Episode 6: “The Sacred Gift”
Directed by Andrew McCarthy
Written by Jeff Buhler
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Greywing” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Transmission” – click here
While Lommie’s (Maya Eshet) inside the computer she’s clearly having trouble, and Karl (Eoin Macken) sees it, so he unhooks her. She’s been “putting patches on the firewall” Captain Eris (David Ajala) originally setup. D’Branin is confused because he thought it was unnecessary with Cynthia locked away.
Elsewhere, Thale (Sam Strike) is stuck motionless on a table. A bunch of dishevelled women feel his body, chanting. One of them puts a knife in his torso, running the blade from his stomach to sternum, and blood begins to pour of him endlessly. Then he wakes up— another one of those realistic dreams he’s been having. But, what does it mean? Certainly couldn’t be anything good. Thale tells Dr. Matheson (Gretchen Mol) he thinks this vision came from “outside the ship.”
We get to see some of the Nightflyer’s technology. There’s a machine which is able to replicate anything you want to eat. Like, if you wanted McDonald’s pizza again, you just tell the computer and it’ll whip one up. Lommie gets a hot dog from a place called Silver Spurs from her youth. Suggestions of a timeline here, too. Lommie was young around 2077, putting the main events of Nightflyers at somewhere nearing the end of the 21st century.
Gradually, Auggie’s (Brian F. O’Byrne) feelings about Cynthia Eris emerge to others. Melantha (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Rowan (Angus Sampson) get an earful about the honourable Mrs. Eris and her work years ago. They’re not so sure what Auggie knows. What about his relation to Cpt. Eris? What’s that like?
The Nightflyer’s crew come upon an older ship from the “Europa Project” on the exact same trajectory as their ship. This ship’s been floating in space for around 14 years. And it’s got a crystal matrix, too. This is the moment Auggie hears about Cynthia using the matrix on their craft to stay alive. D’Branin wants to swap the matrices, allowing Cynthia to live alone, safely allowing them to continue their journey without worrying about her. This means a few of the crew have to go over to the Eagle-16.
Auggie, Melantha, Lommie, Rowan, and Karl suit up. They head into the Eagle, discovering the air’s breathable and hasn’t been contaminated. They reluctantly remove their helmets. Rowan remarks the air “smells like death“— deliciously foreboding! Immediately they find blood splatter on the walls and other signs of a nasty scrap. They come across a bloody spacesuit with the name of Captain Joseph Smith on it. (Interesting use of a name.) Then, the Nightflyer crew come across women looking just like the ones from Thale’s vision, led by a woman called Constance Brighthead (Olwen Fouéré), a renowned scientist. These women live aboard a spaceship, but they live without technology as much as possible to conserve energy. They grow their own food. D’Branin and the others sit with the women, who offer them food. Cpt. Smith apparently commandeered the ship, trying to creative a self-sustaining system and leading them into a void. Lommie’s uncomfortable around the women, reminding them of her own upbringing in a “Luddite colony.”
“Crazy and smart— that’s a dangerous combination.”
Auggie and Lommie go together looking for the crystal matrix and its system. They talk briefly about the cult women and the colony where Lommie grew up. Auggie mentions Cynthia’s not as bad as they’ve been led to believe, as well. They find the matrix, which is unsurprisingly not being used, along with the majority of the system’s electronic functions. They also discover video showing things didn’t go exactly as the cult ladies explained. Auggie decides he doesn’t want Cynthia moved from their ship, so he smashes the matrix right before he’s mobbed by the women.
In another part of the ship, Rowan hears something strange, and when he goes to check it out he’s knocked unconscious. Uh oh. Back on the Nightflyer, Thale watches what’s going on, even if it makes his eyes bleed, and he sees the “many others” aboard the Eagle-16. Simultaneously, Constance reveals to Karl and Melantha their “livestock” for farming is human meat grown for sustenance. And they’re quite happy to have more “givers of the seed” to replenish their crops for the next harvest. Oh, yes— SPACE CANNIBALISM, BABY!
Rowan and Auggie are both slated for harvesting already, introduced to the food-to-plate system that’s been sustaining the women on the Eagle for over a decade. Lommie charges in and saves the men before they’re drained entirely. She then goes to find Constance, gathering with the cult. Constance is preparing to let her ladies “eat fresh meat,” but Lommie stabs her with a piece of the crystal matrix. The Nightflyer crew make a run for it as the cult erupts in terrifying cries and chasing them, barely managing to get out in time. Meanwhile, Thale’s felt everything, struggling through the pain, and he tells Dr. Matheson it’ll only get weirder the closer they get to the Volcryn.
Auggie lies to Cpt. Eris about the matrix, claiming it was smashed years before. Lommie doesn’t correct him, either. Hmm. They share a secret now. Auggie continues his private relationship with Cynthia, whom he considers the “real Captain Eris.” And Roy can see the crystal matrix light up from the inside, life still burning bright. And don’t forget Karl’s reigniting the relationship with Agatha, whom he’s finally found out has the same gifts as the telepath. “You‘re an L,” he exclaims after they orgasm and blood runs from his eye. All of this is perfectly captured in a sequence set to “Lay Down in the Tall Grass” by the ever wonderful Timber Timbre.
One of the best episodes, by far! Gruesome and even emotional at times. Genre TV is always twice as good when the emotions are as strong as the other elements. Nightflyers has plenty of these qualities.
“Tranmission” is next time.