We got a lot of information about the pasts of our amnesiac crew this week. By having Five wander the memories she’s got downloaded into her brain. Of course, there’s one she likes better than the others, and we get to hear all about how wallowing in the past is dangerous.
As always, I apologize for being MIA for the last few episodes. A series of minor disasters and one major one (Comic-Con) got in the way of recapping the show. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s happened:
Episode Four: Four is a crown prince who is suspected of killing his emperor father and throwing the whole system into chaos. Meanwhile, One ran into himself and they ruled out clone in favor of incredibly thorough and invasive surgery to take his place on the Raza. Meanwhile, the Raza got run off the space station before finishing the repairs, Two and Five lost the ship’s remaining money in a casino, One and Three lost the guns to the real(?) One, and Three covered for One.
Episode Five: David Hewlett wore this shirt:
Which Two was surprisingly immune to and healed from a zombie bite very quickly. Bet that’s going to be super plot relevant.
So, on to Episode Six!
David Hewlett wore this robe:
I would like to volunteer to have my hand chopped off (left, obviously. I’m not crazy) so that we never have to watch any pseudo-romantic scenes between One and Two ever again. I hate this subplot. One is massively improved by giving him a lot of screen time with Three — only ever let One interact with Three and he actually isn’t annoying. They’ve got great odd-couple chemistry. But hearing Two tell one she won’t sleep with him because there might be “complications” and having One be all happy about it because “complications” is “feelings” and maybe “love” is so obnoxious I kind of longed for death.
I love Two a lot. Please end this awful romance.
In the main plot, Five has jury-rigged a mind probe so that she can try to pull up everyone else’s memories, which she experiences as both a dream and a near heart-attack. For the sake of pronoun logic — which is a mess, since Five acts out all the memories, even when they’re not her own — I’m going to use the pronoun of whoever’s memory she’s in.
Her first memory is of Four, sparring as a young boy in front of his father, the emperor of the space samurai culture. Sigh, it’s always space samurai. Because swords in space are cool, but katanas in space are cooler.
Young Four goes easy on the other boy, and so his father beats him into being better. Five goes to tell Four the memory, and Four tells Five to basically get over emotional reactions to the memories.
Second memory is of Four’s half-brother — which appears to be the boy from the first memory — being exiled by a proclamation Four’s father signed as Four. Because ... his father wants people to be afraid of him so he’ll be a better ruler. Someone’s been reading The Prince a little too literally.
Four forces his way to his father’s sickbed, does a Varsity Blues-style “I don’t want your life” speech. Only to find the emperor dead, killed by his half-brother’s mother. So Four will be executed and the exiled brother will rule. Four fights his way out of the palace, while the stress of the memory gets Five stuck in dream-memory state.
Sidenote: Unfortunately for Four, he’s more animated when Jodelle Ferland (Five) plays him than he’s ever allowed to be in the present. I do get that a lot of trauma happened that changed Four, but when you’ve got the double-whammy of having a different actor play that part and a completely different personality, it’s hard to believe that the memories and the Four we’ve met are actually the same person.
The third memory is actually Five’s! Whose name is Das, and was a pickpocket in an Oliver Twist-style gang. Das pickpocketed a guy and ended up with the key we actually saw last week — part of a network that opens up a portal straight to hammerspace — and that guy killed everyone in her makeshift home. Except for her and another kid, whose name is pointless since we know he dies because he’s the corpse from episode three. They stowaway on the Raza as a way to flee.
Five’s brain is disconnecting from her body, and her organs are shutting down. One epic technobabble later and Six has gone into Five’s brain to get her out.
Unfortunately for Six, he first ends up in one of his own memories, where he’s a rebel of some kind stealing a destroyer from the Galactic Authority. Six of the past is very optimistic that their actions will open people’s eyes to corruption. But, oops!, the leaders of the insurrection also had them unknowingly leave behind a bomb and kill 10,000 people. So he... kills everyone from his cell and tries to commit suicide. But fails. That’s when Five manages to get out of the memory.
Next jump, and Six meets up with Five in a barn. Five says this memory’s “perfect” — there’s food, two parents who love “him,” and skating every day on the pond. It’s probably One’s since neither of them believe the happy farm life is Three’s. Five wants her body put in stasis and to just stay in this memory. Five tells her that she’s dying and she’s got no control in here. And he reminds her that at some point something bad happens that puts One on the ship. There’s no avoiding that fate, but there is a chance at forging your own destiny in the real world.
Of the entire cast, Roger Cross as Six is the most natural. I feel like he’s a real person every time he’s on screen. He almost sticks out because everyone else is acting so hard. Acting in a very fun, tropey way, but still acting. It’s in the strained chemistry (No, I’m not going to shut up about One and Two), overly quippy lines (Three), weird trances/insights (Five), stoic silence punctuated with statements about “honor” (Four), and technobabble (the android). Six is the only one whom I feel is written like a actual person. And Cross sells it all. I felt for Six when he was stuck in the doctor’s office two weeks ago and I felt for him in the memory this week. It’s why he gets away with the speech about choice, fate, and the real world. If I had had to listen to One’s preachy ass give it, I would have been pretty annoyed.
Epilogue time: Five tells Four that he didn’t kill his father, the Empress did. And she says that he can put it behind him, you know, like he told her to do with the memories? Except, irony attack, he is not okay with finding out that he didn’t do what he’s accused of and what set him on this path. He just sort of storms out.
Also not letting shit go? Six, who ends up watching a report on the “General” who manipulated him into killing all those people.
We’re almost halfway through the season, and we’re getting a pretty solid answer to the question of whether you can just start over as a new person: No, because fuck those people I can’t remember. Neither Four nor Six actually remember being wronged, but they cannot let it go after learning about it through Five.
We learned a lot about Four, Five, and Six this week. I really appreciate a show that doesn’t string us along forever on that. And we know a bit more about One — in that he’s not really the face he wears — and I bet anything that Three’s not carrying around a giant mystery. He’s just a guy who likes money and shooting things, which is nice. But we know nothing about Two’s history. She’s the leader and she’s mostly quite good at it. But we don’t have any hints about her past.
Other dangling threads are: how did Five go from being airlocked by Three (he caught her in her memory of being a stowaway) to being in the stasis pod? No, seriously, who the fuck is One? And what’s going to happen with the real Jace Corso who is wandering around? I actually want to know the answers to these questions, which is great. It’s hard to create mysteries that are engaging and not frustrating.
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