Home Entertainment The Ark Episode 1 Everyone Wanted To Be On This Ship Review And Recap – Smuggled Dirt, Choking And Stowaways

The Ark Episode 1 Everyone Wanted To Be On This Ship Review And Recap – Smuggled Dirt, Choking And Stowaways

by Ana Lopez
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I loved the space dramas of the late 1990s and early 1990s. There is something terrifying and endlessly possible about the vastness of space at the same time. The very thing that enables exploration beyond our wildest imagination can also kill us. Claustrophobia, urgency and desperation make for great stories. Syfy’s latest space series from Dean Devlin (Stargate and sudsy Leverage) and Jonathan Glassner (Stargate SG-1) is the best of those earlier series, but with an updated sensibility that shows tremendous promise. Similar to the excellent sci-fi series of the past, The Ark Episode 1 opens with a bang that informs all that is to come.

The Ark Episode 1
THE ARK — “Everybody Wanted to Be on This Ship” Episode 101 — Pictured: Tiana Upcheva as Eva Markovic — (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

The pilot begins with Lieutenant Sharon Garner, a gritty Christie Burke waking up from her cryopod in the worst of circumstances. The room she is in falls apart and threatens to collapse, killing everyone in it. The thrilling opening sequence quickly makes for some nifty gravity fixes and who’s in charge. Sharon moves quickly enough to rescue and evacuate nearly everyone before things fall apart. She also re-enabled the gravity wheel and established life support. She saves the ship and the few who are still alive and aboard.

Unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of the crew were lost in the disaster. All that remains of the command are three lieutenants. We have Lt. Garnett already met, Lt. Lane (Reece Ritchie) and the brash Lt. James Brice (Richard Fleeshman) are the only remains of the Commanders. All senior officers were in one of the lost rooms. As we learn later, the only exception to this is Susan Ingram, who should not have been with the plebians, but was. That’s just one of the many mysteries to unfold as The Ark Episode 1 plays out.

The small group aboard the Ark 1 immediately has many obstacles to overcome. They have very little food and even less water. Their water recycling system was lost in the accident that damaged the ship, and most of their food flew off with large parts of the ship. In a short time, the young crew must establish and figure out a hierarchy. The cute geniuses Angus (Ryan Adams) and Alicia Nevins (Stacey Read) stand out in this episode that quickly establishes that there is still plenty of brain power left, even if the older, more experienced crew members are missing.

The first way is to retrofit the recycling system that was intended for the planet upon arrival. While searching for the parts needed to make the adjustments, Angus stops Sharon and shows her the contraband he smuggled aboard. It could be the solution to their food problems if they sacrifice some of their limited water for cultivation and direct power to the huge grow lights. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on Sharon’s unilateral decision to continue, and rifts emerge between the leadership group, which is composed of the most experienced people from each department. Waste management and engineering specialist Eva Markovik (Tiana Upcheva) is stressed and a secret relationship makes things worse.

Just as Angus sets up his makeshift farm, the oxygen begins to drop rapidly. The computer system also fails and they are unable to diagnose the problem. When the oxygen drops below 15%, the ship locks and several people are left without helmets or oxygen. Sweet Baylor Trent (Miles Barrow) is one of those left to fend for herself as they slowly suffocate. Fortunately, he is a man of many talents, including lock picking, and collects the oxygen tanks in the med bay and frees himself.

Before he can reach everyone, Eva is forced to watch as her love passes out and later dies. How this will affect her progress remains to be seen, but she will likely struggle with grief and guilt. Unfortunately, the only real systems expert on board, Jasper Dades (Chris Leask), is MIA. When they find him, he admits to lying about who he is. He is actually Malcolm Perry, an enterprising criminal who used a hacker to fake boarding.

Fortunately, fast-talking Alicia knows how to reboot the computer system. She cleverly identifies the Barstow problem, a danger of using Elliot Barstow’s utilitarian and often flawed code. According to Alicia, the code was cheap and therefore widely used, which does not bode well for the ship’s future systems. Nevertheless, she can reboot the system and run a diagnosis. Once the problem has been determined, they seal the leak and oxygen is returned to the ship.

Sharon stops Jasper and questions him. She tells him she intends to recommend the death penalty. He replies that he wasn’t the only desperate person who lied about who they are and then mentions a young cadet with an anger management problem named Denise. Sharon visibly cringes and another mystery is revealed. How many other people have secrets and who is Denise?

By the end of The Ark Episode 1, Jasper is dead with a slit throat, and the adorable Alisha is now in charge of Systems. No doubt his murder will reverberate for the rest of the season. I have high hopes for this series; that has all the hallmarks of an addictive sci-fi thriller. The Ark Episode 1 is built to create intrigue. It’s mysterious and exciting, introducing characters and set pieces that I want to see more of. New episodes are available on SYFY every Wednesday, and be sure to follow us for all our The Ark coverage.

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