Stunning CGI, long awaited reunions and Scorpy vs. Harvey. It's all good stuff, so why is Promises such an unsatisfying episode?
Granted, it was clearly meant to be thoughtful and melancholy - appropriate for an episode which sees the exit of a long running character like Harvey, even if it's not going to mean any less work for Wayne Pygram.
But unlike other introspective, relationship-dissecting stories (e.g. Green Eyed Monster) Promises ultimately didn't raise itself above its depressing centre in John and Aeryn's dysfunctional relationship.
The great Tarantino pastiches aside, Harvey's end seemed sadly swift and inglorious for such an engaging character. Nor did his last few acts ring true - for ages Harvey's done nothing worse than occasionally irritate John with his self-serving, pessimistic advice.
Now, though, he suddenly becomes a sinister Aeryn-form angel of death, keying into John's worst fears. Was Richard Manning worried that the audience would be too upset at Harv's death if he didn't demonize him up a bit?
The two threats-of-the-week - Oolom's beautiful but pointless chameleon ship and Braca's attempt to prove his potency by firing a big throbbing Peacekeeper missile into Moya - seemed secondary to the main action. Both were wrapped up with jarring abruptness and ease, adding to the strong sense of set-up pervading the whole episode.
Plot arcs have to be advanced, yes, but not at the cost of an entire episode's integrity. Promises was an apt title for an episode which raises lots of hope for future developments, but doesn’t deliver anything in itself.
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