So, after watching a few episodes and largely enjoying the depth of most of the characters in the main cast, I got to thinking Cally was still something of a blank slate. She’s a telepath, but her powers are greatly limited, so she isn’t all that useful that way. She mostly just gives off intense glares. Granted, I said the same thing about Lagertha over on Vikings, that may not be the worst thing around.
But then this episode pops up and she gets to do stuff. Considering Jenna’s job seems to be to look pretty and fly the ship and I still have a better grasp on her personality, plus Gan hasn’t done much since he revealed he can’t use lethal force, that works for me.
However, here’s the set-up: a really old freighter is on its way home when the pilot is ambushed and killed by an unseen assailant. The control panel is damaged, leaving the ship flying in a perpetual circle. The Liberator picks up the signal and goes to investigate, with Blake taking Avon and Cally over to look around. They quickly find most of the crew knocked out by an aesthetic gas that almost gets them and the damage caused by the mystery killer. They do manage to wake up the rest of the crew, learn an engineer is missing, but the commander of the vessel has reason to believe he knows why someone attacked the ship.
See, these guys come from a neutral colony called “Destiny”. You know, hence the title. Destiny’s plant life was attacked by a very aggressive fungus and in order to save the colony because, you know, without plants everyone is seriously boned, the colony spent all the money it had on something called a neurotrope. That device would allow them to focus their sun’s radiation into a beam capable of killing the fungus and saving the colony. The neurotrope is locked up in a box only the ship’s commander can open, and Avon lets everyone know that the damage to the ship is so extensive that it might take them a few more months to get the neurotrope back to Destiny even after he’s fixed it. Blake offers to take it in the Liberator as that would only take days. After a vote, the crew decides to trust Blake to deliver the neurotrope. As a sign of good faith, Blake will leave Avon and Cally behind to both fix the ship and maybe find the murderer. Avon already has some theories–that the pilot was only killed because he was inadvertently not hit by the aesthetic–and he and Cally will need to work together to find the killer.
It’s very much like an Agatha Christie novel where there are only so many suspects due to being in a place where it would be very difficult for someone else to get into. Yes, one member of the crew theorizes it could have been a stowaway since a liferocket is missing. Avon agrees only to keep the man from arguing. The missing engineer also turns up dead, as well as another man later. Avon is quick to point out how the man found with the knife couldn’t have been the killer because, well, he’s basically Sherlock Holmes in this episode.
Cally, for her part, isn’t just sitting around. Avon does all his thinking in the cockpit while he’s also repairing the control panel. Cally gets to wander around, deal with suspects, and even finds a crucial clue nearby that she somehow knows is a clue but no one recognizes right away. Besides, someone is going to a lot of trouble to steal the neurotrope even after Blake took it away in the Liberator. That side plot mostly deals with Blake and the others trying to fly the ship through a meteor shower before Blake stops to check on the neurotrope and realizes it’s missing. So, they get to turn around and come back.
By then, Avon has cracked the case. The dead pilot wrote what looked like a number in blood until Avon pointed out a dying man isn’t going to have the steadiest of handwriting and it’s really a name: Sara, one of the women on the ship. She was the murderer, even killing her boyfriend when he found her in the wrong place at the wrong time. She had the neurotrope and had disabled the ship in such a way to allow her partners in crime to easily find the damaged frieighter.
That would be about when Blake gets back, just ahead of the crooks, and with his help, Sara is subdued and teleporation bracelets handed out to the survivors. Sara gets hers off, but then a bomb Blake set in the docking bay goes off, killing all the baddies, and Blake can take the survivors back to Destiny on the Liberator. It’s a nice, solid mystery, where Avon can be arrogant, condescending, and prove how smart he is while Cally does a lot of legwork. About the only thing I found odd was the crew didn’t really question Blake’s being there when they woke up all that much. Did they know who he was? Regardless, I can get behind episodes like this one.