As the first instalment came to a dramatic end with the landing of an escape pod (sadly no droids included), we were introduced to Julius Berger – a character enigmatically referred to earlier in the episode and, presumably, someone who is going to shake up the remnants of the human race on Carpathia.
Played by Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty, Resident Evil), his appearance does indeed ruffle feathers with Stella (Hermoine Norris) and Tate (Liam Cunningham), who are both very curious as to just how their colleague managed a space in the survival shuttle, when it should have gone to someone else.
They’re not the only ones, as that “someone else” had a daughter who did make it to ground. Aisling is out for revenge and seeks counsel with Stella, who wants justice served, but the problematic politics of Julius’ lofty position makes this a logistical nightmare. Matters are further confused with a “relationship” between the young girl and Berger, who confesses he has found religion and uses this as a smokescreen for his own ends.
In some ways it’s slightly disappointing to see that those with a religious bent are portrayed as suspect, especially as there’s no other religious figures on Carpathia to counter this, but Mabius does a fine line in charming sinistery, particularly in a neatly filmed scene between him and Stella; shot as if giving confession in a booth.
Julius’ intentions are not clear, though one would guess self-preservation is the ultimate goal and his presence certainly overshadows the other characters who came before him. The factions in the camp are further emphasised in the second sub plot of the story, that involving the search for Stella’s own daughter, Lily, who was thought to be on the ship.
The girl is found by a new group, formed by “clones” and once headed by Mitchell (who, despite being offed in the first part, seems to have a legacy that will endure for the series). This thread, that of the “abandoned” clones, looks set to be one of the founding issues that will haunt this series, having repercussions for all.
Although slightly derivative (the ‘Others’ from Lost spring to mind) and awkwardly executed (the script does no favours, repeatedly featuring people making promises they can’t guarantee alongside endless macho face-offs), the potential for the rest of the series is most definitely here.
Again, like the first episode, the actors have little life about them with the exception of Cass (played by Ashes To Ashes star Daniel Mays) and the aforementioned Eric Mabius, who threaten to bring some engagement to the proceedings. Thankfully, the ongoing storylines may prove to distract from the characters.
Airs at 9pm on Tuesday 8th February 2011 on BBC One.