Oh hey! Look! IT’S THE PLOT.
HI PLOT, I MISSED YOU.
That’s right, in this, the eleventh episode of John Scalzi’s The Human Division serial, “A Problem of Proportion” and after a handful of episodes that felt more or less like filler (although they’re probably not) we finally–finally!–get some forward momentum on the whole conspiracy plot.
So maybe Scalzi can stick the landing. We shall see!
The first thing about this episode is that we’re still on the A plot and I am hoping that this is the case for the last two episodes as well. It starts with the Clarke being shot at by what they think is a Conclave ship but which turns out to be an ex-Conclave ship.
We’ve got the whole crew here–Coloma, Schmidt, Wilson, and Abumwe as well as some wary but not entirely unfriendly Conclave aliens–notably Werd who is awesomely sarcastic.
There’s also another alien in this story, Rayth Ablant. What happens to him is heartbreaking and yet, I think, provides the emotional core of the story (finally). Through Rayth we find out exactly how far the mysterious foe is willing to go in their aggression against both the Conclave and the CDF and the terrible cost their patsies play–because Rayth is a patsy and a weapon and he is also Wilson’s friend and Wilson does a great service for him. He tells Rayth the truth and, at the end, he helps Rayth the only way he really can.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this episode–we find out a lot more about the mystery antagonist and the CDF and Conclave are coming to realize that they have a common enemy–and possibly more in common than that, too. It’s a solid episode and it comes just in the nick of time.
I am still not convinced that the book is going to hold together, but we’ll see.
And I’m glad that neither of my predictions for this episode came true: Schmidt doesn’t die gruesomely and the story doesn’t turn into a fevered hentai-dream sequence. Both those things are, naturally, still possible.