“Spaceman” delivers a tense and exciting episode as Finola and Bryan, both on the same page, spring a high-value target from captivity.
This recap of Debris season 1, episode 8, “Spaceman”, contains spoilers.
Debris episode 8 has the vibe of a midseason finale to such an extent that I had to check if it was one — turns out it isn’t, which is perhaps just as well, since the show is as watchable now as it has ever been. It took a while to get here, admittedly, but now Bryan and Finola are finally on the same page and the overarching mystery is beginning to take shape, there is lots to look forward to as things progress.
But anyway, “Spaceman” has an arresting cold open. In it, a woman in a hospital gown flees through some woodland at the foot of a steep, picturesque mountainside, taking shelter in a warehouse where she sees many bodies in bags in neat little rows. The goons guarding the place spot her and give chase, foiling her obvious attempt to hide inside one of the bags. But when she’s discovered she phases right through her would-be captor, Nightcrawler style, and leaves him a little worse for wear.
For once, the mystery of this young woman doesn’t form the bulk of the episode, but instead just one component of it. Most of the attention is devoted to Orbital’s plan to spring George Jones from an INFLUX facility in the Scablands of Washington State. Maddox briefs Finola and Bryan in “Spaceman”, laying out an action plan, but then tells Bryan privately that he wants him to avoid using Finola tactically during the operation so that he can personally ensure Jones doesn’t make it out alive. At the same time, Ferris calls Finola and tells her she has organized for the Orbital convoy to be hijacked after the rescue so that she and her father can be returned to England. As an additional little incentive, she also mentions that Dee Dee has been arrested for drug possession and needs her.
The manipulation is so transparent on all sides that it’s a relief when Finola and Bryan immediately spill the tea to one another. Bryan is still trying to rationalize what Maddox is up to, but Finola is adamant that, whatever happens, she’s going to keep her father safe. Would Debris season 1, episode 8 have been more interesting if they had both attempted to carry out their respective missions? It’s difficult to say, but after several episodes of cagey tight-lipped suspicion, it’s just nice to see them both on the same page.
As the Orbital team drives through the Scablands, the girl from the cold open phases through Bryan and Finola’s car. Everyone pulls over and she hides in plain sight, but Bryan is able to uncover her by tossing some dirt in her direction. She has no memory, and debris surgically implanted in her skin which is making her atoms vibrate fast enough to render her invisible. The graft suggests she’s supposed to be able to control the effect, but no such luck. She reveals that INFLUX has indeed been experimenting on her and others, and she recognises Anson Ash, though not George. As they part ways, the girl says she doesn’t know where the ball of light is, as if in response to someone asking her, even though nobody did. Weird. According to Finola, one of Eric’s clones in the second episode said something similar. It’s all starting to come together.
Bryan, Finola, and the rest of the Orbital team find the lab and begin the raid, discovering labs full of chalkboards dense with equations in George’s handwriting. They’re close. Shortly after stumbling on other test subjects fastened to gurneys they also find that ball of light in a control room, but whoever’s tending to it flees upon noticing the intrusion and ends up being shot dead, along with several other INFLUX guards. Finola is grazed in the firefight, but it doesn’t slow her down, and in a tense, fast-paced sequence, she finds her father in a little dorm. A standoff ensues between her, Bryan, and two Orbital soldiers, but they’re able to shoot their way free. With no witnesses left alive, Finola suggests that Bryan tells Maddox George was never there, so after returning to the facility to destroy all the surveillance, he does exactly that.
Shortly after, Finola gets a call from Dee Dee telling her that Ferris has been manipulating and spying on her all this time; Finola tells her to leave her phone behind and hide. With all this lying and hush-hush behaviour on every side, Finola asks George the obvious question: How is he alive? He thinks he was reanimated, which apparently can only be done to a person once, and they went in through his eye, which is now ruined and has potentially damaged his hippocampus (the bridge between short and long-term memory, as he puts it.)
Obviously, this makes for a bit of an issue in Debris season 1, episode 8, since while George remembers that INFLUX is actively seeking a very dangerous, game-changing piece of debris, he can’t remember what it actually does. He does recall, though, that they needed him to build them a device that would allow them to locate it, and he thinks he did enough work to allow them to finish building it without him. The good news is that he can build it again, allowing Bryan and Finola to track the same piece of debris.
“Spaceman” at least allows Finola and George a long-overdue heart-to-heart. While she knows how important is work is, she laments the fact he couldn’t make more time for her, and he apologizes for not being the father she needed. But he also rightly points out that this is about more than just the two of them now. This alien technology has the power to save humanity — but it also has the power to destroy it.
Things end with Finola making a power play, letting Ferris know she has George, but confronting her about using Dee Dee to manipulate her and insisting that she won’t be handing her father over to anyone. While this is occurring, George troubles the motel receptionist for some aluminium foil and slips underneath it like a blanket. Now, what’s all that about?