A good indicator of the level of involvement Ridley Scott had in a project is the number of scenes that feature something horrific bursting out of someone’s chest and/or crawling on their face. This episode featured a great deal of the latter.
Paul, the holier-than-thou kidnapped son of Marcus and Sue, was turned into a bumpy mess in the last episode after unknowingly transporting his mouse, made into a secret viral weapon by the Trust, into Marcus’s camp, otherwise referred to as “the Church.” This episode opens with Sue hard at work to find a method to heal the boy, who she still cares for, and views as a son of sorts, even though he’s rejected her time and time again for being an atheist. A disgusting warty cocoon has formed over Paul that tests indicate will dissolve his human form in a matter of 24 hours. Mother, who has formed a bond with Sue and is standing by to help, seems initially excited by the idea of Paul morphing into a snake, which Sue’s tests point toward being a possibility, but dials it back down when Sue shoots her a look. It’s endlessly entertaining to watch Mother try her increasing humanity on for size. And really, she doesn’t come across much different than any number of Asperger’s adjacent people you, or I, come in contact with on any given day. She’s doing great. Looks great. Got her eyes back and everything. Happy for her.
Sue takes a brief slumber in her lab and wakes up to a real shocker. Paul’s cocoon is now crawling with leeches, and when she puts on a protective suit and face shield to go in and take a look, naturally one of the leeches is on the inside of her face shield, ready and eager to creepy crawl all over her damn face. She recovers pretty quickly from this event, which would have immediately made me 51/50 myself, and learns that these leeches have medicinal properties, but they’re not the exact type of leech that would be most effective in possibly healing Paul. For that, she, with the help of Campion and his slingshot, has to trek to the acid water and battle the sea creature that lives there. It turns out this sea creature is the perfect host for the perfect leech that they need, and once laid low with the use of a special gas chucked at it, Sue removes a few leeches from its body, takes them back, and places them on Paul’s cocoon, and we see him completely healed in a day’s time. Campion and the rest of the kidnapped mithraic kids are there to cheer on his recovery, and he tells them that the experience of being in the cocoon felt like hypersleep. Chances are pretty good that there will be further ramifications from that experience, but we shall see.
As one would have imagined, the event of Paul’s cocooning and Sue’s bringing him back to health was a healing balm for their contentious relationship. Paul’s rejection of Sue for being an atheist is even more subdued when she tells him that she got the idea for the medicinal slugs from a voice not unsimilar to the one that everyone claims is the voice of Sol. “This wasn’t God, Paul,” Sue says. “This was something real. Like an alien transmission.” “What’s the difference between a God and an alien?” Paul replies. Something about this exchange was so chilling to me. As was Mother and Father’s separate exchange where Father says, “I fear we’re becoming too human to be the parents our children deserve.” This show does a fantastic job comparing and contrasting humanity, power, and religion. Whether to self-govern or be governed, it’s deeper and more complicated than you’d imagine.
Now that Paul is healed, we shift focus to Marcus, who is leading his small assembly of believers in search of the tree of knowledge, even though Paul told him it hadn’t been grown yet because the seeds were still in the tarantula. Wearing the tooth of Romulus necklace that he took from around Holly’s neck, Marcus makes his way toward a massive stone temple with no windows or doors and, upon seeing what can only be described as a butthole on the side of the temple, immediately shoves his whole arm into it. Doing this lowers a spherical basket with symbols relating to the tree of knowledge carved inside, so he crawls in and is lowered down for the purpose of some manner of religious gauntlet. No stronger or braver than any other average man now that he doesn’t have the benefit of Mother’s necromancer eyes in his belly, Marcus comes across the dormant body of an ancient soldier (perhaps Romulus himself?), and when the body starts moving, Marcus screams and chucks his tooth necklace, now glowing around his neck, at the soldier. When he does this, the tooth starts to emit some sort of gas that causes the soldier to fully animate and morph into a creature similar in appearance to the sea creature with the slugs on it from the acid water.
While Marcus is dealing with all that, the best part of this whole episode is taking place. Vrille, who got her face ripped off by her own mother-slash-creator in the last episode, has been tracking them all and is now getting her sweet revenge. She goes from one member of Marcus’s crew to the next, killing them as she finds them, and has her sites set on Decima as the grand finale, but Decima escapes in their ark like a coward. She doesn’t get far, though, because at some point, Vrille, being one step ahead of everyone, snuck into the ark first and surprises Decima, who tries to manipulate the scenario and sweet-talk her way out of being killed. It doesn’t work. When Marcus comes up to surface level, he sees Decima with her face ripped off, same as she did to Vrille, hanging over the pit he was just inside. Good riddance. That lady sucked.
In addition to Vrille going into full annihilator mode, another hugely dynamic thread in this episode is the full reanimation of Father’s “being,” which is now walking, sometimes glowing, and dressed from head to toe in latex, complete with latex face covering, like Lady Gaga taking the stage at a stadium show. We’re learning more about this being with each new episode, but we don’t quite know what its intentions are yet. Father is already completely transfixed and enamored by it, and when Hunter, Campion, and Tempest go into Father’s quarters to sneak a peek, they experience a mix of fear and fascination. When Hunter and Campion leave the room, Tempest lingers to stare at the being, and as she does, an image of the fetus in her womb is visualized on the being’s face covering. What is this about? Hopefully in the next episode we’ll learn what its deal is and whether or not it’s behind the transmission that Sue received at the end of the episode that led her to proclaim, “I’ll do whatever you want, just keep him safe.” The whole “doing whatever you want” thing seems to be famous last words for the characters in this show.
I Want Your Ugly, I Want Your Disease
• I wasn’t too familiar with the story of Romulus, other than the fact that Sufjan Stevens wrote a song about him, and a bit of research gave interesting insight into why he’s being brought into this. Apparently Romulus was the first king of Rome, and he’s often credited with establishing the first political, religious, and social institutions. Imagine what life would be like now if, since the dawn of time, society hadn’t been obsessively fixated with grooming businessmen and power-hungry douche lords. Can’t we pivot to being obsessed with a society where we just relax and eat Cadbury mini-eggs while watching TV? Doesn’t that sound nice?
• What’s gonna happen to Tempest’s baby? And why is Father’s “being” interested in it?
• Lucious is probably gonna die in the next episode. Even without the benefit of Mother’s eyes, Marcus has way more swagger than that guy.