Sunday, February 2, 2020

REVIEW: 'Avenue 5' - The Incompetence of the Crew Grows as Karen Tries to Control the Passengers in 'I'm a Hand Model'

HBO's Avenue 5 - Episode 1.03 "I'm a Hand Model"

With Avenue 5 staff slacking in their customer service, Ryan offers Karen the opportunity to channel her unique talent for speaking the passengers' language. Judd outlines the plan for a rescue mission and tasks Iris with organizing a vigil on Earth to raise the money to fund it. Rav endures a barrage of messages from the ship and handles an unruly press conference.

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.

"I'm a Hand Model" was directed by Natalie Bailey with story by Armando Iannucci, Peter Fellows & Ian Martin and teleplay by Peter Fellows & Ian Martin

People want to believe what's happening right in front of them is real. They hope that it is the truth and they aren't being deceived by someone. And yet, this show seems designed around the idea that nothing on the Avenue 5 is as it appears to be. The premiere built to the twist that Ryan Clark was actually just a British actor hired to play the captain. He wasn't actually the one helming the ship. The true captain died in the initial incident. And now, Ryan learns that his entire bridge crew are also actors. The facade is coming apart. It's devastating to him. But it also showcases the incompetency of those in charge who believe that the aesthetics of this venture have to be pleasing no matter what. That comes at the expense of the practical demands of this ship. Mission control may be able to control a lot. There is a small crew underneath the bridge actually performing the maintenance and ensuring the journey goes smoothly. However, the Avenue 5 has proven to be a vessel where every human is completely on their own unable to trust any of their fellow passengers. It's clear that some of them are treated better than others. Ryan approaches Karen with an offer to be a liaison between the crew and the passengers. He sees how well she is at communicating with them and helping calm tensions. Sure, she stirs up plenty herself. And yet, she also enjoys being given more power. That just comes with the burden of having to carry the numerous secrets that are now being exposed on the ship. Ryan can no longer keep track of who knows that he is a British actor. He lets his guard down with Karen. That is absolutely terrifying to her. Moreover, his family back on Earth is concerned about him drinking again. That makes all of this a disaster that will probably get a whole lot worse before it gets better. That's the way that the show has set up its stories. It analyzes just how quickly society will break down when under these intense pressures. Rav sees it firsthand when she receives the messages from the ship. She knows that her friends and colleagues aren't coping well with this agonizing journey. It's even more terrifying because the expedition has been extended to three and a half years. It just keeps getting longer because the math never quite lines up in a consistent way. Every time the numbers are run a different answer pops out. That may be an amusing running joke throughout the season. However, it doesn't provide a whole lot of consistency or urgency to the proceedings. Right now, the passengers still see this place as a luxury cruise where they can lash out at one another for their trivial concerns. Meanwhile, the crew are still doing their jobs even though the service is not what the wealthy of the world are accustomed to. It means a towel is molded into the shape of an anus while breakfast orders are whatever ends up being delivered. That's how much the crew can tolerate these people. They will even demean children in the process. This is a horrifying venture for all involved. It's not just the floating coffins that create more of a horror show each time they pass a specific window on the ship. Instead, it's terrifying because it seems like no one is in control whatsoever. Judd believes he can solve all of these problems by hiring even more actors to create a distraction. Right now, the vigil outside mission control is tiny. He thinks added pressure will increase the necessary visibility to fund a rescue mission. That's his chief concern at the moment. They are still in contact with mission control. Both sides are never fully kept in the loop though. That comes partly from the video delay. However, they are two separate worlds that aren't working towards a solution together. Instead, it's just a mass sense of chaos. One where Judd hopes his usual tricks can once again provide salvation. But his need for actors to fill vital roles has already proven disastrous on the ship and to the psyches of those trapped on this prolonged journey that only seems to be delayed longer and longer. It's chaos but it's still too carefully managed without any true meaning or consequences so far.