Ambient Heat

When a Facility-wide emergency alarm is triggered, Faraday is trapped in a remote quadrant by the murderous MINOTAUR, and tasked with finding his way to the heart of an impossibly vast artificial forest.

Plot Summary

The episode opens on a still shot of a section of ladder against a grey wall. After a few moments, Faraday, visibly tired, slowly enters the shot from below and makes his way up the ladder one rung at a time. The camera cuts to a close-up of his face from above, drenched in sweat, as his expression veers between determination and exhaustion. As the camera pulls back, it is revealed that Faraday is hundreds of feet above the ground, an effect created with an unconvincing matte painting. As he struggles to continue climbing, his voice-over explains: "Got to... keep climbing... been days now... this must... be the exit..." After several minutes of strained ascent, he finally reaches the top of the ladder, and hauls himself over the edge. He lies there panting, before getting up and face-to-face with a blank wall not five feet from the edge of the platform. Horrified and enraged, Faraday beats on the wall before falling to his knees near the ladder. "No! This can't be! There's got to be a way out!" A noise from behind him causes Faraday to whip his head around, and a small robotic dog emerges from a panel in the wall. In a stilted electronic voice, the robotic dog tells Faraday to "defeat the minotaur and seek the heart of the wood," before advancing on the confused Faraday. It collides with him repeatedly before forcing him off of the ledge, where he falls with a resounding "noooooooooooooo," before cutting to the title sequence.

After the title sequence, Faraday surfaces in a pool of water (the same pool used in Episode 5: The Silent Caucus, repainted to fit in a forest environment), wearing a leather breastplate and bracers. After exiting the pool, the camera cuts to Faraday, now back in his regular outfit with the addition of a green, Robin Hood-style cap complete with feather, walking through a forest at night, comprised of low-quality fake trees in what is clearly a dimly-lit warehouse or soundstage. After a minute or so of walking in silence, jaunty flute music suddenly begins playing shortly before Faraday stumbles upon a small stream, flowing from a poorly-concealed water pipe in the background. Faraday kneels besides the stream to drink from it, but looks up suddenly when he hears loud growling. Showing the source of the growling, the camera cuts to stock photography of a grizzly bear walking through a large river during the day. The view cuts back to Faraday, who removes a parka-capsule that he is suddenly wearing as a backpack and dons the parka while the action theme begins. After showing the same stock footage of the grizzly approaching the camera, a man in a polar bear costume stumbles into frame and engages Faraday in combat. After several minutes of battle - during which the man in the bear costume trips over a metal folding chair mistakenly left on the set - Faraday delivers a jump-kick to the bear's chest. The bear falls into the stream, and the camera pans from the bear's body to the water, which begins running red with blood.

After the battle, Faraday is once again meandering through the forest when he comes upon an apple hanging from a tree. Smiling to himself, Faraday picks the apple and bites into it; the apple is quite clearly made of plastic, and Faraday laboriously chews the bite for some time, before fake-swallowing exaggeratedly. Faraday seems pleased, but then looks at the apple more closely; the apple then spews hallucinogenic gas, knocking him unconscious.

The first part of the brief hallucination montage consists of a fish-eye shot which tracks Faraday, seemingly nude but wrapped in animal furs, as he runs through a forest (this time an actual outdoor shot, not the dim warehouse used for the rest of the episode). Faraday growls and snarls while discordant electric guitar feedback screeches over bongo drums. The scene abruptly cuts to Faraday, now in a three-piece business suit, crouching on all fours in front of a wall with faded floral wallpaper; a leash is connected to collar around his neck, trailing out of frame to the right. Baroque classical music plays. The camera pans to the right, revealing that an Alligator-Man is holding Faraday's leash. As the camera lingers on the Alligator-Man, it's revealed that the Alligator-Man also has a collar and leash, leading offscreen to the right; the camera pans over again, revealing a standing Faraday holding the leash, now bare-chested, with grey hair at his temples and an eyepatch, smoking a long cigarette emotionlessly.

The hallucination montage ends, flash-cutting to Faraday running full-speed, continuously glancing behind him in terror. A thundering drum beat is in full swing, and after a long minute of Faraday running in fear, his pursuer is shown: a man in brown pants, shirtless, wearing a horse-head mask with horns attached. This minotaur chases Faraday through the forest-warehouse, occasionally slashing Faraday's back with a scimitar, set to the galloping drumbeat overlaid with inexplicable whale song. Finally, after several minutes of this chase, Faraday hides behind a tree, sticks his foot out, and trips the minotaur, who is either rendered unconscious or dead as a result. Faraday produces a ceremonial dagger and cuts into the minotaur, which is revealed to be a robot; Faraday, dejected, drops the knife and shakes his head, before standing up and walking away. As he turns to walk into the darkness, a mounting musical sting begins and the camera zooms on the slashes on Faraday's back; as the sting climaxes, we see that under the slashes are the same blinking lights and wires that made up the minotaur's innards.


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