Charlie Jade recap: “The Shortening of the Way”

How do you sneeze? You just let yourself. Maybe your head hurts because you don’t like seeing the invisible people. Like, it doesn’t ‘hurt to breathe, but f you hold your breath you’re going to get a headache and then you just have to breathe anyway. So just let it happen. – Jedi Jody

W00t! That’s right m’nerds. Charlie Jade can travel. Just like his brother in arms, 01 Boxer, you just add water and he and his sea monkeys go all fizzy and take off to parts unknown.

She scary? No. Shikari.

We open with Charlie lying in wait for Shikari, a genetically modified hunter-killer from Alphaverse. This is the first time we’ve ever seen Charlie scared of anyone, despite the decidedly un-scary appearance and behavior of the actress. She’s like Michael Keaton‘s Batman, but even less so. Still, for the sake of the story we accept that she’s a badass.

Charlie’s on a catwalk with a sniper rifle, gets a clear shot of Shikari, and suffers a vision. When he clears his eyes of sights of Alphaverse and sees the abandoned warehouse again, he can’t find her in the scope. You know how we know this hunter-killer’s dangerous? Besides Charlie telling us and Karl in the next scene? He starts *running*. Drops the rifle and bolts.

He follows his planned escape route and plants a bomb on the door behind him before running out to the car and taking off. In his rear view, he sees Shikari walk through the fire and smoke with a bemused look on her face.

Back at Karl’s apartment, he tells Karl to pack up and get out of town for a few days. Or, until Charlie’s death ends the hunter-killer’s mission. Then they discuss the problem of Charlie’s visions. They’ve been coming more frequently and causing more problems, and the headaches have been more severe. Karl wonders if the pills Charlie used to take could be synthesized in Beta, but Charlie’s not sure they ever really helped.

Karl suggests tackling the problem differently. Instead of trying to stop the visions outright, maybe a shaman could help Charlie learn to control them. It’s a stretch, but nothing else has worked.

Vision Quest

Charlie goes to meet Karl’s shaman friend. Karl’s got friends in some very interesting places. Drinking some nefarious potion, Charlie stares out across the Cape Town skyline and sees it change into Cape City. When he tells the shaman, the sage replies that Charlie needs to stop looking outside for answers, but into his soul instead where he will find the devils inside him with his own face. This line was intended as a foreshadowing of later parts of the episode, but those were dropped on the floor during production of the episode. Check out Alex Epstein‘s podcast commentary for this week’s episode for much more about the many Charlies.

Charlie sees Jody and knows where he should go for answers: back to where he started in the desert to let the child guide him on his journey. Guide him she does, by telling him to stop fighting the visions. The way of the dimension hopper is to relax and be one with the flow.
Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water,
Yet nothing can better overcome the hard and strong,
For they can neither control nor do away with it.
– Lao-Tze

Jody sends Charlie off to another dimension – one we’ve never seen before – while he’s relaxed and watching it. When he returns (let’s not ask how he got back on his own right now,) she tells him Shikari had come looking for him. He knows how to travel now, so he tells Jody to take his car and her mother and get away after pouring water over him one more time. Charlie’s finally going home.

Reena and the Geisha

After last week’s deprived us of 01 Boxer, we got a bit of Filipowich fun tonight. Reena had come to Carl for his help and he suggested she seek out 01. Maybe he could help. So Carl takes her to the Glass Door where she finds 01 meditating.

He tries to get the programmed personality to come out with gentle prodding; when that fails he resorts to violence. A little headbutt and some light bondage are all it takes to get Reena’s inner killer to come out. From there, it takes 01 only a little while to get what he wants, integration of the programmed killer with Reena’s own personality. He needs her to be strong and needs the knowledge she possesses, but also needs Reena to be in control. By threatening the programmed personality’s existence, he forces it to integrate with Reena, giving her the memories that had been blacked out and control over herself again.

One of the pieces of knowledge the programmed personality possesses is the names of the three remaining scientists who can rebuild the link: Urding, Skuldeman, and Verdandi. These three are named for the three Norns of Norse mythology who draw water from the Well of Urðr to water the world tree, Yggdrasill.

Sew Sew and the Case of the Missing Executives

Sew Sew has everything he’s ever wanted. He has Jasmine and even if she does not love him, she cares for him. But he can’t let go of the missing Vexcor executives and their families. He even defends his clamoring for truth to Jasmine by asking if she doesn’t want to know the truth about Charlie. He would risk everything – risk even finding Charlie and losing Jasmine – to resolve this impenetrable mystery.

He gets closer to the truth tonight when he apprehends Leonard De Beers as he attempts to escape his fate. Brion Boxer’s condition is deterioration again and he needs those magical molecules the lab geeks extract from people who’ve been through the link. De Beers is the last executive around who’s been through and his time is up. But before going to his death he gives Sew Sew enough information to be useful in the future. Especially as Sew Sew recorded it.

Final Thoughts

Okay. Charlie can travel. This changes everything. He’s far out in the desert, but once he gets back to Cape City there should be tearful and awkward reunions. But what then? Charlie can’t leave Beta to its fate; his time in our verse and with Karl has changed him more than he realizes. He won’t be able to turn his back on six billion souls anymore than he could turn his back on Karl or Blues. Charlie will be back.

What did everyone else think?