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Debris - Earthshine - Review

2 Apr 2021

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In the Fringe-y-ist episode yet, Debris sidesteps the case of the week format for a more serialized episode, as INFLUX takes bold steps in causing terrorist attacks by using two pieces of debris to make wormholes!

Finola and Bryan are also still a bit at odds after last week's episode revealing to Finola that not only is her father possibly alive, but that Bryan and the CIA know about it and have kept it a secret. Bryan and Finola also quarreled about how to handle last week's case, in which Finola went behind Bryan's back and found a way to save the farmers from death.

Bryan notices Finola's behavior and thinks it's only about the differences in how they went about the case. Finola, whose more distant or sad than angry, basically lets Bryan believe this and tries to brush it off, but the way events happen in the episode, the two characters don't spend a lot of time together (well, not a lot of time emotionally bonding) and Finola's ongoing strife is kept at distance from everyone else, except perhaps her M16 handler, Agent Pryia Ferris.

When the Orbital team arrives in Boston to find a bus full of dead passengers that originated from New Jersey, it doesn't take long to find the one almost-survivor, who was murdered. Skin and hair samples were taken from the victim and it becomes clear that there is only one possibility as who could behind the event or experiment, none other than INFLUX.

The Oribital team quickly come to realize that the alleged leader of INFLUX has been spotted in New York, prompting the team to go there, while also surmising that much bigger wormhole is going to be created! Bryan also remembers that there was one piece of debris that was stolen in Germany and used in China that may possibly do this sort of thing, but when he goes to look up the case file, it's missing and Agent Maddox shrugs it off as no big deal and that he'll look into it. Finola talks about this with her handler as well, and it is also missing on their end too. Finola almost looses her cool, but Agent Ferris reminds her that M16 has secrets their keeping from the Americans too...

In the meantime they almost apprehend another INFLUX agent, who was willing to die for the cause, but not before telling the Oribital agents that, "This technology shall be free."

But suddenly Agent Ferris calls hers back not too long after. She tells Finola she was able to get the missing case file video footage and that it was on it's way to her. Sure enough just a few seconds after Finola gets off her phone an unmarked van pulls up with none other than a mysterious new character who happens to casually mention to Finola, 'Your father is not a clone.' before pulling away after handing her a small flash drive.

Seemingly stunned and keeping that other information to herself, Finola shows Bryan the video footage and figures out that they need conductors to make this work and are going to use specific type of buildings, only four, to do this.

In a dramatic conclusion the team splits up and begins to look for signs of INFLUX or debris at these four locations. And of course, Finola's team finds one and are able to contain it, and Bryan's has the other, but INFLUX is still there and Bryan's technical partner gets shot! He has to carry the agent to the area with the Debris and she has to talk Bryan through a series of procedures that basically inactivates the debris! They were a success!

Finola walking on the streets is found by INFLUX's alleged leader who grabs her and grins from ear to ear and tells her, "You have your father's eyes." At that moment the INFLUX agent is tackled by ground agents of the Oribital team and taken into CIA custody. When agent Maddox approaches Finola later at the end of the episode and asks her if INFLUX's leader had said anything, she chooses not to tell him.

Finola also gets a text and video from her sister, who called her earlier in the episode asking about a Spanish song they used to sing and dance to. The video shows the two girls when they were younger dancing to the song, but in a last mysterious plot twist, the INFLUX agent whose sitting quite a way of ways in the CIA vehicle, somehow can hear this and is singing along...(Did he plant a microphone on her or some other kind of tech?)

Over all this was an excellent episode full of deeper mythology, new mysteries, and some of the story starting to really come together, especially when we look at Agent Maddox' role in INFLUX being able to take this bold new step and with the likes of Sebastian Roche's character debuting in the episode.  I just can't wait for next week!

The Fringe Factor:

So as mentioned in previous reviews, it's been pretty clear that INFLUX is basically Debris' version of Fringe's ZFT, a terrorist group that is experimenting with advance technology causing terrorist attacks. 

In Fringe's case, we come to learn that ZFT was headed by David Robert Jones, a brilliant man who once worked for the infamous William Bell, but was fired. Jones took Bell's rules of ethics and twisted it into a manifesto to suit his needs, but it's over all agenda wasn't revealed until the end of season one, where viewers learn that one reason Jones and ZFT are conducting all of this horrible experiments is to open a portal to parallel universe, one where William Bell somehow came to reside! 

It's unclear if Debris wants to get into parallel universes considering we're allegedly dealing with "alien" technology, or if this is truly INFLUX's mandate, but given what the one BALD agent told the  Orbital characters before taking his own life, it appears that INFLUX's goals are about "freeing" the technology and not about one man's revenge, but still we don't know to what end or what "freeing" really means to them.  Yes the reason, I highlighted those words was because the bald head seemed to be a nice callback to the Observers, Fringe's "alien-like" characters who turn out to be advanced home-grown humans from some other "future" timeline. (Observers are here!)

And the whole sacrificing themselves for the cause idea, would most likley be a shout out to Thomas Jerome Newton, the leader of the Shapeshifters from the red parallel universe, working for Walternate on a mission to help the blue Fringe team finding pieces of the Wave-Sync device, so they can figure out how use their own to destroy the other universe. Thomas Jerome Newton was played by Sebastian Roche', who made his first appearence in this Debris episode (Hooray!!!). Is his character apart of M16, a double agent of sorts, or another new faction entirely? And why would he want Finola to believe her father is really her father????

Roche' rarely plays honest or kind characters (See Also: The Man in the High Castle) and his Fringe character was both a nod to David Bowie (just like David Robert Jones) and his role in The Man Who Fell to Earth and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (switching out androids for shapeshifters), as the character died in an episode titled, Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?. In fact Philip K. Dick's work, including The Man in the High Castle were all references that related to both Fringe's plots (parallel universes featuring characters with fascist intentions and Nazi Germany undertones) and themes (how technology effects us). At any rate it is hard to imagine that Roche's character won't be a bit calculating, dangerous, or dubious, but there is an off chance he could be misunderstood much like his one shot Alias character. But back to David Bowie for minute, I would also like to call attention to the title, The Man Who Fell to Earth and this episode title, Earthshine. There is definitely something about the similarity or reference to Earth that feels like they should somehow go together. Could Roche's character maybe actually be a misunderstood "alien" here to help out humanity or get home??? I should also note that Observers visually looked like the humanoid characters from The Man Who Fell to Earth, so again curious to have a nearly bald INFLUX agent in the episode too...

And speaking of either Thomas Jerome Newton or Robert David Jones (and the cosmic David Bowie references), there was a new name introduced with very similar sounding characteristics called Peter Jacob Isaac. (At least that is what I thought I heard mentioned??). I have no clue yet to what this name might be referring to (a character, work of science fiction, etc), but at the very least it seems to be a hyperbole of Judeo-Christian names put together...

And while we are in the name category there was a INFLUX character names Leob played by one of my favorite most underated actors, Ben Cotton (still not over Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome not making it to series). Leob was the surname of a married couple apart of ZFT that was featured in episodes The Equation and Safe, which Debris' Pilot also referenced those episodes. Ben Cotton also appeared as an impound clerk one episode of Fringe, Letters of Transit. And, like Sebastian Roche', he too appeared in The Man in the High Castle.

Then we have other imagery that is oh-so familiar. The bus that went through the wormhole hat the beginning of the episode definitely conjures up imagery related to episode like the amber bus in The Ghost Network or the truck splitting in half from another universe in the season one finale, There Is More Than One of Everything? The Ghost Network is also curious reference, when one considers that the one shot character Roy McComb was able to tap into a "network", once created by William Bell, which allowed Roy to draw the events of terrorists attacks right before they happened. Could something like this be what INFLUX leader is using to hear and see Finola's sounds and sights?? And like Thomas Jerome Newton, could this INFLUX leader maybe wanted to be captured for some reason??? Is he trying to access to specific piece of tech? And more over, does Agent Maddox know about this, considering it appears INFLUX is the one that really traded the tech? Maybe they want their piece back???

In another scene, we also see an INFLUX agent used his hands, as if he was conducting or counting something for the experiment to work. In the season 3 episode, The Plateau, there is a character Milo Standfield played by Michael Ekland. Milo could cause events through heightened state of chain reactions and this was a mythology point that may relate to the evolution of the Observers who could do the same thing, but on a multiple-universe scale and used a mysterious beacon. Michael Ekland appeared in the Debris Pilot in a very brief cameo as the seller of the debris in the opening NYC hotel sequences.

Well I think that is all my brain can take in this week! So what did you think? Like the episode? Think Roche's character is an alien or apart of INFLUX? Any other theories or easter eggs you noticed? Sound off in the comments below!!