In which we establish the parallel themes of sacrifice, selfishness, and tentacles…
It would be remiss of me not to own up to inadvertently leaving out something in the last recap: Artie says “Alons-y” when they’re getting into the taxi. That was a fun little moment for me. I half expected some little wink or nudge or something, but that would have spoiled it.
This time out, Pete and Myka get the B plot. I know it’s supposed to be the A plot because it involves the artifact, but that’s not going to wash anymore. The “artifact of the week” being the main driver of the show is out, clearly. Because come on. If it were driving this episode, we’d have more C’thulu! I mean how do you not spend the entire episode on the Ancient Ones and H.P. Lovecraft?
Because it’s not the focus of the show. Beginning with the premiere and continuing into this episode, we are now dealing with parallel themes and arcs – Artie’s and Claudia’s. Which is a shame, too, because… well… Lovecraft! Come on!
Yes, it’s an interesting line of plot – Lovecraft’s evil key of nightmares is being used by a guy in a revenge bit against people he thinks are responsible for his fiancee getting trampled at a baseball game. While it kinda works, it also kinda falls flat because who – in a stadium full of thousands of people – is not going to help a guy reaching out from the floor next to a girl who’s obviously hurt? I just didn’t buy that this guy couldn’t get anyone to help him.
But it is what it is, and it gives us an excuse to see Myka reacting to tentacles all over the place. Phobias can be fun.
The main story – Claudia’s determination to bring Jinx back from the dead – is an obvious setup to parallel Artie’s actions to turn back time and hit the reset button on the whole world losing hope and going to Hell in a handbasket. The crux of it: you see this coming. When Claudia confronts Artie with the reality of what he’s done (even though no one knows yet), he’s got a nice little moral dilemma. Rightly, he points out how misuse of artifacts has always been a Very Bad Thing, offering as examples MacPherson, Sykes, and H.G. Wells.
But hold on. Pete’s mother is back, and she says it’s OK to revive Steve? What?
We’re introducing another wrinkle with this. Jane helps Claudia revive Steve, in a way that almost costs Claudia her own life, but now we find out that Jane lied when she said the regents were OK with this. Turns out, they’re not. So what is this plot thread, and where is it going? Is this indicative of a schism within the regents?
The scenes between Claudia and Steve are really emotional, and it’s clear that Steve has to process this whole “coming back from the dead” thing. But I still question why Claudia is so obsessed with bringing him back. Yes, she’s got abandonment issues. Yes, she spent time in an institution and who know what went on in there… but her emotional arc has been such that I thought she’d matured beyond this emo tomboy from the first time we met her.
It just feels forced that she would want to bring him back this badly. They’re not related. They’re not lovers. They’re not anything that anyone’s established on the show, except besties.
And that raises the question of rationalization for turning back the clock – Artie with the astrolabe, Claudia with the metronome – both acting to reverse a Very Bad Thing, the only difference being the scale of the consequences. Only we don’t yet know what those consequences will be.
Brent Spiner returns as the Templar priest who knows more than he’s letting on. I’m sure of it. And only the fact that Pete interacted with him last week keeps me from wondering if this priest is a figment of Artie’s imagination. Did the astrolabe do something else as it was rolling back 24 hours?
And what of this Eeeeevilll that Data keeps talking about? Something on the order of the French Revolution – where tens of thousands of people were slain. But figure that on a global scale, and now Artie is gored by the horns of the dilemma. Does he undo the 24-hour reset, and thus sacrifice his team? Or does he keep things the way they are and hope this Terrible Evil isn’t something much worse than the entire world losing hope.
So, despite C’thulu getting the short end of the stick, it wasn’t a bad episode. Wasn’t great, because some of the writing was a little hammer-in-your-face, but I attribute that to the writers getting used to the new way of doing things – overall theme/arc instead of “artifact of the week” – and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all of that will fall into place in the next couple of episodes.