The penultimate episode of Emergence delivers a tense hour of cat and mouse as Jo and Company close in on AI from Outerspace.
Emergence Episode 12 Killshot Pt. 1 asked us to strap on our running shoes and prepare for a marathon of twists and turns. The entire episode flew by as one secret after another was revealed. The previous eleven episodes have been much more patient with their reveals. With only one episode remaining, time is running out and everything is on the table.
Helen has a plan and it includes becoming all-powerful like Piper. She isn’t capable of doing it herself though so she has recruited/kidnapped Emily to do it for her. True to form Emily is surly and offputting. She may be unpleasant to be around, but she is a consummate survivor and after her attempt to kill Helen proves fruitless she digs into the code.
Helen was willing to give her an endless supply of assets in exchange but Emily is not a team player. The exchange between the two women highlighted just how dangerous Helen is. She has an infinite supply of money and resources and evidently is darn near immortal. She is a hyper-smart, connected Terminator who doesn’t want to just stop Sara Connor, she wants to possess her power.
Maria Dizzio paints Emily with a sharp brush. Emily is not shaped by only her intelligence. She has been warped by a lifetime of desire to be loved. Dizzio portrays Emily with enough compassion to be sympathetic, enough quirk to be funny, and enough intelligence to be scary. She left Helen’s “yes man” with a simulation and a broken heart.
She unfortunately also left him with the expanded capabilities Piper possesses. Emily even acts a little regretful she had to hurt him. Helen however does not. That is the difference between Helen and Emily. Emily may be unpleasant and selfish but she isn’t an unredeemable person. Helen, on the other hand, is evil.
Jo and Agent Brooks, who is not dead, reunite when he is taken to the hospital after Helen’s men shot him. Despite escaping for a time the FBI tracks him down and he turns himself in. While being interviewed the Department of Justice in the form of Michael Denman(Currie Graham) whom you’ve seen in Westworld and Project Blue Book shows up and clears him of all charges. He is a talented character actor who will return in the finale for more snark.
Ryan Brooks’ arch with Jo has been fun to watch. Enver Gjokaj is beyond adorable and the chemistry he and Jo have is enough to rival even Alex’s(Donald Faison). He is smart and capable and most importantly appreciates Jo. In a moment that feels desperate and important, he lays a passionate kiss on her.
As great as the kiss was(swoon), her response was even better. She teases him that she thinks he’s being very dramatic. It’s a very Jo thing to say and the writers have finally found Jo’s voice. Allison Tolman is an extremely likable actor and the warmth she brings to Jo is a joy to watch. Her moments of dry humor add one more layer of fun to her already lovable persona.
If one Helen wasn’t enough, now there are two. Jo and Agent Brooks are being followed by a woman who looks exactly like Helen. She is not Helen but Loretta, the coder who first made Helen. Loretta tracked down Agent Brooks and got him released from the FBI. She has serious juice to spring him and Jo from the FBI’s clutches. If Emily and Wilkis weren’t enough, now there is another genius to worry about. There is no shortage of crazy smart coders making potentially AI.
Loretta is a fount of information and divulges that eighteen years ago the US government received a transmission from an unknown source containing instruction for an AI well beyond anything we were capable of. Rather than be wary, we used those instructions to make Helen the first autonomous AI.
She, in turn, built an army of AI’s in secret each designed to complete specific tasks. Benny was created to be a collector of information. He would always be compliant. We only know of Helen’s other henchmen the “cheerleader” model and the bodyguards. There could be thousands of others with different jobs just waiting to be activated. The only thing we know for sure is the upload machine is the end for everyone and needs to be stopped at all costs.
Loretta offers Jo a kill shot that will neutralize Helen. It is an injection that will kill Helen but can’t hurt humans. The only catch is Jo has to get close enough to Helen to inject it. As Agent Brooks and Jo set off to somehow achieve the impossible Helen levels up.
Jo and Brooks are too late to stop Helen with the Killshot because she already has Piper’s source code and in a fine dust of computer bits she disintegrated and then reformed. Whatever is in the magnetic fluid metal ball is the beginning of the end. The season finale looks to define who is good, who is bad, and who is dead. The gloves or bracelets as it were, are off and as powerful as Helen is, she may have met her match. Catch up on all our coverage here.
- Why did Helen save Agent Brooks? If he remembered that correctly is might mean Jo has fallen for an AI herself. This one coded to be a live interest for her.
- Jo is seen crying at the end of the trailer for the final episode. I predict Brooks will be an AI and he will be wiped clean, essentially killed. There is no way Donald Faison will be killed and Piper is necessary for the show to continue, which only leaves Agent Brooks.
- This whole code from space plot point reminds me of 2036 Origin Unknown. The Katee Sackhoff driven sci-fi mindbender from Hasraf Dulull has a similar AI entity that may or may not be good for humans. If you haven’t seen it check it out before next week.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.