Dutch, Zeph, Johnny, and D’av are all awake. They know they destroyed The Green but unfortunately, destroying The Lady’s prison after she had already escaped still meant she won. What’s more, they’ve been captured by The Lady’s forces. Cue the ominous music…
I had to go back and watch the Season 4 finale, “Sporemegeddon” because I had forgotten things. The Lady’s race traveled the cosmos running on an instinct for domination until they all died off, leaving her alone. She found the first Green Pool and was enamored by the concept of memory and the connections it creates among humans because her species does not have access to memory naturally. She spent the millennia perfecting her manipulation of this through her connection to The Green and created the empire of hullen our heroes have been contending with since Season 2. It’s a great backstory, and I wish we’d gotten more details because I’m a lore wonk when it comes to my sci-fi. My most salient question is whether The Green was a naturally occurring phenomena or something artificial? Was it used by others before she found it and to what end?
“Three Killjoys and a Lady” opens with a badly beaten Dutch meeting The Lady for the first time–well it’s more The Lady’s avatar–since we saw that she wears physical bodies like costumes in our world much like she can wear the face of people from memories in The Green. It stands to reason that the actual Lady resembles her cloned children that Dutch set on fire and for whom Westerly will be terraformed to accommodate. Incidentally, this plus her species’ backstory of aggressive conquest puts me in the mind of the rachni from Mass Effect even though these two non-humanoid peoples have the opposite relationship to memory.
Their confrontation is tense. Both of these women exude danger, even Dutch trussed up as she is in an electronic collar that gives The Lady total control over her movements. Hannah’s deep throaty laugh as she makes jokes about eating The Lady’s char broiled children rattled my nerves a bit, so I can only imagine how it affected The Lady.
The Lady knew Khlyen would try to save TAF so she used that to her advantage. It was clear, their escape was too easy to be sincere, it was just a ruse to get them back onto Lucy so they could lead The Lady to Jaq. Once on Lucy, the crux of this bottle episode gets under way. The episode becomes a tense test of the team’s dynamics, residual resentments, and building paranoia after they participated in The Lady’s month-long game of The Sims.
The Lady set up a lovely experiment designed for maximum discombobulation, but it seemed a little dicey for her goals. With all of them thinking a team member is compromised, but not knowing which one, they were never going to lead the Lady to Jaq. They also might have destroyed themselves aboard the ship during this little experiment before The Lady had the chance to intervene.
It’s funny, I thought about how often sci-fi bad guys conveniently leave captive protagonists’ ships docked ready to be used in a daring escape. I have always thought they should at least install surveillance on the ships if they’re not going to destroy them outright. The Lady did me one better and turned the AI against them. Suddenly, the steadiest member with the highest capacity for calculations and a god-like ability for regulating the very air they breath is working against them and doing a pretty excellent job of it.
Lucy is more than a ship. She is a full-fledged member of TAF. Tamsen McDonough has played her with an impish glee for five seasons, and the thought of saving the galaxy without her is heartbreaking. She and Aaron Ashmore have incredible chemistry, which is of course aided by the rhythm of the editing, but their immense affection for one another feels real. I’ve enjoyed listening to her zippy one-liners, chirpy banter, and sarcastic asides, but the most memorable moments with Lucy were the times that she showed real emotions and empathy for her charges. One of the strongest instances that comes to mind is from the first season’s “Kiss, Kiss, Bye, Bye.” D’av had stabbed Johnny, and Johnny had just enough strength to croak out a request for a doctor before passing out. We watch in real time as Lucy struggles against her robotic nature, which needs more input, to satisfy her fully sentient affection for Johnny. Tamsen McDonough was able to keep the integrity of Lucy’s robotic voice while still conveying how desperate she was to save Johnny’s life when he could no longer answer her. This is why watching Johnny tearfully “kill” Lucy was so effective. Their bond was set early and remained a strong character dynamic throughout these stories.
As much as I’ve loved the Defiant, Enterprise, Serenity, Normandy, and Raza, I have to say, Lucy is singular ship. So, raise a glass of hock to a sweet ride and an even sweeter AI! Here’s hoping that McDonough gets to voice a BioWare main character one day so I can fall in love with her voice acting all over again.
- The episode did a good job employing both their closeness and longstanding tensions
- The use of flashbacks to tell the audience information, even things the characters don’t tell each other
- Lucy is terrifying as an antagonist
- Johnny is not completely over his Old Town life with Dutch. This should be a juicy morsel to chew on as the season goes on.
- They do a pretty good job keeping the suspense in act 1
- Lucy’s goodbye to Johnny was very effective 😦
- “Set guns to stun and sphincters to terrified.”
- “I was something before me. Perhaps I will be something after.”
- Once it’s revealed they all have a port then it’s obvious the culprit is Lucy
- It dragged a bit in the middle.
Please forgive me being a week behind. Life got busy. I’m working on 5×04 now.