S3E5: “Homeland, Heartland”
Hello and welcome to the JEMcast on Hologram Radio. This is Alex Knight and I am joined Aleen Simms, founder of the Less Than Or Equal podcast, and science fiction writer, K. Tempest Bradford.
Synopsis: In Season 3, episode 5: “‘Homeland, Heartland,’ Jem and The Holograms along with Danse travel to Yugoslavia (now Croatia) to star in a play. When Danse finds connections to her mother, the Holograms are put into danger as enemies of Danse’s mother’s past emerge.”
Stay tuned for an action packed episode.
Episode 58 (S3E5) is written by Carla Conway.
This week’s show notes are written by K. Tempest Bradford.
Jem and the Holograms, Video, and Danse fly to Zagreb in Yugoslavia to film a video at the Zagreb Ballet. Danse is full of excitement about this because her mother was from Zagreb. Through a bit of impressive exposition hoops, we’re told that Danse’s mother disappeared many years ago. Aja worries that Danse secretly thinks she’ll find her mother in Zagreb and doesn’t want her to be disappointed.
When they land in Zagreb they’re met by Anton Milich, the government man in charge of welcoming them to the country. This man also warns them that they might not be able to film the video at the Zagreb Ballet because the artistic director, Victor Krosach, doesn’t like their music. Because he’s a powerful man, he can put an end to all their hopes and dreams.
Why this was not mentioned before the band flew everyone and their mother all the way to Yugoslavia is a mystery.
At the Ballet, Victor heaps praise on his male principal dancer, Stefan, but heaps abuse on the women dancers. He’s joined in this abuse heaping by the Prima Ballerina, Vera, who says the girls are only thinking of the arrival of Jem and the Holograms and their “decadent, uncultured noise.” Victor agrees that their music is not art and is complete shit, which Jem overhears and they all walk in.
Victor is about to tell them to all go to hell until he catches sight of Danse. He’s super shocked, Vera is shocked. Everyone is shocked. Especially when Victor does a 180 and agrees to let them film their video at the Ballet.
Why? The answer comes soon enough. During a tour of the building, Victor shows off a giant portrait of the greatest dancer he ever knew, Nadia Dvorak. Everyone gasps because she looks just like Danse! She looks just like her because she’s Danse’s mother. This is why Victor was so shocked.
It’s clear that Victor is super creepy and fixated on Danse because he was fixated on Nadia. Of course, Danse is not even paying attention because Stefan, the hunky dancer dude, is clearly checking her out and she doesn’t mind one bit.
Because Danse is Nadia’s daughter, he allows the terrible Americans to make their music video.
Jem and the Holograms music video: “Music And Danse.”
At the end of the video Stefan and Danse share a kiss and they are clearly smitten. But Danse can’t have dinner with him because she already agreed to have dinner with Victor, who cannot stop creepily touching her.
After dinner, Danse finds a note slipped under her door telling her to go to the village of Bled if she wants to know more about her family. She goes to Jem, who says that they must check out the note right away and agrees to go to Bled.
Meanwhile, in a secret room filled with more pictures of Nadia than is healthy, Victor talks to a large portrait of the woman and says that though she ran away, her daughter will never leave. Dun dun DUN!
Jem and Danse say they want to go to Bled to film and also because Danse may have family there. They ask Victor if they can take Stefan since he’s in the video, too. Victor says yes, and that he will go along, and that’s not sinister at all. Vera, the Prima Ballerina, is not happy with this situation and yells at Victor that he’s only going on the trip to be near Danse. She says if the girl knew what he did to her mother and father she would hate him. Victor grabs her and says she’ll keep her mouth shut, especially since she helped him do whatever he did.
Also: Victor is abusive.
On the train to Bled, everyone is taken with the scenery rolling by except Danse, who is taken with the scenery in her cabin: Stefan.
Jem and the Holograms music video: “Falling In Love With A Stranger.”
Victor is keeping a close eye on this budding romance and even warns Stefan off of Danse. Stefan tells him to go to hell. Or, at least, the acceptable children’s TV version of that.
In Bled, the group stays at a small inn near the train station. They ask if there are any Dvorak’s in the area, and the proprietor nervously answers No, looking at Victor nervously. He’s obviously been paid to keep his mouth shut, but no one told his kid about it. The little boy tells them that the family are farmers and live nearby and gives them directions.
That kid doesn’t know he’s gonna come home from school and find the inn burned down! (kidding)
The group goes out to the Dvorak farm and the first person they come across is a old man who tells Danse he’s her great-grandfather after she tells him she’s Nadia’s daughter. His reception is warm until Victor introduces himself, then he suddenly goes cold.
At dinner, the other family members are also cold, and this time someone informs the younger people to keep their mouths shut, so Danse feels like they all hate her. But after she runs away crying, the old man tells her that Victor is an enemy of the family, but also powerful, and they could lose the farm. He won’t say why, but he’ll take Danse to a mountain man who will explain.
Jem goes to keep an eye on Victor, but when Rio says he was outside she gets worried for Danse and the others. Without waiting for directions or anything, Rio runs out into the snow to save them.
Victor does indeed try to kill Danse, Stefan, and the old man with a rock. Rio stops him, but causes an avalanche. Jesus, Rio.
Danse is buried in the snow, but with the help of the mountain man, who arrives just in time, they dig her out and get her to the cabin. There the man, whose name is Peter, sees Danse’s face in full for the first time and is shocked. SHOCKED. The old man says that she’s not Nadia, she’s Nadia’s daughter. HIS daughter. The mountain man is Danse’s father, who she thought was dead.
Peter tells his story. Nadia was a bright star of the ballet, but she loved him a ton. Despite Victor telling her not to, she married Peter. One day, Peter was arrested by government officials who claimed he sold penicillin on the black market, but he had been set up. In jail, he wrote to Nadia, but she never wrote back. So he assumed she’d abandoned him and all these years he hated her.
Danse tells him what he doesn’t know. That Victor told Nadia Peter had been shot. That she discovered she was going to have a baby and fled the country, fearing what the government might do to her. She came to America, had Danse, then disappeared.
Rio asks where Peter sent the letters. The Zagreb Ballet, he says all innocently, as if he didn’t realize he was stupid to do so until that moment.
Danse wants him to come back, clear his name. He says no, he is too full of feels. So they all go.
Victor, knowing that Danse finally knows the truth, decides to trap her. He plans stolen government defence plans in Jem’s suitcase and has Vera put banned political tracts in Rio and Video’s luggage. This is all to get the police to arrest the group when they get back to Zagreb, and then Victor will take care of Giselle. Dun dun DUN!
When the group arrives back, Danse and Stefan go off to the ballet while the rest wait for their stuff. But the police are there! Because it’s rational for rock singers to steal defence plans. Rio yells at Jem to run, which she and the other Holograms do, escaping into a museum and hiding themselves with the help of Synergy.
Danse confronts Victor and tells him what she knows. But Victor tells her he’s very powerful and that her friends have been arrested. He can get the charges dropped, but only if she agrees to drop Stefan, stay in Zagreb, and become his Prima Ballerina. Vera pipes up that ahem, that is her job. Victor says it’s time for her to retire and she is so salty about that.
Danse feels she has no choice because she forgets that there are embassies. Good thing her father busts in and says he won’t let Victor ruin her life. He launches at his old enemy, throwing him into the wall so hard it breaks, revealing his secret Nadia room. A room not only creepily filled with pictures of her, but also all the letters Peter sent from jail and stolen defence plans. You know, just out and on the desk and all.
The police arrive just then, because Jem was able to get to Anton Milich, the friendly government man from the beginning of the episode, before the police got to her. They’re all trying to convince the Inspector that they were framed. Even though he sees all the evidence in the Nadia room, he’s still not sure. Vera pipes up and confirms all the things Victor did. She knows, she says, because she helped him.
Vera is straight up dramatic in this scene. As befits a Prima Ballerina.
Victor is arrested, Danse hugs her father for saving them, and Jem is like: et’s finish this damn music video.
Repeat: Jem and the Holograms music video: “Music And Danse.”
While watching the final scene being shot from the wings of the ballet, Peter tells Rio that now he can travel since his name was cleared. He’s coming back to America with his daughter and together they will search for Nadia.
But not before Danse bones Stefan one last time.
Present: Alex Knight, Aleen Simms, K. Tempest Bradford.
- S3E5: “Homeland Heartland”
- “Music And Danse”
- “Falling In Love With A Stranger”
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