After a catastrophic accident kills every one of the Ark’s commanders, the remaining crew must unite to survive in The Ark’s first two episodes.
SYFY’s newest space drama, The Ark, follows a crew sent on a perilous mission to save Earth. The lower-ranked members of this crew awake from cryosleep, five years after their departure, during an accident that kills the commanding crew of the ship. These survivors must work together to figure out how to survive the rest of their journey. While the first episode, “Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship,” gets off to a rough start, the second episode, “Like It Touched the Sun,” begins to cement the series’ potential.
“Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship” opens with an exciting sequence of the survivors awakening and escaping peril during the Ark’s accident. Once out of danger, the crew begins to assess their situation. Sharon (Christie Burke) takes charge of the survivors, much to the chagrin of James (Richard Fleeshman) and Spencer (Reece Ritchie). Sharon seems to be a decent leader, particularly as the crew maneuvers from crisis to crisis, but proves to have some dubious secrets of her own.
The wide cast of characters has potential, but some of them feel one-dimensional, and downright unlikable, to start out the series. James and Cat (Christina Wolfe) are the biggest examples of this issue. In addition, the episode also suffers from some awkward dialogue and scenes. Cat provides the episode’s cringiest moment as she ignores instructions to ration water and tries to take a shower. Caught by guard Felix (Pavle Jerinic), she attempts to use her naked body to bribe him but to no avail.
The two strongest characters in the first two episodes are Alicia (Stacey Read) and Angus (Ryan Adams), two brilliant and endearing, yet socially awkward characters that ultimately help to save the day. Angus, a savant in agriculture, convinces Sharon that he can attempt to use the tools he smuggled aboard to grow food to augment their dwindling rations. Alicia, who later reveals that she has four master’s degrees despite working in sanitation, solves the crisis of the ship’s declining oxygen and quickly earns a promotion.
A forbidden romance between Eva (Tiana Upcheva) and Harris (Dominik Cicak) is an interesting plot point that doesn’t get as much development as it should. Even with the lack of development, Harris’ untimely death due to lack of oxygen is still an emotional moment that continues to show the peril of the Ark’s crew members as the crises continue to unfold around them.
One of the episode’s most intriguing storylines manifests by the end. James discovers an imposter (Chris Leask) on board and Sharon interrogates him prior to his appearance before the council. The imposter attempts to blackmail her, but she kills him before he can plead his case to the council. Sharon’s attempts to cover up what happened in the subsequent murder investigation add an interesting element to her bid for primary leadership.
The biggest issue is that “Everyone Wanted to Be on This Ship” focuses on rushing from crisis to crisis, not allowing the audience to connect with most of the characters. Thankfully, “Like It Touched the Sun” benefits from a slowed-down pace that allows the series’ characters to develop. James may still be brash, but his hesitancy to endanger his crewmates adds a boost to his likability. Cat is still a selfish influencer, but her reluctant improvisation to help a grieving Eva shows her potential as an asset to the crew. A flashback to a moment prior to the group leaving on their mission continues to add depth to the cast.
In addition, the second episode’s slower pace allows new dynamics to form. Alicia has a cute, but awkward flirtation with Baylor (Miles Barrow). Spencer recognizes that the last surviving medic, Dr. Kabir (Shalini Peiris) and the rest of the crew are exhausted, ordering everyone to rest before returning to work. James and Spencer bond over being forced to share the second captain’s quarters after Sharon takes the other for herself. Felix defends Angus during a cafeteria incident.
The episode’s primary crisis involves a water pipe bursting in Angus’ makeshift farm. Sharon enlists Cat’s help to encourage Eva to solve the problem as she is overcome with grief. Upon investigation, Angus and Alicia find that the source of the leak is a blade, presumably the murder weapon. While Eva is able to produce more water for the ship, her decision to stop the ship’s travel without consultation leaves the Ark permanently stranded. How Sharon and the counsel overcome this latest crisis remains to be seen, but the potential presented in the series’ first two episodes makes continuing on this journey an engaging prospect.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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