Bullet At The Mirror
BatM, Season 2 Opening Credits
The rumble of a distant explosion fades into the background followed by a loud splash. The camera fades up, bobbing, eye-level for a swimmer in the dark waters of the ocean near Hong Kong. A 14-foot tall statue of maneki-neko (see fig. 1 on cover) has landed in the middle of the frame, slowly sinking as the theme song’s bass-line amplifies. The blackened, charred statue sinks into the green water and the camera follows its rapid descent into the depths. As the statue fades its electrical yellow eyes turn green and soon only the eyes are visible next to a trail of bubbles. Just as the statue’s eyes are on the edge of visibility, they flicker like a fluorescent lamp and disappear.
The soundtrack is filled with the sound of rhythmic splashes and a man’s ragged breathing. As the camera swivels up to above water, it catches sight of a broad cybernetic metal hand as it plunges in the water and pulls, as if rowing. The camera lifts out of the water to show a battered and sweaty Lotho, in an emergency raft, using his powerful metal arm to row. Lotho’s wearing a soiled tuxedo with a garish green apron over top of it. He pauses a moment as the sound of the Black Betty’s jets overwhelm the soundtrack. He looks up to see the vehicle passing overhead, the camera angle jumps up to an overhead view of Lotho, illuminated by the jets of the Black Betty.
At the lyric “Life is a hammer, waiting to drop” the camera cuts to Nairt’s massive green feet, be-sandaled as he puts the accelerator to the floor and the Black Betty rockets off. The video switches to a streaking accelerated high-speed view from the cockpit of the Black Betty as it navigates over the ocean, Seattle coming back into view. A few seconds are filled as the Black Betty navigates amidst some of the well-known landmarks of Seattle (Space Needle, etc.) surrounded by air and ground traffic moving at super speed. The camera moves outside the Black Betty looking past Nairt’s Massive, begoggled self into crew area in the back, where the rest of the team sits in silence, each looking in different directions – not making eye contact. Next, an external shot of the Black Betty landing atop a cement parking garage, even as the Black Betty lands slowly at normal speed the rest of the city moves at an artificially accelerated pace. It is pre-dawn, the sun is rising now.
Cut to the interior of the Black Betty as the dawn’s light pierces through the windows. Ay’s hand holds a cigarette, mostly ash, as if he hadn’t taken a pull off of it for a while. His eyes are veiled. At the lyric “All we remember imagined or real” the camera zooms into his vacant eyes and we see a sped-up montage of his wiped memories that were revealed at the end of Season 1.
At the lyric “I heard an echo but the answer it changed” the camera rushes out of Ay’s head and across the cabin to Callie’s slightly-smirking face as she’s recollecting firing grenades into the machine gun nests of the monastic observatory. Guards flying like rag-dolls in the firelight. All this is in slow-mo. Suddenly the fire of the exploding grenades becomes a blazing phoenix. It flaps its wings, leaving Callie’s memories and zipping over towards Mal, sitting in a lotus position. The view switches to Mal as pictured in the reflection of Salo’s custom shades. The faint image of digital characters streaming across the bottom of his lenses as Fawkes circles Mal’s head in the reflection as if she were swinging a tiny lantern around herself. The camera pulls out to reveal Salo is simultaneously trimming his cuticles with a lethal-looking small hand knife. He suddenly grimaces. Holding out his fingers in front of him.
At the lyric “Rowing is bleeding” the camera switches to Salo view to see a small drop of blood descending the right index finger of his notably pristine hands. It drops in slow-motion onto his designer pants as “it keeps getting dirty but I started out clean” blares over the soundtrack. Grimacing, Salo looks over to see Connor descending the now-lowered ramp of the Black Betty. His mother walking up to him with a beer in her hand. They hug and Connor closes his eyes and smiles as he lays his heads on top of his mother’s hair. He lifts the mug to the rest of the crew, gesturing towards a row of full beer mugs on a nearby table, he lifts his mug and downs the entire beer.
The camera switches to a view up through the emptied beer mug with the colorful pale blue sky of pre-dawn Seattle above it. As the mug is pulled from frame, several colored streaks of light pass overhead, recognizable as the safety lights from passing overhead air traffic. However the streaks take on different hues and colors; green, red, white, yellow and blue. These lights become distinctive looking dragons of their respective colors. They suddenly split like a prism and the sky becomes a digital-readout view of the globe. The lights land in various parts of the globe like 80’s era missile strikes, disappearing into colored circles. This readout shrinks into one square in the upper left of the screen. New squares appear in rhythm with the music, depicting the team members doing various kinds of “research”. Salo hacking whilst eating some brie on a celery stick. Poochy’s machine guns unloading, illuminating Nairt’s grinning face. Callie and Ay interrogating a gangster at gunpoint. Mal and Fawkes chasing a dragon’s tail through astral space. Connor peeling out in Dodge Challenger, tossing a grenade out the window at some pursuing motorcycle thugs. These squares repeat until they eventually fill up the entire screen – they depict old scenes from Season 1, as well as future scenes from this Season. As the theme fades out, the sound of Lotho’s rowing and breathing returns. Suddenly, in three seconds, all of the credits are reversed and the Black Betty flies back in reverse to be over Lotho. There’s a pause as Lotho raises his metal arm to shield his eyes from the lights of the Black Betty’s jets. His arm is hit by a magnetic tow hook. He begins to mouth “oh shit” as the camera switches back to a horizon view, showing Lotho being quickly drawn up into the cargo bay of the Black Betty before she disappears as the music fades.
“Bullet At The Mirror – Season 2 – ‘Rowing’” on the screen.