In the tenth episode of Crusade, Gideon goes against Galen’s advice and heads down to a planet rumored to kill everyone who lands on it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Crusade.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, genocide
There are parts of this story that don’t quite add up to me, especially in terms of why something like this was created. We have the technomage’s AI left to explain it, but even the existence of that is a little convoluted to me? But look, there’s something I want to yell about before I get into the details of this, and it’s because I was remiss in not mentioning this before, but:
OH MY GOD, GIDEON, STOP TALKING TO THE APOCALYPSE BOX!!! Stop it! Everything about this seems like a horrible idea! Before, it took y’all to a dead world with a NIGHTMARE living below the surface. And now, it took you to a planet where a significant portion of the crew MURDERED ONE ANOTHER. Why the hell are you still listening to it??? I’m getting a sense—and it’s unsaid at this point—that the Apocalypse Box actually draws people in and makes it hard to resist using it. I don’t know why, nor do I have a theory about what it actually is or what thing—living or not—is able to speak through it. But this is BAD, right? Real, real bad??? Please stop?
But it’s Matthew Gideon, and the dude is stubborn. What’s fascinating about this crew is that there are so many stubborn people in it. Dureena, Max, Gideon… yeah, they are each their own nightmare, but stuck together on this mission? Well, this episode is a fantastic example of the fact that even after four months together, they still haven’t figured out how to get along. They have their own agendas, their own reasons for being on the Excalibur. Of interest, though, is Max’s reaction to all of this. Look, Gideon was being way too risky in not heeding Galen’s warning, and I’m curious if there will be another mention of the high cost that was paid to secure what Galen and Dr. Chambers created. But after getting a couple episode’s featuring Max’s desire for more tech (and, by extension, more money, fame, and notoriety), I was initially surprised by his swift refusal to go down to the surface of the planet. There was probably untold technology to be discovered there! However, there’s a key element that also motivates Max that I had forgotten: self-preservation. Max is down to do anything to get ahead, unless that thing involves a significant threat to his own life. He can’t gain fame, money, or notoriety if he’s dead, right?
And weirdly, he ends up being on the rational side because going down to that planet was a bad idea before they went. While they went. Once they were there. ONCE THEY STAYED THERE AFTER THAT FIRST ATTACK. Gideon, why the fuck didn’t y’all leave IMMEDIATELY after multiple people murdered other crew members? Oh, this was so intense, and I thought it was brilliant that we never saw the attacks but merely heard them. (Well, except for that IPX crew member trying to kill Max.) It made this so much more terrifying. Which also had the possibly unintended ramification of me being angry at Gideon for not leaving. LEAVE. TAKE THE WHOLE CREW WITH YOU. FIGURE IT OUT AND COME BACK. Don’t leave them there with the possibility of MASS MURDER hanging over your heads! Perhaps I have the chronology mixed up, but at some point, Gideon is aware when night falls, everything will get infinitely worse and HE STILL DOES NOT LEAVE OR ORDER HIS PEOPLE TO LEAVE.
I guess we can still write that off as Gideon’s stubbornness, as well as his refusal to leave anyone behind. (I mean, we can explain Gideon remaining, but not everyone else.) Galen’s motivations made far more sense to me, especially since he knew that a Technomage had to undo the terrible thing another Technomage had done. He was hired for that, right? I got that part, but then… the Technomage made an AI to survive him? So that the nanovirus could keep living on without him? Just because? I’m a little shaky on this part, and I think this episode kind of falls apart in terms of the story. I just don’t understand why this AI was kept around aside from… arrogance? I mean, the AI told the audience why they were still around, but since the creator wasn’t there, it’s information that doesn’t feel as weighty or as meaningful as I think it was intended to. And then there’s the stand-off down below, which just looked weird as hell. I mean, I definitely got confirmation that Dureena was under the influence of the nanobots, but having the bridge shot out from under her… broke it’s hold on her? Maybe? If that’s the case, why didn’t the imminent threat of destruction and death break anyone else out of its control? What did Galen’s stick actually do here? How could that computer explode and the stick is still intact?
At the very least: we’ve got that nanobot shield thing!!! That’s a huge, huge development, and it would allow people to travel back to Earth for limited amounts of time. That’s a fantastic thing! I do hope we see it again. Otherwise, I liked most of this episode, but it wasn’t as strong as the last two.
The video for “Memory of War” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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