George R. R. Martin’s Nightflyers 1 x 2 – “Torches and Pitchforks” Episode Review (Spoilers!)

Based on George R. R. Martin’s novella, “Nightflyers,” the new SyFy Channel adaptation continues to explore the colony ship the Nightflyer in a strong second episode, particularly if you’re binging and don’t have to wait. Episode two begins with a brutal but anonymous attack on crew member Murphy who has been a vocal opposer of Thale’s presence on the ship.

While Agatha and Karl try to find Thale and reason with the crew, Thale appears creepily in Lommie’s quarters. He invades her past, examining the memories that he receives from her now that he is no longer under the influence of suppressors. Thale asks her how to move around the ship without being seen then threatens her not to tell anyone she saw him.  To her credit or harm, Lommie keeps her word and does not tell anyone about his appearance in her room.

The crew – once so scared of an L1’s power – feel certain they can subdue and defeat Thale and ignore the pleas of the doctor for restraint while the truth is discovered. Their intended method of attack? Spider robots . . .with lasers! Did anyone else feel a little bit like Dr. Evil when they read that? I hope so.

Agatha and Karl enter the greenhouse pod cautiously careful to be honest now that Thale isn’t drugged. Just as Thale seems to open up to Karl, crew members emerge from  the trees, ambushing Thale from behind. Dr. Matheson warns everyone very sensibly that Thale can defeat them and not to bring weapons into the dome, but is thoroughly ignored and we get a better look at Thale’s powers.

At the same time that Thale is about to thoroughly wreck a bunch of Nightflyer crew in the dome, a meeting between Mel and Lommie reveals that Lommie fears plugging into the Nightflyer system after an unsettling incident. Lommie is bleeding and has tried to cut the ports out of her arm so that she can’t be forced to plug back in again. Mel reminds her of her obligations to the team, that they need Lommie in all of her function. Mel’s compulsion to complete the mission at any cost becomes more and more clear as she tells one member of the team after another that they must reach and communicate with the volcryn at any cost.

Thale moves around the greenhouse area with the gun and meets Tessia, the bee lady, a woman he finds surrounded by a colony of bees. Thale can’t read her mind through the bees so she sends them away and allows Thale to hear her mind. She asks him about the gun, why he needs it. They go back and forth about Thale’s past and reveal that Thale was taken from his family. Tessia empathizes with him and says that she against people’s fear of L1’s, but calls them apex predators at the top of the food chain.

In another part of the ship, Karl begins to hear his deceased daughter in the corridors and then finds himself speaking to her directly. The moment hails back to both IT and Event Horizon in a very creepy way and suggests that the ship itself is related to the appearances of his daughter. When he challenges the ship she tells him in a computer voice that he doesn’t know anything about the challenges ahead.

Photo Source: Nightflyers on Sci-Fi, screenshot by Crystal Spears from The Game of Nerds
Photo Source: Nightflyers on Sci-Fi, screenshot by Crystal Spears from The Game of Nerds

Karl flees to Rowan’s quarters and says he wants to send White Rabbit, the probe, in case Eris aborts their mission. Rowan is asked to do it for him so he and Mel prepare the White Rabbit probe with a wish of “safe travels, little rabbit.” Mel asks if Rowan is ok and he expresses what is likely the wish of much of their crew –  he says he doesn’t want to come all this way to only launch a probe. Rowan wants to make real contact and doesn’t want to accept anything less.

While this is going on, Lommie is caught by Augustin trying to disconnect the memory suite from the main system in an attempt to extract Murphy’s memories.

Agatha, Lommie, and Karl see that it was Thale that set him on fire in a moment of opportunity after Murphy calls him a freak. Augustin watches all of this through a mirror program he has set up and reports everything to the captain about Murphy’s memory. At the same time, security guards are attacked by the robots they were going to use on Thale.

Shortly after, we observe Karl speaking to his wife on the comm. They discuss the memory treatment she is getting to remove memories – specifically of their deceased daughter – so that she doesn’t feel the sadness. because she couldn’t go on blaming herself for the decisions they made.

The captain approaches Karl shortly after he speaks to his wife and is left with a feeling of impending dread with regards to her medical treatment that seems to be leaving her with less and less of her memory. The captain admits to Karl that there is another danger to the mission, but asks Karl to trust him to handle it. In the closing scene of the episode, the captain deactivates the killer laser spider robot easily and then looks into the cameras as if someone else is controlling them. The scene is ominous and suggests that the captain isn’t the only one in charge of the Nightflyer after all.

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Author: Crystalllitely

Movie buff / Ravenclaw / writer. Books, reading, cats, and candy. These are a few of my favorite things!

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