Jade, Gemma Gaetano, and Karl Lubinksy examine the mystery of the disappearing reservoir, and learn that Vexcor’s secrets may be even darker than they imagined. Meanwhile, O1 returns to the Betaverse and his old, twisted self.


Title: “Thicker Than Water”

Cast

Jeffrey Pierce as Charlie Jade
Michael Filipowich as 01 Boxer
Tyrone Benskin as Karl Lubinsky
Michelle Burgess as Essa Rompkin
Nina Swart as Gemma Gaetano
Marie-Julie Rivest as Jasmine/Paula
Danny Keogh as Julius Galt
Langley Kirkwood as Ren Porter

Plot:

We learn more about Charlie and Gemma’s pasts as Alphaverse street urchins, 01 Boxer returns to his old “Mr. Hyde” personality, Brian Boxer needs some special help, Gemma, Charlie, and Lubinsky play a desperate gambit against Vexcor, and the dangers presented by the Link become apparent.

High Points:

1. The interplay and conflicts among Jade, Gaetano, and Lubinsky works well: better, in fact, than their conflict with Galt and Porter.

2. This episode presents a good example of how Evil Corporations and Evil Empires come into existence, and how they gain and maintain the support of essentially good people. Anyone writing SF about such entities should consider the show’s handlings of Vexcor, in addition to real-world examples. (I recommend iceowl’s Enron and the Cult of Personality for one take on this subject in the real world)

Low Point:

1. I know the series needs a Big Stake, but I rather liked the fact that, until now, the conflict centered on (1) Vexcor’s desire to rape two less environmentally-damaged earths and exploit their resources and (2) Charlie’s desire to return home. Now, we have the Fate of the Entire UniverseTM (actually, the Fate of at least Three Entire Universes) at stake. I’m a little disappointed.

2. Gemma’s farewell remarks for Charlie Jade suggest that she understands how corrupt Vexcor is, and has always understood this. And yet, the earlier introduction to her character suggests otherwise and also makes more sense. See the second “High Point” for additional information.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6. This episode scores points for its handling of Vexcor, but loses them for a forced, too-conventional final act.

Effects: 5/6. The water effects don’t quite look right, but the otherwise remains noteworthy for strong visuals.

Story: 5/6.

Acting: 5/6. The acting remains strong, though some characters become more histrionic than necessary in this episode.

Emotional Response: 5/6.

Production: 6/6. Production remains strong, and the episode gets special mention for the oddest use of a Beach Boys song.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, “Thicker Than Water” receives 35/42

Additional Comments

We have not learned the full truth about 01 Boxer, though we have a clearer sense of why he is able to teleport. As for his Jekyll/Hyde personalities, he may be attuned somehow to the universes, fluctuating among personalities that suit them. Alternatively, perhaps his peculiar, altered molecular nature simply create the personality shifts we see? Or is something else at work– especially since both the “good” and “bad” versions of 01 have the same apparent feelings about Vexcor?