The Ark Episode 2 Review: Like It Touched the Sun

As the water crisis becomes more dire in The Ark, the damage to the ship only deepens the many mysteries and secrets that abound.

Angus looks surprised in The Ark
Photo: Aleksandar Letic / Syfy

This The Ark review contains spoilers.

The Ark Episode 2

Sometimes when too much goes wrong in a show centered on survival, it can be very stressful to watch. Not so with The Ark, possibly because even though the crew in the show is on rationed water and very little sleep, no one looks particularly unhealthy yet, and, aside from some tension in the mess hall, cooler heads are prevailing for the most part. This allows viewers to focus a bit more on the unfolding back story and the mystery of the damaged ship and murdered stowaway.

There’s a fair amount of conflict continuity between the premiere of The Ark and this week’s episode, “Like It Touched the Sun.” The title refers to the strangely intense heat damage the ship incurred that awoke everyone, which Lieutenants Brice and Lane are investigating at the start of the episode. Although the characters don’t have the chance to speculate much about the odd material that ate through the spacesuit, the seeds are planted for some sort of ongoing conspiracy, whether the damage was deliberate or not.

This may be a long shot, but the man in the flashback who Commander Ingram refers to as “Trust,” likely an ironic name, seems like a good candidate for some secret project gone awry or at least some negligent risk-taking that could be at the root of the catastrophic damage to the ship. Trust, with his Steve Jobs-esque mock turtle, is the mastermind behind the colony ships, and the kind of genius ideas he is credited with often come with a healthy helping of hubris on the side in these types of scenarios. Let’s keep our eye on him.

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The flashback also gives us some context for the mistrust Brice and Lane have towards Garnet. In the premiere, the man posing as Jasper mentioned he knew Garnet’s secret, and it appears her position on the crew was granted under suspicious circumstances. Lieutenant Garnet is an interesting protagonist for The Ark given her misguided and often inflammatory unilateral decision making, and the fact that she also has secrets makes it difficult to root for her over her fellow leaders.

But to be honest, none of the characters have become particularly endearing yet this early in The Ark narrative. It’s nice to have Alicia on the makeshift council, but she really upped the annoyance factor this week, and Angus, as smart and helpful as he is, is lacking any real personality. There was a bit of a spark between Trent and Alicia as the former spoke about taking over the latter’s job in waste management, but it was nascent flirtation at best.

Perhaps the most compelling character in this week’s The Ark was Cat Brandice, the social media celebrity who has now been placed in charge of the crew’s mental health. She was definitely helpful in getting Eva out of her funk to work on the water recycler, but the fact that she was able to secure private quarters ahead of Brice and Lane says as much about her self-interest as it does about Garnet’s lack of propriety with her fellow officers.

As for the emergency with the spill in the agricultural area, the fact that the water situation is becoming more dire or that Jasper was killed is not nearly as interesting as the immediate aftermath of Lieutenant Brice’s slip of the tongue in mentioning the knife that caused the damage, a fact that was not common knowledge according to security officer Felix. If not for the engines shutting down due to a lack of coolant, Brice would have been the center of attention as the episode ended.

As it was, The Ark finished its second episode with another satisfying twist that left viewers wanting more. The conflicts are piling up, but somehow they don’t seem all that overwhelming yet. The focus of the story feels equally comfortable when speculating on when Dr. Kabir will ever be able to find time to sleep as it is when wondering when the water is going to run out. As long as the characters continue to grow and hopefully become more likable in time, the compelling narrative of The Ark is enough to keep us engaged as things develop.


4 out of 5