Sanctuary, "Fugue": an attempt at a musical

Quick Take: Sanctuary, “Fugue”
Sanctuary tries its best to do a musical episode. 


Review: Sanctuary, “Fugue”
(S0408) Ever since Buffy hit it big with her own musical episode, other science fiction shows have tried to cash in on the idea. Everyone wants to be the next “Once More, with Feeling.” I say just let it go. This week's episode has Will's (Robin Dunne's) new FBI girlfriend in trouble with an abnormal who possesses her. While analyzing her, Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) discovers that the only way to communicate with her – at least until they vanquish the abnormal within her — is to sing to her. Meanwhile, Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) has his own plot that doesn't involve singing.

Which brings us to an interesting dilemma: what's with the lack of singing? Most musical episodes try to structure the episode like a musical. Sanctuary doesn't and furthermore, each song we do hear sounds similar to the last one. Seventy percent of the songs sound like a bad guy's cha-cha. There is little variance between tunes. Foss's non-musical plotline spotlights this lack of variety.

If you trim away the singing, you will notice a real plot at work here. Will refuses to risk the life of his beloved; Magnus is willing to do whatever is necessary. This episode shows a schism developing between the two heroes' methods. In order to save his girlfriend, Magnus decides to trap the demon within a parasite and surgically remove it from her body.

The procedure leads to a near death experience, but Will's lover survives. Following the rescue operation, Will and Magnus share a scene by a window that shows how the two's differing philosophies developed. I sense a fall out in the coming seasons that will change Sanctuary as we know it. But for now, just hope Sanctuary doesn't try doing a musical again.

By Dean "The Machine" Childers.

About the author

Dean Childers is freelance writer in Kentucky. He is a major in Mass Communications. He lurks in the Bluegrass waiting for someone to throw a pokeball at him.

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On: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I'm not much of a musical person, but Whedon is absolutely brilliant when he queues up the songcraft (Buffy, Dr. Horrible, etc) 

On: Monday, November 28, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I just deleted the previous comment -- while conversations and (passionate) opinions are totally open game, we don't accept personal attacks as valid and valuable additions to the TVGA community. 

On: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sammie said:

While I agree with you when you say it does have an actual plot everything else I can not. You can't structure every musical episode from completely unrelated shows just because you loved Whedon's Once More with Feeling. I still have Fugue recorded on my DVR and I still have Buffy's OMwF. Whedon is a master at virtually anything he does while the amazing Tapping has been in one other musical episode and that dated back to Xena. (Don't quote me on that, I honestly don't know if she's been in more.) I still watch all of Whedon's musical episodes and shows that he's done; Dr. Horrible, and like the variation. But Tapping and her crew is not Whedon and his. It's childish to compare the two when one is a claimed director and one obviously attempted a musical for the first time or close to first time.

If anything, they wanted to break off from Whedon's own hit and not be a total musical. While I liked Buffy's where they all sang every 5 minutes or there was singing every 5 minutes, especially when it's humorous like I got the mustard out, it was nice that Sanctuary tried something different.

It's silly to compare two things together when it's unrelated is my real point. You can't comprae Xena's musical episode to Buffy's to Sanctuary's which are all a few years apart. I mean this when they first started and to now.

On: Thursday, January 12, 2012
Mo said:

I disagree with this article. Shows aren't trying to be the next Buffy, they're jsut having fun. Musical episodes are a standard, much like the body-swapping or the trapped-in-a-desolate-place archetypes. Buffy was not the first to try musical eps; Xena had done one about 2 years earlier, and I'm sure there were some before that. I highly doubt that Sanctuary had OMwF aspirations, and I *know* they did not have the help of Jed Whedon (Joss' brother), who writes music for a living. To compare the two is unfair, and to criticize the Sanctuary crew for having fun with their own show is worse. It wasn't mindblowingly good, but I enjoyed it.

And I will be equally fair-minded with you when you produce, star in, and write your own show.

On: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Jodi Shaw said:

I also disagree with this post. Just because this is a sci-fi show doesn't mean it's trying to be like another show, like Buffy. Many hit shows have tried musicals episodes, ER, Grey's and others. I think the cast wants to try things that are new. I personally enjoyed the music from this episode of Sanctuary as it scores reminded me of Phantom of the Opera. I also loved the plot and the story line where singing is what kept Abbey human, an actual reason for the singing, instead of just singing for no reason or randomly.


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