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Crash and Burn? More like crush and burn, am I right fellas? (*insert rimshot*)
Okay but, all jokes aside, Crash and Burn is up there with my favorite EOS 10 episodes of all time. It's got everything you could possibly want in a story: wonderfully contrasting A and B plots, Levi actually being kinda smart for once, and Jane Johns character development that makes me scream, sob, wail, and throw myself upon the floor with the gusto of a fainting Victorian noblewoman. It's that good, y'all.
I'm going to openly admit my bias for the Command Officer's test portion of the episode, so here is my little footnote for the Levi-Urvidian B plot before I focus all my energies on Jane being the best character of the entire series.
It's not often we get one on one Urvidian and Levi content, mostly because season one Urvidian would've strangled Levi if he'd been guaranteed no witnesses, but also because their personalities are so wildly diametrically opposed. In this case, however, Levi's complete lack of social awareness actually gets Dr. Urvidian a date! After so much whining.
Anyway, back to the star of the show: Jane Johns! Lieutenant Commander Johns! My best friend Jane Johns! I'm not partial at all!
The Command Officer's test is an absolutely brilliant switcheroo, not only for Jane but the audience as well. It's conflict with no real consequences, so you can get all the angst you want except this time no one dies! What fun!
For real though, I absolutely adore Crash and Burn for the amount of character depth it reveals. Jane, although she plays herself off as a tough as nails, too-cool-for-school badass, she clearly has a lot of insecurities about her actual knowledge and abilities. After failing her CO's test, all those fears are being confirmed for her. And now, she's drowning in a collapsing space shuttle while the closest friend she's had in ages is bleeding in his brain. Oopsies.
I relate so much to Jane Johns on the level of "I have so much connection to this person but I'm afraid I'll freak them out if I show them how much I have invested," especially as a deeply autistic person with very little grasp of how human friendships work. It's so endearing to hear her revealing how much she actually cares for Ryan as she does everything she can to stabilize him and keep him comfortable. Well, maybe not everything, but the point stands.
Her, "I'm sorry I couldn't save us" moves me to tears more than I'd care to admit. And I know they're in a simulator!
Also, it's wonderful to watch a character who doesn't have the same book-learnin' skills of her compatriots excel in a command position, relying on quick thinking and lots of hands on practice. While she may not be a good test taker, she sure can protect her crew, recalcitrant as they may be.
Have I mentioned I'm in love with Jane Johns.