As most of you have noticed, I recently posted a new Connor Wars episode (EXTRA04 – “Allison Wonderland”). I thought I’d take a moment to share a few thoughts about it as well as other notions about what may yet come.
The main motivation for writing it was pretty simple: I wanted to play, again. Since I finished and posted F04S1 – “Fate”, I’ve often lamented how much I missed writing TCW. Don’t get me wrong, by the time I finished writing the season 3 finale, I was exhausted…and I still had three more months of writing ahead of me. Even so, it was a joy to get to spend so much time with these characters and their situation. Yeah, it was a pain that 2-3 seasons worth of story got shoehorned into just seven more hours of script pages–but better that than nothing. You’d think that after almost a year of writing I’d want to walk away and never look back.
TSCC is a marvelous playground. It’s so marvelous that I had a lot of ideas that got pushed aside for a variety of reasons. In the case of “Allison Wonderland” that reason was continuity. In order to keep from having a never-ending time-travel reset in play, I made the decision that following John and Catherine’s jump from 2009 to 2027, there would be no more time travel. Period. Of course Catherine still knew how to build a TDE, and Danny was still a possibility, but time travel was off the table. …Unless I needed it. I wanted the TCW saga to have a clean ending, so I never felt the need to build a new TDE site.
Still–I always wonder what would happen if…? What if Allison came back (for instance)?
One thing I very much wanted to do with “Allison Wonderland” was to tell the story in such a way that nothing for the future changes. Allison comes back to fulfill a causality loop she has long known about. Since the time travel meant that this wasn’t TCW canon, I did have the option of going totally fanfic-y with it, but I opted instead to maintain continuity. This meant that even while I was writing the script, I ended up trashing a dozen pages or more in an effort to avoid making a mess of things. Most of those pages involved Allison spilling her guts to Sarah.
My problem with that is Sarah can be a bit of a wildcard in the temporal lottery. She leaves a trail of unintended consequences because she still cares. Because of Sarah’s humanity, Allison needed to be very circumspect about what she chose to tell John’s mum. But I couldn’t just have Allison be roaming about alone. She needed some ally. Who better than the ally of allies, Alejandra? Alex is the gatekeeper. She’s the one with the secrets and the only one that everyone–Sarah, John, Cameron, Savannah, Allison–counts on to stay silent. This is the case here. Allison reinforces who Alex needs to be by telling her about the future.
The scene with Nancy was always planned. In fact, I also planned some scenes with Allison watching her mother, her father, maybe even spending some time with Murch. I choose to think that she did at least spy on her parents a little, but it didn’t really add anything to the story. Nancy, though, was a different matter. Just as Allison was becoming an adult, her protector and mother-figure, Nancy, was effectively taken from her. Me, being the sentimental fool that I am, wanted Allison to get to spend some time with the person she missed the most. As she is developmentally challenged, Nancy also offered up a character that was less likely to connect all the dots as to who Allison actually is–thus preserving the future.
The timing of the story was an interesting decision. Between March 2009 and April 2012, at what point to I plop in Allison? I chose late November 2009 because it offered the Thanksgiving scenes, but also because this was a relatively quiet period in the scope of the storyline. I had a minimum of disruption going on and Sarah et al. had settled into their new lives. That Kaliba wasn’t yet a major factor gave an opportunity to build on Mikkola’s later interest–Kaliba trying to force a situation that made handing them Serrano an option. Now Allison had a big reason for traveling back in time (other than setting her traps), and it gave her a path for going out as the big damn hero she is.
Small note: between “Fate” and her radiation poisoning for this episode, it seems I didn’t beat up Allison too much. Her injuries in the 20-25 years after “Fate” seem about the same.
I’ll admit that “Allison Wonderland” wasn’t an immediate fun time. It had been over eight months since I’d written an episode. You lose quite a bit of momentum with a gap that large. By the end, it was like old times. The only thing I wish was that there had been a lot more Cameron. Of all the characters, I think Cameron is the one I enjoy writing the most. With her mostly absent, it felt like something was missing. Maybe next time.
And there will be a next time. I’ve had an outline laying here for many months that I very much want to write. I’m not sure I’m ready to. Not yet. (Lots of Cameron in it, though.) I also have a few more fragments that may grow into full episodes or may get written up as excerpts. I haven’t yet decided. Having returned to “the real world”, it isn’t easy to find the block of time necessary to do justice to the story. I’d rather delay something for a few months than give you pages that are disappointing.
I can almost guarantee that Cameron will not be neglected in future installments.
So…stay tuned. There are more stories to come–stories that I very much want to write. I’m not abandoning you my cyborg-zombies and -cuties. We’re in this together.