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Debris - A Message From Ground Control - Review

19 May 2021

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This week Debris hits it's first season penultimate episode, and boy what an episode it was! This time the case takes us to Langley at a debris storage facility! The phenomenon starts as cases begin to fall from shelves and pieces begin to play out, killing an Orbital member and then energy pockets seem to find themselves in other loose pieces of debris.

But by the time Bryan and Finola get there, the situation is much more mysterious. Many Orbital crew members are in a trance, picking out pieces of debris and lining them up, before returning to look out windows between sections of the facility. The first case of debris in line then hurls itself towards what gets to be described as a "portal to a pocket dimension" leaving the debris inside unknowingly resembling something, as the cases themselves just pass through it to the other side!

In the meantime George Jones has arrived to the satellite station in Virginia and has received the La Guardia files. It takes Jones just about the entire episode to get things up an running and to put the files to use, as they can help him make a sort of map, but by the episodes end, he has located "the very dangerous piece of debris", but it turns out it's closer than one would think and that's because Maddox' Russian agent has brought it to the states! Unless of course, it never really existed to begin with and the ball of light is the piece George could never find???

Back at Orbital Langley, after some bad attempts at trying to stop the hypnotic people from doing what the debris has made them do, several things happen! First Finola calls her father to try and figure out what these pieces of debris have in common, and ultimately he points out that they are apart of a ratio of specific harmonic sequence. He suggests trying something like putting a Faraday's Cage around the area of the portal, but it doesn't work!

Then Bryan ends up having a sort of extension to his extrapolations from the previous episode, as the debris manifests both Asalah and then Marilyn (the geology teacher), whom tried to make contact with Bryan, but he was interrupted when Orbital team shocked him out of his extrapolation. She reaches out for Bryan's hand again and this time, he of course takes it.

The next time Finola and Bryan meet, Bryan is not the same. He tries to explain that the debris has once again reached out to him, and that this time it was successful. Bryan knows now that the debris needs to do what it is doing, that they need to trust in it, the way Finola once said they should. They then recognize that there is another final loose piece it needs below that is stuck and can't pass through the ceiling, so they take special equipment to go and try to get it to pass through! When they arrive at the room it's located, it becomes very clear that the CIA was attempting to weaponize the debris, which particularly infuriates Finola...

Finola also confronts Maddox about this. He openly doesn't deny it, but instead justifies the CIA's choices, pointing out, if they didn't someone else would, and actually are, and thus it is in everyone's best interest to know how to use the debris. He also it pretty chill about what Bryan and Finola are doing, which no one else seems to find suspicious (but I'm sure the audience is debating if Maddox has been wanting this happen, either for himself or CIA).

After the final piece of debris is taken into the portal, it's revealed what it has assembled,  --a beautiful ball of white light! It goes up into the air and out of the view!

Oh, and Anson Ash makes his grand escape and is one the hunt for Jones and the other piece of debris!

I really loved  this episode. It wasn't that a lot happened on the surface, but moreover the episode took so many elements from the previous episodes such as the pocket dimension portal (Solar Winds), the mentioning of the ball of light (You Are Not Alone), the way the debris can manifest the dead (Pilot, Asalah), put humans in a state of mind control or attempted to reach out to an individual (Pilot, You Can Call Me Caroline) or even change how one feels about life (Supernova) and used it to both change the dynamics between Finola and Bryan and to begin to game change the reality the characters live in with the combination of the pieces that assembled into a ball of light, to this other piece the Russians are bringing Maddox. 

The confrontation between Finola and Maddox was also another great thing to include in the episode, as it brings to light the whole philosophical point about the weaponization of these foreign objects and how we really still don't know whom to trust between Maddox, INFLUX, the CIA, The Russians/China/ETC, or the extremely mysterious M16, whom have barely graced the screen all season!

The episode had so much backed into it, it could of easily failed, but between a faster pace early on that eventually breathed a little bit more in the second half, not an abundance of exposition to remind viewers of previous episodes, and an overall good execution of it's scenes, did the episode pull out a pretty riveting hour full of suspense and intrigue, hitting all of the right notes just ahead of the season one finale!

The Fringe Factor.

A lot of this episode I felt played more on Debris's own mythology and story, than I think it called attention to Fringe in the way that many other episodes have, but that doesn't mean that there were not some elements that were familiar whether it was the intensity of the situation feeling a lot like the episode What Lies Below, where people inside a building, eventually including Peter, are quarantined because they have a deadly virus. The episode showcases a sort of rage it induces in the virus' hosts, as Peter in particular is trying to escape the building.

But even more so, the whole idea that the debris could assembling itself seemed like a no-brainier and that's because the whole idea of having a quantum relationship with some kind of foreign metal alloy is rather reminiscent to Fringe's season three's over all mythology with Peter and The Wave Sync Device(s) or as Bad Robot fan, it also hits a pretty distinctive plot points of JJ Abrams-directed feature film, Super 8.
(In fact the white cases that house the debris are curious color choice given Super 8's white "Argus Cubes").

But the other really big thing that comes to mind is the concept behind Fringe's "The Pattern", which related to the unexplained fringe events starting with Walter's crossover at Reiden Lake or at least being the cause, leading to "soft spots" and breakdown of the universe, that terrorist group ZFT continued to instigate. 

There were things in Fringe that also related to the Fibonacci Sequence, such as numbers used as various safety deposit box numbers at various banks, hiding Walter's portal machine parts.

This episode brought up the idea that the debris that was assembling into the ball of light only had a "harmonic frequency" in common. In Fringe we also knew that each universe had it's own special harmonic frequency, represented also with colors as to establish differences in universes, added by different colored title sequences on various episodes to establish what universe the story is mostly set in. But we also got something similar with "iterations" of universes or reality in just the previous double-episode/double time-loop Debris episodes, Do You Know Icarus? I Know Icarus. One alternate Dr. George Jones explains how each iteration may have it's own color too, suggesting it's own harmonic frequency. He also was curious if the color spectrum was between white-yellow-orange, again, winking at Fringe's "amber" season 4 timeline.

So what does this all mean? Is there a breakdown still happening with the universe? Is what happened in the time loop episode important and does that also relate to the phenomenon in Solar Winds where the people trapped in the portals pocket universe were also from various decades? Is time of the essence and perhaps time travel the game changer to come?

Maybe. In a recent EW interview with actor Jonathan Tucker, Tucker suggested that the timeline might not have been properly reset and told viewers we might want to pay attention to signs that things are out of place. So far there hasn't been anything really glaring to prove that this is case (except perhaps when Maddox refers to Jones as "missing" and not dead), but given the "portal" was used here to help make this light-energy and the way it so dramatically changed Bryan's outlook/personality might suggest something fishy---that maybe the Debris is not just changing the world, because of how it directly effects people, but what of it's "assembling the perfect world" by piece milling various timelines together?!!! 

This would also really jive well with that "amber" timeline season 4 Fringe reference, because that is the season in which we have a similar idea---a timeline that is both being "re-written" by the season one Red Peter, then Blue Olivia, and eventually Blue Walter (season 5, Michael gives Walter his previous season memories back) and where an alternate William Bell becomes a full-fledged villain trying to collapse both universes in order to start a new one, where humans don't come to exist!

And also just touching back on The Pattern real quick, Fringe seemed like it wanted to use it's' concept more than it did, and it just sort of fizzles out after season 1. The glyph art and other promotional art all kind of teased things pertaining to the golden ratio or bigger energy field, including yellow balls of light or the formation of dandelions, which did become interesting promotional imagery, including the beginning of season 5 with Etta and her parents in the park before the Observer attack...I had mentioned that noticed this come up again with Finola during the Pilot, as she picks up a dandelion. So this does make me wonder if Fringe eventually wanted to do something like this--play much harder on all of the potential alternate realities/universes to make a bigger harmonious end game--one where the human race was left for better, for all of the main characters' hard  to near tragic experiences?

Note: Walter's favorite band was Violet Sedan Chair and the fictional group had a "real-world" album released, including some very rare hard to find vinyl copies. There is one last track on album that doesn't exist (at least, not in this universe) titled, Green Mana. This takes me to two lines of thought. 1. Bad Robot tends to play with alternate realities with concepts where there is evidence of other realities whether something is missing or shows variate copies. In Fringe case it is definitely suppose to be a temporal example that it had disappeared from in-universe timeline alteration. But the next Bad Robot series that came right after Fringe was Revolution, Revolution was about a reality when electricity mysteriously disappears and the United States resembles it's past with various territories throughout vying for power. But there are these collectively conscious nanites created formerly by some of the characters. They appear in the form of a "green energy field" or like green fireflies (Fringe episode The Firefly or fireflies are little balls of light) and can power almost anything or even create weather! Green energy = Green Mana! I bring this up because the construct of the debris and what it might be capable of is a similar idea.

Well that's it for this week! Any theories? What do you think will happen in the season one finale? Sound off in the comments below!