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'The Ark' co-creator Jonathan Glassner reveals the origin of Lt. Brice's mysterious illness

The fictional ailment can be traced back to the virtual writers' room on Zoom.

A still from The Ark Season 1 Episode 6

Is there a doctor onboard?! Episode 6 of The Ark ("Two by Two") threw audiences for a loop with the reveal that Lt. James Brice (Richard Fleeshman) is dying from a mysterious illness known as Klampkin's. The origin of the disease can be traced back to the virtual writers' room.

How to Watch

Catch up on The Ark on Peacock or the SYFY app.

"One of our writers, Kendall Lampkin...on Zoom, his name came up as K. Lampkin. Klampkin," series co-creator Jonathan Glassner (whose resume includes Stargate SG-1) revealed on this week's installment of the official SYFY after-show. "I started calling him that because it was funny. And so, when we had to come up with a name [for the illness], I said, 'Do you mind if we use that?' And he said, 'No.' So that's the name of the disease ... [The symptoms] are just based on several real diseases. At first, we don't want to tell what caused it. I didn't want to give that away. We needed certain symptoms for the stories. We needed passing out and as you'll as we go on, we need some of the other symptoms that come up from it."

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Fleeshman knew about Brice's secret from the very start after an initial sit-down with Glassner's fellow co-creator and showrunner, Dean Devlin (writer of genre blockbusters like StargateIndependence Day and Godzilla).

"He did quite a cool thing in hindsight. At the time, it was a little unnerving because it was our very first day. We all went in for individual sit-downs with him, which isn't completely unusual because he's obviously the producer. We thought it was going to be a pretty standard, 'Let's talk about the character.' All of us, we later found out, were slipped a secret envelope, as it were. Not literally, but he told us all of our backstories and our secrets. We're under complete strict instructions not to tell anybody else. I left that meeting knowing about Brice and what he was going through — the fact that he lied to get on the ship and the fact that he was [dying]."

Fleeshman continued: "We all had to live with these secrets and these backstories, knowing full well that our other cast members didn't know about them," the actor said. "Which, actually, really is useful from a performance point-of-view. But it was obviously quite a shock when people started seeing other people's backstories come to life. And they were like, 'Did you know?!' And I'm like, 'I knew.'"

Watch the full Episode 6 after-show below:

After The Ark: Episode 6

Glassner and Devlin serve as executive producers with Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson. Jonathan English and Steve Lee are producers.

The Ark airs on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. New episodes are available to stream on Peacock the day after they premiere. 

Looking for even more sci-fi content? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.