THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Tiana Upcheva as Eva Markovic, Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane, Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice, Christie Burke as Lt. Sharon Garnet, Stacey Read as Alicia Nevins, Pavle Jerinic as Felix Strickland — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Review: How Many Arks Are Out There Roaming Around? – Ep. 107

Oh man, I am so pleased that my theory from last week proved to be spot on. In this week’s episode of The Ark, we learn what I’d tossed out last week was correct – that Earth deteriorated faster and more deadly than expected after Ark 1 set sail and that forced more Arks into space. To say I feel somewhat gratified about deducing the disaster would be accurate, though the overall aftermath of that disaster took an interesting twist.

Let’s be honest, episode 107 (A Slow Death is Worse) was a game-changer for this series. We opened this series with a space ship, people asleep in pods, disaster and then the fight for survival in the icy grip of space – all alone and unsure of who or what they might run into as they journeyed to Proxima 3. Now we know that they are very much not alone and there seems to be some question about who is supposed to be where.

Angust Medford and Alicia Nevens review video footage that reveals a third Ark — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Yup, the discovery of Ark 3 is a pivot point for the first season on several fronts and that’s pretty darn exciting. The tension is now officially ramped up a bit more and the questions are plentiful. And I’m all for that.

However, before we get into all of this, here is your official SPOILER ALERT. From here on, there will be SPOILERS. You have been warned.

Let’s kick this off with a jump to the backside of this episode. Crew members from Ark 1 are pouring over Ark 3 for food supplies, medicines, and an important piece of tech. Turns out, after Ark 1 left, William Trust’s group discovered warp power. Well, no. That’s too Star Trek, I suppose. What they discovered was Faster Than Light speed (or FTL), which made traveling to Proxima 3 a nine-month journey rather than the loooooong trip Ark 1 was on. And to do that, they had a very specific bit of tech on board.

It’s in this time frame that we discover a few things. This survivor off Ark 3, Kelly, is not to be trusted; Felix’s husband and daughter are dead; there’s yet another Ark out there (No. 15) who came out of FTL long enough to pump some rounds into Ark 3; and that trying to disable the FTL device triggers a failsafe device that leads Ark 3 down the path of self-destruction. A lot, right?

THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Pavle Jerinic as Felix Strickland, Shalini Peiris as Dr. Sanjivni Kabir — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Well, it keeps going. The tension ratchets up and suddenly Lane pipes in with a backdoor code that stops the self-destruct sequence. He does this by waking up Trust and getting that info from him. As the episode ends, Trust seems completely confused as to where he is and how he got there. Now, I could put that down to groggy wake-up mind, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Is it possible that Trust didn’t board Ark 1 purposely, but was, perhaps, shanghaied onto the ship by his wife or other entities within his powerful empire?

I thought Trust’s reaction was interesting on multiple levels and makes me wonder if things broke down so totally on earth that the Arks aren’t necessarily peopled with the folks that are supposed to be there. And given that, perhaps the Ark project is no longer the domain of the best and brightest, but a mixed group of folks, some of whom have less than altruistic motives. Seeing Ark 15 fire on Ark 3 in the retrieved video (the nerds come through again) was very interesting. Is there a race to get to Proxima 3? If so, why?

Coming across Ark 3 and discovering that there’s this FTL thing now in play was a whole other dimension of interesting, but then seeing Ark 15 pop out of its FTL bubble and fire on Ark 3 really left me with questions galore. Makes me wonder if as Earth was in full implosion mode, people took matters into their own hands and liberated the Arks for themselves and we now have a full-on pirate war in the stars. “She’s drifting to starboard, sir. We’ll hit ‘er with some broadsides and send the scalawags to Davey Jones’ locker.”

THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

In short, our leaders on Ark 1 now face a very real possibility that space isn’t the only obstacle they must overcome to reach their destination. How many more Arks are out there? What are their intentions? Will Proxima be the savior land it’s hoped to be or will they find warlords, anarchy and chaos? At least, that’s kind of where my mind goes. The whole multiple Ark situation just offers so many possibilities and questions.

John’s Theory: Try this on for size. I think things got so bad on Earth that the Arks were hijacked by groups/baddies and took who was available and ran. I think there are some bad apples on these Arks and there’s a race to get to Proxima to assert control before others arrive. That means competition, that means desperation, that means seeking control, which prompts the violence. In essence, the “crews” of these arks are more mish-mash of folks and apt to act in their own interests rather than the greater good. Greed and self-preservation could be rearing its ugly head. How’s that?

And what about Kelly? The lone survivor of Ark 3 said she was part of a group that was trying to fend off another group after the rest of the ship died. In the end, no one else made it. But what’s the real story there? She offers plausible explanations to what happened to her shipmates, and generally seems to feel the emotions of the moment very heavily. Then, there are moments where you can see the eyes go cold and vacant and the words that come out of her mouth seem hollow and lacking conviction.

She stashed away a gun when Felix was getting rid of weapons. Was that a sign of treachery coming or simply a survival move, born out of the struggle aboard Ark 3. Or, is she someone for whom weapons mattered on Earth and she’s continuing that behavior now?

THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Tiana Upcheva as Eva Markovic, Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

I don’t trust Kelly and I certainly think there’s a barrel-full more about Ark 3 and the people on it than she’s telling. Given that very few of the people on it were supposed to be on it, the whole thing feels haphazard, rushed, struggled and just a little bit “stolen?” We shall see how Kelly proceeds and perhaps deduce a little of her real intent, or perhaps more accurately deduce her real personality. For now, she’s got most of the answers. We’ll see if she’s up for answering the questions.

Here’s a few more random thoughts:

Felix Strickland’s pain: Oh man, if I couldn’t dig Felix anymore, the events aboard Ark 3 and Kelly’s own storytelling, added to the admiration. Turns out, Felix found his husband dead on Ark 3, which clearly meant that there was a daughter out there somewhere. Through Kelly, who said she’d had some moments with the husband, Felix is told his daughter died via a stray bullet during the struggles on Earth. Just kind of a gut-punch to our security chief and the pain was so wonderfully done by Pavle Jerinic. However, the idea that Felix has his own Katana sword now if rife with possibilities, isn’t it? Felix as a samurai? I’m all for that. But does his blade thirst? We shall see.

THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: Pavle Jerinic as Felix Strickland — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Eva and Brice: We almost got “that moment” between these two “battling Bickersons.” I love how Eva has been doggedly keeping an eye on Brice since she found him sprawled on a floor and drug him into bed. She’s pushed, cajoled, and ooshed him along, all the while developing a care for him in her own unique way. And he, annoyed, irritated and exasperated with her, was developing the same feelings. It all nearly came to a head with a kiss before, you know, the ship went into self-destruct mode. These two are a fun and spirited couple who build into each other’s lives in ways that both annoy and exhilarate each other. Been fun to watch it grow. I like that she doesn’t take his shit and that he finds her tenacity attractive.

Alicia and Angus: The resident adolescent geniuses of Ark 1 have started to grow on me. I admit, Alicia got on my nerves early. Her youthful enthusiasm, unfiltered words and general bubbliness at the wrong times just didn’t sit well with me. She acted as though she were on a school-girl excursion to Paris rather than a life-of-death struggle in the stars. But, having gotten a taste of her mother through her hallucination, I get a better understanding of her. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t be giddy and ready to face the death grip of space after dealing with the ultimate helicopter mom? She’s taken her rightful spot among the ship’s leadership and had one burgeoning romance interrupted by death, but looks to find another.

THE ARK — “A Slow Death Is Worse” Season 1 Episode 7 — Pictured: (l-r) Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane, Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice — (Photo by: Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Angus Medford, the boy who lived, has a lusty crush on Lt. Garnet, but may be working through that with a burgeoning attempt at romance with Alicia. He’s young, he’s geeky, he’s all about finding ways to survive this disaster, and he can grow an aloe plant. I mean, what’s not to love about this guy. If Garnet and her tight, black onesie can’t see it, my guess is Alicia can and will. Here’s to youthful romance.

Heeeeeere’s Trust: There are a lot of answers to questions that haven’t been asked yet and this guy has most of them. It will be interesting to see, once he’s fully aware of the situation, if he’s forthcoming with answers or plays it close to the vest. Did civil war break out on Earth, prompting an every man for himself scenario that he saw coming? Although, he may not know as much as Kelly given he was on Ark 1 when all hell broke loose. Still, he should be able to highlight major missing portions of the story. Given the short video of him we’ve seen, he seems like an unpleasant sort whose wife is the buffer. Let’s see what his exposure to the rest of the ship does, shall we. There’s a growing theory that Cat is his daughter/granddaughter? Could that have some validity.

All-in-all, the Ark really threw convention out the window a bit and left us with an episode that screams questions, questions, questions. I couldn’t be more delighted by this episode and the new doors it opens for storytelling. Good night, could there be 10-14 more Arks running around out there with who knows who’s in charge or onboard? Think of the deliciously disastrous situations that could ensue. The Ark is on a roll right now and with episode 7 upending so much, can’t wait to see where it goes.

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