Debris season 1, episode 2 recap – “You Are Not Alone”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 9, 2021
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Debris season 1, episode 2 recap - "You Are Not Alone"


“You Are Not Alone” proves a fitting title, and the episode has its share of welcome weirdness, but it still feels like it’s missing something.

This recap of Debris season 1, episode 2, “You Are Not Alone”, contains spoilers.

As I slightly lamented in my recap of last week’s odd but not quite weird enough premiere, Debris very much resembles any old network procedural, with the obvious difference being its underlying high-concept premise typical of the creative pedigree behind it. Debris episode 2 has the same case-of-the-week format – this one involves a kind of selective magnetism encasing an entire town in a metallic boundary, with an ill-fated bloke named Eric quite literally at the center of it all – interspersed with slivers of character development and worldbuilding. There’s a bit more weirdness here than there was in the opening installment, but the show still doesn’t seem to realize that the more interesting aspects of the story are to be found in Finola and Bryan’s relationship, their respective backstories, and stuff like the Russians being standardly blamed for everything as part of a cover story.

The Russian thing should matter more, right? Won’t there be an international incident on the back of that? With the debris being a global issue and these inter-agency task forces being tasked with investigating it, have we sort of dissolved national boundaries now? If that’s the case, wouldn’t it really matter if the Russians were being arbitrarily blamed? It’s a throwaway line but it speaks to a larger worldbuilding issue. Debris is in such a hurry to emulate the structure and rhythms that are expected from network TV that it’s forgetting to actually be compelling enough to entice audiences back week on week.

Throughout much of “You Are Not Alone”, Bryan looks longingly and a little guiltily at Finola, obviously knowing more than he’s letting on. Their getting-to-know-you conversations are steeped in familial melodrama, with obvious leading references to Finola’s father. Combine that with Bryan feeding information back to the CIA, and the whole matter of Agency interest in George Jones, and there’s a compelling macro plot being developed in the margins that I worry the show isn’t putting the necessary legwork into developing. When we inevitably reach the point when this stuff matters in the short-term, we might not even care.

It’s obvious from Debris season 1, episode 2 that the show wants, on some level, to be about emotion and human connection, but it feels cold to me. It’s also obvious, or at least likely, that the idea of clones introduced here is something that will be returned to further down the line. You can’t expect any show to give all its answers away immediately, but the drip-feeding of details here is too deliberately ambiguous for my liking, resulting in another episode that feels as though it really wants to lean into its odder aspects but just hasn’t been let off the leash. Maybe next week.

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