Infinite Possibilities I: Daedalus Demands
Written by Carelton Eastlake, directed by Peter Andrikidis
Season 3, Episode 14
Guest Cast: Jack Crichton (Kent McCord), Furlow (Magda Szubanski), Zylar (Patrick Ward)
This two-parter features the crew of Talyn.
Synopsis: The Ancients (from ‘A Human Reaction’) have found a new homeworld, but on their way there they encountered a copy of John’s module flying through an unstable wormhole. The Ancient who appeared to John as his father, Jack, remains behind to find out who is using wormholes and stop them.
He summons John and Talyn and they establish that Furlow (‘Till The Blood Runs Clear’) is the most likely suspect, so they go to Dam-Ba-Da. The planet is ravaged by solar flares. They find that Furlow has built a copy of John’s module and equipped it with a Phase Stabiliser which allows her to travel through unstable wormholes. She recruited a race called the Charrids to help but they have tied her up, taken over the depot and summoned their allies, the Scarrans.
John and Aeryn rescue Furlow, seize the depot from the Charrids and prepare to destroy the wormhole technology. They discover that a Scarran Dreadnought is five arns away and has hacked into Furlow’s computers and uploaded all the wormhole data.
Jack says he can unlock the hidden wormhole knowledge in John’s head and together they can modify the Phase Stabiliser into a weapon which will destroy the Dreadnought. John tells Jack about Harvey and they agree that Harvey must be expelled before the knowledge is unlocked. But when Jack tries to mentally expel the neural clone he is knocked unconscious and it appears that Harvey is now in permanent control of John.
Talyn is caught in a solar flare and is blinded and severely damaged (again!). Crais is also blinded and he and Stark return to Talyn to try and help repairs.
Rygel mans an automated gun turret outside the depot to help repel the Charrids. He is caught in a mortar blast and badly wounded (again!).
Black T: When Jack placed the wormhole knowledge in John’s mind he left a residual link between them, which he uses to summon John. John’s resentment at the Ancients placing of wormhole knowledge in his brain shows, but he doesn’t want to tell Jack about Scorpius at first because he’s afraid Jack may react badly.
You Can Be More: Aeryn is willing to shoot John rather than let Harvey take over completely.
Buckwheat the Sixteenth: ‘Taste this, bloodsucker!’ Rygel tries to fly off in the transport pod and leave John, Crais and Aeryn to die in combat with the Charrids; it’s only Stark threatening him with a gun that forces him to remain. The sick little slug tortures the captured Charrid to death and enjoys it enormously. He’s effective, too, managing to get the defiant critter to spill his guts about the Scarran Dreadnought. When he’s posted by Aeryn to man the gun turret he’s extremely reluctant, but once he’s had a while to get used to it he has a great time. Rygel the Ninth led the charge at the Battle of Katreen; Rygel considers him a fool because Dominars are too important to risk in combat.
The Man In the Iron Mask: Once again he’s getting freaky, thanking Aeryn way too much for the goggles she gives him, and taunting Rygel that she likes him more than the Dominar. Perhaps he’s developing a little crush. After Crais threatened him with a knife it’s nice to see the tables turned, as blind Crais has to put himself in Stark’s hands. Of course since Talyn and Crais are sightless and Stark is monocular it’s demonstrably true that ‘in the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king.’
The Insane Military Commander: Why does Crais come down to Dam-Ba-Da with John and Aeryn? It’s not his fight after all. Could he genuinely consider himself part of the crew and one of the team? He doesn’t exactly have the highest opinion of Stark.
Hi, Harvey: Harvey is becoming more confident—he plucks John from Jack’s mental interrogation, talks to him, suggests Furlow’s involvement and then pops him back to Jack, all without Jack noticing. When he realises John and Jack are about to try and expel him he tries to strike a deal, swearing he’s only interested in survival and not in taking over or getting all the wormhole knowledge from John. John rejects his pleas for co-existence and so Harvey has no choice but to fight for control. When the ‘to be continued...’ caption flashes up it looks like he’s won.
Big Baby: Talyn comes flying to the rescue of Crais, John and Aeryn when they’re pinned down by Charrids even though he knows the solar flares will fry him in the process. He then retreats into the planet’s shadow to recuperate.
The Ballad Of Aeryn And John: They are really loved-up by now. John doesn’t want to return to Earth without Aeryn and she doesn’t want him to either, so maybe she is considering going with him. He is teaching her to read English.
World’s Apart: Dam-Ba-Da has been levelled by the solar flares and is now a barren, uninhabited world. Furlow lied to John about the frequency of the solar flares in order to keep him away so she could pursue wormhole research on her own.
Alien Encounters: 1,000 cycles ago the Charrids invaded Hyneria. They killed billions and ate a million Hynerian young. They were eventually repelled by wave after wave of suicide bombers, millions upon millions of whom were sacrificed. It’s unclear whether the suicide soldiers were volunteers or were forced. The Charrids are allies of the Scarrans. Scarran Dreadnoughts are twice the size of PK Command Carriers. The Ancients are now settled on a new world but they are a ‘dying race’ and could probably not repel an alien attack. Jack cannot read John’s mind deeply enough to tell whether he is lying or not; he can sense approaching solar flares; he is not susceptible to radiation. The Ancients would destroy John and Jack if they knew they were intending to build a wormhole weapon.
Stats: Furlow has piloted her module through an unstable proto-wormhole four times and survived because of the Phase Stabiliser. This is the device Scorpius is trying to build but he still hasn’t managed it, even though he’s got the advantage of the equations from the neural chip and a team of scientists—Furlow must be a frelling genius to do it on her own with the little data John collected.
Logic Leaps: Why did Green T John not answer Jack’s summons as well? Surely both Talyn and Moya could have been expected to turn up.
Bloopers: Furlow’s facial scar changes size and shape alarmingly at a couple of points. Crais may be blinded but why does he not don goggles when next exposed to a solar flare? Just because he can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t further damage his retinas. Even though John and Harvey are riding on a memory of the Coney Island rollercoaster, it seems to be right next to Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Verdict: Carleton Eastlake’s first script for the show is action packed, has lots of nice touches and ends on a superb multiple cliffhanger—Rygel wounded, Talyn and Crais blinded, Jack unconscious, John taken over by Harvey, Aeryn about to shoot him and all the while an invincible Scarran Dreadnought is on the way. The assault on the Dam-Ba-Da depot is amazingly violent and builds John and Aeryn up into a near invincible killing machine—they polish off at least twenty Charrids without breaking a sweat. Furlow’s return is welcome and funny; the new CGI look for the Ancients is so much better than the lamentable puppet; for an episode concerned with wormhole technology the technobabble meter stays low and it’s easy to understand what’s going on. The fantasy sequence with John battling Harvey is great and the funfair setting works well; nice stunt work with them hanging off the roller coaster, too.
Verdict Redux: The Charrids really are useless, aren’t they? I mean, two people basically wipe them out. And they take aaages to pick off a single gun turret. This time around the action felt funny rather than fun, as the ridiculous ease with which Aeryn, John and Rygel pick off the cut-price Predators who obligingly line up to be shot is laughable. The Harvey stuff works very well, and Furlow is good value, but I’m left with a nagging sense of the absurd by the gunfights.
Scott K. Andrews has written episode guides, magazine articles, film and book reviews, comics, audio plays for Big Finish, far too many blogs, some poems you will never read, and three novels for Abaddon. He is, patently, absurd.