Well, the robot’s back. Only took seven episodes. As Maxwell Jenkins teaches the robot how to care for horses, the episode flashback to JJ Feild’s intentions—cripple the robot and force it to fly the mothership to a new galaxy. Juxtaposed against the robot trying to tell Jenkins it’s not nice to subjugate other beings. And then Molly Parker’s around to… I don’t know; get in her screen time. She’s really had nothing to do for this particular arc, though I guess playing Jesus’s mom is a lot less demanding once Jesus gets his robot back.
That whole plot—which has some good action sequences and solid character development (for the robot)—is about whether Feild will turn against his conniving superior, Douglas Hodge, and betray Jenkins and Parker. It’s reasonably effective throughout but not particularly interesting.
Similarly, the plot on the mothership has Toby Stephens barging onto the bridge and telling off captain Sakina Jaffrey—she might be captain of the ship, but she doesn’t make decisions about his family without talking to him—then overhearing a mysterious message. He’s got to find out what he heard, so Stephens teams up with Parker Posey. They have a whole subplot about trust and fellowship and hacking. It’s Posey’s least interesting plot arc this season and probably Stephens’s most interesting one, outside of flashbacks.
The rest of the cast—Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Ignacio Serricchio—are all auxiliary. At least until the end, and the family gets back together for a big twist and a setup for the next multi-episode arc. Because it turns out Hodge and Feild don’t just have nefarious plans for the robot, they’ve got plans affecting the humans we care about too. Well, the humans the main cast cares about. It takes so long to uncover Hodge’s nefariousness… the entire regular cast has gotten safely aboard the mothership to get the next arc underway.
Even with the suspense on the A-plot with Feild and the robot, it’s kind of a bridging episode. It’s a very active bridging episode, but that activity is busyness. Will Feild be revealed to be a scheming jerk, will Parker be revealed to be a scheming jerk—everything hinges on reveals because the episode’s got nothing else really going on.
To some degree, the episode gets away with it thanks to Tim Southam’s direction. The occasional action sequences are good, regardless of playing like Jurassic Park meets City Slickers, and the robot’s arc is solid. If the episode weren’t so dependent on the reveal, it’d probably be solid for Posey and maybe even Stephens. Less Stephens. His outburst with Jaffrey doesn’t play well.
Daniel McLellan gets the script credit.
The episode’s functional and adequate, which isn’t exciting as a success or failure. Luckily, there’s Southam to make it occasionally seem exciting.