by Chuck Duncan
Guest Cast: Zak Santiago, Keenan Tracey
We got a really interesting episode of Debris this week and, surprise, it's actually a two-parter (at least), giving us the first real cliffhanger of the season. It also played with our expectations from the previous episode in that we thought it was going to be about George building his device with the help of Gary Garcia, and Bryan and Finola trying to figure out how they were going to manage their betrayals of both of their countries. But, the pair are doing all they can to keep up appearances, taking on another debris case and leaving George with Gary (who, we learn, was a victim of George's early development of Orbital so there might be some hard feelings there).
But Finola and Bryan leave George behind and head to Washington state to investigate another anomaly caused by the debris. Upon their arrival, Bryan can detect a weak signal coming from the water, and they pay a visit to a young man named Shelby and his little brother. Except Shelby doesn't have a brother -- he claims to have a sister -- and this isn't the same little brother we already saw Shelby talking to earlier. Shelby also knows very well who Bryan and Finola are, surprising them both.
Shelby and his sister saw the debris fall into the water near their house -- he quickly blows up the cover story that it was a military aircraft by telling them point blank that he knows it's alien tech -- and when they dove in to check it out, a flash of light returned Shelby to his house two days earlier ... and with a little brother instead of a sister. Shelby has been attempting to reset his timeline so that his sister is back, and each time he does that, he also meets Bryan and Finola.
When he reveals he also knows George, they begin to believe his story of this never-ending time loop. Finola calls her father, again, and he talks to Shelby, trying to get details about what happened when his sister disappeared, such as the color pattern of the flash of light he saw before the time jump. Shelby can't really recall, and while talking privately with Finola, George warns her to not allow Shelby to time jump again because he's going to destroy the fabric of space and time. Shelby previously told them that George told him to keep jumping to reset the timeline, so Finola now knows that was a lie. But before she can tell Bryan, Shelby takes off and jumps again. And again. And again. Each time he gets a little more information for George, but the warning to stop the jumping is the same. When Bryan catches a glimpse of Shelby's sister in a mirror, he knows that the situation is becoming more serious.
But Shelby takes off again and Bryan goes after him, trying to prevent the jump but Shelby drags both of them into the debris and before Bryan knows it, he's back on the road to Washington. With a different partner but going through the same motions as before. Shelby keeps jumping and Bryan keeps getting new partners, but he knows what Shelby is doing now, and now he needs things to be reset so Finola is back where she belongs.
Finola is now just sitting at a desk at MI6 HQ, and Bryan calls her out of the blue. She has no idea who he is but she has his CIA file pulled and patiently listens to his wild story. But he strikes a nerve with her when he mentions a story about a soldier and a penguin, which Shelby said was something George had mentioned during one of their conversations (in this new scenario, George is dead again but in an accident instead of suicide). Finola is spooked when Bryan mentioned the story which was written for her mother. Bryan says there's something in the story that can help him get back something he needs desperately, so she relates the story to him. Basically the story is about someone who spends a lifetime hiding what he truly wants so that his heart isn't eventually broken. Finola asks who the person is Bryan is trying to get back to and he says, "You."
What Bryan doesn't know is that his latest partner has been in touch with Maddox with concerns that he's being affected by the debris, and that he won't listen to her. Maddox tells her to prevent him from making another jump by whatever means necessary. So will Bryan get Finola back, will he be stuck with his new wild-eyed partner who looks like she's about to lose her shit at any minute, or will she just kill him?
And I assume we are to start thinking, from the reminders of Maddox's family life, his son (who we now know was injured in an accident), his wife (who was driving the car), and her decision to leave her husband because she can't live with his forgiveness anymore, that Maddox's obsession with the debris is more than professional, perhaps he's hoping to find that piece that can restore his son's physical health and heal his marriage. Maybe he should just use the debris Bryan has found instead of ordering him killed.
By the way, if you're watching the broadcast version of the show, the end credits are different than the streaming version which has included some voices that remind one of NASA Mission Control. At the end of this week's episode, there is mention of Gary Garcia, with the voice saying, 'He's gone.' Perhaps this is just a little Easter egg for the streaming viewers and unimportant, but it is interesting.