Let’s talk about the unexpected and hoped-for outcome that played out in episode 111 of “The Ark.” Talk about a wild ride of emotions and situational changes, The Ark’s penultimate episode, “The Last Thing You Ever Do,” delivered an hour of action and intrigue that I would call the show’s best thus far. At least, it was my favorite up to now. There was danger, important discoveries, and more than a few moments of pure delight.
But you know what the most important thing we discovered was while waiting for episode 111? That The Ark has been given the green light for a second season. That, my Ark-oholics, was some pretty fantastic news on the eve of this episode. I think this show has earned that second season with some creative story-telling, interesting character building and some stellar work from Dean Devlin, Jonathan Glassner and a cast of hundreds.
Oh, but one last point. Spiders? No, I just can’t. Please no more.
From Lane’s humbling to Garnet’s leadership to Angus Medford’s maturation to Felix in command, there were twists and turns aplenty during this episode and I found it all so interesting. I feel as though The Ark has gone through three distinct phases – discovery and back story, finding a comfortable rhythm, and acceleration – as this first season has progressed. It has been interesting, entertaining and clearly, if you follow the many groups/people on social media, delivered unto us a plethora of characters that viewers care about. I can’t ask for more than that?
This is your SPOILER alert. Be aware, there will be SPOILERS ahead.
Let’s examine the wonderful case of Angus Medford, shall we. Shy, nerdy, brilliant, creator of soils, crops and female longing, Angus seemed destined to be pigeon-holed into that meek male mold. But not so fast, my friends. When all looked dark and dire, there was Angus slyly turning the tables on Kelly in a most unexpected and powerful way. Sensing her unhinged state, and sensing an opportunity, he manipulated her feelings for him. And in doing so, found the key to getting the hostages out and maybe turning this whole situation in favor of Ark 1. Who thought he was even capable? Not I.
It was a story arc I had no idea this character had the gumption and gall to pull off. But right now Trust, Garnet and Angus are back at Ark 1 and they have “the nerd” to thank for it. Where’s Lane, you ask? We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s revel in the backbone Angus grew when in the presence of a very disturbed and delusional Kelly. So delusional, in fact, that Angus realized he could use that against her (insert evil laugh here).
From a family dinner with “mother” to a meal tray across Kelly’s cranium, Angus played his “sly boots” cards very nicely. Let’s be honest, wasn’t that dinner with Evelyn cringey as hell? I mean, she’s suspicious and accusatory, Kelly’s off in familial la-la land, and Angus is just trying to keep his shreds of a plan intact. He even went so far as to swear fealty to Evelynn. You could almost read his thoughts – “What is happening right now? Be cool. Be Cool. Fork to mouth. Be cool.”
Fortunately, Evelyn, who we now know is the Klampkins victim aboard Ark 15, had a heart episode and Angus was there to administer first aid and essentially save her life. Evelyn’s alive and still suspicious, Kelly went full over-the-moon with hormonal nuttiness for her new love, and that provided Angus the leverage with Kelly he needed to make the move. I think we all knew that Garnet was going to be captured once aboard Ark 15, but she gave it a valiant effort, discovered some vital information and opened the gates to some interesting discoveries that would prove useful.
But it was Angus who leveraged Kelly’s infatuation and newly developed hero worship of him into arranging a visit with Lane, Trust and Garnet in the holding cell. Once there, he casually bashed Kelly across the head with a metal serving tray, setting the stage for a daring escape. Gads, it was glorious to see Angus take that giant step toward maturity and show that type of courage. I was afraid he was going to turn out to be the quintessential milquetoast, perpetually in need of saving. Actor Ryan Adams has done a tremendous job with this character, particularly in this episode. A light went on and instead of the meek victim, Angus became the puppet-master. It was masterful, Ryan.
But that wasn’t the only surprise act of heroism, was it? No, this takes us to the curious case of Lt. Spencer Lane, complainer, co-coup operative, and general poor decision-maker thus far. In glorious fashion, episode 11 delivered what we have been dying to see – Lane’s redemption. Firstly, he offered a mea culpa to Garnet once she was dropped into the holding cell. Sitting there in stir must have offered plenty of time for thinking. And in those thoughts, I’m sure all the poor decisions and poor attitude were laid bare before him. But that wasn’t the end of it. I said I was rooting for Lane and dang it, he came through.
In their escape, the shuttle they try to steal is docked with a mechanism that Ark 1 doesn’t have. It needs to be released manually – outside the shuttle – by someone who will be left behind. Garnet jumps up to be the volunteer (that’s who she is), but it’s Lane who talks her out of it. He then climbs out of the shuttle, releases the docking clamp to free Angus, Garnet and Trust to return to Ark 1. It was a selfless act, a heroic act, a moment so many of us had been hoping we’d see at some point from our fair-haired boy. And 11 episodes in, Lane finally grew up a bit and realized it wasn’t all about him anymore.
For all the needling I’ve done towards this character, watching him be surrounded by Maddox’s security forces in the aftermath of his sacrifice, I was proud of him. Good for you, Lane. You wiped away 10 episodes of dumb self-serving decision-making in one act. Here’s a theory. After discovering a cure of Klampkins, Garnet decides to trade it to Maddox for Lane. If Ark 15’s guns are truly out of commission, then Maddox’s ego and lust to live may be just the card that Garnet plays. Why? Because Garnet is, at her core, a good person. And suffering isn’t something she’d wish on anyone. Just my own theory on this.
Dr. Kabir and Alicia are closing in on a cure for Klampkins, Eva has disabled Ark 15’s weapons array by simply shutting the gun portal door and letting the buildup explode, and Evelyn dressed down her daughter for her “failure” with Angus. Talk about a shopping cart full of fun things going on aboard both ships. So much fun and so many theories floating around out there. Love it. And to my mind, that’s a sign of a quality show.
Here’s a few quick hit thoughts on the episode:
Dr. Kabir: I haven’t delved much into her thus far and for that I apologize. She’s clearly still reeling a bit from her drug addiction developed during those early days and her belief that her withdrawal symptoms may have contributed to the death of someone. So when Brice has a Klampkins episode, then demands the initial antidote be injected into him before it’s properly tested, I think we all sensed this was going to be a bit bumpy. And it was.
Kabir is frozen with fear and insecurity as Brice flops around on the table like a fish on a hot plate. Given her state of mind, you have to wonder what was rolling through her brain in that moment. She was frozen, people were yelling and it was actually Alicia who kind of coaxed her to the table for a little paddle-and-shock treatment to get Brice’s heart going again. Kabir is an interesting character, though we haven’t seen a ton from her in a few episodes. But right now, she’s officially the key to cracking the Klampkins code and it’s clear she doesn’t think she’s at her best. Fortunately, Alicia and Felix are good support pillars for her moving forward.
Felix: Wasn’t is grand to see Felix take the captain’s chair for a while. Brice was right, there needed to be a clear succession plan should Garnet not return and Brice succumb to Klampkins. While Felix was reticent to take on the duties, even temporarily, it’s clear he’s got a good mind, is intuitive and has command capabilities. There’s also a wonderful empathy with him that comes out at interesting times. I think because he’s so low key, talks in a very calm voice all the time, the knee-jerk reaction is that he’s not that type of officer. But I think he’s a perfect fit to lead this thing if disaster befalls others.
Kelly: Wow, for the first time I had a little empathy for this delusion-riddled nut job. When her mother was berating her over the escape of the prisoners and the tears started flowing, it was a painful reminder of the kind of life she’s been forced to live with Evelyn. The pain, the emotional abuse, the sheer volume of hurt that she’s had to deal with explains a great deal about her need to please her mother and the very stark realization that that’s not possible. Could she be the key to this whole thing? Was that a breaking point for this young woman, who lost her “love” and more approval from her mother in the same hour? Could she turn on “mommy” and scuttle the major threat aboard Ark 15? Oh, would that be juicy or what?
Alicia & Eva: Alicia still loses focus and giggles at serious times a little too much for me, but she’s clearly established herself as a vital component of the leadership staff. And Eva, desperate to make amends for her part in the coup (Love, it makes a person do funny things), found the key to disabling Ark 1’s weapon. It was nice to see that Eva and Brice really do have feelings for each other beyond just knocking it out in any vacant closet, and it looks like Alicia is going to be able to have a go at Angus all by herself in the future.
These young women have proven to be something special and have really come into their own as the season has moved along. Love how this show empowers women so emphatically. Both these women are tough customers, too. Love that.
Cat: Gotta admit, her little breakdown and need to talk with someone (hello, Felix) was a bit of a throwaway kind of thing. I’m not sure why we needed to see her wallowing in self-misery, but perhaps it’s to set up something in the finale. Clearly, Cat is struggling emotionally and finds being confined to her room to be a hard thing to deal with. Felix, of course, was not having any of it. Clearly, a lot to unpack with Cat at this point. She is not faring well.
So now we’ve got two Arks with no weapons, the ability to produce the cure for Klampkins rests with Ark 1, and Lane, who sacrificed himself, is a prisoner on Ark 15. Right now, there’s a bit of a standoff, which makes me wonder what comes next? I do think there’s a trade brewing. But given Maddox’s penchant for lying and mayhem, I’m almost as certain there’s a twist coming there somehow. Stay tuned.
We are down to our last episode of season 1 of The Ark. It’s been quite the wild ride in space, but it feels as though all the pieces have been put in place very nicely to jump us into a fascinating season 2. The characters are solidified, the mission is a little muddier, and we’ve added some pieces that have helped make it more fascinating to be part of. I’ve enjoyed this first season and loved how this show grew up and found a nice footing.
There’s certainly a place for The Ark within the sci-fi genre, particularly now where I don’t see anything remotely comparable to is. So let’s ride one more time with Garnet, Medford, Alicia and the gang.
It has been fun to write up my thoughts each week about this show. I’ve enjoyed watching it grow, participating in a ton of social media talks with a myriad of different folks who come at the show with different ideas and theories. I have found the fandom to be engaging, welcoming and a lot of fun to be part of. I think, in this day and age, the show is the primer, but it’s all those things attached to it, like the aftershow “After The Ark,” and Twitter and IG, that help with my overall enjoyment of The Ark. What do you think? Hit me up with some thoughts via Twitter. Love to hear your ideas/theories.
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