Sunday, January 26, 2020

REVIEW: 'Avenue 5' - The Crew Hopes to Tell the Passengers the Right, Positive Message in 'And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off...'

HBO's Avenue 5 - Episode 1.02 "And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off..."

As Rav and her team meet with a NASA representative to plot a potential rescue mission, Ryan learns that Cyrus, an engineer working in a hidden part of the ship, has a surprisingly optimistic theory about the ship's future. Judd donates a lavish personal item to help commemorate a fallen crew member. Karen becomes a vocal advocate for passengers. Mia and Doug receive marital counseling from Matt.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Avenue 5.

"And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off" was directed by Natalie Bailey with story by Armando Iannucci, Georgia Pritchett & Will Smith and teleplay by Georgia Pritchett & Will Smith

People need to have faith and confidence in the institutions that serve them. And yet, that is insanely difficult to do nowadays because of the increasingly corrosive nature of our public discourse and access to misinformation. Those issues may only be amplified in the future as well with the increasing need to commercialize every technological advancement as soon as possible. This show presents a reality in which space tourism is possible. And yet, the maiden voyage of Avenue 5 has been plagued with so many problems. The trip has been extended to three years now. That information got out because the people in charge have simply no understanding of how to provide information to their passengers. There is no one with the expertise and confidence to actually take the helm of what's going on. Instead, everyone is flailing around hoping that whatever news the next person tells them will be the thing that gives them hope and confidence. It usually isn't. It's mostly just more bad news that details the next thing that has gone wrong. That's the way this show tells its stories. Everyone wants to hold onto the hope that things are bound to turn around at some point. In reality though, coffins are just orbiting around the ship because of its massive gravitational pull. Meanwhile, mission control can continue to readjust the gravity seemingly at will. It means that even more injuries and misfortunes are on the horizon. The passengers are right to rise up and push back against the people in charge. Judd wants to offer the reassuring message that he is in the dark just as much as his passengers are. He can't be blamed for what has gone wrong on this trip. And yet, he is the public face of this expedition. He put his entire name and brand into this venture. As such, he does bear the ultimate responsibility for whatever happens. He doesn't want to accept that though. Instead, he is worried about any potential legal repercussions. Even though he's so far away from Earth and his financial interests, he cares about protecting his assets instead of welcoming genuine help from NASA. It will cost a lot in order for the Avenue 5 to be rescued. Mission control doesn't have a solid option for that just yet. Meanwhile, everyone seems to be propping up this pipe dream of somehow arriving home in six months or less. That is an option delivered to Ryan early in the episode based on sketchy science put forth by an engineer known for inflating his numbers. He can't be seen as a trustworthy source. People immediately put their faith into him though because he offers the narrative that they all want. Ryan wants to relay good news to the passengers. But again, that gets their hopes up. They believe that whenever their captain comes to offer an update about their situation it will be a decrease in how much time they'll be spending in space. It isn't. He wants to control how much information gets out. And yet, he doesn't know how to manage that. He figures tamping down Karen's concerns will be good enough before he has to tell all of the passengers. But Karen is the one who is the most vocal in her contempt of what's going on aboard this ship. No one seems effective at communicating with each other. That is the overall theme of this series. Every single relationship is a disaster and that can have dire consequences while out in deep space. There is no sense of wonder here. Instead, it's all about the petty personal drama that comes from the quick but efficient breakdown of society as told through a group of people who absolutely hate each other while trapped in the same volatile situation. That hatred and animosity may not fix anything any time soon though. Mission control may eventually come up with a solution. However, they have to have a reliable connection with the crew on Avenue 5. Otherwise, they can never work in tandem to fix what became broken. Hundreds of lives are in the balance but the sick joke is that they may all inevitably just orbit around the ship instead of being alive and yanked around inside it.