Episode 4: “White Rabbit”
Directed by Maggie Kiley
Written by Brian Nelson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Abyss Stares Back” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Greywing” – click here
In the garden, Melantha Jhirl (Jodie Turner-Smith) goes to see Captain Eris (David Ajala), and he tells her about his mother Cynthia making the Nightflyer “her home forever.” Technically, the ship is “her body.” The only place Roy seems to be able to escape from her is in the garden, and with Melantha, too. The pair fall in bed together. Except before long he hears the screams of his mother in his head.
Mom’s also busy attacking Karl D’Branin (Eoin Macken) psychologically. She uses the man’s daughter Skye (Bronte Carmichael) against him. The little girl tells her father: “You brought it here.” What exactly is IT, though? Rowan (Angus Sampson) keeps his pal Karl on track by helping him mentally push through the nasty memory. He advises him to take it easier on himself and others will follow. But they’ve got bigger fish to fry, such as whatever the White Rabbit’s brought back with it— and why’s it sitting on D’Branin’s bed waiting for them.
The Nightflyer’s system is gone mad, rebooting itself. Some systems shut down. One man gets trapped and freezes to death. Thale (Sam Strike) receives the man’s pain, his temperature dropping as Dr. Agatha Matheson (Gretchen Mol) struggles to figure out what’s happening to him. Afterwards, Dr. Matheson tells Cpt. Eris about what Thale experienced, suggesting he speak to him personally.
Karl gets Lommie (Maya Eshet) to come have a look at the White Rabbit probe, and in the time being Rowan scrapes off a bit of “space rust” from the hull for samples. They’re unsure of how the probe got back to the ship by itself, let alone inside then further into D’Branin’s room. It’s also making “Beach Boys” sounds when anybody gets near the thing, sort of a theremin noise. The two men fill Lommie in on what Eris told them about his mother, which she’s already felt unknowingly when connected with the ship. When Eris comes into Karl’s room with the others, he finds what mom’s been screaming about— she wants the White Rabbit out of there.
Dr. Matheson, Cpt, Eris, and Thale walk together and see the dead crew member, frozen. The telepath picks up bits and pieces of sense memory along the way. Eris has a look at the man, right before the guy’s jaw cracks off like a sliver of glass and shatters on the floor. Delightfully horrific imagery. The L1 is tired from “dying, over and over,” and we see more of how Matheson sees him not only as a patient, but also her son in a sense. She feels responsible for Thale, though he doesn’t quite believe she feels for him.
“She’s in there, and she’s real.”
Cpt. Eris is bent on getting the probe off the Nightflyer. Only he comes up against Karl and the others, none of them willing to dispense with the only confirmed “alien artefact” in known existence. He’s worried about what his mother will do should they not follow her demands. Things could get even uglier than they have already if she gets any more pissed off. And Roy is being sent over the edge with his mother constantly yelling in the back of his mind.
Perhaps Agatha doesn’t see Thale entirely as her son after all. She goes to him as he sleeps, slipping into his bed. She climbs on top of him, kissing him. Then she puts plastic over his face telling him: “Die.” NOPE— only a dream. Poor telepath. Their dreams must be twice as wild, and their nightmares twice as bad.
Rowan discovers the probe’s started bleeding. Some of its circuitry is flesh and blood. Karl wonders if the Volcryn sent the probe to them, embedding it with the organic material themselves. Lommie wants to go into the probe and have a look. Rowan’s not as keen. He also finds the DNA in the probe’s blood belongs to D’Branin. Uh oh. Karl’s compromised, leaving him on the outside of their studies. That’s the least of the man’s worries. He has a terrifying hallucination in the corridor, seeing his daughter, and a hypothetical child growing inside Agatha, who comes to him pregnant. She proceeds to tell cut open her own stomach, then the visions are gone once again.
Lommie takes it upon herself to go into the probe’s system, and Thale seems to feel her. She starts convulsing, as does the telepath, and some of the bloody circuitry pulses, too. When she comes to the probe bleeds uncontrollably, its system collapsing.
Later, Karl finds out Agatha was actually pregnant years before when they were apart. She decided not to have the child, never telling him about it. She couldn’t continue working with L1s while carrying a child, choosing to have an abortion. When they met, like in her memory, and he told her about his impending marriage, she couldn’t tell him about it for fear of ruining his happiness. These two share a deep history, and it’s partly that which drives them to fight together, to make sure Cynthia doesn’t win.
When Lommie comes to after recuperating, she explains to Karl inside the probe was supremely organised. She says the probe “was the message.” He sent them a piece of himself, so they returned more of him as a response. She goes on to say what the probe brought back was filled with an immense amount of data— it’s been out there over “1,000 years.” An amazing discovery for humanity. But, can they make it out alive to bring everything they’re learned back home?
Father Gore’s favourite episode of Nightflyers yet! Fantastic, grim, emotional, and weird stuff. Excited to see more. “Greywing” is up next.