Truth or Darius
Original Air Date: Jul 26, 2017
Vincent Chia – Staff Writer
If you had to kill over a billion people in hopes of saving the rest of the planet, would you do it? This is basically the moral conundrum that our team is faced with in tonight’s episode.
The Project Samson team is scheduled to brief the White House. Edwards and Grace are joined in the elevator by Claire Rayburn, a special advisor to the president. Rayburn also happens to be Edwards’ ex. Small world.
In the briefing room, the Io satellite intercept plan is discussed. If the impact intercept is successful, the asteroid will break up into many smaller pieces. Unfortunately, the smaller pieces would still be heading towards Earth. The smaller pieces would “level” the countries of Russia, Mongolia, and China. The good news is that it would no longer be an extinction event. There are two possible time frames for the satellite intercept. The first opportunity for intercept happens in 7 days. The second opportunity is in 63 days.
Grace strongly objects to the Io satellite intercept plan. Over a billion people could be killed.
Edwards recommends following through with the plan. Grace asks for time so that Darius Tanz can invent his experimental EM engine. Grace argues they should at least wait until the second time window. Edwards explains that they want to keep both chances alive so that if there is some sort of mishap during the first try, they can learn from the mistake and then have a second chance at the plan. Rayburn says Tanz has six days. If Tanz doesn’t produce a prototype in six days, Rayburn will recommend to the president to go ahead with the asteroid impact.
In private in Edwards’ office, Rayburn attempts to rekindle a romance with Edwards. However, Edwards rebuffs her. She doesn’t take it too harshly, but let’s him know that the invitation remains open in case he changes his mind.
Darius Tanz brings Liam’s girlfriend Jillian to Tanz Industries. Tanz tells Liam that he wanted to bring Jillian there so that Liam wouldn’t be too distracted and want to travel to Boston in order to catch of glimpse of his girlfriend. Liam is happy, but also conflicted since he would be distracted by the fact that he couldn’t tell Jillian about the asteroid heading towards Earth.
When Grace tells Tanz he only has six days to build the prototype EM engine, he angrily insists that he needs 60 days. He tells her to make it happen.
Grace tries one more time to get Edwards to give Tanz more time. In Edwards’ office, Edwards makes the argument that if the situation were reversed and Russia or China had to decide whether to launch a mission that would save the planet but wipe out the Western Hemisphere, they wouldn’t hesitate to go for it. Although Russia seems to be a perennial punching bag in the recent months, Putin would probably do it.
Grace decides to secretly meet with Claire Rayburn to try to change her mind. Rayburn is upset that it appears Grace thinks Rayburn and Edwards are being callous with the lives of over a billion people. The lives of many outweigh the lives of the few. I understand this argument. Though, one wonders if that argument holds less sway if California had to be region sacrificed to save New York. Grace seems to manage to get Rayburn to consider calling off the satellite plan, at least for the first window.
Liam and Professor Croft’s computer simulations find the correct frequency for the EM prototype engine. The discovery was greatly helped by Tanz’s artificial intelligence Tessa prioritizing which frequencies to test. The AI was able to speculate the most likely frequencies by evaluating Tanz’s and Croft’s previous research. Tanz and his team is able to build a small scale of the prototype engine within 48 hours.
During the presentation, Tanz uses the metaphor of a hiker in the dessert being limited by the amount of water he can carry. What if the hiker could make his own water? The EM engine isn’t as limited as the fuel requirements of current rockets. Unfortunately, the test engine explodes.
Rayburn tells Edwards that she will recommend the second window to the president. Edwards is furious and wonders who “got to” Rayburn. Edwards then goes to confront Grace for breaking the chain of command and going above his head. He confronts her about the earring found in his briefcase. At first, he thought maybe it had just got accidentally caught on his clothing and then fell into the briefcase. But now, he knows she has betrayed him.
Tanz has hired Jillian to be a part of one of his think tanks. Jillian talks about it with Liam. The think tank is tasked to select 160 individuals to start a colony on Mars. This was the “minimum viable population” that was discussed in the first episode. I am a little bit surprised that the government itself doesn’t have an “ark” plan similar to this. Or even comparable to the movie “2012.” Perhaps in later episode, we will discover that the government has plans to save a certain amount of people in large underground bunkers in a mountain somewhere.
Edwards convinces the president to greenlight the Io probe intercept. Grace is a little bit distraught, thinking a billion people have been doomed to die.
Darius Tanz intercepts the instructions being sent to the probe and sends it off course. NASA reports that they believe their systems have been hacked. Edwards suspects a foreign entity and has his staff investigate whether Russia or Iran has hacked into their systems. A little bit strange that he doesn’t suspect Darius Tanz or Grace, who he knows has betrayed him.
So, the Eastern Hemisphere survives, for now. Will the other nations of the world ever discover that there is an asteroid coming towards Earth? Perhaps they already know? Maybe they are all building their own arks.