Monday, July 1, 2019

REVIEW: 'Years and Years' - Edith Joins the Family While Economic Collapse Hits Stephen and Celeste in 'Episode 2'

HBO's Years and Years - Episode 1.02 "Episode 2"

With the world still reeling from the events of Hong Sha, Edith returns home for good, but harbors a secret about what really happened when she was abroad. Daniel tries to build a new life with Viktor, despite the risks. Rosie and Edith are amazed by Viv Rook's power and passion at a political rally for her MP campaign. Celeste remains disturbed by Bethany's fascination with technology, but a series of urgent texts make Celeste and Stephen realize their entire life is about to come crashing down.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Years and Years.

"Episode 2" was written by Russell T Davies and directed by Simon Cellan Jones

A pattern is clearly established in this hour as it adheres closely to the structure present in the series premiere. It opens with setting up the Lyons family in the direct aftermath of something life-changing to the entire world. Then it flashes through a bunch of significant life moments. The time is more compressed this time though. The action only moves ahead a year in time. That's still significant though. Big changes happen in that span of time. And then, the hour concludes with yet another major tragedy that has the potential of completely crumbling the world. Sure, this hour does a significantly better job in incorporating Edith into the proceedings. She is no longer the missing in action sister who is off exploring the world and fighting for change. She survived the nuclear attack in the Pacific Ocean. She was still exposed to a ton of radiation though. She promises that she's not radioactive. And yet, her life span has dramatically dropped. That has fueled her desire to have as much fun as possible even though she no longer seems to have purpose in her life. Instead, her worldview is bleak because she sees humanity as a failed experiment. Sure, it will live on. That's the overwhelming message of the series at this point. All of these atrocities happen throughout the world. And yet, it has never been the end of the world. It has certainly been an escalation that may further fuel speculation that the apocalypse is nigh. But not a lot has shockingly changed because the United States actually launched a nuclear weapon. It was detonated. That has cut off America and China from the rest of the world. It has increased the humanitarian crisis. But that has only fueled this conflict further because it highlights the descents those countries have gone down with the rise of nationalism. They have closed themselves off from the world. That's the message that will forever be prominent now because that was the economic agenda from the very beginning. All of these problems were talked about at length. And yet, no one in the world actually fixed them in a way that made life better off for the next generation. Awareness of these critical threats to the survivability of the planet has done nothing. It has only caused more clashes between ideologies who want to accept those facts as the truth and those who see it as pure fiction. As such, nothing ever changes. That's the perspective that Edith brings to the proceedings. But she also gets swept up in the political rise of Viv Rook in the United Kingdom. The hour ends with her being elected as an MP. That's so shocking and has the potential to add even more chaos and destruction to the proceedings. She presents as a champion for working class people even though she is a billionaire who sits on the boards of for-profit companies. People work for her without even knowing that they do. She doesn't connect with people on an empathetic level. She just takes advantage of any given situation in order to win. That's her motivation throughout all of this. The Lyons family just happens to get caught up in all of the drama. The devastation of the world is tearing this family apart. Sure, they all come together once more for Muriel's birthday celebration. It has a different connotation though because it marks the day in which everyone thought the world was ending. And now, it mostly symbolizes how Muriel always welcomes the family home to whomever needs it. She welcomes Stephen and Celeste after the collapse of the banks wipes out their personal savings. But there is little anyone can do when it comes to rescuing Viktor after he is sent back to Ukraine. He hopes to appeal the ruling and lay low in his home country. But that seems very unlikely because the show wants to be absolutely brutal in showing just how cruel the policies of the world right now fueled by populism agendas can truly be.