Television

Debris Episode 3

Debris Episode 3 Solar Winds Review-String Theory, Native American Portals, And Interdimensional Travel

Debris Episode 3 continues to lay out the puzzle box mystery and pull at our heartstrings as it borrows from a host of sci-fi standbys in another emotional hour.

Supernatural used small-town America, often small towns in the Midwest, for their demon hunting. Debris uses a similar ploy and is visiting one tiny town after another in search of alien artifacts. Debris Episode 3 continues on the same trajectory as the first two episodes with a great deal of sci-fi mumbo jumbo and tears. I’m still not entirely sure it is all working, but there is enough there to continue watching.

When your mother told you that cell phones were terrible for your health, she wasn’t lying. In the middle of a field in Millersburg, Ohio, a cell phone tower technician found a misty square portal that seems to show a group of people just on the other side of a one-dimensional page. The team is called in to investigate even though no debris has been found yet.

Luckily Brian’s cloning last week had no physical effect on him, but I wonder how they can be sure it had no mental impact? He has to keep secrets from Finola. Apocryphal Craig Maddox sees nothing wrong with deceiving Finola or anything else, as we find out later, but Brian has a stricter moral code. He agrees to stay silent for now, but he won’t be quiet for long.

One of Debris’s biggest strengths is its stars Jonathan Tucker(Brian) and Riann Steele(Finola). Tucker plays Brian with a wide-eyed intensity as if he sees exactly what is going on and is willing to play along as long as it suits him. He is a grounded mix of practical and spiritual. Brian still believes in magic. Despite the secretive nature of his job, he genuinely wants to make the world better. He is used to making things work under less than ideal circumstances. That has prepared him for the weirdness he encounters with Finola.

Steele’s Finola is more naive and emotional but whip-smart. Their interactions have a lived-in quality to them that rings true. There is easy chemistry that allows all of the emotional beats, and there are many of them, to feel natural instead of manipulative. The main pair is Debris’s greatest strength.

Debris follows much the same formula as J.H. Wyland’s other shows Fringe and under-watched Almost Human. The weekly procedural reveals a larger mystery little by little. While the portals have a very Arrival vibe to them, there isn’t anything particularly creepy about the storyline this week. There is no real sense of urgency which is made worse by the decision to play with interdimensional time. The people stuck in the other dimensions only think they have been gone for minutes or hours at worst. That leaves the emotional toll their disappearance left on their loved ones to do all the heavy lifting.

All of the people in the portal are missing people. They have all gone missing from different places and times, and Finola’s father had been mapping it out. Some of the people went missing before the wreckage started falling, which raises serious questions about how long extraterrestrials have been watching us? Everyone agrees that the debris has very specific purposes that, even after being broken up, try to fulfill its function. Whoever the ship belonged to seemed to use these portals as travel devices. By bringing the wreckage close to the portal and shoving a piece in, Brian and Finola can pull each of the lost people out. It’s a low-tech solution that asks you to suspend reality scientifically in lieu of the emotional impact.

Further focus on the soft sciences concludes with the missing girl Nichole’s admission that she knew she would be okay because she had had the same dream her father had. Debris Episode 3 wants to capture some of the same passion and wonder as Lost but lacks some of the clearer strangeness. Lost never got lost in the science fiction of it all. Debris is having trouble navigating the littered mess of the spaceship with some forced tenderness. If Fringe is any indication, Wyman has a clear vision, and we need to be patient. Fringe required a little patience in the first season but quickly became prestige television. Debris could easily follow.

Debris Episode 3
DEBRIS — “Solar Winds” Episode: 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Tyrone Benskin as George Jones, Riann Steele as Finola Jones — (Photo by: James Dittiger/NBC)

We took minor steps forward in learning about Finola’s father, but we aren’t learning enough to make us care whether he lived or died. Is he a mad scientist who went too far? Is he being used by an evil cabal, or is the man we see in the footage a clone of Finola’s real father? Without knowing enough about him and his motivations, it’s hard to care about his life or death. Finola’s feelings aside, his positioning in the story would be more effective if we knew what kind of person he was and why he is vital to a criminal syndicate. At the very least, we know he was studying leylines and multiple dimensionality.

Lastly, Brian’s boss is shady even by shady government agency standards. He has no trouble meeting with black market traders to procure a tasty little piece of debris from Russia. He tells Tarkolov he is willing to trade for the piece. What is he willing to trade? Details are coming slowly. Maybe too slowly. Hopefully, Debris doesn’t lose itself before an audience can be found. You can find all our Debris coverage here.

Scattered Wreckage

  • How do we know that the Brian we are currently watching is the original Brian?
  • Native Americans did consider some areas more spiritual than others. These spiritual places were locations where ancient people accessed the higher planes of our minds. They could move in and out of dimensions. Shamans were experts at traversing these planes and helping others unlock their inner potential. One of these areas Puerta de Hayu Marca in Peru along the western banks of Lake Titicaca translates to the Gate of the Gods. In a remote area, carved into the rock face is a door to nowhere. The legend holds that Amaru Meru used this doorway as a portal to escape when explorers came to loot the temple. Revered by the Incas, visitors today report feeling strange energy.
  • Most people believe String Theory is a reasonable concept. String Theorists believe that there are ten or eleven dimensions with their own laws of time, chemistry, and physics. The Randall-Sundrum Model further explains we live in a space that has a warped gravitationally heavy fifth dimension. That is why gravity is the weakest of all the elemental forces. That’s why all of the people in the portal could be seen by the outside world but couldn’t see each other. When you are on one of the gravitybranes, you can only see your plane unless a portal is introduced.

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