Space: Above and Beyond – Mutiny

It makes sense that, after West and Vensen got episodes that focused on them, Hawkes would get the third. He’s the other member of the cast most fleshed out. And, of course, the episode is going to focus on the fact he’s an In-Vitro. Also, there’s another In-Vitro in the cast, the high ranking Commander (or Corporal or something) McQueen. So the episode looks at the life that “Tanks” live by creating a conflict between the rebellious Hawkes and the by-the-books McQueen.

The plot is relatively simple. The crew are on a space freighter. Most of the “dirty jobs” are done by In-Vitros and there is a big cargo of In-Vitros still in their tanks, waiting to be awakened at the destination world, more cargo than people. This division between Tanks and Humans comes to a head when the freighter is attacked and the most realistic way to survive is to cut the power to the section of the ship keeping the suspended In-Vitros alive. The result is a mutinty, the details of which are unimportant, other than that it gives Hawkes and McQueen (and others) their chance to debate the topic of racism with stakes. We learn more about In-Vitros as we go. They are awakened from their tubes at eighteen years old! So basically someone like Hawkes has probably been sentient for less than a decade. We also know that, given their lack of a true family, they can sometimes bond over being grown with similar DNA configuration, and Hawkes has a “sister” of this kind among the cargo of In-Vitros on the freighter. All in all, this is a decent setup for this kind of story and I’m impressed that this series has done it.

It’s also worth noting that, if last episode was a battleship and groundfighting combat episode and the episode before that was dogfighting combat, this one is submarine combat. If I’d gone off my memory I’d’ve thought the show was all dogfighting all the time, but it’s good that they mix it up. Keeps it from getting stale.

Not much else to report. We get a subplot about romance with the characters unused in the main plot. Wang has started dating someone he met online (over the “SpaceNet”) and Vensen thinks romance is a waste of time. Damphousse has a boyfriend back home who has a daughter from a previous relationship who hasn’t warmed up to her yet. I don’t know if any of this will matter down the line, but we do get West admitting his selfishness in going AWOL that one time, so the show will address things serially on occasion it seems.

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