Tonight's new episode of Syfy's Sanctuary kicks off a December of increasing action that culminates with a Stargate SG-1 reunion when Michael Shanks guest-stars with Amanda Tapping.
But first, tonight's episode puts Tapping's Helen Magnus and Robin Dunne's Will Zimmerman in peril again when executive producers Damian Kindler and Martin Wood make use of a prop they found in a storage area.
"Martin Wood and I were shooting the first two-hour episode, 'End of Nights,' and we both stumbled across a helicopter in the storage area," said show creator Kindler. "We didn't know each other had seen this helicopter, and then we phoned each other and cut each other off and said, 'Helicopter! Let's do a helicopter show.' We both had the same idea almost at the same time. So at a certain point in the season Martin and I cooked it up together, and we essentially wrote this episode."
The episode's called "Next Tuesday," and the meaning of the title "will only be revealed at some point in the story. It's a very simple idea, as some of the cool stories are. It's almost exclusively a two-hander between Will and Magnus, as was last year's submarine show."
The submarine show was last year's excellent episode "Requiem," which had Magnus and Will trapped aboard a submarine, fighting for their lives. In tonight's episode, Wood and Kindler put their helicopter find to good use, said Kindler.
In "Next Tuesday," Magnus and Will are returning after capturing an abnormal when their helicopter goes down and "is wedged into this oil rig, just above the water, and a very rare abnormal, ocean-going abnormal, has been lost. ... The abnormal turns out to be far more violent than they gambled for. The situation turns even more violent than they thought, and in the midst of this they're having a personal disagreement with each other," said Kindler with a laugh.
Because Will and Magnus are such "team players," Kindler admits he wanted to stretch the limits of their relationship. They can be "heroic and proactive and really passionate about each other and their work, but still have disagreements. What do people that care about each other hide from each other?" he asked.
In the middle of their argument, the duo also have monster issues. "You're going to see some creature vis-effects design work that's going to blow your mind. It's a really amazing monster fight. We tried to mix this amazing rich stew of character, action, situation and suspense, and there's even some good humor in there and a bit of heartwarming character stuff as well. So we really just stuffed all this into an amazing episode."
Kindler said director Wood, along with Tapping and Dunne, spent five long days in a water tank. And then their special effects team, Anthem, "did some of their greatest work so far in the season building monsters that you haven't seen before. We're very, very proud of it. It's wonderful. Andrew Lockington did a lovely score to it, and I think it's going to be a season highlight. I think it will stir up a little controversy, and I think people will go, 'That's a Magnus and Will we haven't seen before.'"
Sanctuary also has two more new episodes airing in December. The first, "Penance," guest-stars Michael Shanks as an abnormal named Jimmy who smuggles goods for the Sanctuary. "It sounds a little rude, but he actually has a mutation that gives him a pouch in his stomach, almost a Videodrome kind of pouch. It allows him to transport goods, and he is transporting a very dangerous abnormal, trying to get it to Magnus, when a bunch of bad guys get in the way, and he's forced to go on the run with Kate to protect this abnormal. A very big secret from the past for both of them comes out."
According to Kindler, "I think people who have an opinion about Kate will find that it will be deepened or changed."
Then, in "Sleepers," Will and Magnus end up in Mexico investigating missing teenagers, and they'll run into their old friend, vampire Nikola Tesla, who's up to more than a little mischief.
Sanctuary airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT.