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Ashley Magnus, filmed by Zach Spencer

Episode No.   Season
11 1x11 1
Original Air Date
December 19th, 2008
December 22nd, 2008 FlagIcon UK small
Written By
Directed By
Chronological Information
Preceded By
Followed By

"Instinct" is the eleventh episode of the first season of Sanctuary, and the eleventh episode overall in the series.

It is filmed in a unique style, covering the events happening from the perspective of a TV camera.


Dr. Magnus and the Sanctuary team attempt to capture a rare and deadly creature - all under the watchful eye of a local news crew.


Opening Scene

A Channel 13 News team consisting of a meteorologist named Amy Saunders and her camera man name Zach Spencer are dropped off outside a warehouse by Freddy, their camera van driver. Police are currently in the process of trying to set up a perimeter as the pair try to interview a cop not far from a dead body out in the open, but to no luck. After gaining no details about a possible zoological crisis and being told the area is off-limits, the pair ignore the warning and continue to walk around the building until they find an unlocked door (presumably the same door the Sanctuary team used as the camera team passed by their empty parked vehicles; Zach particularly liked Ashley's motorcycle) that gives them access to the inside of the warehouse. Once inside, the two find three dead bodies (one of which shifts on a crate shelf, splattering Amy with blood). All of a sudden, a lot of noises and movements of a strange creature surround the pair, freaking them out.

Act I

As they walk around the corner of an isle, they get pulled over to the side by a worker named Garvin who's hiding by some crates. Garvin tells them to leave and that he'll distract the creature as they make a run for the door at the far end of the building. During the run, Zach accidentally trips and Garvin gets grabbed by the creature, disappearing from view. The insect creature then goes after the camera crew, jumping on Zach. Lucky, Dr. Helen Magnus comes into view, scaring the creature off by hitting it with a sonic weapon (which breaks and becomes completely useless). Dr. Will Zimmerman and Henry Foss aren't far behind. Henry recognizes Amy from her "Weekend Weather Watch with the Fabulous Amy" show.

1x11 The Sanctuary team confronts the news crew

The camera crew follow Magnus, Will, and Henry back over to their temporary set-up area, regrouping with Ashley Magnus who's returning from scouting the warehouse, giving them an update on what she's found; still no sign of the creature, just the three KIA's the journalists came across earlier. Almost immediately, the presence of the camera sets Ashley off, furthering the rest of the team's feeling of being uncomfortable with the situation, including Helen who yells at them to stop filming them and tries to cover up the camera lens. Being that they are part of a news crew, Amy tells the team that they have a right to be there. Ashley blatantly suggests in-front of the camera team that they should tranq them and stuff them in a crate, waking them when they are done. Her mother on the other hand disregards that notion as it'll leave them vulnerable to the creature and concludes that trying to escort them out would just waste time as they won't leave. The team then resigns themselves to the fact that they are stuck with the camera crew until the end of the creature hunt and Dr. Magnus dictates to the crew that if they fail to follow by her rules that they will be left on their own, to which Amy and Zach agree.

1x11 The creature lands in the shock web trap

The teams comes up with a plan to try to capture the creature alive. Ashley is sent out with motion sensor to track it and then agitate it as Henry sets up a electrical shock web trap. When the team is ready for the creature, Helen radios Ashley, who then shoots the creature to make it attack. Ashley then runs back to the group to hide behind a box on a pallet for cover as she continues to pelt the creature with tranqs. At the delay, Magnus radios Ashley, asking "Are you sure?" just before the creature lands in the trap, creating a very bright and loud energy display. Once the trap stops working, to everyone's unhappy surprise, the creature is more resilient than they had originally thought; being able to escape a shock web that delivered 100,000 volts worth of electricity. This leaves the team a little bit off-put at now having to come up with a new plan.

Act II

As the Sanctuary team regroup at their staging table, Amy and Zach are off on the other side of the small area. Zach passes Amy her small bag of makeup supplies to which she takes and starts to clean herself off. As she wipes the blood off her face, she reveals her true intentions to Zach about why they are still sticking around and not leaving. Amy wants to expose the Sanctuary team (about who they) and this creature to the world in order to make a name for herself and to rake in "Brangelina" amounts of money from this story. When the team starts to talk in the background behind them, she tells Zach to capture the footage.

1x11 The team discusses capturing the creature

Will asks Magnus about how they should continue with dealing with the creature, assuming that Magnus still wants to capture it alive. Helen says that she does without more collateral damage if possible, which the other three in the group shake their heads at. However, Ashley in particular feels better that they have a 'Plan B' when Magnus then says that if they need to, they'll kill it if more people die. Henry asks Magnus how they should go about this new plan as Ashley evaluates their gear, ribbing Henry about not using a better shielding on the sonic weapon (which is now broken, again).

1x11 Dr. Magnus after scaring Zach

As the two bicker, Magnus is seen looking around the room at their surroundings. Out of the corner of her eye, she had noticed that the news crew had gone very quite and were focusing on them. Magnus decides to pull a gag on them, suddenly exclaiming "Don't move! Its right behind you!". Zach freaks out, almost dropping the camera as Magnus walks over with a smile to ask them nicely to not eavesdrop on them again. As Magnus turns and walks away, Ashley can be seen grinning in the background as Will and Henry stand there looking annoyed at the journalist and cameraman. Zach really hates Amy for setting him up for the fall.

Now that they have a plan, the team arms up, starting with tranq rounds only, then told to switch to live ammo if it fails to drop the creature. As the camera crew join in, the group of six people splits into two teams to go searching for the creature; Magnus, Will, and Zach go one way while Ashley, Henry, and Amy go the other. At Amy speaking up about keeping the camera recording, Magnus says "absolutely" in case they do have to end up killing it. Zach is then directed to capture as much detailed footage of it's anatomy as possible; "thorax and mandible preferably, also images of its pincers and anterior skeletal protrusions would be very helpful".

Zach runs to keep up with Dr. Magnus and Will, and they eventually slow and start their search through the rows of the warehouse. At Zach asking about the creature, Helen finally address the theoretical name of the creature being "Blattella asahinai sapien", an extremely rare species found on the islands off the coast of Japan and Korea. The creature is supposed to possess physiological attributes dating back to the Paleozoic era, about 150 million years before the dinosaurs. Helen's interest in the creature is that its biological make-up could offer insights into their knowledge of genetic building blocks. Zach brings up the fact that it killed five people to which Helen states that when taken from their natural surroundings, even the most docile creatures will become aggressive, especially when trapped. At Zach's curiosity of how the creature got here if it's from Japan, Helen states that they don't know. She reveals that the Sanctuary got word of someone trying to smuggle a rare abnormal into the country and by the time they got to the warehouse, the creature had already broken loose and attacked people.

1x11 Dr. Magnus gathers a sample of creature fluid

By this point, the group reaches a refrigerated room where the temperature is set to freezing at 32F / 0C degrees. In this room, they find a wooden shipping crate that the creature used to get shipped overseas. As Magnus takes a sample of creature residue dripping off the side of the box, she asks Zach to capture footage of the webbing the creature made on the inside of the crate. Will and Magnus chat back and forth, questioning how it was odd that the creature waited until after to the trip to break out and that it took it's time to create a safe traveling environment. At the sound of a helicopter showing up overhead of the warehouse, Ashley calls her mom over the radio, informing them of recent Police activity: the area is secured and swat is 15 minutes out; that their window to capture the creature is closing. Helen then asks for Ashley to meet them back at engine repair as she has a sample for Henry to run through the mobile lab.

As the two groups converge in an isle on their way back, Ashley informs her mother of a more urgent development: that there is a full tactical unit inbound and that this building will be one of the first they sweep. Helen asks Will how much time they have once the unit arrives and breaches their perimeter. Will estimates 10 minutes tops without any time to screw around, forcing Helen to declare that they go to "Plan 2".

1x11 Ashley, Will, and Magnus

At an almost waist-high table, Will sketches out a diagram flanked on both sides by Ashley and Helen as a helicopter flies above the warehouse. Zach walks by them with the camera as he goes over to look at what Henry is doing at his work station. Amy pulls Zach aside to ask what he found out. Zach tells Amy what he learned of the creature, that it made a nest, is supposedly over than the dinosaurs, and is from Japan. Amy just stares at him, clarifying with annoyance that she wanted to know what he learned about 'them'. Of the Sanctuary team, Zach says that they are, cool, smart, and that the 'blonde one' is totally hot. Amy then get frustrated and calls Zach completely useless, which angers Zach. He rebuffs that comment by saying that he's only a camera tech, not a war correspondent and that Amy should cut him some slack due to the circumstances that they are in. Amy decides to try to calm Zach down, by telling Zach to just follow her lead and watch 'how it is done'.

Amy walks over to Henry and calls him 'Harry', much to Henry's annoyance. Amy then overtly tries to use her 'feminine wiles' on Henry, which he clearly sees coming from mile away and calls her out on it. During the exchange, a pause occurs as Ashley's sudden presence to collect bullet magazines off the desk in front of Henry interrupts Amy trying to sweeten Henry up. After Amy tries to connect with Henry about proving themselves out in the field to their bosses, Henry eventually tells Amy that he's analyzing the organic compound found in the creature's nest to try to find a chemical signature so that they can trace the creature a little more accurately. Amy then tries to get Henry to disclose where the Sanctuary is, and at that point Henry stays tight-lipped and leaves to run over to the group. Zach then laughs at Amy's spectacular fail at trying to gain more information from the team.

1x11 Dr. Magnus tends to Garvin's leg

The camera then cuts to Ashley calling out "Mom!" to bring Helen over into a small mechanics room right next to Henry's station. Inside, Ashley found Garvin laying injured and unconscious, saying that he's alive but not well. Zach identifies the man as the guy who helped them earlier. Helen tends to the large open wound on his leg as Ashley asks Henry how long until the scanner is ready. Henry responds 2 minutes as it's almost done calibrating. Will questions the creature's motive to leave non-fatal wounds to the shoulder and knee, leaving him alive. Helen speculates that the creature maybe didn't want to kill, just disable what it viewed as a threat. Ashley at that point has had it with the creature and declares "Okay, let's stop playing games. Let's take this thing down." As she moves away, Garvin suddenly awakens in a panic. At Will's prompt of questions about the creature, he begins to describe the creature's behavior. The group then get distracted by the creature making noises somewhere out in the building. Helen tells Ashley to stay with Garvin as the rest of the group make their way out to search for the creature using Henry's scanner.

1x11 The group searches for the creature

Footage cuts to the group slowly making their way down an isle, guns drawn as they search for the creature up on the shelves. Henry's scanner is having a hard time locking on to the creature as the nest it made is interfering as well as possible more residue left around the building by the creature. Henry is unable to refine the signal on the fly. At Amy's criticism about how she thought the team knew what they are doing, Dr. Magnus says that they do, redirecting the problem to be about being prepared for the unexpected. Just then, the lights go out, leaving the group in almost pitch dark, giving her a case-in-point perfect example. As they wonder what just happened, Magnus tells Zach to turn on his on-board camera light. When he does, the creature is seen just over Magnus' left shoulder hanging on the to side of the crate shelf waiting for them. Zach and the group freak out as the creature jumps toward then, making the camera go static and cut out.


The camera cuts back on during the resulting firefight as Helen, Henry, and Will shoot at the creature. Helen tells Will to get the camera crew to safety. Once around the end of the isle, Will checks to make sure that the two are alright; Amy is a bit shaken and Zach admits that he almost dropped a deuce on himself when the lights went out. Helen and Henry scare the creature off, winging it with a couple tranqs. Amy thinks that meant the creature was now asleep somewhere, however Magnus believes different, stating that it just made it angrier. Not far away, Will finds a sparking electrical panel on the wall, answering their question about who turned the power off; definitively proving their theory that wasn't the police, as Will knew they they had no reason to as it wasn't a hostage situation. Dr. Magnus then realizes that the creature destroyed the cable intentionally as it sees better in the dark; getting a little upset at their now surprise disadvantage.

1x11 Mechanic's room

Back at the mechanic's room, Helen decides to prep Garvin for transport. As Henry finishes his watch of the door, a now really ticked-off Ashley takes his place. Will on the other hand is being plagued with confusing thoughts of the creature's behavior; the look on his face catches Helen's attention. Will struggles to find a logic pattern, noting that the creature arrived here, killed about six people, but still hasn't broken their perimeter. This leads others of the group to chime in, Ashley agreeing that the creature isn't trying to leave, Will to wonder why 'this' warehouse has been made the creatures turf, and Zach to comment about how it's not tearing through town on some killing spree. Will believes that maybe finding out who sent the creature here in the first place may answer some questions. Helen then sends Ashley, Will, and Zach off to find the warehouse manifest in one of the offices on the other side of the building as Henry and Amy stay behind with her. Henry offers to help Helen with Garvin, to which Helen thanks him.

1x11 Zach asks Ashley out on a date

As the three make their way up the stairs into the office, whether intentional or not, the camera Zach is holding pans down briefly to capture a shot of Ashley's ass. Once inside, Ashley and Will split up to search through files. As Zach asks Ashley what she's looking for, she gets slightly annoyed at all the questions he's distracting her with. Out-of-the-blue, Zach then asks Ashley out on a date. The look of 'are you serious' crosses Ashley's face as Will looks up from the desk he's rifling through to laugh a bit at the put-on-the-spot awkward situation Ashley is now in. As they chat, Ashley doesn't completely shut him down and actually warms up to the idea a bit, giving him a 'raincheck'. Zach is happy about that and then asks if she's a vegetarian to which Ashley shakes her head 'no'. At his asking, it makes her curious as to what he was thinking. She seems interested in his idea of getting Kobe beef stakes.

1x11 Will finds the shipping manifest

Before they can get any further, they get called over by Will who's found something. Matching the shipping tag on the crate they found the chrysalis in, he finds that it was one of two item registered to the Japanese vessel Miyazaki, out of Hokkaido. The other item is listed as a container full of medical supplies. The item does not have have an export company or local receiver listed. It's current location in the warehouse is Section 12. Ashley finds a warehouse map over on the office wall to their right and collects it to take it with them.

1x11 Ashley shoots the lock

Over in the corner of of the warehouse in Section 12 near Loading Bay Door 9, Will, Ashley, and Zach locate the shipping container they are looking for. Will notes the scratch marks on the outside made by the creature. Wondering why the creature wanted in so badly, they decide to open it to find out what it's holding. Ashley puts her 'special lock picking skills' to use as she shoots off the lock in one hit, impressing Zach at her gun's firepower. As they open the container doors, both Ashley and Will are confused by what they see. Inside is a single large plastic case that is being suspended in the center of the shipping container by hydraulic stabilizer arms. Will presses down on the container and as he lets go, the arms re-level the case. To get into the case, Ashley shoots the electromagnetic lock on the outside, which briefly catches fire before going out. Ashley then has Zach hold her flashlight as she and Will lift the top lid off the case.

1x11 Will and Ashley find the embryos

Once the top is removed, 8 large clear cylinders are revealed to be stored inside, surrounded by a smokey coolant vapor. As Will picks up one of the cylinders, for a better look, the group can see that inside each of the 8 cylinders is a very large round green blue developing creature embryo. As Zach gets closer with the camera, the feed starts to cut out.

Act IV

Zach gets the camera to stop cutting out as Will and Ashley continue to discuss the creature and its eggs. They go back and forth about who and how someone captured the creature, not just the eggs, but the mom as well. They deduce that the Cabal were the ones who would know about it and would want to smuggle in such a rare species into the country for their own research that would not be for the common good; that the Cabal found the mother's eggs, and the mother stowed away on-board ship to follow her young out of maternal instinct. Looking at the embryos again, Will doubts that they aren't anywhere near maturity, but Ashley cautions that their cycle may be super fast.

1x11 Ashley being told ''Your mom's weird''

Will then states that Magnus has to see this new cool find, to which a happy Ashley brightly grins and notes that her mother will "light up like it's Christmas morning". Zach then passes judgement on the good Doctor, blurting out "Your mom's weird", making Ashley instantly freeze and give him an incredulous 'look' as Zach stumbles and fails to recover his words. As if on cue, Helen then radios Ashley, turning Ashley's 'look' into more of a glare as she turns away to answer the call. Helen orders her to 'Get back here immediately'. Ashley and the group then exit the container, secure it shut, then make their way through the warehouse towards the others.

Back at the mechanic's room, the camera cuts to Garvin having a seizure, who then subsequently die seconds later. Helen is at a loss as she states his vitals were stable and they were just about to move him to the van when he suddenly went into anaphylactic shock. Frustrated, Will hits a metal cabinet and points out that being attacked by the creature probably left more than just external trauma, making Helen reevaluate all of the symptoms again. It's then obvious to her that the creature as has a neurotoxic venom, making the group, especially Henry, upset to learn that not only is the creature they are hunting a bug, but now it's revealed to be a giant poisonous bug. As the group begin to disperse around the room away from the body, Amy off in the background starts to question her own mortality due to how unexpectedly dangerous this creature is turning out to be. Magnus then chastises her, saying "I'm sorry. Did you think this was some kind of game? That you could just come here and film some wild event, and then, what, enjoy some cocktails at some award ceremony?" Amy then admits that she has never seen anyone die before, to which Magnus responds "Well, this is what you came for" before closing her eyes, knowing all too well the deadly consequences of their work. Zach then turns the camera off.

1x11 Helen comes up with a plan

When the camera turns back on, Will walks over to Magnus and Ashley at a table (now having brought their gear inside the room), demanding to know how to kill the creature. Magnus says that they are still going to capture it alive. As the rest of the group gathers around the table, they undeniably hang their heads at that response and give out a collective sigh of frustration. Ashley speaks up, finally pushing back against her mother, saying "It's time to bring the hammer down, big time". Helen however insists that they don't have to, as all they have to do is let it protect its young. The rest of the group catch on fairly quickly, figuring out that if they leave the embryos exposed, it'll draw the creature into the shipping container. Once inside, all they then have to do is lock the door on it, turning the container into a built-in secure transport for the creature back to the Sanctuary.

The camera then cuts to the group waiting outside the now opened shipping container. Everyone except Ashley is off to the left side hiding behind the end of a shelf isle. Ashley, meanwhile is off to the right side hiding behind a crate, just mere feet from the container. As they wait, annoyingly, Amy and Zach start talking to the team, especially Zach who starts to freak out. All of the noise starts to get Will and Helen mad about their cover possibly being blown, especially when the police radio Ashley is carrying goes off next. Ashley radios over to her mother, stating that they have a problem; they are out of time as SWAT is starting their sweep right now.

1x11 The creature on top of the container

Luckily, right then the creature decides to show, coming down off a wall to walk across the top of the shipping container. When it gets to the open door, it slowly climbs down and walks inside. At this cue, Ashley rushes over to close the container door, quickly meet by the rest of the team to help her. The creature had stuck one of its legs out to try to keep the door open, but after much struggle, the pressure from the door on its limb forces the creature to pull its leg back inside, allowing the group to fully close and secure the door shut. The group then celebrates being able to capture the creature alive, and Helen and Ashley congratulate Henry on his first mission out in the field. The group aren't too worried at the sound of the police arriving until they hear the sounds of gun shots going off. Confused, they leave to go find the source of all the commotion.

When the group arrives back at the other end of the warehouse at engine repair, they find that the entire SWAT team has been massacred; their bodies laying everywhere with bullet casings strewn all around. The group is confused at how the creature could have done this as they just caught it, until they realize that there is a second creature on the loose; a situational update that gets Ashley REALLY mad as she stomps back over towards her mother. The group then struggles to get a good 'fix' on the creature as as it jumps around erratically on crate shelves and the ceiling. This creature is angrier than the first due to them locking up its mate. The creature then jumps on Zach, knocking him over. Ashley comes over to ask if he's alright, to which Zach thanks her helping save him. He then learns that Ashley was serious about going out on a date with him, not just placating him with a 'raincheck'. Just after Ashley tells him that she's going to call him and Zach get's excited about going on a date with her, the happy moment gets cut short as the creature jumps toward the two.

1x11 Zach is dead

Ashley dives out of the way as the creature knocks Zach over again, forcing him to drop the camera. The creature is then seen being shot to death as it moves along the side of a crate shelf. When it finally falls off the shelf, its body hits the camera, spinning it around to focus on Zach laying on the ground, motionless in a puddle of blood, with Dr. Magnus standing a few feet away next to the far wall. Magnus walks over to check Zach's pulse, finding that he has died, and then reaches over to turn off the camera.

1x11 The Sanctuary team listens to Amy

The next scene takes place back at the Old City Sanctuary in regular viewing format, revealing that for this entire episode, the audience as well as the Sanctuary team along with Amy were actually watching the camera footage Zach had recorded being played on a TV monitor in Helen's study. Amy had contacted the Sanctuary to plead her case to get to the footage back, footage that could answer a lot of her bosses' questions about what happened in the warehouse. During this, Ashley, Henry, and Will don't believe her motives to not not air the footage. At being asked why she would help the Sanctuary keep their secret, Amy says that she hopes that they would one day give her a story that she can take to her boss. Magnus gives a smirk and says "If you're looking for a deal or guarantee, you won't get it" as the team then tells her to make it look they were 'never there'. Magnus then hands over the camera drive, and as Amy walks out, Henry stops her to say goodbye. Amy gives him a kiss, stunning everyone in the room, and then exits the room. An excited Henry then turns back to them and says "I'm just saying, chicks love dudes who go on missions. That's awesome!" before following her out the room to presumably escort her out of the building.

1x11 Dr. Magnus leaves Amy a message

We then see Amy in a small closet sized-room on the phone with a guy name 'Jason' telling him to book her an edit suite and to start laying pipe with New York, believing that the footage will blow everyone's minds and that'll it'll be up for tomorrow night's broadcast 'for sure'. Amy then ends the call and reaches into her bag to grab the camera drive and plugs it into the computer station she is sitting at. When the data file starts to play, a surprise message from Dr. Magnus pops up smiling at her: "Nice try. You know the shame of it all is that you'll make a hell of a good reporter... someday. Have a good career." Magnus is then seen cutting the camera off with a remote button. Amy is then left smiling to herself as she knows she just got played, and possibly just screwed her self knowing she has to call Jason back to cancel everything.


Guest Starring

Notable Quotes

ZACH: It looks like a giant cockroach or something.

HELEN: Gorgeous, isn't it?

ZACH: Yeah.

HELEN: The theoretical name is Blattella asahinai sapien, an extremely rare species found on islands off the coast of Japan and Korea.

Background, Notes, and Trivia

  • Of the two Channel 13 News crew members, Amy is the one who forcefully insists on being a part of the creature hunt as she sees this as an opportunity to get her 'big break' in the news world; to go from a meteorologist to an actual news anchor like Bill O'Reilly and Dan Rather. Zach on the other hand is like any normal sane person who just wants to leave well-enough alone and to get out the hell out of there. Throughout the whole episode he constantly complains and questions Amy about wanting to leave, believing it to be a very bad idea. Amy however won't let them go, making Garvin's sacrifice go to waste as she continuously pulls Zach along for the scoop. Amy is therefore responsible for Zach's death. While she admits that he shouldn't have died, she isn't too distraught over it, as in her mind a higher body count will make the story gain more press attention to become national news, and thus tries to profit off his death by requesting the footage from Dr. Magnus.
  • In Act IV, when the group are discussing locking the creature in the shipping container, in the background on the wall between Ashley and Amy is the same map that Ashley had taken earlier from the warehouse office. Presumably, after the ordeal with Garvin dying, Ashley then hung the map on the wall for the group to reference.
  • When Henry and Amy have the following exchange; "Henry, I'm glad you like my show," "Yeah, It's good, you should be proud," "So should you." It may be an inside joke to the fact that they both also worked together on "Battlestar Galactica" (2004).
  • The Sonic weapon that Henry refers to is the same prop used for the ARG (Anti-Replicator Gun) from the Stargate universe.
  • Reference: "Ghostbusters" (1984) - Zach Spencer mentions that the stuff Dr. Helen Magnus is collecting looks like the stuff from Ghostbusters.
  • Reference: "Cloverfield" (2008) - Was an inspiration to the episode's filming style (according to director Steven A. Adelson and writer Damian Kindler).

Media Gallery | Photos and Video

References, External Links, and Websites

  1. Rekha Sharma on The Internet Movie Database
  2. Matty Finochio on The Internet Movie Database
  3. John Tench on The Internet Movie Database
  4. Jason Benson on The Internet Movie Database
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