If you’re in the market for a new sci-fi series with a central mystery that will likely keep you theorizing about what’s happening for several seasons, don’t snooze on Debris.
NBC’s latest drama is drawing comparisons to Fringe and Almost Human, and that’s not a coincidence as creator J.H. Wyman worked on both of them.
After watching the pilot, the series also emanates X-Files vibes with the two leads, American CIA Bryan Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) and British MI6 agent Finola Jones (Riann Steele), giving off Mulder and Scully vibes as they navigate a tricky partnership and a “will-they-or-won’t-they” tension that will likely only escalate with more episodes.
It helps to understand the premise of the series before diving into the episode: The duo team up to track down pieces from a mysterious spaceship wreckage that when pieced together will hopefully give them answers about what it is, where it came from, and what it’s capable of. And they’re doing this while trying to protect the pieces from falling into the wrong hands of the “bad guys.” Cue Billie Eilish’s song.
With that in mind, the pilot drops audiences in right in the middle of the action and we can barely catch our breath amidst the jargon and lingo of the situation.
A man is selling a mysterious item on the Black Market, but amid the transaction, the buyers – two English – are tipped off that the Feds have arrived and make a break for it.
A chase ensues with the Brits disappearing through some kind of portal, while the man selling the artifacts leaps from the balcony and falls to his death in what seems to be an apparent suicide.
Before he takes the plunge, however, he hides the item in the hotel hallway where a maid locates it. When she removes the artifact from the bag, she’s plunged 14 floors down where she smashes through a table to her death.
Her lifeless body is still clutching the mysterious item when the agents find her, and Finola explains the piece seems to have the same properties as other objects found in debris field 707 in Manchester.
Yeah, that’s enough to get your attention.
However, not much insight is provided about the case as the duo embarks to Kansas where another debris event has been reported.
This time, they find a woman floating around and defying gravity in a field. The awe with which Bryan observes this phenomenon is the same one we’re experiencing at home. How’d they get suspended like that?
Prior to this moment, audiences see the woman, Amy Morrison, driving her son who is playing with a toy monkey.
As the monkey begins to clap, she begins to bleed from her eyes and loses consciousness.
The agents discover that Amy isn’t the only person floating around in the field – there’s a group of people caught in the vortex.
But why? How? And more importantly, where is the debris that they’ve come in contact with?
Despite seeming dead, a doctor reports that they all still have brain connectivity, so somehow, they’re alive.
As Bryan and Finola begin to look for a connection between several of the victims, they learn that Amy never had a child despite being last seen with a young boy.
Soon, they realize that James Vanderberg’s family is the only one that hasn’t returned any calls about his disappearance.
Upon a trip to the property, they find his wife also floating in a field with the debris that caused the anomaly floating around near her body.
At this point, I can’t help but wonder how Bryan is able to get near the debris without being affected by its powers, especially since Finola later gets near it and sees it manifest her mother.
But that’s the point and hook of the series for now – not knowing how the debris works and what it’s truly capable of. All we know is that it has some powerful properties.
A quick glance inside the house reveals that the boy seen with Amy is the Vanderbergs’ son. They locate his sister, Isla, who is at boarding school just a few miles away, and she reveals something that makes the whole situation even more sinister: her brother, Kieran, died seven months ago.
Bryan and Finola put together a theory that the mother’s grief is responsible for what’s happening. The debris likely manifested as her late son and is using people as batteries by draining them of energy to stay alive.
Again, it’s unclear what the “it” actually is, but considering the premise, it’s safe to say it’s due to some kind of alien life form aboard the ship that crashed.
However, it’s also unclear why the supernatural entity is using people and re-enacting Kiernan’s death with each victim. What is the ultimate goal?
None of those explanations are given even as Bryan figures out that Isla needs to snap her mother out of it so that everyone can regain consciousness. The mind-control aspect of it all reminds me a bit of Extant.
But since Bryan doesn’t seem to know what they’re dealing with, how did he know what the solution was or that it would work?
The series is embracing a half-procedural, half-serialized tone so that it doesn’t lose viewers completely, but solving this case within the hour seemed rushed for the sake of wrapping things up. It doesn’t allow audiences to full wrap their brains around what is happening. Again, that might be the point?
The episode would’ve been stronger had it established the rules for the series and elaborated a bit on what Finola and Bryan have already encountered/ the extent of their supernatural knowledge.
DEBRIS — “Pilot” Episode: 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Jonathan Tucker as Vryan Benventi, Riann Steele as Finola Jones — (Photo by: James Dittiger/NBC)Per the synopsis, we know the wreckage from the spacecraft has a mysterious effect on humankind, but does it vary based on the pieces you come into contact with?
How long have they been working together? Has this happened before so that Bryan knew exactly what needed to be done? It didn’t seem like a situation Bryan and Finola were familiar with, so again, how were they so sure of the solution?
The pilot was engrossing enough that I want to know more, but it would’ve been more effective had it painted a fuller picture as a baseline for audiences. The “case of the week” stuff can come into play later once we get a sense of what to expect.
The only positive is that the series, unlike many other sci-fi dramas that tend to get lost in their own convoluted mysteries, seems to have a mythology that it can build upon and a sense of direction for where it wants to go and what story it wants to tell.
This was made clear in the final moments when Bryan was debriefing with his boss about the death of one of the British men.
The duo kept popping up throughout the episode at random sites where the debris was located. The agencies seem to be keeping this under wraps from the general population as not to cause alarm, but these guys were very well informed and knew what they were looking for.
Plus, they had an advantage by having a piece that allowed them to teleport.
However, the one man whose teleportation wasn’t successful was identified as former SAS, which I’m guessing refers to the British Army?
And in a rather promising twist that hooks fans and entices them to return for future episodes, Finola’s “late” father is spotted on surveillance arriving at JFK with the two men… very much alive. Talk about a “WTF” moment!
Bryan is told to keep this information from her as they don’t have that established trust yet, but that’s a huge secret to keep from your partner! Finola made it clear that her father’s death inspired her to follow in his footsteps and make him proud.
He’s regarded as a legend, but this might throw that all into question as he seems to be working with a nefarious organization – the same people Finola is working to stop. She’s clearly more of a by-the-book lad and explains early on that she believes this technology, in the right hands, can do a lot of good. But what if it ends up in the wrong hands?
Meanwhile, Bryan, a vet, who recently returned from Afghanistan, is more sly and will likely venture off the beaten path for answers. (Let’s be honest, half of us are only watching because of Tucker!) He believes this is his way of contributing to humanity and society. From his interactions with Isla about saying what she needs to say to her mother before it’s too late, he’s likely harboring a lot of hurt and regret that we’ll get to explore in future episodes.
The family drama, which is introduced early on, seems to be the “humanity” and anchor of the series that’s otherwise heavily focused on strange anomalies and supernatural entities.
In just one episode, we were exposed to defying gravity, portals, and alien mind control as a result of the wreckage. The series has promise, but it’s hard to get too invested considering we know how it typically ends for overly ambitious sci-fi dramas.
As it stands, I’ll be tuning in again… how about you?
What were your thoughts on the pilot? Let us know in the comments below!
Debris Season Finale Review – Finola Is Betrayed (1×13)
Season 1 of Debris ended with the ultimate betrayal.
All season long, Finola insisted that Maddox was the one they couldn’t trust, but it turns out, the traitor was right under their noses — and in their backseat — this whole time.
Finola learned that her reincarnated father, George Jones, has been lying to her and working with Influx.
Is that a complete shock? Not entirely. But what I did find striking was that he was almost the mastermind behind Influx.
His suicide was all part of his “rebirth” plan, and when he was explaining it all to Finola, he sounded rather unhinged. For Influx, that means he’s a “visionary.”
When Finola, Bryan, and George arrived at the site of the debris in Virginia, people were in a trance similar to what happened on Debris Season 1 Episode 12 when the sphere of light was formed.
George played along as if he was on their team, and then when he got Finola alone, he informed her that he already called Influx to the site of the debris.
The revelation took Finola by surprise, but in a way, George’s motivations made sense.
George wants the debris to belong to the people. He doesn’t believe that the government should be able to control the pieces and, as we saw, that’s exactly what every country has been doing by trying to weaponize it.
Instead, George believes that the technology should allow people to resist the government.
Goerge shared his disdain for governments in a previous episode, so we should’ve seen it coming. He was almost priming Finola for this very moment.
The series seems to be a fight between good and evil, but the line between good and evil is seriously blurred here.
Is Influx good or evil? Is the U.S. government? Are people?
Allowing the public to have access to a powerful technology that could help them tap into a higher level of consciousness and thought seems like a sound idea, but what happens when it falls into the wrong hands?
Finola and Bryan have dedicated their life to finding these pieces so that doesn’t happen; that’s what they thought they were doing.
Not everyone has pure intentions — greed, manipulation, jealousy are all human traits that can be found all too common in our society.
While weaponizing the technology is a gross abuse of power, so is blindly releasing it to the masses and hoping for the best.
As we’ve seen, the pieces have insane potential. This debris alone was able to feed off of people’s emotions by physically connecting to them. It can kill people. It can make them disappear. And, most importantly, it has healing properties as w saw another piece, obtained by Maddox, cure his son.
That kind of power in the wrong hands is dangerous.
And I can’t say that Influx is the “right” hands. They’ve done terrible things for their cause including sacrificing 50 or so people by wiping their memories all so that they can move the piece.
George didn’t even seem to care that Bryan, the man who helped him throughout this whole journey and meant a great deal to Finola, was amongst those 50. He shrugged it off and justified his actions because he thought he convinced himself that he was doing it for the greater good.
And while that may be true in some situations, it just shows that George has no boundaries or morals. He has a goal and a vision, and he doesn’t care who he hurts in the process of achieving it.
George did try to include Finola in his plans, but it was delusional of him to think that she would ever go along with what Influx was doing.
Finola also thinks that the pieces can be used for good, but she doesn’t believe in forcing people to do things against their will or hurting others in the process.
If only Finola simply listened to Bryan when he voiced his concerns about her father. Finola was blinded by her love and loyalty to her father; she so badly wanted a second chance that she missed what was right in front of her and it almost got her and Bryan killed.
Thankfully, Bryan wasn’t affected by the piece of debris because of the injections he’s been receiving. It was a nice and convenient loophole so that Bryan would remain in the loop.
Otto immediately realized that Bryan was the “third man,” which referred to the injuries he, Garcia, and Ming sustained when the debris initially fell.
Influx knew that Finola and Bryan would run to their respective governments after all was said and done to report what happened, but they didn’t seem too worried about it and left their memories intact. Truthfully, there isn’t much to be worried about as they have the piece they’ve been looking for and the sphere is also almost in their possession.
They’re ahead of the game, so to speak because of George, their secret weapon.
And this is where things get a little weird and tricky.
The sphere gravitated to Dahkeya aka Black Water Grandfather, who then brought it to Brill (Sebastian Roche), who was in a cave. Turns out that he’s double-crossing Priya and working with Influx (unless she’s also working with Influx, but I doubt that).
Though, debris doesn’t just seek people out, so why did it find Dahkeya? They clearly have some connection to Influx.
They agree that “it’s time” and turn to some weird cacoon of Finola. Is she frozen in time? Is this a Finola from a different dimension? Was she preserved? Or cloned? Does her DNA play a role?
Is she the key to something? I can’t shake that the time loop plays into this somehow.
Is Otto (Fringe’s John Noble) manipulating the debris in some way? It really feels like the pieces have a mind of their own, so maybe there is some sort of communication between the debris and Influx.
Or is Otto made up of pieces of debris? Is that why they saw that figure made up of particles upon entering and exiting the area affected by the debris? After all, he did disfigure several people inside the convenience store in what seemed to be an attempt to get more energy? And he knew all about Bryan even though Bryan said he never met Otto in his life.
I wish I could say I understood what was happening more on this series more than I do, but I absolutely do not.
And because of that confusion, I’m indifferent about whether the series scores another season.
Would I like to piece it all together and get some clarity? Definitely. Am I intrigued about what George Jones might know about the debris’s potential? Absolutely. Am I invested in Finola and Bryan’s relationship and want to see it progress? You bet. But I’ll also be okay if I never find out what happens next.
The season had 10-episodes to give us something to work with, and while there were some incredible twists along the way and each episode worked well as a standalone, the overall picture remains blurry even with these game-changing revelations.
The network hasn’t made a renewal decision just yet, so we’ll see whether or not NBC feels some type of way.
Elsewhere, Maddox’s motivation to seek out secret pieces of debris from the Russians was revealed — he’s not the villain we thought he was but rather a good guy trying to save his family.
The piece allowed his braindead child to speak again, which brought his wife back from a depressive state.
The fact that we didn’t see what he had to do to get this piece means that it’s going to blowback on the U.S. if the series gets the go-ahead for a second season.
What did you think of the season finale? Were you impressed with all the information that was presented or do you wish we were given more?
Let us know in the comments.
Debris Review – A Message from Ground Control (1×12)
George’s hunt for a serious piece of debris continued on Debris Season 1 Episode 12, while Finola and Bryan were pulled into a mysterious case inside Orbital.
The incident inside Orbital was causing plenty of chaos as it was pulling pieces of debris through some kind of invisible and compelling people to do its bidding.
I could not tell you why the debris was doing what it was doing, or what the point of any of it was, but hopefully, it’ll make sense in the long run.
Finola and Bryan seemed to be just as confused. For much of the season, they’ve treated the debris as sort of the enemy and done their best to stop it, but this time, they were forced to acknowledge that they were in the presence of something bigger and stronger than them.
And Bryan even figured out that they shouldn’t interfere with its mission.
The moment of clarity came to him when the debris manifest Muriel, who finally helped him understand why the memory of Asalah from Debris Season 1 Episode 11 was so important.
Unfortunately, audiences were never clued in to the “why,” so Bryan’s attempts at convincing Finola to let the debris assemble sounded like an unhinged man’s babbling.
Was he being compelled by the debris to do its bidding? This isn’t the Bryan we’ve come to know.
And why did he say that if they stopped it from assembling, it would kill a lot of people? What is it?
Why does he think the debris wants to change the world?
Personally, Bryan’s new outlook on life makes things even more confusing, and I’ve lost sight of what the whole point of this show is.
Finola followed Bryan’s gut and gave the A-OK to let the debris do its thing, which resulted in the formation of a breathtaking ball of light.
But again, what is the purpose of this new object?
And is it a coincidence that George located the important piece of debris at the same time the ball of light was created and drifted away into the unknown? I doubt it.
Maybe the piece didn’t exist previously, which is why George was never able to find it.
In a brief moment, George also revealed that the piece of debris that everyone is seeking out would create a map that shows the location of each piece of debris on the face of the Earth.
It’s no wonder Influx wants to get their hands on it. That kind of power would make them unstoppable.
The events happening at Orbital also seemed to connect to Influx, though, that wasn’t outright obvious to Bryan and Finola.
Remember a few episodes back when Anson Ash got the code to escape captivity? He waited until this very event at Orbital to portal jump himself out of imprisonment and into freedom.
Did he know this was going to happen? Was Influx behind the whole thing as Maddox assumed?
And why did he wait until this exact moment to make the jump?
Also, how does Influx know that George found the piece that they were looking for? Do they have a tracker on him? Is he being followed?
Or is George secretly working with Influx this whole time?
Clearly, Influx is still onto George Jones, so it makes me laugh when he assures Finola he can take care of himself. It’s hard to believe that when it comes from a man who was brought back to life by a group that’s using his brainpower for nefarious things.
It’s essentially a race for the debris, and if it falls into the wrong hands, it would mean trouble for everyone.
But is there such a thing as the right hands? Everyone has an agenda,
And one could argue that what the Americans are doing with it is the definition of “falling into the wrong hands.”
While investigating the occurrence at Orbital, Finola and Bryan unearthed what Maddox was really up to — weaponizing the debris to engineer weapons using George Jones’s work.
When Finola confronted him about it, he explained that it was their way of preventing attacks on the U.S.
And his excuse? If they didn’t do it, someone else would.
In short, the U.S. wants control, but does that really make what they’re doing okay?
George Jones warned Finola not to be blindsided by this “coalition” and explained that governments were created to serve public interest, but instead, they always serve their own interests as people suffer.
And that, quite frankly, sums up Maddox’s motivation.
Does this also explain why Maddox has been secretly fetching random pieces of debris from the Russians?
If there’s anything I’ve taken from this series is that humankind is the worst. They’ll exploit anything and anyone without a second thought for their own personal gain.
Everything continues to remain vague on Debris heading into the season finale, but it’s reassuring that it’s all connected because there’s a change the pieces will fall into place soon enough.
Debris Review – Asalah (1×11)
If you’ve been waiting for Bryan Beneventi’s backstory, Debris Season 1 Episode 11 dove right into the heart of it.
Through a piece of debris that was being channeled by a woman named Muriel, Bryan’s time in Afghanistan was explored, particularly as it connected to the most important mission of his life: mission Dessert Rose.
If you’ll recall in earlier episodes when Bryan was cloned by a piece of debris, Finola spotted him looking at a woman’s photograph and asked him about it. Bryan wasn’t forthcoming about it, so we all assumed it was a former love interest, but now we know it was Asalah, an Afghanistan woman that Bryan formed a friendship with and who was killed by her own people for helping him in the fight for peace.
Even though her death wasn’t his fault, Bryan always carried the guilt for her death since he pr0omised to keep her and her grandfather safe.
He would’ve made good on that promise if Asalah hadn’t come to warn Bryan that the Taliban was going to ambush him and his men.
Asalah was a brave woman and one of the good ones fighting for peace, and despite his best efforts, Bryan was unable to protect her.
After Asalah was murdered, Bryan took revenge on a group of Taliban hiding out in the mountains. Unfortunately, this was a different group of insurgents that was being protected by the CIA, and thus, he was imprisoned for his actions.
He was about to be charged with a war crime when Maddox pulled him out and gave him a job investigating the debris. This explains why Bryan has remained so loyal to Maddox and never questioned his motives.
The deep dive into Bryan’s life not only let audiences understand his trauma better, but it allowed Finola to get a deeper understanding of her partner. After all that he’s experienced, it’s no wonder that he wanted to keep all of that bottled up inside. He wasn’t proud of what happened.
However, by doing so, he was allowing it to fester. Is that why the debris wanted him to face that specific moment in his life? I’m going to guess that it’s the only thing that has an emotional hold on Bryan. Maybe the debris wanted to channel that energy?
Finola assumed that since the debris cloned Bryan, it backed up his memories in its network and was tapping into them now.
But again, it didn’t explain why it sought out Bryan and no one else even though it technically saw her memories as well.
And when Bryan asked Muriel why she wanted him to face this memory, he never got an answer because he was pulled out by his team. How frustrating.
Why would they put Bryan through all the trouble of remembering such a grim day if he wasn’t going to find out its significance in regards to the debris?
And the final scene with Black Water grandfather throwing various metals into the different directions of the world didn’t really illuminate much either.
Is this someone who has the power of manipulating the debris?
The series has done a great job of making us care about Bryan and Finola as characters while unearthing their interesting backstories piece by piece, but it’s not doing a great job of providing answers about the debris or what it wants.
Finola suggested that it seems as though all of the pieces of debris are connected, which again, isn’t a revolutionary thought. We’ve seen Maddox and his team attempt to stitch together the pieces they’ve acquired, so I’m assuming they all add up into one major, powerful piece.
But why? I’m tired of asking that question after each episode.
What did she mean when she said the debris is experiencing them the same way they’re experiencing it?
Does the debris have a motherboard that’s trying to figure the humans in the same way they’re trying to figure out the debris? Is it studying them? Adapting to their way of living?
By focusing on Bryan’s backstory, the series also wasn’t able to tap into what’s happening with Influx or Ash Anson.
It’s strange since the first half of the season made Influx such a priority but recent episodes have pushed the storyline to the backburner.
Are they still a threat? Why aren’t they more of a priority for Maddox? Last we saw, Ash got into the mind of a prison guard and got the code to break out.
And what’s with the little snippet of Maddox being shady and stealing a piece of debris without telling anyone?
I also wish we got more insight into the injections that Bryan is getting. What are they for? And why does Maddox think that it’s possible that Bryan was more susceptible to the debris because the potency of his shots was wearing off?
What did you think of the episode?
Why did the debris want Bryan to face his past? Will it impact him moving forward?
Do you wish the series was more forthcoming with answers?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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