In the fifth episode of Crusade, the crew is re-routed on a mission that seems pointless, and then SECRETS ARE REVEALED. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Crusade.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of genocide.
There’s a huge flaw in this episode that is distracting as hell: if we were not told that the colonists on Theta 49 had cybernetic enhancements, we would never know this. It seems like such a strange oversight, and I’m curious if this was done to hide the secret of who the colonists were. But the eventual reveal—that Earthforce deliberately infected them—would have still stung either way. It’s just SO fucked up, you know? The effect remains either way because it demonstrates just how far Earthforce is willing to go to protect itself. Plus, the story of the colonists is only made more meaningful by the presence of Dureena’s people, who coincidentally ended up on the same planet.
It’s a classic case of telling rather than showing. Even when Tim chases down Dr. Chambers, there’s literally nothing there to demonstrate that he’s got any sort of special powers. He even tells her his arms are “enhanced,” which is not all that effective because… well, how? How is he enhanced? He’s just really strong? My interpretation of this is that the script was written with a goal in mind: the twist of who these people actually were. Yes, that twist hit hard, but as soon as it did, things started unraveling. Had the colonists used their enhancements to adapt? Did any of them wish they didn’t have them? What sort of treatment did they receive from Earthforce after the program was shut down? The problem is that the twist comes so late in “Patterns of the Soul” that there’s very little time left to actually explore these characters’ lives.
So, what we get is in bits in pieces, announced through dialogue, or in hasty portraits. Robert Black is somewhat fleshed out here as the “spokesman” for the colonists, but do we actually know anything about him? What about Tim, who is written like a villain until we actually understand his motivations?
Dureena’s people, however, are at least written with a little more empathy. At the same time, they’ve still got a whole lot of tragedy in their story. They’d all been wiped out by the Drakh UNTIL WE FIND OUT IN THIS EPISODE THAT SOME OF THEM SURVIVED! There’s a colony of the survivors of a Shadow attack here!
….and the Earthforce colonists gave them the Drakh plague. CAN DUREENA’S PEOPLE PLEASE CATCH A BREAK, Y’ALL. Also, what are they called? Why don’t they have a name? Is that important? Anyway, I much preferred this subplot, particularly since it gave Dureena such a vital story for her character. Her motivation is so understandable, and yet, there’s still a complicated dance she does with Dr. Chambers over this discovery. First and foremost for Dureena is her desire that she save these people. It’s why she snaps at Dr. Chambers and why she requests that the doctor keep them off her official reports. Look what happened when someone accidentally discovered them! If IPX or Earthforce knew there were others on that planet, who knows what sort of disaster would rain down upon them??? And I loved that Dr. Chambers not only got this, but promised that she’d do everything she could to find a cure as fast as she could. Oh, right, because Dureena’s people have only a year. MAX. Seriously, can a nice thing happen to them???
Anyway, this was an episode that landed squarely in the middle for me. There were some great character moments and some important updates to the season’s arc. We know Earthforce is even more fucked up than we thought they could be; Max is starting to develop a conscience; Dureena’s people have not entirely died off due to the Drakh genocide. There are some things here that I wish were better, but all things said, it’s not the worst episode of the bunch. It’s just… there?
The video for “Patterns of the Soul” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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