All right, I’m going to do it. Apparently it’s THE COUNTDOWN TO MELTDOWN. Or something.
Same rules as usual – I will update the liveblog every five minutes or so. If you’re reading this on LJ or Dreamwidth you’ll need to come to the blog at katsudon.net to see the updates most likely, though I think edits are now supposed to push through so we’ll see.
If you’d like to play at home, this likely stinker of a miniseries is on Reelz. Yes, with a Z.
Liveblog commencing in 10… 9… 8…
1602: We open on a tranquil lake scene. And a geologist in a boat. Yeah. With a giant walkie-talkie.
1602: Don’t call him Doc. He apparently loves his title. His lab assistant has purple hair, so you know she’s a free spirit. And she’d rather talk about the Magna Carta than this boring science stuff.
1603: WE HAVE VOLCANIC FARTS, PEOPLE.
1604: Which has caused all the fish to go belly-up.
1604: Ah, the evil oil company. More oil than Saudi Arabia! (Actually, I think at this point Venezuela has more reserves, but anyway.) So it’s a special oil well that’ll be drilled deep. And powered by hydroelectric, which makes no sense. And the control room is 200 feet below the surface?
1605: Shady oil company boardroom meeting. Voters. Politics. The evil oil company wants to drill on a nature preserve, which is really all the indication we need that the Earth will rise up and smite us all.
1606: The blonde lady (Emily) used the word recalcitrant and is eating Chinese foot with chopsticks at her computer. This is how you know she is a rebel and won’t take any nonsense from that oil guy in his oil guy suit.
1608: Independent from foreign oil, my least favorite catch phrase ever. /barf But it sure is in character for the evil oil company guy.
1608: The oil company has cast their spell! VOODOO! OIL VOODOO! Emily says it’s already a disaster. Emily has, apparently, watched this show already.
1609: At least in this one they call it the USGS. Win one over Dante’s Peak right there.
1610: No record of seismic activity unless it was prior to their last report… but that makes no sense. Seismic activity in the US is very well monitored, and if there was anything going on, researchers over the country would be on it. If nothing else, when you have a seismic event, to pinpoint it you need three geographically separated listening stations.
1611: Then Emily goes after the geologist for working for the oil company. She has apparently not met many geologists.
1612: So basically we’re already trying to imply that this deep oil drilling is linked to volcanic activity. This really makes no sense. Any volume of magma moving would probably be seismically visibly for one. And if there was a magma chamber the drill disturbed, wouldn’t the drill, I don’t know, melt? But let’s see.
1613: Emily is a felon because she was arrested for protesting. Her ex is a douchebag. So far I don’t like any of these characters. And her kid appears to be on some kind of serious downers. I’ve seen plastic dolls with more affect.
1615: However, the slightly creepy little ginger kid leaves as soon as mom starts going all environmental protestor and leaves with his douchebag dad. I have a feeling we’ll probably see more of them, though. And valuable lessons will be learned because Emily will be right and the world is going to blow up.
1617: This protest scene could use some more extras. Either that or only twenty people in the whole town give a crap about this.
1618: Generally I am on the side of environmentalists, but man the scripting on these guys makes them sound like pretentious weenies.
1619: More characters are introduced. They are having a deep discussion about Anna’s job and it’s obviously very emotional but I can’t say I get it. Also, does no one in this town have actual lights in their house?
1620: …why the fuck are they drilling through granite? Also, DRILLS DON’T WORK LIKE THAT.
1621: Uh oh an earthquake! But they want a bonus! Jargon! Jargon! More jargon! The drilling techs argue because one of them wants his bonus and the other thinks that something worse than the bad science in this script is happening! As one might expect, the guy who just wants money wins the fight.
1622: Dead cows! OH MY GOD EL CHUPACABRA!
1623: Okay so this is the thing. If there was an earthquake big enough to shake the entire sub-surface control room (since I’m assuming it’s an actual earthquake and not a tunnel collapse) it would be lighting monitoring stations up across the US. I have a feeling this is a theme that will drive me crazy throughout the first episode. You can hide safety violations. You can’t just stick an earthquake in the closet when the safety inspectors are around.
1627: There is beautiful irony in the fact that the geologist is having an aneurysm. (He’s talking to the doctor about getting it treated.)
1629: Hector, one of the oil guys, is sad and drinking because something happened five years ago. I’m sure the details will all come out in a dramatic moment. Something to do with his brother, who was in prison. Conflict! Character development! Alcholism!
1631: Emily has now turned into one of those annoying people that hands you fliers as you’re innocently trying to get from point A to point B. I’m getting PETA vibes off of this, only she’s wearing a bit too much.
1632: HAHAHA AND THE EVIL OIL COMPANY CEO IS EMILY’S DAD. She leaflets him and storms off. This is gorgeous. (Can’t say I’m thrilled about clouding her environmental concerns with daddy issues, however.)
1634: CO2 hides close to the ground! It leaps up and attacks the family dog while everyone is staring at the dead cows. Get that kid out of here! I think CO2 is about to become the “holy shit run fromt he cold air!” of Ring of Fire. Geologist dude pulls out a smoke flare and says this will show where the CO2 pockets are and… that makes no sense. At all. Not with the obvious breeze that’s stirring the nearby grass. I guess it’s super special CO2-seeking smoke that geologists get at the geology store. Or something.
1642: Of course no one will tell Emily what’s going on despite the fact that they already know it’s CO2. That’s a hazard people know about. People are getting sick in the area. If it’s supposed to be the CO2, you’d think the hospital would figure it out when they perked up after being given some oxygen… but we’ll see.
1644: Aneurysm Geologist gets a phone call where he’s reminded no stress! Woo!
1645: Any seismic activity your sensors might have missed, like maybe the earthquake that shook the shit out of the control room yet apparently no one else noticed despite the fact that it’s only 200 feet deep? (Also, satellite thermal imaging is, as far as I know, for surface only.)
1646: Ah, Emily has discovered lying as a way to attack the oil company. Because that’s okay.
1648: There is no such thing as clean oil when you’re burning it, oil company dude. But nice use of the “we’ve invested in green energy” defense.
1651: My dad just pointed out to me that it’s not just crappy geology. Because if the geologist has an aneurysm, isn’t that kind of cause for emergency surgery? Or maybe the hospital for the town just sucks that much.
1653: The anomalies are unusual but not unheard of, really?
1653: The research assistant is the believer and the geologist the skeptic. Hoo boy. There’s an awkward conversation about a higher power and predetermination and I think she might even have mentioned the phrase intelligent design but then I couldn’t hear over the sound of blood rushing in my ears. I swear to god if the geologist’s plot has to do with his aneurysm making him go from skeptic to believer, I am going to flip a goddamn table.
1655: “Do you know who I am?” Apparently Hector’s brother is so drunk he’s forgotten his name. Ah, but okay here’s the plot. There was gas in a mine, he took people down into it and they all died. Including his brother’s kid. So there’s some angst for you. So I guess there’s a history of CO2 pockets in the region? Shouldn’t people know what the fuck is going on then? I mean, the mine story makes sense, actually.
1659: …wait, so the gas in the mine is volcanic? I’m finding the geology in this area increasingly perplexing. Well, maybe it’s a hard rock mine? Makes sense if there’s granite around. But I’m still trying to figure out why they’re drilling there. Did we miss the part where reservoirs are generally sedimentary?
1705: Okay, finally I know Aneurysm Geologist is Dr. Cooper. I’m so terrible with names. You can tell he’s a geologist because he has a rock in his house. And looks at it while wearing glasses.
1705: “Unfortunately oil can be confused with magma–” WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. WHAT DID YOU EVEN JUST SAY. WHAT. BACK UP. WHAT IS YOUR JARGON EVEN. WHAT.
1707: So apparently they think there is oil but have confused it for a magma chamber and are thus going to drill down into it because there is no thermal difference between the two and yes that’s my aneurysm again. But it’s okay I don’t need surgery on it until Monday.
1709: Yes, Emily. When a mysterious male voice asks to meet you, agree immediately. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
1710: Actually it’s okay she’s taking Dr. Cooper. Buddy system!
1711: I will say, kudos for putting the geologist in a leather jacket and not a white labcoat.
1711: Also, this is kind of a little nitpick, but in the US we do all of our depths for commercial drilling in feet, not meters. Which drives scientists batty. But there you go.
1712: AGAIN WITH THE OIL AND MAGMA LOOK THE SAME. Also, I’m trying to figure out where they’re getting all this data ahead of the drill? It’s not like you can just send a sensor out there. It’s solid rock.
1713: Emily wants to know how they can not know the difference between magma and oil. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THIS TOO.
1714: …oh my god. This entire scene is just. It’s incoherent. I can’t even. I just can’t. But hey we have conveyed the point that the caldera could blow up so YAY WE HAVE A PLOT. Dr. Cooper looks very concerned about all of this. I guess this caldera contains that special flammable CO2.
1715: Okay so they are after this supposed giant pocket of oil at 25km deep. (We will ignore for now that we’re nearing the boundary to the lithosphere and oil being that deep doesn’t make sense for a multitude of reasons including temperature.) And they can’t tell the difference between oil and magma. But if they know it’s a caldera they’re drilling in, wouldn’t they look at their “image” of the supposed giant oil pocket and think GEE WHIZ THAT LOOKS LIKE A MAGMA CHAMBER AND WE EXPECT TO FIND ONE AROUND HERE? Okay, this fake oil company has the worst fake geologists in the world.
1721: Sorry there was a scene that involved the discussion of NDAs between Hector and Emily’s evil oil CEO dad but I totally missed it because I was telling my mom about how OIL AND MAGMA CAN EASILY BE MISTAKEN FOR EACH OTHER.
1723: Hector is apparently going to have a new son. I predict that the no good brother will then save Hector’s wife, thus making up for the son he accidentally killed.
1724: I’m really not sure why the protestor keeps heckling the security guard. Well, except to get the guy to punch him. Wow, that protestor is kind of a douche.
1728: That’s a special effect. And knowing that there have been gas explosions in the caldera, it totally makes sense to run toward it. Right? Right.
1733: Ah, the expressionless ginger has returned to the screen.
1734: It’s not oil. It’s compressed magma. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.
1734: Did he just say a magma dropout? Wait, what? They are just making words up now.
1735: Geothermal testing? How? What are they even talking about? And look, I’m sorry, the USGS would be shitting itself from the seismic activity alone. Earthquakes > paperwork.
1736: I see we’ve hit the portion of the disaster movie where everyone ignores the obvious signs of trouble for no good reason at all and then Dr. Cooper reminds us of his aneurysm by clutching his head.
1737: I don’t recall there ever being happy singing times on a school bus. But maybe they drug the students at this school and that explains everything.
1737: It probably says bad things about me that I initially mistook the expressionless ginger’s teacher for another student. I’ll just shake my cane at the TV.
1739: Wanna bet this is another earthquake the rest of the country will miraculously not notice?
1740: “We’ve drilled into a highly compressed lava chamber” WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. This entire scene MAKES NO SENSE. The drill should be MELTING. But it’s okay they’re going to stop the magma from getting out of the chamber by blowing it up!
1742: So this has caused a nearby mountain to explode for no apparent reason. Also, I’m waiting for ghosts to come out of the flowing gas from the wellhead a la Ghostbusters.
1743: So this is the part where the pyroclastic flow should roll down the mountain and broil everything in its path.
1743: And the expressionless ginger stands there, head cocked, and is expressionless.
1748: Actually the epicenter is wherever the rupture happened. Which sure does look like the randomly exploding mountain.
1748: Those kids should really be dropping dead now. And the expressionless ginger just… stands there. I’m getting a serious creepy impression from him. Either that, or he had a BSoD and his mom needs to reboot him.
1749: WE HAVE VOLCANIC BOMBS. Because as you know, volcanoes hate geologists and like to throw things at their cars. Or maybe they just hate Jeeps.
1751: At least the evil CEO guy is more interested in figuring out what happened than talking strategy. He’s not a total caricature.
1752: OH GOOD! WE’RE RUNNING FROM THE PYROCLASTIC FLOW! Like in Dante’s Peak this one is apparently exceptionally slow and very cold.
1752: Increased activity throughout the Ring of Fire! Because as you know, all volcanoes are connected. They’re a bit like aspen trees.
1753: Aw, the security guy will now help out the protestor that taunted him. It’s a bonding moment.
1755: NOW they think of closing the windows on the bus. The heroic bus driver runs outside to close the windows very, very slowly.
1756: HAH! GOT YOU, STUPID JEEP! YOU’LL KNOW BETTER THAN TO TAUNT A VOLCANO AGAIN!
1759: NO YELLOWSTONE IS NOT PART OF THE RING OF FIRE. NO. GO BACK TO GEOLOGY 101. NO. YOU ARE BANNED. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.
My brain. My brain hurts. MY ANEURYSM.
I’ll liveblog the other half of this trainwreck tomorrow.