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Debris - Celestial Body - Season Finale Review

27 May 2021

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Ok, let's begin. 

This is not just the last line of the season one finale, but a clear indication that season one serves as a foundation to the overall story moving forward. It also wasn't a season with a finite point, but rather it's a season about the imagination of infinite possibilities into the hearts and minds of the human condition.

The finale doesn't answer a lot of questions, but instead makes the audience realize the microcosmic of a story that has yet to be really told. --A microcosm that doesn't just extent to the properties of the debris itself, but also even the way the first season has slowly unfolded something that resembles an ensemble cast of characters, where viewpoints, knowledge, and fealty tread into the grey and the unknown.

The episode mostly takes place in Virginia, as Finola and Bryan take Jones to the site of the map-making debirs.  But upon arrival it's clear the debris has summoned an array of people, having them face east, just like the Orbital techs in the previous episode.  Jones begins to examine the victims, whom start reflecting Jones' emotions, then Bryan's...

Jones explains this phenomenon as "emotional convergence" and upon examining them further, later, it turns out these people were also in a particularly heightened emotional state, before the debris had taken them over! Jones then also explains that the weight of these emotions are literally weighing the debris down and the only way to be able to move the debris, is to find a way to disconnect the people from the debris, which will wipe their memories clean! After this point everything changes, as Finola begins to contest her father, believing that they can find another way.

Elsewhere at a gas station, the recently escaped Anson Ash and his accomplice Leob pick up another INFLUX member named Otto (Surprise!!! John Noble!! Fringe fans, rejoice!!!). As the episode continues it becomes clearer that Otto has abilities that the others don't, but yet his methods for achieving them fit right in line with what viewers have seen INFLUX do before, as Otto leaves the gas station-goers in a contorted state!

But the biggest turnover (which I suspected could be the case in an earlier episode, although I wrestled with the idea that it could of as easily been Garcia too) is that Jones is also apart of INFLUX and has called them to the site of the debris, but also that this piece of debris isn't about map-making either---but something bigger...

While Bryan has been distracted, Finola continues to argue with the ethics of her father. But Jones, who doesn't specifically explain a lot, tries to tell Finola that what he is doing is out of love and wanting to help people, but that there is so much that she doesn't know about the debris that he does, and he insists that they leave Bryan and the Government agencies behind and to go with him, and ultimately INFLUX.

At this point Otto, Anson, and Leob emerge on the scene, but Finola refuses to go along with her father's plans and they force her to digest a pieces of debris so that she won't feel the effects of the disconnecting the people from the piece of debris, which now also includes Bryan! Jones trying to show that INFLUX are not savages, pleads with Otto to slowly break the link, as opposed to suddenly disconnecting them, suggesting they may have a better chance at relearning. 

When this happens the victims all fall to ground, including Bryan. They wake up and Bryan staggers his way to Finola. Otto is curious and comes to see Bryan and ask him if he remembers anything, but quickly it dawns on Otto that Bryan is an important figure---a person he sites as "The Third Man" along with Garcia and a Chinese agent named Ming. Bryan is able to slowly begin taking, as INFLUX makes their escape with the debris before the FBI and Orbital could come to the site.

Finola asks Bryan what Otto was talking about and begins to tell Finola about his injections that relate to being exposed to a specific debris event. Bryan doesn't clarify what he's specifically referring too and it's not clear if Bryan is just withholding or if he's having some side effects from current debris?

Other parts of the episode deal with Maddox and the Native American character introduced in the previous episode named, Dakheya Nakai.

Maddox finally gets his hands on the piece of debris he's been negotiating with he Russians for . His wife Julia almost commits suicide, but thankfully changes her mind (but I totally fell for it). Maddox wakes her and takes her to the living room where their son Dario sits among a debris field. Julia once again reaches out to him trying to get him to talk back to her. He finally makes eye contact and calls her mom!

But the final scene is even more mysterious. We come back to that scene from the previous episode with the Native American sitting in the dessert, seemingly waiting for something. Suddenly the "ball of light" made from the debris pieces in previous episode. And Dakheya converses with it before [spirit] guiding it across the dessert and into a cave. Inside the cave Agent Brill is waiting with another Finola in a state of animated suspension!!!!

When it gets down to it, despite not having many answers to so many lingering question, and being left on a pretty massive of cliffhanger, I absolutely loved the episode, but I will better explain why in the Fringe Factor section!

Fringe Factor

John Noble. I mean what a great surprise to get none other than the prestigious Austrian actor that brought so much nuance to Fringe with Walter Bishop(s)! Here, however the script is flipped, as Otto comes off as much darker, to near villainous character that so far is unlike any Walter or Walternate we've ever seen, and where Noble embraces his native accent and whose body-language is much more direct. 

But the truth is the show hasn't really drawn a lot of clear lines when it comes to motives of certain groups or characters, and that includes the 'free the tech' mandate of INFLUX, despite that there is certainly an element of terrorism or cult-like behavior. And where one might argue that what the debris wants, seems at odds with what INFLUX wants, given that the debris has specifically reached out to Bryan and because the debris was gathering and connecting to certain group of people that INFLUX had to "undo" in order to move it.

Even with Jones, who seems to have aligned with INFLUX, it isn't clear if he really is the Jones Finola once thought she knew, or if the reanimated process coupled with the debris in his eye has actually altered whom he once was? 

And even again with Agent Brill, Dakheya, and the ball of light, and this "other" Finola, it's hard to say what's going on. Clearly the debris wants to go to Brill and potentially, Finola 2.0, but why? And is Brill a double agent or is this what M16's goals are?  (They seriously have been kept in the dark!) I kind of hope that if John Noble's character is more of a complicated villain, that perhaps Sebastian Roche's character is more of a misunderstood protagonist, but truth be told, both these characters whom have had minimal screen time, have done things that look pretty unethical--and I could see the series challenging the moral integrity of these two characters for a much longer time.

But back to Jones and his own identity, there is this whole thing where he is seeing a smoke-static celestial body, following him around and kind of separates him from other members of INFLUX, granted they maybe all have a specific ability...

But I'm reminded specifically of LOST and the nature of the smoke monster, but Fringe also had the episode Earthling, where the entity from outer space came to earth and began looking for "hosts" and turning them into ash. Again it isn't clear at all if there will be a distinction between the debris' own conscious will, or the aliens who created it, --or if they will turn out to be one in the same by existing within the debris, but this celestial body following Jones could be a bridge to that. Another thought however, is that maybe Jones isn't exactly Jones anymore and that part of his soul that he is now missing, is trying to find a way back to him--and one reason I had that thought was because of the scenes with Dekheya acting as a sort of "spirit guide" to the ball of light---it seems like one's spirit or soul could become more important to the mythology at some point. In fact Fringe too began to play with this with the Olivias being different (see The Plateau below) or William Bell's "soul magnets"!

Observers are here! I also recently had a conversation with a friend who just finished watching Fringe for the first time. I was reminded that Fringe originally had a seven year plan that was cut short. We never learned what those two missing seasons might of been about or if season five's Observer plot was always intended for season five, or if it would of been the alleged season 6 or seven. But at any rate one story that seems to missing is the gap between the fringe events during the eras the characters exists and how humanity actually gets to the point in creating the Observers.

I mean, there were episodes like The Plateau where Milo Stanfield was able to start chain reactions and predict outcomes--and the alternate Fringe team had to try and find a way to get ahead, but the key was that the red Olivia wasn't really the red Olivia, but blue Olivia manipulated into believing she's the red Olivia and where her abilities come into play. This may have also been one key to the puzzle that links humanity into the abilities the Observers come to have. Another might have been Peter's connection with The Wave Sync device via being able to have access to other iterations of the time line(s) through conscious time traveling and/or being in inter-dimensional space. After all Peter is able to connect with September's mind at one point in season four, and then in season five Peter attempts becoming an Observer himself to fight back against them.

In some ways we can see Bryan as a similar centerpiece to the debris and/or it's mythology, but I also think when one looks at Otto, Ash, Jones, and Brill, you see characters with advanced abilities like the Observers had come to have and perhaps Debris in some way is satisfying that missing Fringe story or even the story of how Walter stopped the Observers in a new future timeline from coming back in time and occupying sections of it!

But Finola too is also another centerpiece. She's the only character whose truly compassionate and seems not to be hiding a secret agenda. She's a representation of the the journey the audience is on and the series' actual heart! In very similar way that Olivia & Peter help each other with their own respected mythologies, I feel certain that at some point Finola may become the bigger centerpiece, simply because it's her emotions that are changing Bryan--and not just the debris itself. And considering what's going on with Brill and the Ball of Light, it seems like Finola is on the debris' radar, even if it's not reaching out to her the way it is with Bryan. 

Again this season didn't really answer many of it's grander questions, and it took a little time for the leads to find their footing, but one of the things that really draws me to Debris is the fact that it went about a whole season trying to put a lot of balls in the air so that we could be rewarded and engaged in the future. The fact that there are so many questions already, is a fascinating feat, while the season was also able to balance a human story by placing Finola and Bryan at it's unknown center--a center that has to contend with human identity vs human connection and has to also wrestle with the idea of finding something that enhances those things in ways that prompts debates about ethics and spirituality.  It's why I loved shows like Alias, Revolution, LOST, and Fringe SO MUCH--because all of them went down these sorts of roads, but in different ways, exploring little nooks, some deeper than others, but it was always still about the people and journey, while also rewarding it's viewers with meaningful speculative sci-fi. 

I have a lot of ideas or theories about what could all happen, but even more so I just can't wait to find out! So with that it is a total shame that the series has been canceled. I hope that maybe it could be moved to Peacock's streaming service or that Joel H. Wyman can find another outlet to take this treasure to! I for one, will miss it and all of it's potential.