Podcast

Wolf 359 3.01 – Pan-Pan

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Source: Rosie Fruin

When we left our intrepid deep space explorers back in November, things were not going well. Captain Lovelace was bleeding out on Hilbert’s lab table and because of that, Doug had been accidentally shot off into space on a broken shuttle with no navigation and no chance of rescue. Turns out, wiring your shuttle to be a bomb when it’s the only chance of saving on the station everyone is a really, really bad idea.

Season Three starts 100 days later, Commander Minkowski is sending out a repeated distress call. The Hepheastus is falling apart around their ears and despite Minkowski’s best efforts, there is nothing they can do about it. Not only are the systems badly damaged, the structural integrity of the ship has been compromised. The crew are in turmoil. Without Doug to help keep the peace, everyone is arguing with one another. Hera and Lovelace have never got along, Lovelace is extremely mistrustful of Hilbert and Minkowski is just trying to get everyone to stop fighting for long enough to at least fix something. But with Hilbert deciding he knows best and refusing to listen to the others, yet more things get broken. The system that keeps the Hepheastus warm is damaged, causing Hera to do a reboot of the entire system. With the rest of the ship at a temperature way too low for anyone to survive the crew are forced to stay in one room together in the freezing cold temperatures.

In the freezing conditions, temperatures become even more frayed. Lovelace speaks accusingly towards Minkowski about the fact she’s chosen to trust Hilbert to help fix the ship. Minkowski points out that Lovelace can’t yet wear a spacesuit due to the injury she sustained at the end of the last season and so she needs Hilbert. But will never forgive him for what he has done. Lovelace turns on Hilbert. He admits to all his crimes. He says that he is a murderer. That he has tried to kill everyone on the ship. But that she is the one who succeeded. That even though he’s tried to murder everyone, it was Lovelace who murdered Douglas Eiffel by setting that bomb. When discussing their options of what to do next, Hilbert points out that they have three options. They can continue to send out distress calls twice daily. They can build a new shuttle to try to escape. Or they can use the Pulse Beacon Relay that hasn’t been touched since his attempted coup at the end of season one and call Command for help. With her mistrust for Command, Lovelace immediately shouts down this idea, even though it is the most likely thing to get them off the station alive.
Eventually the temperature returns to normal, the reboot is complete and they return to work. Though perhaps with more of an understanding of each other than before. Lovelace goes to Minkowski and tells her that yes she doesn’t trust Command but that she should do whatever it takes to get the crew home. And if that’s the only way then she won’t stop her.

Minkowski is as usual, attempting to be the peacekeeper but allows her temper to get the better of her. She claims that if they’re going to blame each other for things, she was the one who killed Doug by sending him into the shuttle in the first place. Hilbert is very open about his past intentions. He knows he’s a murderer. And he doesn’t regret it. But he knows that right now he needs to do everything that he can to get home and that means working together with Minkowski and Lovelace. Lovelace. Captain Isabelle Lovelace. A beautifully written and complex character who is extremely well acted. And I absolutely hate her.

Lovelace only cares about revenge. Her big motivation is getting revenge on Cutter and Command. She doesn’t seem to care about who she hurts in order to get there. In season two she was seemed to be more than willing to sacrifice Hera so that she could get her shuttle working and go back to Earth to enact her revenge. And then we find out she wasn’t willing to do that but decided it was better than the rest of the crew thought she was so that they’d be scared of her and do what she wanted them to do. She has zero interest in trying to move on and honour the memories of her lost crew, all she wants to do is get her revenge. And in doing so she almost killed Hera and seemingly has succeeded in the murder of Doug Eiffel (though I refuse to accept a character death without seeing a body). She set the bomb on that ship. And she never did anything to disarm it even when they all agreed they were going to work together. She just left it there. And because she did nothing, she sent Doug out into deep space on a broken shuttle and no way back. She killed him. And yet she thinks she is so much better than anyone else. She tries to rise above the bitching when she is the worst one there. She blames Hera for things that are completely outside of her control. Yes Hera is a bit glitchy at times. But she’s been running this station for a couple of years at this point, it is a massive station (It isn’t really touched upon in the series, but the Hepheastus could easily house a crew of several dozen) and Hera literally had her heart and soul ripped out of her by Hilbert who then had to patch her back together as best as he could. So yes she is a bit dodgy and broken. But it isn’t her fault. Hera is as much of a person and member of the crew as Minkowski and Hilbert are and yet Lovelace treats her like she’s nothing. Like she’s not got any more worth than a toaster.

takes a deep breath Okay. I’m calm. Overall I really liked this episode. But as a season opener, it involved a lot of arguing and finger pointing but not a lot of actual plot or anything to really entice listeners to keep listening. As a committed listener, I’m interested to see how the story is going to progress. But without the calming and laid back influence of Doug all I can see is more arguments on the horizon.

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