Debris creator J.H. (Joel) Wyman certainly deserves an A PLUS for this two part episode in specific, and the series in general, for producing an extremely high quality science fiction series being televised weekly on our screens in 2021.
Thank you Mr. Wyman and NBC Universe Entertainment Television for bringing Debris to science fiction admirers for our mutual viewing pleasure in the United States, and hopefully around the world in the very near future!
“I Am Icarus” is the second part of a terrific two part episode that began with “Do You Know Icarus?”, where the fabric of the universe is unwinding or is inadvertently being ripped apart by a young man named Shelby (Keenan Tracey) and his sister Kathleen (Jessica McLeod) who witnessed the alien object land in the ocean near their home. Shelby and Kathleen unwisely elected to investigate the Debris, setting in motion a series of unintended consequences with potentially devastating results.
The damage is becoming manifest in “I Am Icarus” from a phenomena referred to in the episode as “Bilateral Deviation” that could cause fracturing to, or even the complete destruction of various realities residing within the Multi-Verse.
Regarding Multi-Verse theory, the term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. Since that time there have been many scientists, famous authors, movies and television series have postulated what it is all about.
The question for science to discover and prove, is it real, what versions are there of it, and could the Multi-Verse be impacting all of us even is we are not aware of the causes and implications thereof?
Respected scientist and author Isaac Asimov wrote a best-selling science fiction book in 1955 called “The End of Eternity” which featured time travel to go back in history and make changes to obtain a future desired reality change ordained by the ruling class.
Before Debris, other great science fiction series, Fringe produced at Warner Brothers Television, created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and J.H. (Joel) Wyman who served as executive producer and writer, (and is the Debris creator as mentioned above), also dealt with alternate realities and the so-called desired outcomes sought by some of the nefarious “Observers” as they were known in the series.
During a successful five year run on FOX television in the United States, ”Fringe” trimmed all the branches that featured the evil “Observers” at the end, and each team member went on to live happy lives.
Prior to that, another beloved science fiction series, Stargate, specifically In the Stargate SG-1 series, produced by MGM Studios, featured episodes over a twelve year television run, that dealt with alternate realities using a “Quantum Mirror”, or even the Stargate itself.
In Stargate SG-1, the hero characters travel to, observe, and in some cases alter reality that caused people to be erased or changed as if they never existed in the eyes of the person(s) from the reality they originally came from.
The 2008 movie Stargate Continuum, in effect, the final episode of the series, featured an erasure of former Stargate Command events caused by a super villain name Ba’al (Cliff Simon) in his quest for dominance across all realities that utilized a Stargate.
However, using one aspect of the Multi-Verse theory, the original timeline would still exist, so that who and what the heroes fought was a villain in a separate reality within a different Multi-Verse timeline.
A more contemporary example is The Avengers movies infinity War and the sequel Avengers Endgame, where the villain Thanos, used the “Infinity Stones” to change reality by erasing fifty percent of all living beings with devastating consequences for those who were erased.
Thanos, thinking it was the best thing for everybody, did so in order that the remaining living beings would be grateful and happy to live in a universe that was not as crowded before he wiped out half of everybody in existence. Thanks Thanos! NOT!
In this iteration of a different Multi-Verse theory, somewhat similar to “I Am Icarus”, Captain America trimmed all the alternate reality branches save one; he stayed in the past and lived a happy life marrying his fiancé at the time, Peggy Carter and all was still well in the present reality with the deafeat of Thanos.
In this outstanding two part episode conclusion, written by Kyle Lierman and directed by Padraic McKinley, the Multi-Verse story arc follows the branch trimming theory to restore reality to what it was before Shelby and Kathleen triggered the reality changes.
Things really get dicey in “I Am Icarus”, but end up successful, avoiding permanent damage to the space time continuum.
Subsequent to reaching a crisis point of no return, reality appears to have been restored by our heroes before it could destroy everything in all adjacent realities! To reiterate, Team WHR is hoping that NBC will renew this superb science fiction series by J.H. (Joel) Wyman for several more seasons!
I Am Icarus:
The episode begins with Bryan (Jonathan Tucker) and Shelby having just been reality shifted again when Bryan jumped in the ocean to try and stop Shelby during his own quest to be rejoined with his partner Finola Jones (Riann Steele) who was no longer in their reality.
As the story arc unfolds, it becomes obvious that Shelby and Kathleen found, and together subsequently used, a large hollow circular piece of alien Debris in the ocean near their home just off the coast of a city called Oceanside, located in Washington State. After their first use of this very large piece of Debris, Shelby’s and Kathleen became separated from each other’s alternate realities!
This particular piece of Debris is the perhaps the most insidious and dangerous of all that we have witnessed to date. The alien object, having the capability to shift people across realities, to nearby parallel universes, or other realities in the Multi-Verses, can send them back in time to a starting point where many things may be, or are the same, but many things may be, or are different.
Bryan, in various realities is sometimes with a partner named Grace (Aliyah O’Brien) who has been with Bryan for five years in this reality. Grace plays it by the book, trusts her partner Bryan, but is loyal to Craig Maddox, who ordered her to stop Bryan at all costs, shooting and injuring him just before the last reality jump took place..
The Team WHR theory is that the Aliens may have used the “Multi-Verse Pod” to go back and correct their mistakes made during their travels to Earth in the past. We assume that the aliens had been properly trained to avoid the situation that became manifest in the exciting two part episode with Shelby and Kathleen.
Just as people on Earth make decisions in their lives that affect their future, now Shelby and Kathleen, but without the proper alien Debris training, are making decisions that have disastrous consequences for not only their reality, but potentially for all the adjacent realities!
In this case, Shelby’s sister Kathleen was not really erased. More accurately, she was trapped in another parallel or alternate reality when Shelby was thinking about how his life would have been had Kathleen not been born when he was inside the Debris under ocean near his home.
POOF! No more Kathleen in Shelby’s reality and visa versa!
Enter Finola Jones of MI6 and Bryan Beneventi of the CIA who now work together as a close knit team in an organization named Orbital. Orbital is tasked with finding and neutralizing Debris from the crashed alien spacecraft which broke up in orbit sending alien objects all over the United States and perhaps elsewhere on the planet too.
After a rocky start due to their superiors Craig Maddox (Norbert Leo Butz) and Priya Ferris (Anjali Jay) who were keeping secrets from each other while each working their own agendas, Finola and Bryan developed a professional trust. Things seemed to be wonderful…
Until Shelby tries multiple times to correct his mistake. He visits the Debris again and again to return to the reality where his sister is. Panicked that he never had a sister in each new reality he ended up in, he keeps trying, but things get worse with each attempt, including changing realities, never finding Kathleen, and a dozen new partners for Bryan who keep showing up at his house!
Shelby, who recognizes Bryan in each new reality seen so far, failed each time because he withheld information from Finola, Bryan and Finola’s Orbital founder and scientist father George Jones (Tyrone Benskin), about exactly what transpired the first instance, that both he and his sister had been messing with the Debris that caused what George referred to as Bilateral Deviation.
Depending on the realities visited during the two part episodes, George is either dead, having been killed by Bryan in the “Influx” raid, or is alive and is working at Orbital. The “George factor” may have an influence on future events in episodes leading up to the season one finale.
Use of the Debris causes the participants to move back in time and relive portions of their lives that may not be the same reality they were in depending on what they were thinking and feeling when the Debris activated in each instance of shifting realities, thereby changes the reality for the person(s) who activated it.
As a result of not telling the truth out of a fear that Orbital will confiscate the alien artifact, Shelby actions may result in him never being able to rejoin his sister Kathleen again because they are now in separate realities.
Each instance of using the Debris, without knowing exactly how to operate it, is causing the fabric of the space time continuum to rip apart. The situation becomes desperate when people in the nearby realities are actually able to see the others within the parallel universe realities.
Bryan, fully aware of what is happening since he was with Shelby during the last reality jump, returns with Grace to Shelby’s home. While Grace works on setting up measurements of the Debris near their SUV, when the door opens, no Shelby!
In this reality, Kathleen has appeared at the front door in near tears. When Bryan asks for Shelby who is no longer in Bryan’s reality, Kathleen breaks down and tells Bryan the truth!
Kathleen takes Bryan to the front room where the fabric between the realities is nearly nonexistent. Exterior views of the house depict a glowing reflection from the various realities materializing. Grace, his new partner comes into the house and sees the disaster unfolding and wants immediate extraction of the Debris.
Bryan and Kathleen cannot allow this to happen. They need more time to figure out what is going on, so they jump almost together into the alien artifact, resetting the timeline again. This time around, Finola returns with a new partner named Wilson (Garfield Wilson) and Bryan becomes trapped with Shelby in the same alternate reality.
In the meantime, Kathleen convinces Finola to listen because she knows Finola’s fathers name whom she contacts for guidance since he is the head of Orbital in this reality. This time around, the windows between the realities are so transparent that the four can write notes to each other while George figures out, and tells Finola about Bilateral Deviation. George explains that the problem was caused by Shelby and Kathleen jumping individually and that all four of them must reality jump at the same exact time to return things to normal to cancel out the Bilateral Deviation.
The four do so with Shelby and Kathleen able to get back together in the original reality. It seems that Bryan and Finola have returned back to working together in a reality that appears to be the same before the first time they went to the house. When Finola and Bryan come to the house, they do not remember anything that has happened.
Why? Because it never happened! Got that? This is because Shelby and Kathleen, who remember everything, are back together BEFORE they ever visited the alien reality time changing artifact. Shelby and Kathleen invite them in the house to tell them what has been happening with the Debris.
As the outstanding two part episode concludes, interesting things happen that setup the next three episodes leading to a season one finale.
First, we are with Craig Maddox who answers the phone in his office. Unlike the previous episode where Craig went to see his wife Julia (Jennifer Copping) after receiving the same phone call to try and save their marriage subsequent to the devastating accident Jullia had that crippled their son Dario (Christian Rose), Craig does not do so this time around.
Only a subtle reality change, but a change nonetheless. Craig arrives home and he finds their divorce papers on the kitchen table. Jennifer Copping is set to reprise her role in the season one final, so we will have to wait and see if our theory about any impact from the subtle changes to the reality we witnessed become relevant or not?
Second, danged Anson Ash (Scroobius Pip), the captured “Influx” operative is observed in his cell in a dungeon of some sort at Orbital when the guard comes to collect his food tray. Anson makes a fuss and deliberately grabs the arm of the guard on purpose for an extended period of time as he did with Finola is an earlier episode to establish a mental link or bond.
When the guard goes to activate the combination lock on the area where Anson is imprisoned, Anson is somehow able to either read the guards mind or can see through his eyes as he keys in the code for the combination lock. No doubt this factor will be used by Anson to escape and return to his “Influx” organization members.
All of this will certainly play a part in the season one finale with Anson back on the loose, and subtle reality changes in the timeline which this reviewer has a theory about; that George Jones never died in the subtly changed reality, is still the head of Orbital, and Craig Maddox works for him!
We shall see!
As we proceed to the future with Debris in our thoughts, Team WHR will return with more analysis of our favorite series including select science fiction book and television reviews. We look forward to you visiting our dedicated review and analysis web site here in the future!
Or as many of our readers and visitors often do, visit WHR on Twitter, or visit me on Twitter by clicking the text links or images avatars in this news story. I and TeamWHR look forward to Seeing You on The Other Side!“
Kenn of #TeamWHR