The season has been building to this.
by Chuck Duncan
Guest Cast: Erin Karpluck, Zarina Sterling
The seeds for this week's episode of Debris, titled Asalah, were planted way back in Episode 2, 'You Are Not Alone'. Two key things introduced there came into play here: Bryan being cloned, and the photo of the woman in clone Bryan's pocket that he refused to talk about (showing that the season has actually been pretty well laid out).
The key to unlocking these mysteries comes in the form of a woman named Mariel, who was found at what appeared to br ground zero for a major piece of debris which was sending the Legari meters off the scale. Donning some special equipment, one of the recovery team approaches the woman who keeps repeating 'Bryan Beneventi'. This, of course, causes concern and Bryan and Finola are diverted to Cedarville, MD to see if Bryan can determine who the woman is and why she's asking for him. Bryan is a bit rattled when he realizes she's talking about Afghanistan, particularly a certain mission that he's tried to put out of his mind for years. Mariel is repeating conversations, from the last thing Bryan's mother said to him before he was deployed to specific coordinates and mission information that no one would know unless they were there. Bryan approaches Mariel and she grabs his are, plunging him into a catatonic state.
But Bryan suddenly finds himself back in Afghanistan, back to the time of the mission he was about to lead to flush out Taliban in the area. It's there we see the woman who we saw in the Episode 2 photo, Asalah. Apparently Bryan brought her to the base to get some medical attention for her injured hand. While she and Bryan have a conversation about her concern for her grandfather's safety, Mariel is repeating the conversation out loud. By this time Maddox has arrived, and he confirms she's repeating conversations from the mission that was very important to Bryan. We see Bryan bond with Asalah over Elton John (she wants to go to America and play the piano), and she offers to help Bryan find the Taliban. He tells her they don't need her help and it's too dangerous for her. Later, one of the troops brings Bryan his camera that Asalah had apparently taken, and he sees photos she took of the Taliban.
In the real world, Finola suggests that somehow the debris is all linked and it's all communicating, and there's a very real possibility that when Bryan was cloned the debris backed up his memories, and they are being transmitted across the debris network. Mariel came into contact with the debris and the memories were downloaded into her. Finola suggests that a way to break the connection would be to basically short-circuit Bryan's brainwaves with electro-convulsive therapy (aka shock treatment). Maddox trusts that Finola is right, and gives the order. Behind her back, he also tells the doctor to up Bryan's dosage of the injections he's been taking if he wakes up. Those injections are still a piece of the puzzle that is missing.
When they shock Bryan, Mariel convulses as well. Back in the dream world, Bryan is being briefed on the mission and ... Maddox is there. Bryan seems to know him, in what appears to be a reaction to the shock therapy, but this looks like the moment the two met which was alluded to in the previous episodes, in one of the timelines where Maddox mentioned he'd talked to a Bryan Beneventi but he didn't work for the CIA, he was a war criminal. Now we see Maddox wish Bryan luck with his mission. Knowing what's about to come, Bryan warns Asalah to take her grandfather and get to safety.
As the shock therapy continues, Bryan is now in the middle of the raid, each of the shocks causing what appears to be lightning in his alternate universe. But something is weighing on his mind and he orders his men to cease fire because he knows what's going to happen next and he has to stop it. But he didn't. Bryan now appears to be alone in the village and on the ground is Asalah, killed in the crossfire. He then takes her body to her grandfather, and then he sees Mariel sitting on a chair on the side of the mountain. He asks her why she made him go through this again. She reaches out but before they can touch hands, one last shock spring Bryan back to reality, jumping off of the operating table. He needs to see Mariel, but it appears that the shock and breaking the link between them has killed her.
Finola tells Bryan she knows about Asalah. Bryan says her grandfather told him that she knew there was going to be an ambush and had come to the village to warn Bryan so he didn't think she'd betrayed him. Bryan then took his men to find the Taliban, and they did find a group hiding in a cave. Bryan took revenge for Asalah but it wasn't the same group that had killed her. And that is why Bryan was in prison as a war criminal, and he'd still be there if Maddox hadn't pulled him out and given him a job. Bryan now carries the picture not to remember Asalah, but to not forget what it's like to invest in something he can lose. Bryan believes he was chosen to relive all that for a reason, but without Mariel now it will be harder to determine why. Finola tells him she things the debris is all connected, and they wonder if the debris is experiencing them the same way they are experiencing it. Maddox has said that Bryan's the only person the debris has sought out, that they know of, and he can't let that happen again, but Bryan is fairly sure what happened to him has nothing to do with the injections he's getting losing their effectiveness.
Ferris sent Finola the Legari files, and George is making his way across the country to Virginia to the antenna fields to boost the signals. He assures her he'll be fine. Ummm, isn't George sort of a fugitive and won't Maddox have people looking for him?
The last moment of the episode moved to Sedona, Arizona. A Native American man is making his way to perhaps watch the sunset, and in voice over he talks about the Blackwater grandfather, and different colored metals in the north, south, east and west parts of the country, and how the grandfather brough the black wind down on the Earth. What does it all mean?
And what about the end credits 'mission control' voices (probably not heard in the NBC broadcast version of the episode)? A man's voice says that they've found Beneventi. A female voice that sounds like Finola says he has a wound on his chest. The male voices asks what happened to those men out there? I'm assuming that now that Bryan has been name-checked here that it must be of some importance. We have two more episodes before we find out what any of this means.