The Friendly Skies
|"The Friendly Skies"|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Jesús Salvador Treviño|
|Written by||Richard Hatem|
|Original air date||February 3, 2003|
"The Friendly Skies" is the second episode of the television series Miracles. It was the third episode produced. It was first aired in the United States on February 3, 2003, and in Canada on October 10, 2003.
When a plane disappears for 64 seconds just before landing, SQ is called to investigate. They discover that each of the passengers had a different experience during that time, and their experience was exactly what they were thinking when the plane disappeared.
Paul talks to a woman named Karen, who was completely physically disabled 21 years earlier in a skiing accident. She was asleep, dreaming like always about being able to walk and talk again. She tells Paul she has to find her husband, Mark, and show him. He tries to sneak her out, but are caught by soldiers and are transported back to the hangar, both of them landing themselves in trouble with the government. They are let go when Alva shows up and "claims them", but not before scolding Paul of his actions. Karen begins to feel a twitch in her hand.
Alva attempts to translate the Aramaic ramblings of a flight attendant named Phil, who was thinking about his mistreatment by all the passengers when the plane disappeared. When he begins speaking in English, they discover he is explaining a method on how to destroy the world. His complex thoughts begin to fade, as he starts to use simple analogies of theories to children's toys' functions.
Evelyn talks to a 10-year-old girl named Deanna Thompson, who was thinking about what she would be when she grew up. She saw every detail from her future life, from her loser husband to her obnoxious kids, and her father dying from lung cancer on her 39th birthday. When she asks Evelyn for a cigarette, she realizes that she is forgetting the negative experiences of her future, and when the three investigators reunite an hour later, they all confirm that the effects are starting to wear off: Karen is finding it hard to move, Phil is forgetting what he knows, and Deanna is forgetting what she saw.
By the end, all the passengers forgot what happened to them or what they saw, and the passengers are released, except for Phil the flight attendant, who for security reasons, had to be tested to make sure he forgot all the apocalyptic theories he was explaining. Sad that Mark will never see what Karen could do, Paul steals a tape from a camcorder that was recording her room (like all the others), but is caught with it on the way out of the airport. It turns out to be a blank tape, as Evelyn hid the tape for Paul (Evelyn has an inoperable .38 caliber bullet in her brain, which will always set off metal detectors; as long as she shows a special card, she can pass through).
Paul shows up at Mark's house and gives him the tape of Karen, instructing him never to tell anyone he has it. While watching it, Karen stares at Mark from her wheelchair as he cries.
"The Friendly Skies" was written by Miracles co-creator Richard Hatem and David Greenwalt, the co-creator of Angel, and was directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, who had previously directed episodes of several drama series. Hatem and Greenwalt wrote the script based on a pitch by two other staff writers, who initially pitched the story that a plane that had flown out of Tel Aviv five years ago had suddenly reappeared on radar and in the airspace. Trevino, the episode's director, would often incorrectly refer to Skeet Ulrich and Angus Macfadyen as "Skip" and "Agnes" respectively during the shooting of the episode.
This episode was the second to air, but was the third episode produced. ABC and Touchstone both felt it was a strong episode, and was aired in place of the second produced episode, "The Ghost", which eventually became the eleventh aired episode. Co-writer David Greenwalt, who came in to executive produce the series after the pilot, joked in the commentary that the re-ordering "screwed up all [their] plans to correctly serialize the series". Co-writer Richard Hatem also said that the re-ordering necessitated some changes. Some of the dialogue originally featured at the top of the first act of "The Ghost", which set up Paul joining Sodalitas Quaerito, was moved to this episode.
David Greenwalt claims this episode to be one of his favorites, and says that "the idea of something mysterious happening on an airplane is a quirky old sci-fi idea [reminscent of The Twilight Zone], but the way it played out was incredibly heartfelt and occasionally shocking". The opening scenes on the airplane were shot in a hangar at LAX. The plane was on the ground and was lit from the outside to give the illusion that the plane was in flight. The exterior of the same plane was later seen in many scenes inside the hangar, where the majority of the episode takes place.
A scene in this episode shows Evelyn Santos presenting airport security with a medical exception card explaining that a .38 caliber bullet is lodged in the anterior lobe of her brain. A deleted scene originally shot for this episode was Evelyn Santos' recollection of the night she was shot while on duty as a police officer. She explained that "she saw the other side, and there's nothing there, but that doesn't bother her because the real miracle is every breath she takes on this earth, and the experience gave her an appreciation for her mortal life that she didn't have before". Hatem and Greenwalt also toyed with an idea that in a later season one episode, or a season two episode, Evelyn would have been hypnotically regressed to the moment of her near-death experience. This would have revealed that Evelyn did experience something, but doesn't consciously remember it. Evelyn would have come out of hypnosis asking Paul and Keel what happened; Paul and Keel would have been reluctant to tell her what happened because, according to Hatem, "Paul's point of view is always 'If someone's got something they believe in and it works for them, don't mess with it', and she's pretty happy with what she's got".
One of the opening scenes in this episode, where Paul Callan and Alva Keel discuss the "large impending event" at a local playground, was originally to have appeared in the second produced episode "The Ghost". The scene took place in Keel's office and existed in the form of a speech delivered by Keel called "The White Shark", the original title of that episode. This speech was later reshot as "more urgent" and was placed outside. A similar scene called "Sodalitas Quaerito Mission Statement" can be found in the deleted scenes of "The Ghost" on the Miracles DVD set. Richard Hatem read the original "White Shark" speech in the episode commentary, wherein Alva Keel describes his mission:
|“||I suppose you could say we're gathering puzzle pieces. But we're not sure what picture the pieces might finally make, or if there is any coherent picture at all. We're acting on faith. [...] Paul, are you familiar with the great white shark? Science knows almost nothing about this creature: how it mates, how it raises its young, its migratory pattern. All we know is that it's out there in the dark, and it's hungry. Now hypothetically, what if I told you that in 1974 there were 20,000 great white sharks and today there are over two million? Wouldn't you hope that someone was looking into it? That's what we do.||”|
Additionally, Richard Hatem revealed in the DVD commentary that Alva Keel living in apartment 29 is an homage to Jim Rockford, the main character in Hatem's favorite television series The Rockford Files, who lived at 29 Cove Road.
- Main Cast
- Guest Cast
- Christopher Cousins as Charles Jergensen
- Ann Cusack as Karen Longview
- Ashley Edner as Deanna Thompson
- Todd Waring as Phil
- Jeff Allin as Mark Longview
- Lily Knight as Nurse Joyce Fried
- Roy Fegan as Hangar Guard
- Eamonn Roche as Lionel
- Steven Dennis as Air Traffic Controller
- Carey Scott as Video Tech
- David Alan Graf as Dr. Price
- William O'Leary as Alan
- Stephanie Erb as Lisa
- Gina St. John as Felicia Phelps
- Gary Carlos Cervantes as Michael Garcia
- J. Karen Thomas as Airline Representative
- Greenwalt, David (2005). Miracles complete series DVD commentary for the episode "The Friendly Skies" (DVD). Shout Factory.
- Hatem, Richard (2005). Miracles complete series DVD commentary for the episode "The Friendly Skies" (DVD). Shout Factory.