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Nine Episodes in: ‘Salvation’ requires trust

“Trust is the most valuable commodity in the world” – paraphrased from the Russian Defense Minister Toporov on “Salvation.”

In fewer than six months, the world will end. All it would take to save the world is to launch a gravity tractor equipped with the newly developed EM drive into space. It seems like it should be a relatively simple thing to accomplish. The biggest issue is that no one trusts each other enough to let anyone else do his or her thing, and it starts at the top with the governments of Russia and the U.S.

REM: It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Russia cuts off all diplomatic ties to the U.S. and threatens war. They know the asteroid is coming, and they don’t have the ability to build an EM drive, in spite of having kidnapped one of the scientists responsible for its invention. Russia threatens to shoot down anything shot into space and has already destroyed any satellite capable of crashing into the asteroid (which they should do, because if the asteroid is blown to pieces, it will result in a lot of meteors raining down on Russia and other countries in the Eastern Hemisphere rather than an extinction level event.) Russia threatens these things because they found that the U.S. has already dropped one asteroid on them (using the real-life Chelyabinsk meteor as part of its story).

Kaa the Python: Trust in Me

The U.S. president refuses to acknowledge the action, and the only way to move forward with a launch is for billionaire Darius Tanz to take PR official Grace Barrows to Moscow. Barrows is friends with the former ambassador, who may be able to arrange a meeting with the Minister of Defense. Pointless shenanigans (meaning the death of Barrows’ friend and the frame-up of Tanz and Barrows for her murder by polonium) ensue and the two meet with Toporov, who demands a test of their trust. Barrows and Tanz drink the tea laced with SP-117, which is not sodium pentothal, and tell the truth about what they want and how they propose to get it.

Russia still doesn’t trust the U.S., but it trusts Tanz and Barrows. The launch is a go. Yay! We’re going to save the world with a joint operation between the U.S. and Russia… Scrap that. The world learns about the asteroid, and Russia withdraws its people again. The Secretary of Defense sends up the rocket with the only EM drive, as far as he knows, and it gets shot down. The world will be destroyed because government officials couldn’t do the right thing. The only plan anyone has left is to shoot nuclear missiles at the asteroid as it gets closer, and every scientist has already said that plan won’t work. (Tanz has a secret plan, but the Secretary of Defense doesn’t know this at the time he makes his stupid decision.)

Liam, the kid scientist responsible for the discovery of the asteroid and calling its attention to Tanz and then develops the EM drive, finally gets his ex-girlfriend Jillian back to Tanz Industries to do a job she’s uniquely qualified for. She may be willing to get back together with Liam; after all, she had to keep the secret from her family and discovered how difficult it was. Then, the reporter shows up, attempts to blackmail Liam and reveals to Jillian that they kissed. Liam is dumbstruck.

First of all, this is not how a good reporter behaves. However, it’s the second time that this particular reporter attempted to blackmail someone. She has also made friends with people who could provide her with information for her story. She’s going to get the story regardless of the morality involved in the methods to get it. Her story is the reason the Russians pull out of the launch deal. She is also the reason why Liam and Jillian have more trust issues than before.

Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust

While in Russia, Barrows and Tanz engage in a tete-a-tete, which results in an SP-117 kiss. Barrows is dating Harris Edwards, her boss at the Department of Defense. This action would likely undermine their relationship by destroying the trust they have in one another, but back in the states, it’s clear that Edwards doesn’t trust her. Professionally, he revokes her security clearance; personally, he goes to a bar and has sex in the bathroom with the bartender. When Barrows gets back to the U.S., he arrests her and then accuses her of sleeping with Tanz. Dude, that ship sailed when you went to the bathroom with the bartender. What gives him that right? Oh, and he’s being set up by someone to make it look like he ordered Barrows to be assassinated.

Fleetwood Mac: Little Lies

Barrows daughter doesn’t trust her and ends up in Re/Syst. Tanz makes a deal with RE/SYST, who tack on a malware program to monitor Tanz’ work from here on out. With all of the lies and deception, it’s hard to see how anyone will gain another person’s trust.

Instead of people trusting in each other, we’re stuck with a bunch of egos, lies, and the inability to let it go for the sake of saving the human race. Everyone is involved in making shady deals and shadier decisions that work to undermine what little trust they’ve built up. Worse, everyone is ready to believe the worst of someone else; they turn on a dime regardless of their confessed feelings. If this show is any indication of the truth about people and trust, there is little difficulty in believing that a few people at the top will wind up destroying the Earth for petty reasons and because they lack the humanity, intelligence, and moral compass required to do the right thing for everyone rather than the right thing for themselves. If people facing the end of the world can’t trust each other, how can normal people in everyday life expect to do so?

Trust isn’t an easy thing to rebuild. Once it’s broken, there are few people who are big enough to build it back up, and few people who change for the better in order to justify rebuilding the relationship. Human beings are creatures of habit. If a person engages in behavior that destroys trust he or she will probably engage in the same behavior again no matter the good intentions the person may have. The point is: Trust is the most important commodity in the world. The world is ending for someone every day; inspire trust and help make it easier to face.

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