Datak finds himself in a bit of a fix when a beloved family servant turns up dead on his doorstep after having spent the night in his bed. Most disturbingly (other than him having her call herself “Stahma”), her eyes are missing. He calls in Doc Yewll, but she’s not exactly in a helpful mood and leaves him to twist. In fear of getting blamed for her death, Datak turns to what the episode summary called “an unlikely ally,” Rafe, who surprisingly agrees to help. The two leave Jalina’s body to be eaten by a hellbug, then start the process of finding her killer.
Datak goes to Stahma with the news about Jalina. She takes it hard, as they’ve “owned” the girl since she was seven years old. They decide not to involve the law and take matters into their own hands (quelle surprise). Datak hands out marching orders to the crew, but they make it very clear that they’re only listening because Stahma is present. He’s unamused, but lets it go in order to get the job done.
A lead comes in from Doc Yewll. Professor Lambert came in for eye drops, and he was wearing Casti eyes (probably Jalina’s). Datak and Rafe head to the teacher’s hut, where he points them in the direction of the man who sold him the lenses. Evidently, they’re somewhat common on the black market, but they’re only taken from cadavers. Not so much this time.
Over in the season-long plot arc, Irisa has been slicing open a vein or two in order to induce visions of a man back on one of the original ships. Rynn interrupts one of her drawing sessions with the news that Sukar is missing. She also comments that Irisa’s drawing is a good likeness, as it appears to be of her associate, Kai. Irisa insists on meeting him, but he’s never seen her before. He bugs out, but comes back later when Rynn is missing.
Rynn, as storytelling would have it, is in the clutches of the crazy doctor who’s been harvesting alien irises. He’s already managed to take one from Rynn and is just about to go for the other when Nolan and Irisa break in. The doctor stabs Irisa in plain view of Nolan, then flees right into the waiting arms of Datak and Rafe, who are considerably less interested in due process than Nolan would have been. By the time Nolan and a miraculously-healed Irisa get out there, the doctor is already eyeless himself and writhing in pain on the ground.
Irisa catches up with Kai once more. She kisses him passionately, inducing a shared vision of the two of them taking over the ship by killing its pilots. The seemingly living ship sends some kind of weird tendrils into them both. When Kai and Irisa snap out of the vision, he freaks out and boards the very next transport out of town.
When Irisa gets back to the office, Nolan tackles her and slices open her hand, watching her healing powers for himself. Now that he can see what’s going on, Irisa is able to tell him everything, including the fact that Faux-Irzu threatened his life if she told him what was going on. At least Nolan is in the loop now.
Back at the Tarr residence, and separate from all of the Jalina drama, Christie and Alak are having their own issues. During a lunchtime visit to the radio station, Ho-jay makes sure to return the Casti courting stone that Christie received the night before. Christie lies and says that she bought it at the market, but Alak doesn’t believe her and is understandably peeved. He storms out, and Ho-jay comforts Christie by telling her about her own sad past and her goal of finding a man like Alak who will treat her like a princess.
Later, Ho-jay comes to Alak at the Need/Want, informing him about the club that Christie’s been going to. Alak goes there to find his wife, and they wind up having a huge fight. Christie says that dressing like a Castithan makes her feel strong, like Stahma. Alak believes that she’s mocking his culture and that he never, ever wanted her to be like his mother. He storms out, and Christie attempts to prove she doesn’t care by dancing with the Viceroy again. Alak, on the other hand, proves he doesn’t care by returning to the Need/Want and banging Ho-jay. She makes it very clear, at least to the audience, that she’s engineering this whole thing in order to take Christie’s place by Alak’s side.
I really enjoyed seeing the two sides of the Tarr family in this episode. Rafe, Stahma, and Datak, three of the most disparate characters in the show right now, all coming together over a common cause, while Alak and Christie start falling apart at the seams. It looks like the more things fall apart in his life, the more Alak acts like Datak. I’ll be interested to see what, if anything, snaps him out of this spiral.
One teeny bit of criticism here. Jalina’s death would have been better if she’d been established even one episode earlier in the season. Instead, we get one little scene in which she’s highlighted as something other than set dressing before she goes to her death. It seems very much a case of telling us that she was important, rather than showing us. Not my favorite kind of storytelling.
Things to Ponder:
- Christie has to have the worst mirror (and best makeup remover) ever in order to miss one pristine spot of white makeup right on her collarbone.
- Has Irisa always had frighteningly huge pupils, or was I just paying more attention because of the whole eye-stealing plotline?