Another great episode of 'Charlie Jade' this week - "Thicker than Water". Charlie reunites with long-lost pal Gemma from their childhood as C-3's on the mean streets of Alphverse. But she's become a company gal - lying on her resume and becoming one of the Vexcor employees on the ground in Betaverse. Charlie intentionally lies to her about who he is and why he's there, not willing to trust her after 20 years. By the end of the ep, she's discovered the truth about Vexcor, Galt, and The Plan. Her last act is to atone for leaving Charlie behind when they were kids by saving him from a nasty demise at the hands of Ren Porter, an act which will probably result in her own death. Whether she was lying to Karl at the end about knowing Charlie was lying about being a Vexcor man is a debatable point. Perhaps she was just rationalizing her own gullibility by trusting the company that allowed her to escape the dreary life of a C-3 in Alpha. In Alphaverse, company is family. That's even more true for Gemma. I'm definitely going to miss her if that's the last we see of her; she's certainly easy on the eyes, as are most of the gals in CJ.
Speaking of the The Plan, we finally get it fleshed out for us when Charlie is able to break into Galt's new boardroom and send the late Elliot Knopp's "Memo 221" to Karl and Gemma back in Karl's apartment. When the link is permanent, Betaverse will cease to exist, crushed out of existence when Alpha and Gamma collapse together. It's odd that Vexcor wouldn't take this threat seriously; surely there would be nasty repercussions in Alphaverse if the fabric of the universes was rent asunder in such a way. But then, we wouldn't have this fabulous plotline and all the conflict therein, would we?
We also get a chilling scene when Essa Romkin "persuades" (re: blackmail) a lowly Vexcor accountant who's been thru the link 13 times to sacrifice his "phasing molecules" (resulting in his death) to prolong Bryon Boxer's life until they can locate 01, who is back in Beta and back to being a horrifying sociopath from the loving family man we glimpsed during his weeklong convalescence in Gammaverse. What a fascinating character! It's also interesting to note that there are grim consequences to traveling thru the link too many times (as Bryon Boxer apparently has), including what's happened to 01's personality. Essa's reaction to her ultimatum to the accountant was interesting as well; she seemed to feel genuine remorse, as if there was actually something to the "company is family" attitude Vexcor presents to its employees. But it didn't stop her from doing what she had to do to ensure her lover's survival.
Very interesting scene when Charlie, having broken into Vexcor, ducks into a bathroom to avoid Porter and has another vision of Jasmine back in Alpha, returning to her former life as a consort. She seems to see and communicate with him! How can this be? Or, did Charlie just imagine it during his "blackout"...?
I like the subtle change in style with the new writing team. Things are a lot less "murky", we're getting some needed backstory, and even the dialog seems to be sharpened up.