S2E25: “Out of the Past”

Hello and welcome to the JEMcast on Hologram Radio. This is Alex Knight and I am joined by Aleen Simms, founder of the Less than or Equal podcast, and science fiction writer, K. Tempest Bradford.

Synopsis: In Season 2, episode 25: ‘Out of the Past,’ “The Holograms find Emmett Benton’s old diary. Reading it, they are reminded about how they first met, the origin of Starlight Music and how Synergy came into existence. They also discover that Jacqui Benton, Jerrica’s and Kimber’s mother, recorded a master tape of her concert in the ’70s before dying in a plane crash. But when Eric Raymond turns out to have the only copy of the tape, he asks for a million dollars in return or to have controlling interests over Starlight Music.”

Stay tuned for an action packed episode.

Episode 51 (S2E25) is written by Michael Charles Hill.

We open with the Holograms cleaning out the attic at Starlight Mansion. Jerrica finds an old chest with hundreds of sheets of music, written by their mother, Jacqui. Jerrica and Kimber also discover their father’s diary. Jerrica finds a chapter where Emmett Benton describes a young 10 year old Jerrica, who takes an interest in Rio, a boy who recently moved in next door. Emmett describes Rio as having a “keen mind” and being a “natural technician.” In a flash back, we see Kimber pulling Jerrica’s arm, demanding they play dolls. Their mother, Jacqui, calls Jerrica in to set the table for 5, because Rio is joining them for dinner. Jerrica reads another chapter about Aja’s arrival to Starlight Mansion. At first, Kimber seems jealous that another foster girl is going to live with them. Jacqui explains to Kimber and Jerrica that she too was once a foster girl and was shuttled from place to place, without having a place to call her own. Never able to share the love of a family. Now she has a family of her own and has a chance to make other foster girls feel loved.

In another chapter, Emmett writes about how Jacqui decided to star her own music career, so he also decides to start a record company–Starlight Music, and also Starlight Foundation, which will receive some of the profits from the record company to support it.

Emmett goes on to write about Shana’s arrival and how she seems to be isolated and alone. Jerrica tries to get Rio’s attention, but she’s not the tom boy that Aja is and wished that she would spend time making Shana feel welcome. Young Jerrica asks her mother how she can make Rio pay attention to her. Her mother tells her to stop chasing Rio and pay more attention to Shana. Jerrica explains that Shana never says anything, but her wise mother tells her that perhaps she never stopped to listen.

Jacqui plays a successful solo performance and Emmett goes on about how he tested his new equipment at the concert. At an early age, Rio had a proclivity towards audio engineering and mentions something about master tapes of Jacqui’s performance. Shana comes up with an idea to release a commemorative album of Jacqui’s work from the original master tapes. Jerrica decides this is a wonderful idea and thinks Lin-Z would love to have an exclusive preview of the music on her show.

On the Lin-Z show, Jem and the Holograms perform a Jacqui Benton song.

Jem and the Holograms music video (written by Jacqui Benton): “First Love.”

At Starlight Music, Jem and the Holograms are searching for the master tapes, but have come up with nothing. They decide to search Emmett’s diary for a clue of what happened to the tapes. We hear several diary entries, one about how Jacqui officiated over a friendship pact in a treehouse between Jerrica, Kimber, Shana, and Aja. In another entry, Emmett describes how Jerrica continues to have a difficult time adjusting to her mother’s growing absences as she travels the world to perform. Before boarding a plane, Jerrica is visibly angry and refuses to say goodbye or kiss her mother. It would be the last time she ever sees her alive. After reading this chapter, Jerrica breaks down in tears and has pangs of regret, wishing she had said she loved her mother before she left that fateful night. Kimber tries to console Jerrica and tells her there’s no sense in feeling guilty, as it won’t change anything. Jacqui knew that Jerrica loved her and nothing could change that. Jerrica vows to find the master tapes and to release her mother’s music as a means of paying her back.

Emmett is having a difficult time dealing with the death of his wife and doesn’t feel like he can go on, but Jerrica, Kimber, and the foster girls give him a purpose. Aja pleads Emmett not to send her and Shana away, and he tells them that he never would.

Finally, we get an explanation and some backstory into Synergy and the holographic AI technology that Emmett invented. Jerrica and Kimber’s father came up with an idea to link music with 3D holographic images. His goal was to re-create live musical performances in anyone’s living room. To complete the project, Emmett describes how he must find a secret location to complete the delicate work ahead.

Jerrica is perplexed at what has happened to the master tapes. She receives a phone call from Eric Raymond, who tells her that he is in possession of the tapes, but he must pay her one million dollars to get them back. Jerrica doesn’t have the money and is being blackmailed by Eric to sign over controlling interest of Starlight Music to him. If Jerrica doesn’t meet Eric’s demands, he will destroy the tapes.

Jerrica reads her father’s diary again. In this chapter, he talks about moving Synergy to a drive-in theatre that he purchased. Emmett decided to complete the work in secrecy until Synergy is complete and he’s able to secure the patents for the technology. With growing responsibilities at Starlight Music, Emmett hires an aggressive young assistant, Eric Raymond. Jerrica took a liking to Eric at first, but Jerrica explains she was only seventeen at the time and didn’t know any better. Speaking of not knowing any better, apparently one summer when Rio came back from engineering school, Jerrica decided to try and make Rio jealous by flaunting Eric. This did not impress Rio. It took Jerrica two weeks to “thaw him out.”

Rio: Hi, kid. Nice car (in a sarcastic manner).

Towards the end of Emmett’s diary, we near Synergy’s completion. He programs Synergy with Jacqui’s music and likeness, just enough to form a personality and voice pattern–he couldn’t bare make Synergy look too much like his late wife.

After completing Synergy, Emmett is pleasantly surprised at how capable she is, able to create holograms of anything. In the wrong hands, Synergy could be dangerous. With only months to live, Emmett realizes he won’t complete the patents on the technology, and not even Jerrica or Kimber know what’s going on with his health. Emmett’s last gift to his daughters will be Synergy, who was made to be a mother, teacher, and guide, all rolled into one.

The final entry in Emmett’s diary: Emmett completes the Jem star earrings, which he plans on giving to Jerrica in person, but if not, he programmed Synergy to reveal herself in the event of his death. All this time, Jerrica tells Synergy that she never told her who she was. Synergy explains she is no more and no less, her father’s gift of love. She offers to Jerrica if there’s a way she can help to deal with Eric Raymond. Jerrica says she must deal with Eric herself.

Jerrica meets with Eric and demands that he hand over the master tapes. With no money and no willingness to sign over controlling interest of Starlight Music, she pleads Eric to do the right thing. If you thought Eric was simply a jerk before, in this moment he shows that he’s truly without remorse or a shred of human decency. He tosses Jacqui’s tapes into the fire. Jerrica watches the tapes melt before her very eyes and weeps, calling out “mom!”

At Starlight Mansion, Jerrica weeps over the loss of her mother’s master tapes and what she thinks is the only serving memory of her music. Kimber and the rest of the Holograms have good news. There was a clue in Emmett’s diary when he mentioned he programmed Synergy with Jacqui’s recordings and likeness. Where would he have gotten the recordings? They must be from the master tapes. Aja makes an attempt to take Synergy apart to search for any evidence of the original recordings. The risk is that if something goes wrong, Synergy could be lost forever.

While searching Synergy’s database, they find a list of song titles, including one called Starlight.

Jacqui Benton music video: “Starlight.”

We end at the party for Jacqui Benton’s album release. Jerrica apologizes to Rio for that stunt she pulled all those years ago, where she tried to make him feel jealous by bringing Eric Raymond home. Rio had forgotten all about it and tells Jerrica if there’s one thing he isn’t worried about, is losing her to Eric.

Duration: 51:15:00

Present: Alex Knight, Aleen Simms, K. Tempest Bradford.

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Download: JEMcast – Episode S2E25: “Out of the Past”