John and Dutch are being fun and awesome together with the help of Lucy. I do love their snark and willingness to have fun. I want more of this – I want more of them just loving doing what they do (and I love Dutch accusing Lucy of playing favourites)
While D’avin is still being tortured by his PTSD and delaying his therapy with Pawter. Which he gets to duck because they have a mission – an abandoned ship. Apparently any RAC agent finding an abandoned ship can go on board and help themselves. After which they have to blow the ship up (hey, it’s one way to clear space debris I guess – but wasting a perfectly good ship and spreading junk instead…)
Dutch goes across to the ship first but things quickly get freaky – opening the airlock sets off security which then… turns off for no apparent reason. See, this is why I couldn’t do things like this – because that’d be me running like hell in the opposite direction.
They’re not me so all three of them go onto the ship and continue to have fun. Though John does take a moment to tell D’avin how he’s happy D’avin is getting help from Pawter.
Then things get ominous – the communication gets crackly, Dutch sees a figure running in the dark (despite Lucy reporting no life forms), a barricade and a bloody “17” painted on the wall and John finds that the ship has no recorded planet of origin. D’avin finds more blood. He follows it to an injured man with a knife and a less than welcoming attitude.
When the figure Dutch is chasing runs to the airlock, pausing only to write “17” on the glass in his own blood, he then blasts himself into space.
To top it off, when the power comes back on a contamination is detected – so Lucy quarantines them. Which means they can’t get back to their ship. Ok everything went from fun to creepy really fast
John gets their communication back up and cctv while Dutch and D’avin question the injured man (Hogan, a ship-picker, kind of salvager) who is less angry now (the other man was his partner who violently attacked him). The same thing happened to them, 2 years ago, their ship withdrew and left them stranded. Hogan and D’avin bond over their ex-military history which leads to him and Hogan going to the medical bay for Hogan’s leg while Dutch goes looking for “deep suits” so they can get back to Lucy
John’s hacking also reveals the ship is military (Imperial Marines of the United Republic – which is “our near the ring” more tasty world building!). And Dutch finds an infirmary – in the wrong place from what Hogan said. There’s a wall covered in paperwork and pictured with ominous bloody writing saying things like “lies” and “terminated”. A classic unhinged serial killer wall. At the same time John finds a file with a woman talking about testing something on live subjects – and sees Hogan was part of the crew, not a ship-picker
Dutch finds bodies. Lots of bodies.
Hogan gets all creepy with D’avin even as John gets in touch to let him know that creepy guy is creepy. Despite this warning he still checks Hogan’s non-existent leg wound and gets punched for it. They fight and D’avin would win – except Hogan regenerates like Wolverine.
D’avin is knocked unconscious and wakes up in a glass cell and a computer telling him to “prepare for implantation”. Which involves gas entering his lungs. This apparently allows for horrendous torture if D’avin doesn’t talk. It’s nasty – stripping away flesh and rebuilding it.
John and Dutch see video footage of all he crew of the ship enduring the same – the computer asking questions and, when they can’t answer them, using the gas to strip away their flesh. The last question which they can’t answer is about something called “Red 17”. Checking the bodies confirms that among the dead are the crew not just prisoners.
D’avin figures out the obvious (black op military ship with a specialty in torture) and asks Hogan questions and learns the ship went through a solar flare and the computer “chose” him. He rants on about “helping them all” which points to him not being very reality based. D’avin’s next question is to explain his last mission – torturing him into talking about the mission that left him traumatised and unable to remember. Under the pressure of the torture he talks about killing his own squad – but he doesn’t know why
All of this is watched by Dutch and John who watch this through a security feed. They gather what information they have including a recording from the dead crew about what the gas is before she kills herself rather than endure the interrogation procedure. The system was fried in the accident and it keeps torturing people, the only way it can stop is if someone dies (which is why the man Dutch saw blew himself out the airlock).
D’avin is asked the question about Red 17. Apparently Hogan was once also asked this question over and over but the computer eventually rejected him and, horrendously traumatised and broken, Hogan set up the beacon to bring in more people to be questioned so they can find the answer to Red 17.
Dutch comes to the rescue – and Hogan manages to ambush her, hold her at knife point and put her in a cell to be nanited (really? Dutch couldn’t fight back against that? Dutch?). This is apparently part of the plan and pain is not even remotely capable of persuading or forcing Dutch, instead taking the time to comfort D’avin (ashamed about John and her hearing about his dead patrol mates) before mocking him and using a charge to blow up the cell and kill Hogan.
I don’t get why she had to do that rather than just kill Hogan.
Free, she hands D’avin to John and runs to the airlock – D’avin assumes she intends suicide, especially when she blasts herself into space. John sets mines on the ship and explains what’s happening – the Nanites inside D’avin and Dutch will repair any damage short of brain death. Dutch is constantly healing the damage of the vacuum as she floats to Lucy, able to endure it because she’s just that tough
Which now explains why she didn’t just kill Hogan. Thank you show, I did wonder.
Oh and to stop the nanites permanently torturing D’avin, John shoots him in the leg. The Nanites can’t heal and torture at the same time. Clever, unpleasant, but clever. Of course that reconstruction also means Hogan is still alive. He blathers in a disturbing fashion until John shoots him in the head.
More hilariously, on Lucy the ship won’t let Dutch on board and insists on quarantining her because of protocol. Dutch can’t convince her otherwise until Dutch says “John’s in trouble” and Lucy opens the door. Hah, the ship does have favourites!
Everyone is rescued and D’avin and Dutch are decontaminated (hey hey hey let’s not be hasty! Can’t you set them to permanent heal?) Lucy and Dutch snark. I love that the computer snarks.
John and D’avin also talk and John wants to know why – not why he did what he did, but why he didn’t come to his family, why he ran away rather than talk to his family.
Back to Westerley and Pawter checks up D’avin and scans his brain – now the scarring in his head has been cured, she can see memory blockers implanted in his brain.
That episode was immensely fun. We got a lot of their fun, snarky, interactions which really makes this show. Then a heavy dose of creepy and some nice snips of awesome generally made it a joy to watch. Except for some more poking of D’avin’s past we didn’t have a lot of meta and I’m ok with this – I want to see more of them on a baseline, how they get though their daily lives together (more John and Dutch than D’avin but still). I think we could do with a few RAC mission of the week episodes.
We did have another round of Dutch being The Most Awesome which is always good even if it does approach being comically over the top. But why not? She’s a big damn awesome hero, let’s run with this. I would be more leery because there are elements of the Exceptional Woman about this, the woman with two male co-stars and she has to be super-awesome to justify her presence: but there are other women both as minor recurring characters (Pawter and Bellus) who are pretty decent as well as episodes that made a point of not making Dutch the Exceptional Woman.