Emergence Episode 9: Where You Belong-Recap and Review-The Saga Of Benny And Splinter

In a season with so many twists and turns already it should have come as no shock that Benny is more than he says.

More secrets were revealed in an information-heavy episode that ended with a neon-hued cliffhanger. The winter finale finally revealed who was a good guy and who was not. Piper’s new found understanding of her nature wasn’t by any stretch the most important secret uncovered. There was a reason Benny was so close to the investigation, and it wasn’t journalism.

Everyone knows what Piper is now. A biological life form with an artificial intelligence overlay. Emily warned it would kill Piper to have that knowledge. Each trial before this current version the AI died when it realized what is was. Piper 10.0(?) is more advanced and is evolving moment by moment. She is able to write her own code and circumvent the fatal exception. Her story is really not that different from any young person’s coming of age story. Minds and bodies change so fast and often emotions take longer to catch up. That the young person here is enhanced does not mean the struggle is not the same.

Piper finally feels safe with Jo and tells her about the disk she removed from her ear. She admits that the chip told her to leave. The chip may not have been a tracker at all, but a kill switch of sorts that precluded her from overriding her commands. This control removal is probably what allows Piper to write her own code. Essentially what she did is tantamount to jailbreaking a cell phone. She is able to think, feel, and act on her own instincts. It did not give her the ability to do geometry though.

Mia and Piper’s relationship highlights the moral dilemma. Is she a combination of code and synthetic biologicals, or is she a human with her own mind? The scenes between Piper(Alexa Swinton) and Mia(Ashley Aufderheide) are some of the most heartfelt as the girls have a innocent chemistry together that is believable. The real concern the girls feel for each other is echoed by the adults. Alex, Jo, Chris, and Grandpa Ed all care for her beyond their desire to protect an asset. That protective instinct is tested when Grandpa is presented with a chance to cure his cancer. The catch is he needs to give Piper to the group known as Splinter.

Previously thought of only as a Reddit sub, Splinter is more than a collection of social media minds and they want Piper. We don’t know if the gene therapy they were offering was real, only that no one was willing to sacrifice Piper to get it. If Piper’s words to Ed were an actual declaration and not the musings of a wistful child they have the ability to invent just about anything including a cure for cancer.

In yet one more redirect, Alex appears to be double-crossing Jo and Piper but is actually executing a plan. The family is rallying together to protect Piper and get justice for Ed who should not have had his diagnosis used as a manipulation device. It is cruel to use hope as a bargaining chip. The fact that this group is willing to do something so callous does not speak highly of them. He is willing to entertain the idea of a future, which is a positive step though. All road leads to Piper. If they can rescue her, she will probably be able to save him.

FBI Agent Ryan Brooks(Enver Gjokaj) is firmly on Team Piper. Allies come and go so quickly it was hard to trust this good looking newcomer. No matter how badly we wanted to trust someone with his reach and resources we have been fooled by too many others. The fact that he had such mistrust for Benny was not a point in his favor either. The one piece of information to come out of the tense conversation outside of Benny’s apartment is the fact that Benny has written substantially about AI. Coupled with his hacker friend April who met an early demise and all the clues should have been there.

I questioned Jo’s immediate trust of Benny early on. He was too good to be true. Owain Yeoman was also grossly underutilized so far. Rare flashes of plot beats usually accompanying a rescue, explosion, or protection detail were all he got. Benny had no real direction of his own. He was at his best when he buddied up with Ed. He was given that chance again tonight, unfortunately, that led to Piper being kidnapped. Before he takes her, he reassures Piper she isn’t a collection of numbers and letters, but human feelings like anyone else. It’s an intriguing thought. Are memories a natural form of code? Is there any difference between the wet-wired coding of natural brains and synthetic programming?

Now that Benny and Splinter have Piper the real villains make themselves known. Like Emily, Wilkis, and Richard Kindred before him, Benny is not what he seemed. We were looking right when we should have looked left the whole time. He has been waiting for a chance to get Piper to Splinter and show what he really was.

Helen(Rowena King) killed Wilkis so she’s clearly not above a little murder. She has superhuman abilities and says she wants to protect Piper. That remains to be seen. Their intentions remain a mystery for now. We do know they have similarities to Piper. They glow blue just as she does when she is reprogramming herself and they are afraid of her. Hopefully the handcuff they provided her with doesn’t hamper her ability too long. We will have to wait until January 7th to find out. Catch up on all our coverage here including color theory and its importance to the series.

Stray Observations:

  • Alex is right. The idea of putting something in my ears that has been in others is disgusting.
  • Alex needs more chances to sing. Another duet would be nice. Might I suggest both sides of Islands In The Stream?
  • Of course, Piper just has regular hearing. She isn’t a cyborg.
  • What happens when Emily realizes Piper isn’t dead? We haven’t seen the last of her.

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