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?
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 Review – Anti-Aging (1×06)
We know the rules — there are no rules.
We know that’s something Anson Ash said about the arrival of the debris while he was being interrogated by Maddox, but it could also sum up the series thus far.
Debris isn’t playing by any rules, and the only thing encouraging about that is that it means anything can happen; there’s no limit to the shock-value.
It’s also kind of encouraging that Finola and Bryan are both just as confused as the viewers are.
Typically, either audiences or the characters know a bit more about what’s at stake, but Finola and Bryan are in the thick of it with us.
They have the necessary knowledge to deal with the debris, but it’s the behind-the-scenes conspiracy that’s tripping them up a bit.
While no answers were provided on Debris Season 1 Episode 6, Finola and Bryan finally broke through the trust wall.
They were both tip-toeing around each other with Ferris and Maddox using them as pawns in some larger game, but not knowing the full picture of what their bosses wanted from them is what led them to finally confess the truth.
Bryan couldn’t stand lying to Finola anymore, especially as she made her stories about her father so heartfelt and compelling, so he told her that George Jones is alive.
Finola, on the other hand, wanted to see if Bryan would finally come clean. She gave him a chance to right his wrongs, and when he did, she informed him that she already knew the truth.
So, now, they’re both on the same page.
Finola then realized neither Ferris nor Maddox could be trusted. Ferris was laying just enough breadcrumbs for Maddox to figure something out, but it’s unclear what she knows or wants him to know about George Jones.
And apparently, Maddox can’t be trusted because Mi6 believes he’s reportedly working for the Chinese government? We know he’s up to something, but if he’s betraying his own country, well, that’s ugly.
We saw him meet with Tarkolov again, which seems to be happening off-the-books, and his interest is solely focused on a piece of debris that has the ability to suspend objects in mid-air.
Again, it’s unclear why he wants that piece specifically, and when Irina asks him that question directly, it’s even stranger since she notes he has debris pieces in his possession that are far more powerful. Is she simply not aware of the pieces abilities?
At this point in time, no one’s motivations are clear and the vagueness surrounding these characters is becoming increasingly frustrating.
We don’t know any more about the debris (where it came from, why it’s her, what it wants to do, etc.), Ferris and Maddox, Influx, or George Jones’ miraculous resurrection than we did after watching the pilot!
All that’s really evident is that Finola and Bryan are probably best off sticking together and playing the game if they want to learn the truth.
There were a few theories being thrown around about George Jones that may highlight just how powerful the debris properties are.
Could he be a clone? Bryan and the CIA seem to think that’s likely, but considering that Influx seems to be using him to get more information about the debris, I think the idea that he was brought back to life using a powerful piece is much more likely and fun to play with.
When the time comes for George and Finola to finally come fact-t0-face, having the real George Jones back in the flesh will be more meaningful. And you know it’s only a matter of time before that happens.
Plus, clones, which we’ve already seen before, just feel like the easy way out.
Maddox’s questioning of Anson Ash revealed that according to him, Influx believes that the pieces are meant to “free the world.”
However, it’s hard to justify opening up wormholes in Manhattan as a “good” act for the world.
There’s no doubt that there are aspects of the debris that one could consider to be a “miracle,” but in this situation, I think the bad outweighs the good.
The general public likely wouldn’t be able to handle the power that comes with the pieces. I mean, look at what it did to Kurt and Clara. Kurt’s motivations seemed murky at first and it was heartbreaking to see him prey on the elderly. Once it was revealed that he simply wanted to give everyone a second chance by reversing the aging process while buying himself more time with his wife of 50-years who was suffering from dementia, you could argue that there were “good” aspects about the debris.
Yet, he still killed three innocent people in the process, which proves that while the debris can some incredible things, there’s too much that’s unknown about it.
At the end of the day, they have no idea what they’re dealing with. And it’s unclear if there are long-term side-effects to the debris.
Not to mention, it’s completely unnatural. As Clara said, they had their moment in time and they needed to accept that it was over.
I’ll admit, I did get pretty emotional when the couple decided to give back the piece and die together on their own terms. Even in a sci-fi series, I’m a sucker for romance!
So, in the hands of the general public, it’s dangerous, especially when used with the wrong intentions in mind, which seems to be the case for Influx even if Anson believes otherwise.
Then again, with so much shadiness surrounding Maddox, he might very well be on the “dark side” masquerading as a good guy.
The only people who are truly in it for the right reasons are Bryan and Finola. They have nothing to benefit from it and are actually helping people who have been affected by the debris and trying to minimize the casualties at every turn.
What did you think about the episode? Did you like that the personal case was anchored to romance?
Are you glad Finola and Bryan are finally on the same page and up to speed about “trust no one”?
What do you think Maddox is involved in? Is he a traitor? Are you still sticking around with the series or is it just too vague for you?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Debris Review – Wormhole (1×05)
A week after I noted that Debris is following a formula when it comes to investigating cases, they switched things up on Debris Season 1 Episode 5 and brought the action from a small, remote town to the heart of New York City.
But was it beneficial? I guess that depends on what you’re looking to gain from the series.
If you want answers, you came to the wrong place. But, on the plus side, the episode did prime audiences for possible answers pertaining to the debris and Influx in the near future.
It was like a tease without any resolution within the hour.
In this one-off situation, the debris wasn’t being caused naturally. Instead, it was being manipulated by Influx for reasons unknown.
Upon finding a bus that traveled through a purposeful wormhole, Finola and Bryan mused that maybe Influx was testing to see what happens to people that travel through a wormhole. But why?
Are they planning world domination? Are they trying to sell these pieces of debris?
What are they stealing all these pieces for?
And how are they so much more advanced at manipulating the debris? They seem to wield a huge amount of knowledge about the pieces — knowledge that the Americans, the Brits, and well, the rest of the world’s government agencies don’t seem to have.
Is their secret weapon Finola’s father, George Jones? Everyone is painting him to be this brilliant man and a victim of Influx, but I’m leaning towards the possibility that he’s gone rogue and is the leader of Influx instead.
None of the other men, including Anson Ash, seem to have what it takes to pull this off. Influx is skilled, well-funded, and highly organized. It’s actually impressive.
The members are also very dedicated to the cause and willing to die for it (and it seems that there’s an abundance of them), so that has to mean something, though it’s still unclear what exactly.
Stopping the significantly larger wormhole in New York City took a bit more manpower than just Finola and Bryan. It was interesting to see everyone working towards a common goal while still holding onto their secrets.
At this point, you can’t take anything that anyone says at face value.
Finola was cold and brash towards Bryan because she found out he lied about her father, but since then, she’s learned how to play the game and is keeping plenty close to home as well.
Her conversation with Maddox towards the end of the episode was hilarious since they were both saying one thing but doing the exact opposite; Maddox promises transparency, but he doesn’t actually mean it.
Then again, Ferris reminded Finola that her agency is also keeping secrets from the Americans, which is important to remember.
But all these secrets and questionable motivations are likely working against them all in the long run. Instead of focusing on solving the mystery of the debris and Influx, they are all exerting so much energy on keeping their lies straight.
Again, Influx is so much further ahead of both MI6 and the CIA in terms of what they know about the debris that these agencies should really prioritize keeping up and getting one step ahead.
They may have captured Anson Ash, which could give them some insight, but what if he’s not willing to talk?
We already saw one guy die for the cause (and suggest that there was plenty more willing to take his spot to fulfill the mission). Plus, based on Anson’s creepy smile when he confronted Finola, I doubt he’ll be all that forthcoming.
Also, what about him humming that Spanish song at the end that Finola and Dee Dee used to dance and sing when they were younger? That’s a gamechanger because it reveals that he’s more connected to Finola than we previously thought.
Is he her long-lost brother? What’s his connection to George? We all heard that offhand comment he made about Finola “having his eyes,” which indicates that the duo knows each other very well.
I’ve had my reservations about Maddox previously as we’ve seen him meet with some shady people and lie to his agency about it, but now, we’re also being forced to have reservations about Ferris.
Finola has been very trusting of Ferris up until this point, but her little brief encounter with Brill might make her reconsider the alliance. Brill will most definitely play a key role in this little mystery otherwise the series wouldn’t have cast Sebastian Roche (hey, Klaus Mikealson’s dad) in the role.
But what does Brill know? And why did he want Finola to keep her guard up?
Personally, I think Finola and Bryan both need to acknowledge that their teams aren’t being completely honest with them. The only way they’ll get anywhere is by trusting each other, which obviously calls for open communication. Bryan tried to talk things through with Finola, but she wasn’t ready just yet.
Finola is a great agent, but she’s stubborn. She has a complex where she believes that she’s always on the side of good and whoever disagrees with her isn’t. However, she’s not the best at confronting her emotions and seeing the other side of the coin either.
People keep secrets for a reason. Calling Bryan out on it could’ve resolved plenty of their issues. When it’s just the two of them in the field, they need to be able to rely on each other, so I think they’re long overdue for an honest conversation where they lay it all out on the table and acknowledge that maybe they need to have each other’s backs because no one else truly has theirs.
As for the “debris-of-the-week,” since Bryan and Finola figured out how Influx was powering the wormhole, they were able to stop it in time, which meant we never actually found out what they were planning on doing with it. Nor did we find out why Anson kept saying “it needed to be done.”
To be honest, we didn’t find out much of anything.
We already knew no one could be trusted, we knew Influx was snagging debris on the black market, and we knew they have George Jones. The episode didn’t reveal anything new aside from the fact that the debris can be used for nefarious reasons, so it’s vital that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands again.
With each passing week, I’m hoping the series gives us something more to work with so that audiences don’t lose all interest. But as of now, it’s still just as vague as the day it premiered.
What did you think? Where will the debris take them next? Will Anson give Finola (and us) more insight into what’s happening?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Debris Review – A Change in the Atmosphere (1×04)
Another week, another mysterious case of debris brings Finola and Bryan’s reality to a halt.
On Debris Season 1 Episode 4, the ship wreckage is contained to a small area plagued by a torrential downpour, which they soon discover is responsible for causing an atmospheric change.
The people within the radius who have come in contact with the debris have turned into chlorine breathing organisms rather than oxygen-breathing ones, which is why when they leave the area, they die of asphyxiation.
While it’s certainly an intriguing case that made for a good episode, it’s frustrating that once again, Finola and Bryan successfully found a solution within the hour that resulted in almost no casualties.
Finola’s desire to save the people by any means necessary says a lot about her character, but it is questionable that she was able to successfully find a solution to a problem that she’s never encountered so quickly.
The agents were chosen for these cases because of their particular set of skills, but even so, it’s hard to believe that anyone would be that lucky while having such limited knowledge of the debris.
Over the course of four episodes, the cases have shown us several different abilities of the debris, which is great, yet no two episodes seem to connect to each other, and we never get more information about the piece of debris that has been found.
Finola and Bryan’s approach has become formulaic — they’re made aware of debris acting up, they arrive on the scene, they investigate, they search for the debris, they form a bond with some of the humans involved (which fittingly relates back to their personal lives), and they solve the case within the hour.
The moment the case is wrapped up, they forget about what happened and move on to the next hot spot.
But how is that helpful for the audience? It’s not as it just leaves us wondering: “what’s the point?”
It would be different if we actually saw Craig, the CIA, and Mi6 researching the debris and making connections/discoveries, but that hasn’t happened either.
We don’t even know when the pieces got to this specific location or why they’re acting up at this given time. Did they all fall at once? Do they activate at different times?
And what’s going to happen to the migrants that Finola saved using a previous piece of debris? They were seemingly preserved in time as scientists work to find a way to reverse the side-effects they’ve experienced as a result of coming in contact with a piece of the ship, but are they just going to be left there? Do they go where the piece of debris goes?
Will we ever come in contact with this specific piece of debris again follow up on this again? What does the debris actually want with humans?
Everything remains so vague, which makes me fear that like with many other sci-fi shows, we won’t get concrete answers and the premise of the series will remain abstract.
We dug a little deeper into Finola’s personality, which was nice as the duo has been very surface-level up until this point.
While Bryan seems to have a more methodical and practical approach to the debris, Finola wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s a necessary balance that keeps them both in check. You need someone on the team who cares just as much about saving the people as they do about the science behind it.
In fact, this is the second time Finola has stood her ground and championed for the humans rather than the scientific discoveries — on Debris Season 1 Episode 3, she convinced them to use the debris to rescue the people trapped inside some parallel universe.
This time, however, Bryan was almost successful in convincing her that the right thing to do is shut down the debris before it spreads to the county. On some level, he’s right as you want to save as many people as you can even if there’s collateral, but on the other hand, it didn’t even seem like he attempted to try to save the other people.
Why not give them a chance?
Beck clearly triggered something in Bryan when he mentioned his former partner Julian aka Jules. Not much is known about the man that came before Finola, but apparently, the duo has a similar approach to the cases.
Since leading with his heart got Julian killed, it may explain why Bryan was hesitant to go the extra mile to save this handful of people.
Finola and Bryan seem to care about each other, but their dynamic isn’t exactly flying off the screen either. As I mentioned, the characters remain very surface level, and though we know a bit more about Finola’s past and how it shapes her personality and approach to the work, we don’t know all that much about Bryan, which doesn’t help in terms of establishing a vibe for their partnership.
And before they’ve even been given a chance to explore it, it’s been fractured by a huge lie and a betrayal of trust. We knew it was coming as Finola was bound to find out the truth about her father, but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.
Then again, why wouldn’t Mi6 have the same access to the intel about George Jones as the Americans?
Finola’s personal life related back to the case-of-the-week, which allowed her to process her emotions in real-time.
After realizing that she wasn’t being told the truth about her family, she was inspired to tell Arturo what was happening with the people he loved, while also giving him a chance to make a decision about how he wanted to proceed.
She didn’t like being lied to by someone she trusted, and she didn’t want to lie to someone whose trust she wanted to earn either.
Instead of confronting Bryan immediately, Finola remained mum about the fact that she was aware of his description. I don’t expect it’ll last long, however, as it’s bound to drive a wedge between them and affect their partnership moving forward.
If you think about it, Finola doesn’t feel like she can trust the one person who she’s supposed to feel safe trusting with her life. There’s really no bouncing back from that.
However, fingers-crossed that Finola finding out about her father might finally give us some concrete answers about his role with the debris, the big bad Influx (which we think are holding George captive), and everything in between.
There’s also a lot of gray area surrounding Craig. His alliances were thrown into question in the previous episode, and now it seems like maybe his wife is cheating on him.
And I’ll bet any money that he’ll be able to cure his son’s illness with debris at some point.
My working theory about the affair storyline (because that’s what I’m assuming is happening with the whole wife gets mad that he picked up her phone call from a stranger situation) is that she’s somehow working with Influx.
There’s a way to keep the suspense and mystery without making the series one-dimensional, and Debris needs to break that barrier and get there sooner rather than later.
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below, Cravers!
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