-35 their very own Captain America? They would have called him Captain Chechnya then, and that’s kind of a thing I want to see now. It’s like BRIGHTBURN, but with no people who could stop the superheroic villain. But really, was the baby supposed to be the Chechnyans’ John Connor in 20 years or so? The lead terrorist was talking about the future war, but judging by the country’s current look, it wasn’t even guaranteed that the war would still go on 20 years from now. Was the baby a first step of what would become the back story of ALIAS called “Project Christmas?” Have the baby learn how to handle weapons and bombs in five years and it can be a super spy in ten, reimagining Robert Rodriguez’s SPY KIDS, but with villains in it that don’t have to fight against heroes.

They aren’t the parents, yet they would risk their lives to protect the baby.

The “road trip” in the war zone was good though, and it made the episode somewhat look like a real adventure slash road trip with a few explosions in-between. Of course it made SEVEN DAYS look cheap once more, because shooting in the back wilderness of British Columbia makes every show look pretty much cheap (I’m looking at you, STARGATE SG-1), but the interaction between Parker and Olga made this hour more entertaining, and I even loved that the writers brought in some consistency. Olga called Parker by his first name for once, when the two were in serious danger, and when he almost literally came back from the dead to save Olga and the baby, and she went into liking her partner and colleague a little more after this, because he was not only a good person (and an aggressive male with a heart), but also because he saved her life again, as well as the life of the baby. But sometimes I would wish the writers would have done something more out of the show and the Parker/Olga coupling — this episode could have been a great beginning to them seeing something in each other they haven’t discovered before.

The climax was dumb. I didn’t need the Russians to be involved in the “kidnap X-35” plot, and I seriously didn’t need the “friendly conversation” between the Russian Major and the American diplomat, talking like they could shoot each other at High Noon, but not before discussing their friends, families and who they slept with during lunch before. It was a hilarious piece of what the Cold War could have looked like for real in the year 2000 though — Americans and Russians point weapons at each other, but talk about their dinner plans. I think there is a parody premise in that. Also, having multiple parties responsible for the snatching of the baby seems a bit ridiculous. First the nurse (I believe she was not Russian and just wanted to save the baby from future test probing and all that stuff Olga imagined at the end of the episode), then the Chechnians, then the Russians, and finally the actual parents of that baby. Too many people knew about Project X-35, which made it anything but top secret. Someone must have leaked the project to the Russias, which by itself is its own investigative event within the NSA.

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