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#203 : ... Et la lumière

Titre VO : Ascent - Part 2

Suite à l'accident, Walt est dans le coma. Johnny a une vision de son enterrement et décide alors de pénètrer dans son esprit pour tenter de le sauver en le détournant de la lumière blanche. Il réalise que Walt est persuadé d'être la cinquième roue du carosse et un obstacle entre Sarah et Johnny.


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NB : Michael Piller avait demandé à Jack Nicholson jouer l'homme incarnant la Mort, mais celui-ci était pris par la promotion du film "Mr Smith".

contributions : titite 


(Walt and Sarah walk home after seeing a movie. It's a rainy, romantic evening. Both seem bound and determined to enjoy a rare date night.)


SARAH: (not at all convincing) That was good.


WALT: (not convinced) Okay.


SARAH: What? I liked it. It won't be winning Oscars, but it was a diverting hour and a half.


WALT: We could've seen that Italian film.


SARAH: Oh no. Two hours of trying to read dark subtitles on a dark background? I hate that.


WALT: Actually, I'm the one who hates that.


SARAH: Fine. Next time, it's an Ingmar Bergman double feature for you.


(They walk along in silence for a moment, but there's tension. Walt senses something's wrong but he can't put his finger on it… but it's been out there for a few weeks now, that feeling… he's embarrassed, even afraid to bring it up but he has to…)


WALT: You gonna tell me what's going on?


SARAH: Nothing's going on.


WALT: You pick a movie starring The Rock for us to go to and you don't think something's going on…


(He stops and looks at her and then away… studying lights of the village… this isn't easy for him…)


WALT: Or the dozens of other little things. Like the surprise lunch dates in the middle of the week. And watching an entire football game with me and J-J…


SARAH: Well, I'm sorry. I'll try to make more time to ignore you both.


WALT: …At the same time, the evening phone calls with Johnny Smith suddenly end…


SARAH: I had to marry a cop.


(She takes a beat to frame an explanation, an honest dishonest one she can live with.)


SARAH: We're taking time. Trying to figure out how we fit into each other's lives… or if we even do.


WALT: Funny cause right now, it seems to me you're trying awfully hard to figure out how you fit into our life.


(And this is an achingly low moment. Walt studies her… and a dozen responses rush through her mind in a fraction of a second… including telling him the whole truth… but it's moot anyway because before she can answer, the familiar buzz of his cell phone breaks the spell…)


WALT: (into cell phone) Bannerman. Yeah? Yeah.


WALT (CONT'D): I'll be there.


(Walt hangs up his cell phone. He really didn't need an interruption right now. But he has a job to do.)


WALT: You had to marry a cop.


(Walt gives Sarah a kiss. It's a bit of an awkward moment for both of them.)


WALT: We're not done.


SARAH: (smiles) You've got a conversation raincheck.


(Walt gives Sarah the umbrella, puts the collar up on his coat and runs into the rain. Sarah's light-hearted smile fades.)




(Johnny is at work in his "Armageddon Command Center." He has the computer on to a search engine about Sonny Elliman… we can see his picture displayed…)


JOHNNY: (reading) '…became an aide to Greg Stillson following a career in the military…' The military, what branch of the military…?


(Johnny catches himself.)


JOHNNY: Okay… talking to myself. That's bad. Monologues. Visions of Armageddon. Obsessive internet searches. The trifecta of mental health warning signs.


(Johnny self-consciously closes a half dozen windows on his computer…)


JOHNNY: Sleep would be good.


(Johnny turns off his computer. His phone rings. He glances at the clock and frowns. It's two in the morning.)


JOHNNY: (answering with his caller i-d) You're up late, Walt. (Listens for a beat) I know exactly where it is. I'm on my way. (Hangs up)


(Johnny pulls a cloth cover over his bulletin board, covering it from prying eyes. Again, he can't help but see the humor in the way he's acting.)


JOHNNY: And there's the paranoia.




JOHNNY: And I'm still talking to myself.




(The rain has stopped, but the ominous dark clouds promise more to come. Walt's cruiser is parked next to an abandoned SUV on the side of a rural road. Johnny joins Walt, using his cane to balance on the loose gravel surface. An older local man in a filthy quilted jacket, Edgar, searches the area with two baying bloodhounds. Several other squad cars are nearby and we can hear the voices of people scouring the woods.)


JOHNNY: (to Walt) So when the dogs fail, you call me?


EDGAR: It's not their fault. They got skunked the other day.


(Walt's not in a joking mood. And we may notice he's not friendly good-old-boy Walt toward Johnny as he carries the memory of his interrupted conversation with Sarah during the early going here… until the job at hand takes priority…)


WALT: This is Tom Hirsch's SUV. He left the house this morning with his brother Doug and their girlfriends.


(Johnny touches the driver's door handle of the SUV, gets nothing… moves back to the rear door and as he reaches in and touches the latch…)



(Johnny stands observing as the four teens unload gear from the rear of the vehicle. Tom Hirsch, a jock in a Cleaves Mills letterman jacket; Doug, Tom's younger brother, fresh-faced and likeable; Erin, Tom's girlfriend, a cheerleader type; and Kate, Doug's girlfriend, cute, smart, a serious student.)


TOM: I used to come out here years ago when I was little… you're not going to believe this place…


(Laughing, Tom exits the SUV. Johnny spins just in time to let him pass. Johnny turns to watch the four teens head off into the woods, with Tom and Erin the ringleaders and Doug and Kate more cautious. They're carrying a couple of six packs, blankets, and flashlights.)




(Johnny heads into the woods.)


JOHNNY: This way.


(Walt and Edgar follow him.)




(Johnny pauses to get his bearings… reaches down to touch the ground… and in … the ghosts of the kids walk by in the woods…)




(Johnny leads the way for the others… And then, slowly appearing through a break in the trees…)




(A looming rock ridge with a black gaping entrance. Discarded machinery, faded metal trespassing signs and a broken chain fence ineffectually bar the entrance. An appropriate music cue suggests strange and eerie things lie ahead. Johnny pauses as he considers the ominous sight. And we don't have to see what he sees as he stares at it and says…)


JOHNNY: They went in. They haven't left.


(Walt has never been here before…)


WALT: This a coal mine?


JOHNNY: Highsmith Copper Mine.


WALT: You know this place?


(Johnny looks grim.)


JOHNNY: You could say that. (Beat) I own it.


(And on this, we…)










(As they move up the hill toward the entrance…)


JOHNNY: My grandfather owned it, ran it. Copper pennies were still a staple in the thirties.


WALT: Did the vein run out?


JOHNNY: I guess. There were accidents. (Still checking walls) I got into a lot of trouble when my dad caught me up here with a girl once…


(Johnny regrets saying it as soon as it comes out of his mouth because that girl was Sarah and Walt is no fool, he can figure it out. The both decide to ignore the obvious. Edgar moves to enter the mine, but his dogs refuse to go, kicking up a loud fuss. They seem scared.)


EDGAR: Now they're spooked.


WALT: (to Edgar) Head back and tell Roscoe to call Terry Collier at County Search & Rescue.


(Edgar heads back the way they came. Johnny and Walt tentatively enter the abandoned mine, Walt shining a high powered flashlight. A draft of wind from the depths of the mine ruffles Johnny's hair. A whisper seems to drift past. It's almost as though the mine is breathing.)


WALT: Tom Hirsch! Anyone here?


(Walt's voice echoes -- "Anybody here… here… here." But there's no human response. Walt frowns, looks to Johnny as they move inside…)




(As they move in deeper, Johnny walks around the entrance, touching the walls and support beams, trying to pick up something on the kids. Johnny touches a beam and…)




(The ghostly four teens walk by him. One of the girls, Kate, balances herself on the same beam Johnny just touched.)


DOUG: Oh man. This is just like the Indiana Jones ride at Disney Land.


(Tom puts his arm around Erin, trying to cop a feel. They kiss. And their images disappear…)




(He moves in the direction the kids were going… Walt follows… but as they take a few steps… Johnny suddenly hears something odd… heavy, trudging footsteps coming toward them… a lot of them, dozens maybe… he reacts…)


JOHNNY: You hear that?


WALT: Hear what?


(Johnny grabs the flashlight and shines it down the left branch of a Y intersection of tunnels… Nothing there… and the light seems to halt the sound of the trudging army briefly… but as he shines the light away from that tunnel, the footsteps begin again… and now Johnny looks over to the dark space in the tunnel without shining the light back there… and reacts as he sees…)




(Something is materializing. Johnny stares. Angle on left branch, the darkness has eyes. Pairs of disembodied eyes seem to be drifting towards Johnny. It's eery as hell. And then ancient worklights strung along the shaft wall GLOW into life, revealing: A line of miners trudging out of the left fork. Boneweary. Dirty-faced. And, somehow, silently accusing. Angle on right branch: Simultaneously, the teens go down the right fork with a flashlight leading the way. Their laughter is in stark contrast to the miners' grim silence. Angle on fork: These two lines criss-cross each other in an eery Busby Berkeley-esque cascade of people entering and exiting the mine shaft. Johnny stands stock-still in the middle. To Johnny's surprise, a grim-faced miner with bright blue eyes looks right at him. This is Eli. And from his expression, he doesn't like what he sees.)


ELI: (nodding) Mister Smith.


(Eli walks by. A second young miner, about 20, (Stengel) with a distinctive scar under his right eye glares at Johnny as do the rest of the miners as they file past, anger smoldering in their eyes.)




(Johnny looks off balance for a second.)


JOHNNY: This mine seems to know me by name.


WALT: What's that supposed to mean?


JOHNNY: Wish I knew.


(Johnny motions for Walt to follow him down the right fork, the path the kids took.)




(Johnny and Walt walk until a huge pile of rubble blocks their way.)


WALT: This cave-in looks recent.


(Johnny looks up at the ceiling then bends down to touch the rubble…)




(Reverse motion as all the rocks rain upwards to the ceiling, as the kids scream, scatter to cover, followed by a flash of gas exploding, Johnny's vision speeding him to the cause of the flash… Tom about to light a joint…)




(Johnny reacts.)


JOHNNY: Natural gas explosion. The kids're alive but they're separated.


(Walt takes that in, realizing their job is only getting more difficult. A sudden rumble sends more dirt and rocks raining down from the ceiling. Johnny and Walt scramble to get out of the way.)


WALT: That explosion probably destabilized this whole place.


(Johnny looks around the mine. He feels it looking back. Again, it seems to breathe…)


JOHNNY: Yeah. It's awake alright.


WALT: We gotta get Search and Rescue in here.


(Walt tries his walkie-talkie, it's useless underground. The two men reluctantly head out of the mine. Johnny pauses as he sees seventy-five year old message carved into a wood beam. It says: death of John Smith. Off Walt's reaction…)


JOHNNY: My grandfather's name was John Smith.




(Johnny and Walt emerge from the woods. The gravel parking lot is now swarming with activity. The search and rescue team is unloading their gear from a yellow County EMT truck.)


COLLIER: Sheriff?


(Terry Collier, head of the Search & Rescue team, is midforties, lean and hard… he's been in some tough scrapes… (think Robert Shaw in "Jaws")…)


WALT: Four teenagers. Two male, two female.


COLLIER: And a six pack I'd bet.


WALT: John Smith. Terry Collier, Search and Rescue.


COLLIER: (studies him curiously) John Smith, yeah, heard about you. The old man John Smith closed this mine after the big cave-in of '49.


JOHNNY: I was named for him.


(With an import…)


COLLIER: You know, they wrote songs about that day. (Off Johnny's curious reaction) Don't suppose they ever sang them at your house. (To Walt) I knew some of the kids who lost fathers down in there.


WALT: You got gas pockets down there… unstable ceilings…


COLLIER: They've been blasting the east face for Sunbird's new ski trails and this rain's probably made the whole place unstable. (To his men) Let's put up some temp supports. We're gonna need helmets, climbing harnesses, lights and a portable gas monitor.


(Collier's men get busy collecting their gear. Gene Purdy moves over.)


PURDY: There are some very worried parents waiting for any kind of news at all…


WALT: (to Johnny) You mind talking to them? I'll give Collier a hand…


(Johnny acknowledges and moves off with Purdy…)


PURDY: I've arranged to bring portable heaters, food and coffee for everyone… when the reporters get here, I'll have our people give them regular briefings so you and Walt don't have to worry about them…


(This is a lot of time, money and effort Purdy is putting together… and it surprises Johnny a little…)


JOHNNY: The Faith Heritage Alliance in action…


PURDY: I promised you my support, didn't I?


PURDY (CONT'D): The truth is when anything like this hits our community, we're often the first relief on the scene… I've known a lot of these folks for years…


(They reach the distraught families and friends of the lost teens… who look with desperate eyes… hoping against hope for good news…)


PURDY: Johnny, this is Sam and Marie Hirsch… Tom and Doug's parents…


(And this happens very fast: as Sam shake hands with Johnny, Johnny gets a…)




(Lost and wandering in the darkness, hungry, cold, and completely disoriented from the lack of light…)





PURDY (CONT'D): Paul and Dorothy Salkowe, Erin's mom and dad…


(He shakes hands with Paul Salkowe and gets a…)




(Huddled close together in the dark cavern… she's tending to his wounded arm with a makeshift bandage…)





PURDY (CONT'D): …and Maggie Tyner, Kate's mom…


(She shakes Johnny's hand and we see…)




(Kate, not wearing a heavy jacket, is in a tunnel filling up with water and she's shivering and cold…)





PURDY (CONT'D): I think you've all heard of Johnny Smith. He has some very encouraging news to report.


JOHNNY: There was a cave-in and they're trapped but I don't believe any of them were seriously injured.


(Relief sweeps across the faces…)


JOHNNY (CONT'D): We don't know exactly where they are yet…


PURDY: The rescue team is preparing to go in now.


MR. HIRSCH: But if they don't know where they are…


JOHNNY: I think I can help the search teams find them.


MRS. TYNER: My Kate, she didn't want to take her winter jacket. She was mad I wouldn't buy her a new one. We had a big fight when she was leaving…


(She begins to cry and this could be a long story. Purdy taking charge, to free Johnny, comforts her…)


PURDY: Maggie, I'm sure the Sheriff and Mr. Smith are doing everything in their power to find her. But if they're going to have success, we need to let them go about their business now. Thank-you, Johnny. (Leading the parents away) I've got some volunteers setting up a tent where you can stay warm and dry while…


(But he's interrupted as one parent turns back to Johnny…)


MR. HIRSCH: Mr. Smith. Just tell us that our children are going to get out okay.


(Johnny doesn't know, hasn't seen that future, at least not yet. All he can say is :)


JOHNNY: We'll try to reach them as soon as possible.


(The families move away with Purdy as Johnny considers their pain for a beat…)


DANA (O.S.): Amazing what a decent guy he can be sometimes.


(He turns to see her… (And for the actors: Johnny hasn't been calling Dana for dates for a couple of weeks now so there's a vague subtext here but it's not something they would address under these circumstances.))


JOHNNY: Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing…


DANA: I almost believe it has nothing to do with those personal liability lawyers - all six of them - meeting at Alliance Headquarters right now. (Off his reaction) This mine was part of the Vera Smith Trust willed to Faith Heritage.


JOHNNY: He's worried about being sued.


DANA: The airline company is always your best friend after the plane goes down.


(Dana sees how exhausted Johnny is.)


DANA (CONT'D): You okay?


JOHNNY: Yeah. I just saw some things … in the mine.


DANA: (concerned) About the kids…?


JOHNNY: No. From a long time ago. (Beat) The mine was one of those things we never mentioned around the table when my grandfather came to Sunday night dinners. I knew some miners died in there… but somehow I knew not to ask questions…


DANA: What'd you'd see in there…?


JOHNNY: (beat) Just think maybe it's time I asked some of those questions I never asked at supper.


DANA: I'll check out the history. County records. See what I can find.


JOHNNY: Thanks.


DANA: Anything for a friend.


(And that's not just a throwaway, it's a reminder. He gets the message, nods.)




(Who is toting cables and what-not toward the opening of the mine. He is already dirty and sweaty but dedicated as he turns to see Sarah moving beside him…)


SARAH: Hey… I thought you might like some hot coffee. Of course that was before I came and saw Reverend Purdy had moved the county fair up here…


WALT: Thanks, I'll take your coffee over his any day.


(She pours it for him…)


SARAH: It's scary in there, huh? (Walt grins, shrugs) I was up here once when I was these kids' age…


(Which echoes back for Walt to Johnny's line about his dad catching him up here with a girl…


WALT: (covering) Yeah?


(Johnny moves over… thin layer of tension between them all…)


JOHNNY: Hey, Sarah.


SARAH: Johnny. (Beat to fill dead air) Want some coffee?


JOHNNY: Thanks anyway. The caffeine makes the visions run at fast forward.


COLLIER: We're about ready, Walt.


(Walt acknowledges. Kisses Sarah on the cheek… Johnny and Walt move toward the opening…)




(They both stop and turn…)


SARAH: Be careful in there.


(The two men in her life nod an acknowledgement and disappear into the darkness…)










(Johnny, Walt, Collier, and the two rescue team members search the mines. They're deeper in, following the rails of an old mining cart track. Flashlights, lanterns, and helmet lights are the only source of illumination. A vision voice yells in his ear, scaring the shit out of him…)




(Sound only :)


MINER'S VOICE: Fire in the hole!


(Johnny hears a huge explosion that seems to rock the mine for him. Johnny struggles to keep his balance…)





WALT: You okay?


JOHNNY: Yeah. Just walking on some old footsteps in here…


COLLIER: (casual throwaway, not even looking at Johnny) More like walking on a graveyard.


(Johnny takes off his helmet and wipes off his forehead. They've been at this a while.)


COLLIER: (to his team) I need this post reinforced before we go any further.


(Collier taps the helmet in Johnny's hand.)


COLLIER: Wear it. I don't intend to let this mine take any more souls.


(As Collier's men put on protective headgear, working quickly to reinforce the beam, the others take a break. Johnny sits down on the rail… and as he does, he hears a squeak. It sounds like fingernails on a blackboard. He turns his flashlight up the rail toward the sound…)




(Suddenly, out of the darkness an ore cart comes barreling down the rail straight for them… Johnny stands…)


JOHNNY: Look out!


(He's a dead man. But the ore cart runs right through him and flickers away… it was only a vision…)




(They stare at Johnny… who's embarrassed… tries to explain…)


JOHNNY: A vision. From the past. Old ore cart coming down the…


(Johnny glances up at Collier's men who are still working to stabilize the beams… reacts as he sees…)




(Their faces are covered with protective gear. But their eyes are unmistakably the eyes of the miners (One should be Stengel, with the distinctive scar below the eye). Accusing. Hating.)




(Johnny …tracks… as Collier's men go back to work…)


WALT: Maybe you'd be better off up top, this time. You've already done more than enough…


COLLIER: (re: the cane) The terrain's gonna get tougher on that leg too.


JOHNNY: I'm here 'til we find them.


COLLIER: Suit yourself. (To his men) We about ready to move on?


(We hear the familiar squeak -- as of fingernails on a blackboard… Johnny reacts, another vision… but this time Collier and Walt hear it too…)


COLLIER: What's that?


JOHNNY: You hear that?


WALT: A squeak like…


JOHNNY: It wasn't the past…




JOHNNY: It wasn't the past! Get out of the way…!


(Over the last line, a metal ore cart barrels at Johnny just as before. Ceiling-high sparks fly from its wheels. The workers barely clear the tracks as the cart zooms past and smashes into the dead end wall.)


JOHNNY (CONT'D): (beat, finishing the thought) It was the future.


WALT: Must not have been secured.


JOHNNY: (curious) And it just happened to fall today… after fifty years…?


COLLIER: All our hammering must've shaken it loose is all. (Glances at Johnny) Or maybe the mine just doesn't like you, son!


(He laughs deep in his chest… trudges forward… Johnny glances at Walt…)




(As they climb down… (Note: remember Quint's monologue about the USS Indianapolis and the shark attack in Jaws? This is Collier's version.))


JOHNNY: How many died here, Collier? Before they shut down the mine?


COLLIER: One here, one there… over the years… union had been after John Smith on safety protocols for years… (Beat) But then, in March of forty-nine… well, they were trying for a new production record… Thirty-one miners - over twice the usual crew number - were in the Four Cross Cut North section. At about eight that night, fire broke out. In a matter of minutes, smoke and lethal gases had filled the whole section. (Beat) The miners tried to break through a wall but water flooded the haulage way. They were trapped. Only one choice for each man: death by drowning or poison gas. Twenty-one went under the water. Nine died from burning lungs.


COLLIER: The mine let one go to tell the story. Met him once or twice. Named Stengel. Like the baseball manager. Used to live over in Trimbull.


(Suddenly, a huge colony of bats explodes at them from a hidden hole, disturbed by the light. Johnny and Walt, along with the other rescue workers, are literally pelted with bats and in the fracas, Johnny drops and loses his cane (as the show continues, his leg will show fatigue.) The men shout and wave the bats away. But in the flurry, Johnny waves off a bat and gets…)




(A lightning-fast bat's aerial POV zips deeper into the tunnels… We swoop through the tunnels in a dizzyingly fast continuous shot, winding down through a hole, whooshing through a tunnel, diving down a shaft, and finally coming to…)




(Tom and Erin are huddled close together, exhausted and afraid as they wait for rescue. As the bat P.O.V. heads straight for them, they start frantically swatting at the bats. The vision ends as…)




(He reacts…)


JOHNNY: This way.




(The kids are in exactly the same position as they were in Johnny's vision. But, now we see that they're at the bottom of a crevice. Tom has his shirt wrapped around his burnt arm.)


WALT (O.S.): (calling) Tom? Erin? Can you hear us?


(The kids look up and see Walt and Johnny at the lip of the crevice.)


ERIN: We're down here!


(They move to her and immediately tend to their immediate physical needs, wrapping her in a blanket, checking Tom's burns.)


ERIN: We ran from the cave-in and then we were falling.


TOM: (looking around) Did you find Doug and Kate?


JOHNNY: Not yet.


ERIN: It's our fault. They didn't wanna come.


COLLIER: (to his men) Okay, get these two to the surface… maybe the others aren't too far away…


(As the men help the two kids climb out…)




(They move deeper into the mine… turn into a new compartment that seems to breathe again…)


WALT: (to Johnny) Anything?


(Johnny touches the walls… Ramp to his face as Voices whisper to him, easing from conversational to accusatory.)


MINER'S VOICES: Morning, Mr. Smith… Die John Smith… Blood for blood, Mr. Smith…


(A dark heavy drop DRIPS down on his face from the ceiling. Johnny wipes it away and looks at his hand…)



(More blood drips down onto his face from the ceiling. Johnny looks around. There's blood trickling down from several cracks in the ceiling.)




(He snaps out of the vision. And a drop drips on his face. With a horrifying sense of premonition, he wipes his face. His hand is wet and, although it's reddish, the liquid is just water. Dirty water.)


JOHNNY: Water…


(Johnny looks up and sees the ceiling dripping.)


JOHNNY: (softly) We need to get out of here.


(Walt and Collier spot the new leaks from the ceiling. There is a soft ominous crack. They start to run…)




(As the ceiling collapses behind them… water filling the tunnel, a thunderous wall of water sweeping toward them…)





COLLIER: Clip onto something and hang on! Wait for it to drain!


(He clips his harness to a pipe…)




(They try to do the same but they're not quite as expert… Johnny’s clip attaches to something just as… The water reaches them… sweeping Walt away who hasn't locked in yet… Johnny grabs his hand and holds on for dear life as the water cascades over them…)




(The water rushes into an old mine shaft turning the end of the tunnel into a deadly waterfall. And this all happens very fast :)




(It pulls at them…)




(Their eyes meet as they hold their breath…)




(He steels himself trying to hold on… but… reacts as he sees…)




(The pipe is coming apart at a seam from the water pressure…)




(They react, look to…)




(Who watches in horror as…)




(As he hangs on to Walt, Collier is swept away, sucked down into the water into the darkness…)




(As the water finally drains… they gasp for air… Walt is able to hold onto a rock now… looks behind him…)


WALT: Where's Collier?


JOHNNY: He's gone.


(Johnny exchanges a look with Walt.)










(The other rescue workers have returned with Tom and Erin who are reuniting with their parents as they're moved into ambulances… there are more reporters now, Dana among them, photographers and cameramen taking pictures… asking questions like 'did you see the other two?', 'what was it like down there?', 'were you scared?'… As the ambulances close and drive off… move to find…)



(She’s cupping a warm cup of coffee in her hands staring at the entrance to the mine, worried, and hoping to see some sign of Walt and Johnny… but there's nothing… Dana studies her a beat, moves over…)


DANA: (a greeting) Mrs. Bannerman.


SARAH: (evenly) Dana.


DANA: The wife of a Sheriff must spend a lot of nights worried about her husband's safety.


SARAH: (savvy) Does that compassionate tone in your voice come naturally or do they teach it in journalism school?


DANA: (shrugs) People are interested.


SARAH: (not about to allow an interview) Sorry but I like to keep my private life private…


DANA: (measured) Yes. We know.


DANA (CONT'D): (beat, Sarah gives her a look) So, off the record, whose face do you see first when you imagine them coming out of the mine -- Johnny or Walt?


SARAH: Go to hell.


(Sarah moves away… Dana studies her a beat…)


DANA: (to herself) I'm sorry I said that. No, you're not. Yes, I am. No, you're not.


(Then as she senses movement at the mine entrance… They turn to see…)




(And Johnny is the first one out, walking slowly… soaking wet and exhausted… Sarah reacts… Resume mine entrance and a fraction of a beat later, here comes Walt… Various reactions as the parents look for some sign of their children… Purdy… Sarah… Dana…)


DANA: Jesus, where's Collier?


(A pall is cast over the site…)


WALT: I better go call Terry's wife. I don't want her turning on WPOV and finding out her husband's dead.


(Johnny acknowledges… Walt moves away toward the rescue team to tell them about Collier… his tired eyes meet Sarah's… she smiles with relief… he takes her arm as they walk… and he tells her what happened. (Most of the reporters follow Walt for information.) Purdy moves to Johnny… handing Johnny a mug of soup which he drinks with appreciation… Purdy was close enough to overhear Walt's speech and is stunned by the news…)


PURDY: Terry Collier… with the search team?


JOHNNY: (shakes his head) Ceiling collapsed. He's not coming back.


(Purdy sighs deeply. He is sincerely saddened by this news, he nods slowly…)


PURDY: The other children?


JOHNNY: Still not sure where they are. I couldn't pick up any traces…


(Purdy acknowledges, moves to the opening of the mine to say a silent prayer… by now, Dana has moved over…)


DANA: I don't know if this will help but I found an old map of the mine at the County Assessors Office…


(She pulls it out of her large tote bag… as Johnny takes it from her, unfolding it… we do a 180 degree turn and find…)




(At the entrance to the mine, Johnny, standing in for his own grandfather, age 50, refers to the exact same map as he confers with Eli, with dubious miners around them… again, notable among them is Stengel, the man with the distinctive scar below his eye…)


ELI: Four Cross Cut North, Mr. Smith?


JOHNNY/GRANDPA: That's where my geologists say the copper is.


ELI: Give us another week to shore it up before we start blasting.


JOHNNY/GRANDPA: And miss the production record? It'll be fine, Eli. Four Cross Cut North. We start tonight.


MRS. TYNER: Mr. Smith…


(Incongruously, Kate's mother appears in the vision… Grandpa John turns to her but it's just a momentary transition of split reality to take us back to…)




(As he reacts to…)


MRS. TYNER: My daughter…?


(Johnny turns to see…)




(Johnny in the foreground, still holding the map, sees Kate in a compartment with water rising. Incongruously, Eli, anger in his eyes, is standing beside him as he was in the other vision. Johnny watches Kate shiver as she watches the many steady trickles of water filling the mine. She's only got a pocket of air. It's terrifying.)


KATE: Help me! Somebody help me!


(And all visions end…)




(As he reacts… understanding…)


JOHNNY: Four Cross Cut North. She's trapped in Four Cross Cut North.




(Walt is hanging up the mobile phone on an emergency vehicle… Sarah is with him…)


SARAH: How's Erika?


WALT: She said Terry was on the night shift. She didn't even know he'd been called to a scene.


SARAH: Oh god.


WALT: She made me talk about nothing while she could get it under control. Her kids were right there.


SARAH: Promise me I'll never get that phone call.


(Johnny arrives…)


JOHNNY: We've got to go back in, Walt.


WALT: (shakes his head) I called in an experienced mine rescue team. Same guys who saved those miners in Pennsylvania. They can be here in three hours.


JOHNNY: We can't wait that long.


WALT: Let me guess - you had a vision. Well, this time so did I. I saw a good man killed down there.


WALT (CONT'D): Terry's crew wasn't trained for this. It was my call to go in. and now I'm making another one. We wait.


JOHNNY: Kate Tyner is in the Four Cross Cut North section. It's filling up with water. She's not going to last three hours… or even two.


(Walt glances over at Maggie at the warming tent. She's watching them both with wide, hopeful eyes.)


JOHNNY: There's still time.


(Walt sees the map clutched in Johnny's hands.)


WALT: Is that a map of the mine?


JOHNNY: I think it shows a way around the collapsed area.


WALT: Let me see.


(Johnny hands Walt the map. As they touch…)




(Johnny and Walt feeling their way through a half-collapsed shaft. Every surface is water-slicked and slippery. There is something distinctive about this particular shaft: an abandoned ore cart, number 47… {Something that Johnny and Walt can recognize later} There's a rumble; it sounds like thunder.)




(As he reacts…)




(Johnny's view of Walt is blotted out by a rain of boulders.)





(Johnny himself is struck in the head… and he goes down. And the ceiling collapses completely by a falling beam.)




(Johnny snaps out of his vision. Sarah sees his face and already knows it's bad.)


SARAH: What?


JOHNNY: We were buried in a cave-in.


WALT: You sure you're not seeing some cave-in from the past…?


JOHNNY: (certain) This one's the future. Our future.


SARAH: Then you can't go back in there.


(A beat. Johnny knows how dangerous it is going to be… but this is now a matter of lives in the balance: theirs, the girl's.)


JOHNNY: The chamber I saw has an abandoned ore cart, number 47… if we see that cart in time, we have a chance to avoid the cave-in… (Beat) But if we don't go, Kate dies for sure.


(There's a silent moment between the three of them. Sarah looks at Johnny and Walt both. She knows what they're going to do. It's the kind of men they are. Walt makes his decision; the one a man like him always has to make.)


WALT: You better get some dry clothes on.


(A tear runs down Sarah's cheek. She hugs Walt tightly. He holds her. Johnny stands there a beat. Then walks away alone back up the hill toward the mine.)




(Johnny and Walt work their way through the tunnels, using the old map as a guide, always cautious about each turn. Walt's mind lingering back with Sarah and the hug…)


WALT: ('That sure is…') Something, huh…?




WALT: Today, she's got one guy too many. Tomorrow, maybe none at all.


JOHNNY: Doesn't help to think like that, Walt.


WALT: Got to think like that. A husband and a father has to. I'm asking myself here - is the insurance paid, will it cover the mortgage…


JOHNNY: Yeah… I understand…


WALT: And don't think I'm not asking myself what happens if you make it and I don't... and I'm not at all happy about that possibility, you know?


JOHNNY: Walt, this is going to turn out okay.


WALT: You've had another vision?


JOHNNY: No. Just your basic empty promise.


WALT: (beat) You afraid of dying, John?


JOHNNY: Me? Me, I think I'm on bonus time as it is.


(Some dust shifts down from the ceiling... they flash their lights around looking for the familiar signature that threatens… it isn't this chamber… they look to the map again…)


JOHNNY: This way.


(They turn a corner.)


WALT: I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of not being there though. For them. To help, you know, in the tough times. To tell J-J what he needs to know about girls. To fix the TV set when she can't figure out how to make the remotes work.


JOHNNY: You do that? Can you come over to my house when this is over?


WALT: The truth is you were always a better match for Sarah…


JOHNNY: Walt, she loves you.


WALT: And she loves you. And I'm just trying to figure out how John Wayne would deal with Randolph Scott in this situation.


JOHNNY: (puzzled) We obviously like different kinds of movies.


WALT: There. See? That's another thing you have going for you with her.


JOHNNY: You underestimate yourself, Walt.


WALT: (laughs) She tells me the same thing all the time.




WALT: It's one of my best qualities, she says. Modesty.


JOHNNY: I agree with her.


WALT: It makes me feel like a pussy.


JOHNNY: Hey, if it works for the lady…


WALT: She seems distracted lately, you know? I noticed she hasn't been calling you as much.


JOHNNY: Yeah, well…


WALT: That scares the hell out of me.




WALT: Sometimes I think I'm smothering her, you know, there's such a thing as loving someone too much… driving them away… so I try to tune it down… but I don't want to be too distant. This may surprise you… but before Sarah… I really didn't have luck with the girls, you know. Why the hell am I telling you all this?


WALT (CONT'D): You're the guy who's causing me all this grief.


JOHNNY: Would John Wayne talk to Randolph Scott like this?


WALT: Yeah. Just before one of them dies.


JOHNNY: John Wayne never dies.


WALT: Not true. The Cowboys, Reap the Wild Wind…


JOHNNY: You've seen every John Wayne movie.


WALT: You betcha. The Duke.




(Johnny and Walt reach a four-way intersection. For a second, they're not sure which way to go, but something catches Walt's eye. It's an abandoned flashlight. As Johnny picks it up…)




(Cold and scared in the dark…)




(Who reacts…)


JOHNNY: It's Doug Hirsch's flashlight. This way.


WALT: (calling out) Doug!


(The men rush down the corridor…)




(Doug is lost in the darkness, hungry, cold, and completely disoriented from the lack of light. But he hears Walt calling out to him.)


DOUG: Here! I'm here.


(Doug finally sees a sliver of light. It grows brighter as Walt and Johnny approach.)


WALT: You all right?


(Doug shields his eyes.)


DOUG: I lost my flashlight in the cave-in. I couldn't see where to go. (Shaky with relief) I didn't think anybody was coming.


WALT: We have your brother and Erin…


JOHNNY: Have you heard Kate's voice…


(He looks at a side tunnel.)


DOUG: I thought I heard her down this way… come on, we've got find her…


(Doug leads them in the direction he thought he heard the voice…)




(Walt with one flashlight leading the way… Doug between them… Then Johnny…)


DOUG: Kate?


(The voice echoes without an answer… as he ducks down to get through a low passageway and comes into a new chamber… and as he does, his light flashes… Walt sees it first, reacts… instantly yells… as the ceiling rumbles…)


WALT: John. Back!


(And pushes Johnny and Doug out of the way… just as…)




(…the ceiling collapses on Walt…)




(Dust everywhere. It's pitch black. As our eyes adjust to the dim light, we see clouds of dust hanging in the air. Johnny moves back into the cavern to find Walt. He's partially pinned under the rubble. He's lost his helmet and his head is bleeding. He does not look good.)


WALT: I … changed the future.


JOHNNY: Yeah, you did, man. Stay still.


(Johnny tends to Walt as best he can. He takes out his med kit and tries to stop Walt's bleeding head wound. Doug helps Johnny clear away the debris trapping Walt. Doug finds Walt's smashed walkie-talkie. Johnny tries to get a signal, but it's beyond repair.)


JOHNNY: Damn. (To Walt) We gotta get you out of here.


WALT: Go. Find Kate. It's okay.


(Walt's in pain… but he forces himself to stay focused.)


WALT: (re: Kate) There's still time.


(Johnny decides Walt's right… Johnny finds the flashlight, puts his hardhat back on…)


JOHNNY: (to Doug) Keep him awake and talking.


(Walt looks to Johnny.)


WALT: Hey, Pilgrim. (Beat) Take care of our family.


JOHNNY: That's your job … and you're gonna be doing it for a long, long time.


(Johnny moves into the darkness of the mine… as we…)










(Johnny moves alone through the mine. He comes to passageway marked in ancient letters: 4XCN.)


JOHNNY: Four Cross Cut North.


(The old wooden posts creak as the earth shifts. Water drips. And the air continues to move through the mine in pulses, like breaths… As he braces his hand against rails along the way, he hears the voices of the men who died here…)


ELI'S VOICE; Company orders. We blast.


(Johnny walks in the darkness… one step, another… then hears (sound only) :)


MINER'S VOICE: Fire in the hole!


(The mine shakes with the sound of an explosion… Johnny turns to see…)




(Johnny in the foreground as the smoke seems to sweep over him and then disappear… the last face he sees before it all fades away is Stengel's… with the distinctive scar below the eye…)




(He’s walking… still hearing voices…)


BLACK MINER'S VOICE: Break through the wall… it's our only chance…


(Johnny moving through the darkness… hears the sounds of the men trying to cut through the wall… and now ahead he sees…)




(Johnny again in the foreground as they yell… and it quickly disappears… leaving him in darkness… but one last voice echoes through…)


ELI'S VOICE: Die John Smith!


(Johnny's eyes narrow.)




(Johnny turns a corner and sees a frightening sight. The tunnel just disappears into a mirror-still body of water… Johnny removes his coat. He grabs a glow stick, snaps it on.)


JOHNNY: (psyching himself up) You'll find air. This place loves you. (Beat) You're talking to yourself again.


(Johnny wades into the water. It's freezing. He takes deep, lung-expanding breaths and then… Dives in.)




(Johnny swims through the murky blackness. It's spooky as hell. There's no light, no sunshine to guide you to the top. In fact, it's hard to tell which way is up. Johnny feels along one side of the tunnel to keep himself oriented. The glow stick provides only a weak flickering beam of light. He passes through a low passageway that is covered with water…)




(And then his head breaks the water's surface. But, it's only a small air pocket at the top of the tunnel.)


JOHNNY: Kate?!


(The only sound comes from water lapping against the edges of the cavern. Johnny treads water to stay afloat as his eyes, adjust … Johnny reaches out to the one of the white spots and touches… He gasps in surprise. In fact… Johnny is surrounded by human bones and pieces of skeletons. They float in the water and litter the shelves of rock nearby. And he has disturbed their long slumber. They clack together, almost as if they're speaking a long-forgotten language. There's a lot of them, they seem to be crowding the water, pushing him back down under the surface. (Think of Marion "attacked" by the skeletons in raiders of the lost ark).)




(As Johnny struggles to find his way back up, his hands brush the bones and suddenly, he's not alone in the murky water. His visions come to every life (Note: Stengel should not be among the dead).)





(As he sees a dirty-faced miner eyes wide open in death staring at him underwater… arms floating as though reaching toward Johnny…)





(Another dead wide-eyed black miner seems to be reaching out for him…)





(Eli, wide-eyed in death, seems to reach for him…)




(as he bursts above the water… gasping for air, very close to being drowned… grabbing for anything at all… hands slipping on bones… there is no way out above the water line… so his only choice is five back down below…)




(Swimming below the bones… toward another low passageway completely covered in water… he goes through it…)




(Kate is wedged into a corner, looking desperate as the water level rises, higher and higher. Suddenly, right in front of her, Johnny breaks the surface of the water, gasping for air. Kate screams in surprise, but then she reaches out for him.)


KATE: Oh, thank-god…


(Johnny comforts her as best he can in the cramped space.)


JOHNNY: Are you hurt?


KATE: I can't feel my fingers or toes.


JOHNNY: This water's pretty cold.


(Johnny reaches out and rubs her hands briskly with his own.)


KATE: Is Doug okay? We were with his brother…


JOHNNY: They're all fine. Just waiting for you a couple of passages over…


KATE: Is someone coming for us?


(Johnny and Kate both have to tip their heads up to keep breathing and talking.)


JOHNNY: Kate, we're gonna have to swim out.


KATE: (scared to death) No, I can't. We'll die.


JOHNNY: I know where to go. It's not far…




JOHNNY: Take my hand…


(She does… he smiles… because he sees a better future for her now…)


KATE: (off his smile) What…


JOHNNY: You know who I am, Kate? My name is John Smith.


KATE: (beat) The guy who sees things?


JOHNNY: Yeah. And I'm telling you it's gonna be okay.


(She looks at him, curiously.)


JOHNNY: It's gonna be okay.


(She almost smiles. Not quite.)


JOHNNY: Take some really deep breaths and swim with slow, steady kicks. Got it?


KATE: Okay. Don't let go.


(Johnny starts taking deep breaths. Kate follows suit.)


JOHNNY: One … two … three … and go.


(Johnny and Kate dive down under the black inky water … As we pull back from the blackness, we suddenly see that it’s now the dark gaping entrance to the mine :)




(Johnny emerges from the mine with the kids… they're carrying a plank to which an unconscious Walt is tied with makeshift strips of clothing…)


ROSCOE: It's them.


JOHNNY: (exhausted) We need help here!


(The rescue workers rush forward…)




(Several yards away, starts to smile, then sees Walt… and now panic begins to rise…)




(She drops her coffee and begins to run toward the mine… With Johnny as she runs toward them… rescue workers are wrapping the kids in blankets… moving them toward the ambulances… flurry of activity…)


SARAH: Walt?


(But he's not moving, barely breathing… medics tend to him immediately… she's in their way…)


SARAH: Please… I need to… Walt…


EMT: Would somebody look after her?


(And as Johnny pulls her gently away…)




(For support in a matching cut at Walt's funeral… looking into his casket…)





EMT (to his men) Get me a backboard, a neck brace and monitoring equipment.


JOHNNY: The cave in. He saw it first. Pushed us out of the way. He couldn't get out in time.


(Sarah collapses in tears in Johnny's arms. And then pushes him away in anger as though she knows it's wrong to be in his arms. Dana sees this… and so does… Purdy but he turns his attention to the happier reunion of the kids and their parents by the ambulances…)




(Medics still working on him (on the plank that's now on the ground)… photographers moving in…)


EMT: People, I need you to clear this area, please!


(Johnny follows the orders, moves a few yards out of the way… watching them work furiously on Walt… Sarah refuses to leave Walt's side… watches with unbelieving eyes… As we watches this, Johnny's eyes are caught by…)




(Holding Kate tight… she looks over the girl's shoulder with tears in her eyes. And there's someone else in Johnny's view too… a very old man in his seventies… standing alone a few yards away… watching the tragic events unfold at the mine entrance…)




(He reacts as he begins to recognize something about this guy…)




(He has a distinctive scar under his eye…)


JOHNNY: Mr. Stengel?


(The old man turns to see Johnny next to him…)


STENGEL: How do you know my name?


JOHNNY: My name is John Smith. You used to work for my grandfather. (Eyes narrow) I wonder if you could help me find some of the families of the men who worked here.


(Stengel looks at him curiously and in time they will talk more, but for us, all we need to understand is that Johnny is going to reach out to these victims of his family's past, that he cares in a way his grandfather never did… there's a wide gap to be bridged between an old miner and the Smith Family and it cannot all happen in this moment. But we sense this is the first step in a long process. For now, there's too much going on, primarily…)





EMT: Let's go, blood pressure's dropping, he's crashing.


(In the background Purdy addresses reporters…)


PURDY: We intend to permanently seal this mine after our work here is done. This will never happen again.


(He stops as he sees the ambulance backing up to the backboard. The EMT is bagging him with an oxygen bag as they move him to the vehicle.)


EMT: Get him inside.


(The Paramedics load Walt in the ambulance. Sarah running alongside the backboard…)


SARAH: I want to come with him.


EMT: I'm sorry. We need the room to work.


SARAH: But I'm his wife.


EMT: Ma'am, we'll meet you at the hospital…


(The paramedics close the door and the ambulance roars off. She's helpless to do anything but watch the ambulance disappear in the distance. He's helpless to do anything but watch Sarah as her heart breaks. And on this, we…)







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