Debris Review Asalah – The Innocents In War!

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Hello fellow Debris fans.

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This latest episode of Debris is a good one!

It is full of new mysteries and some ancient ones that have been speculated for centuries by human kind.

Eagle Eglisson is the director of this episode and he is no stranger to genres like this one.

Mr. Eglisson has directed some of my favorite shows, Fringe, Alcatraz, Once Upon A Time and TURN: Washington’s Spies (I highly recommend and is currently available on Netflix), just to name a few.

Eglisson does a good job at giving us a glimpse into the psyche of a soldier and what war does to people on both sides in an episode written by Ryan A. Wagner who has written two other episodes, “Do You Know Icarus” and “In Universe“. I am also looking forward to exploring more about this type of subject matter, hopefully in later episodes.

Asalah follows “I Am Icarus”, the second part of a superb 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).

Shelby and Kathleen witnessed an alien object land in the ocean near their home. Shelby and Kathleen then unwisely elected to investigate the Debris, setting in motion a series of unintended consequences with nearly devastating results to our reality!

To read all of Team WHR’s feature articles that analyze the first season of Debris, click here


Debris S1x11 Erin Karpluk as Mariel Caldwell
Erin Karpluk as Mariel Caldwell. Image courtesy NBC

The scene opens with a woman sitting in the middle of a forest with the Debris obviously not too far away from her. As the Orbital agent approaches, she says Bryan’s (Jonathan Tucker) name two times. Michael Wale is the director of photography for this episode he did such episodes as Fringe, Smallville and Almost Human so he is another one who is familiar with this genre. Also, it seems that J.H. Wyman likes working with the same people over and over again which is always a plus because they are familiar with his work and know how to capture it best.

We come to find out the woman’s name is Mariel Caldwell (Erin Karpluk) from Cedar Ville Maryland and the Debris followed her like a shimmer. She was a high school teacher with no other extraordinary background, just an ordinary person.
Erin Karpluck as Mariel Caldwell, Riann Steele as Finola Jones, Jonathan Tucker as Bryan Beneventi. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

Once Mariel arrives at the facility and Bryan confronts her, she starts talking about Surobi, Afghanistan, a brown paper folder and dust everywhere. As the viewer we know and remember that Bryan Beneventi was a Marine Special Forces in Afghanistan. So of course, hearing all of this piques our interest knowing that there has always been something in Bryan’s past from that time in his life that we have always been curious about.

In an earlier episode there was a picture of a woman that Bryan has kept with him and prior to this episode we did not know who that woman was. Tonight, we do as the title of the episode suggests her name is Asalah (Zarina Sterling). It was great to finally get a reason for that picture and what the story behind it was.

Debris S1x11 Mariel Caldwell knows secrets of Bryan's past
Erin Karpluck as Mariel Caldwell, Jonathan Tucker as Bryan Beneventi, Riann Steele as Finola Jones. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

As the episode progresses Mariel is away from the alien object, her recollection of the situation and Afghanistan keeps coming and she keeps telling Bryan more and more, only things that are specific to him and his experience.

It is interesting to hear that story from that part of the world. Often times when we see or hear war stories, we forget there are two sides and experiences to it, the innocent civilians, and the soldiers. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Platoon by Oliver Stone and that quote is “the first casualty of war is innocence.”

The lab determined that even away from the Debris Mariel still recites part of Bryan’s life back to him. So, the debris has somehow manifested in her consciousness or maybe merged somehow with Bryan’s and because she came in contact with the debris it implanted his memories into her, and she almost became a carbon copy mentally of his brain.

During the scene where Mariel recites once again parts of Bryan’s life back to him, she grabs him by the arm. With this interaction with Mariel, Bryan passes out almost as if her energy or the memories, his memories are transported back to him with such force that it knocks him unconscious.

Debris S1x11 Bryan with his team in Afghanistan
Debris S1x11 Bryan with his team in Afghanistan. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

Next, we get to see Bryan interacting with his fellow soldiers as well as his commanding officer played by Josh Blacker. The Bryan that we see in Afghanistan is not anywhere close to the one that we see today as an Orbital agent.

Finola (Riann Steele) panics once Bryan passes out and he is immediately helped by the doctor on duty.

The doctor informs Finola that he is going through an idiopathic neurological event which I looked up. It is nerve damage that is also related to PTSD.

That makes perfect sense considering that Bryan’s experience in Afghanistan has directly contributed to that and the condition called TBI (traumatic brain injury) may occur under severe stress such as military combat.

Debris S1x11 Asalah portrayed by Zarina Sterling
Asalah portrayed by Zarina Sterling. Image courtesy NBC

We do get to see Asalah for the first time and see her interactions with Bryan, it is clear that from their first meeting that they had a connection.

Not only is Asalah a beautiful woman but someone who has hope and dreams and wants to leave Afghanistan to have a better life for herself. That appeals to Bryan, Asalah talks about music and wanting to be a pianist, “Music is food for the soul”. Bryan then tells her about Elton John and pulls out his headphones and gives them to her so she can listen to Bennie and The Jets.

The other person concerned about Bryan and his condition and what Mariel is talking about is Maddox (Norbert Leo Butz). Mariel keeps repeating events that happen in Afghanistan and one in particular comes up called Desert Falcon. Maddox knows what she is talking about it is definitely significant to him regarding something about the Taliban. Which is the whole point of why Bryan is there and what the mission that he is on.

There has always been something a little vague and shady about Maddox and his involvement in Orbital as well. I have often thought he has many secrets about Bryan and what happened in Afghanistan and can hold that against him. So, it is almost as if Bryan owes him a debt.

Debris S1x11 Bryan in action
Jonathan Tucker as Bryan Beneventi. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

The one thing that stood out to me especially with this episode is about what happens in specific countries, for example Afghanistan, and during World War II, is how the innocents and art are are always affected by war. How during World War II the Nazis had taken possession of art in the countries that they were conquering. And basically, stole millions and millions of dollars of precious artworks, precious music even musicians from that period of time.

They did not want any kind of freedom of thought, did not want any kind of salvation or happiness to happen in those countries. I assume that the same happened in Afghanistan that being a musician or having any kind of artistic creativity or artistic inclination is a bad thing. The arts are so often underfunded around war torn countries that the sometimes the only solace you have is in the arts, is in dance or music or painting or acting whatever it maybe it is a salvation for a lot of people.

Debris S1x11 Bryan finds the camera with Taliban locations
Bryan finds the camera with Taliban locations. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

“Sometimes good intentions go awry” that in this episode is absolutely for sure. “Peace is possible-always”, we will have to see if that ever happens. Asalah asks Bryan to keep her grandfather safe.

Bryan, being the upstanding soldier that he is and the compassionate person he is, promises her but asks her to please stay out of it. Although Asalah promises to stay out of the situation that does not happen.

We come to find out that she actually took pictures of the Taliban and specifically, the place to find them. She disguises it as she found Bryan’s camera lying in the street and came to return it to him.

Meanwhile Finola thinks that the debris had cloned Bryan in Pennsylvania and that is what is causing this neurological episode since the clone was the one that had the picture of Asalah in his pocket.

Debris S1x11 Finola believes the Debris can transfer and manipulate memories
Finola believes the Debris can transfer and manipulate memories. Image courtesy NBC

The pieces of Debris could be talking to each other, meaning that Bryan’s memory could have been uploaded or backed up supposedly to a network like an Internet cloud. Another theory is, it could also be a living thing an entity that our world and our technology has no power over or no way to control it. The alien objects appear to have capabilities to manipulate memories maybe even alter reality. If this particular piece of Debris gets into the wrong hands, it can be used as a psychological warfare weapon.

Finola suggests possibly rebooting the brain that might hopefully help disrupt the connection between the alien artifacts and Bryan. That suggestion is actually a particularly good idea considering that the body has its own electrical system. It has been shown that when the body experiences a large electrical charge (such as being struck by lightning or electrocuted) electrical charges altered states of mind, altered intelligence.

One of the other causes may be the injections that Bryan has been taking since returning back from Afghanistan and Maddox wants to up the dosage. My theory about that is if anything I think that these injections are doing more harm than good, I think almost it is like a tool to keep the soldiers subversive.

Debris S1x11 Bryan is transported back to the battlefield
Jonathan Tucker as Bryan Beneventi is transported back to the battlefield by the Debris. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

As the pinnacle of the episode unfolds, we find that Bryan tells Asalah to disappear, and he will find her later. Earlier in the conversation they were talking about hope and that she has hope and he needs to protect that. Asalah asks Bryan what the hope is he is holding onto and he does not answer which is very typical of his character.

Bryan is someone who keeps his feelings awfully close to the vest. He does not like to show emotion too much or to too many there are a select few who have been privy to that. But with his war experience you tend to not let that show as it is a sign of weakness in most cases.

Next, we see Bryan transported back to combat at a firefight that happens unfortunately Asalah turns out dead in the village. Bryan broke his promise to her and that guilt of her dying is carried with him.

Bryan was subjected to electro-shock therapy to break the tie to the alien object controlling him. We then find out that Mariel is dead as well almost as if she had manifested Asalah and what happened to her. Asalah was worried that Brian would think that she betrayed him she came back to the village to warn him about what was about to happen.

Debris S1x11 Bryan get electro-shocked
Bryan electro-shocked. Image by James Dittiger, courtesy NBC

Bryan took revenge for a Asalah’s death as he came upon a group of Taliban he found in a cave. Unfortunately, those were different insurgents, and they were not to be touched because of them being a CIA protected group for a CIA operation.

Bryan ended up going to prison because of it. Maddox got him out of prison and thus Bryan owes Maddox his life literally.

“I don’t carry this so that I can remember her, I carry it so that I don’t forget what it’s like to invest in something that I can lose” Bryan tells Finola about Asalah and his reasoning. He also mentions that all of the alien objects may be somehow connected. “The Debris is experiencing us the same way we are experiencing it.”

However, we still cannot figure out why Bryan is the only person the Debris deliberately sought out… yet!

Debris S1x11 Dahkeya Nakai portrayed by Julian Black Antelope in Sedona Arizona
Dahkeya Nakai portrayed by Julian Black Antelope in Sedona Arizona. Image courtesy NBC

The last few minutes of this episode are probably my favorite of the entire episode. Sedona, AZ a man, Dahkeya Nakai (Julian Black Antelope) is walking out in the desert. A voice over starts to tell us “It all began when Blackwater grandfather threw his energy to the four directions. To the East he laid black metal in the earth, the South blue metal, to the West yellow metal and to the North white metal. In the next phase Blackwater grandfather threw black wind towards the earth”.

First off, I am incredibly happy that they cast a First Nations actor to play the indigenous man. As a huge fan of the TV series Ancient Aliens there have been many episodes about this last part of the episode, my favorite part of the episode.

Many indigenous or First Nation tribes in Canada as well as the United States have believed for centuries in Star people or what we would call aliens. There have been many stories handed down generation to generation about those star people about the ways that they have taught indigenous and First Nation tribes. Their knowledge, their way of life, there have been many tribes that believe their origins started with the Star people.

Debris S1x11 Click to visit the First Nations Institute
Click to visit the First Nations Institute. Image courtesy First Nations Institute

I have always been fascinated with these folklore type of stories. The First Nations have knowledge, they have spirituality, they understand that part of human nature. As well as nature itself which they learned from star people.

Also, through indigenous populations scattered throughout Canada as well as North America we find that there are certain places in the country or the world that do have energy that is different than any other place. That could be spiritual energy, it could be electrical energy, electrical currents or it could be something we do not know.

One such place that I know of is Nazca, Peru, and the famous Nazca lines. The energy in that area of the world is definitely different than other parts and in Sedona, AZ that is the case as well. There has been much speculation about the spirituality of that place the energy physical and mental energy of that place. In Sedona there is a long history of strange events happening, so it is no surprise that this is where they ended the episode. I hope we can explore more about that subject.

Ancient Aliens S12
Ancient Aliens S12. Image courtesy The History Channel

Places like Sedona, Nazca, Egypt, and many parts of Central and South America as well as parts of the United States that have these electrical anomalies are the prominent in UFO sightings. Places around the world that have been associated with anomalies that have been always attributed with Aliens or unexplained mysteries. I have been and always will be fascinated by the ancient tales that the indigenous people of our country will tell. It is something fascinating and I have always had a great respect for.

I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did! It was great to finally get a little bit of answers to the question or mystery of Bryan Beneventi.

Thank you as always Debris fans. Until next time… make sure to watch Debris on NBC or you can watch the next day on Peacock TV to help Renew Debris. See you in two weeks when I will write the season one finale!

Click to visit and follow WormholeRiders News Agency on Twitter!Thank you for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency. Thanks to Kenn for video embedding and adding images for my feature article. I will be back later this season to provide additional analysis about Debris as we learn more about this fabulous new science fiction series on NBC!

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Until next time,




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