Lost in New York City

Episode 3 of NBC’s new show Believe is such a prime example for sloppy and cheap continuity and location management that it’s hard to believe (ha!) how this hot mess even got past any quality control. But then again, given how much this reeks of a low budget, there likely was no quality control to speak of anyway. The episode’s actually quite entertaining, which makes these glaring mistakes even worse, especially since they could all have been avoided with a little more care.

In this episode, Bo and Tate arrive in Manhattan. In one of the opening shots, we can already see where this is going as there’s a security guard slowing down traffic visible in the scene. This (very cute) scene was filmed at 535 Park Avenue.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

After a sequence where William Tate steals some lady’s purse, him and Bo are walking down a street at a casual pace talking about stuff. They stop near a canopy reading “The Rembrandt 31 Jane Street“, which is an apartment building in the Far West Village. How they even got there and what they are doing at this location is a mystery alright, but it gets worse.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

We get treated to several other scenes without them before they finally enter a house at 450 West End Avenue. We know that because that’s exactly the same house they’ll leave later on. The Feds have them “narrowed down to a 20 block radius”, and two Fed dudes are “en route to the Upper East Side”. Although we know they aren’t there anymore, this is at least somewhat consistent with the opening shot since according to the Feds, they were seen “19 minutes ago at the corner of 63rd Street and Park walking north” which is just three blocks away from (and indeed north of) the opening scene. But weren’t they just at 31 Jane Street, which is far to the southwest of Manhattan? Man, this location stuff sure is confusing!

All in all, considering the slow pace at which Tate and Bo moved, how bad the weather was and also considering they are looking for an address they have never been to before in a metropolis unknown to them, without money for a cab or the subway, this route is absolutely impossible within the time frame.

After a sequence inside 450 West End Avenue, they are back on the street, once more talking about not stealing stuff. The feds now have them “isolated in a 40-block radius”, which could as well mean “we lost them”.

Now Winter talks to Nina in a flashback, but that’s not what we care about. The Feds and the police start coordinating the manhunt. Bo and daddy continue walking and we can briefly see a street sign reading “W 114 St” in the background. It’s probably of little surprise to anyone, but that’s nowhere near 450 West End Avenue.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

The scene starts at the corner of W 114th & Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. They walk past the Mt. Neboh Baptist Church and enter the Abelard appartment building at 1855 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd next door.

Picture (c) Google
Picture (c) Google

After some lengthy sequences inside the apartment and at Winter’s headquarters, the police arrives at their “safe” house. Through a window, Bo can see the fuzz talking to the lady they passed on their way inside the apartment building. It’s pretty damn clear this part was filmed elsewhere as the buildings and the sidewalk look entirely different.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Not without issues, the two escape to a back alley and emerge at the corner of St Nicholas Avenue & W 115th St, which is for once consistent with where they are supposed to be. Surely this means they are getting back on track now, right?

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Now, they have “an hour to kill”. They set off to pawn the necklace Tate stole from the lady in 450 West End Avenue, but after meeting the lady’s long lost son in the pawn shop, they decide to give the necklace back to her. How nice of them! And thanks to Winter and his GPS, we know that they are somewhere around E Houston St, which is located in Lower Manhattan, miles away from 450 West End Avenue. Remember they only have an hour and they already had to get to the pawn shop? Doesn’t look like they are going to make it on time!

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Meanwhile, the Feds have gotten closer than they might think: Agent Ferrel has just arrived outside 470 West End Avenue in front of the Mickey Mantle School, as is obvious from the oddly shaped building in the background. That’s pretty damn close to home!

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) Google
Picture (c) Google

Bo, Tate and the lady’s son are walking down a street and arrive at 450 West End Avenue. The street they are walking down has a lot of snow and is likely not even remotely close to where they are supposed to be, but when they arrive at their destination, there’s no snow at all and the weather’s noticeably less sunny.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Now, we get to the most interesting part of the episode: the chase sequence. And it’s at this point that the location warping and continuity get completely out of hand.

Bo and her daddy leave the house at 450 West End Avenue and are walking south.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

(By the way, if you check out 410 West End Avenue on Google Street View you can clearly see equipment trailers from a film crew being parked there. Sadly, it’s not the Believe crew, as the Street View picture is from 2011.)

Although they just went a few steps to the south and stop as soon as they see a cop walk towards them …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… they are now at 422 West End Avenue – there is a partial sign reading “Chiropractic” in a window in the upper left corner of the picture which belongs to “Chalfin Family Chiropractic”.

Picture (c) Google
Picture (c) Google

Well, at least they are still walking in the right direction. As they turn around, there’s another cop behind them, and suddenly, they are back at 450 West End Avenue and don’t seem to have moved all that much:

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

The cops corner them, Tate gets his face smashed on the patrol car’s windshield, and suddenly, they are at 318 Somewhere Street (I have no idea where exactly, but certainly not on West End Avenue!) as is obvious from the house number that’s clearly visible above Bo after the camera moves towards her.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

After a quick flashback with a cheap CGI explosion, the cops check Tate’s wallet and put him into the patrol car. While he’s being moved, the scene still shows the same background with house 318 …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… but as soon as the view changes to the back seat of the car next to Tate, the house outside is noticeably different. It now has an air condition unit which was clearly not there before, and both the fence and the color of the house are also different.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

As soon as Bo enters the car, however, she must have used her psychic powers to alter the environment as we are back at house 318.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

And right after the next cut, we’re back at the house with the air condition unit, and for some reason, the patrol car must have moved slightly backwards as well.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

We’ll get back to the massive location warping in just a second, but there was something else in that scene that felt … off:

“Here, run this I.D.”, the cop says and swipes Tate’s fake driver’s license.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Am I just imagining things or did they really misspell “Server” as “Sever” on their cheap-o mockup user interface? It’s a bit hard to see, but if they did, I would not be entirely surprised.

“Got a hit!”, smart Fed dude yells. “Fugitive in custody, 86th and Park!”

Seriously? That’s not even close to where they are. Also, suddenly there’s loads of snow everywhere.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

We’re back in the patrol car and Bo’s being removed from it. Looks like we’re outside house 318 for a moment. Note that there’s almost no snow on the streets.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

As Bo is led around the patrol car, there’s no-one watching the scene, and two cars are passing by …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… or maybe it was the other way around?

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Cop’s gun goes bust, off they run, only to get chased by the Feds. The law emerges from underneath a “Claudio Pizzeria Ristorante” canopy …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… which is located at 43th & 10th Avenue, nowhere near 86th & Park where Bo and Tate were supposedly taken into custody. But maybe they can still get them if they run really, really fast?

Well, I can’t explain how it happened unless they omitted a few minutes of frantic running for pacing reasons or something, but the Feds stop our fugitives at 320 West End Avenue – a cool 40 blocks north of Claudios.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

The two run away into W 75th Street, where we get a shot of a bored security guy as a bonus – and notice the severe lack of snow …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… while Winter is stuck in traffic, and by the looks of it, the weather outside is frightful. Brr!

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Winter’s got to run for it.

Now, all hell breaks loose. The Feds are hot on their tail, the snow goes missing once again, but they can finally meet up with Winter. The three of them now enter the Cathedral Parkway/110th St subway station located at 2828 Broadway. Of course, that’s nowhere near W 75th Street but maybe they all found a warp zone or ran really, really fast.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

As they run down the stairs there must have been another warp zone because they are now in the Spring Street station which is halfway across town.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Since a steel cage is blocking the entrance, they must have swiped their (or more likely Winter’s) MetroCard like the law-abiding citizens they all are. The Feds are dumb enough to get stopped by cheap VFX. Out of thin air, the E line train materializes and they embark on a journey to parts unknown.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Wait a second, did I say “E line”? I might have mixed that up with the “G line” …

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

… although that line serves Queens and Brooklyn, not Manhattan. Also, the E line doesn’t stop on 110th St – that’s the 1 line only, as stated correctly on the subway station entrance sign. Oh well. But in the end, they could really have saved themselves the trip because after another flashback scene, they exit the train and walk down another subway station.

Picture (c) NBC
Picture (c) NBC

Oh man, they really all look the same, don’t they?

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