Wednesday, July 15, 2020

REVIEW: 'Brave New World' - Bernard and Lenina Confront a World They've Never Experienced Before in 'Want and Consequence'

Peacock's Brave New World - Episode 1.02 "Want and Consequence"

Bernard Marx is preoccupied with recent events in New London as he and Lenina Crowne take a trip together. John struggles with a dilemma.

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 Peacock's Brave New World.

"Want and Consequence" was written by David Wiener and directed by Owen Harris

The premiere certainly wasn't in a rush to get some place. This episode eventually does. However, it too takes awhile to get to something exciting. Yes, that rush at the end of this hour suggests a much more engaging and intense series to come. And yet, it still struggles when it comes to defining these characters and what happens to be motivating them. The various threads of drama aren't connecting in a way that enriches this world. It's mostly just an attempt to expand upon the ideas of the novel with some more conspiratorial aspects to it. That isn't inherently wrong. In fact, it's the way most people probably would have expected the adaptation to occur if the creative team wanted the series to run for multiple seasons. But again, it needs to have purpose with its actions. The majority of this episode revolves around Bernard and Lenina wandering around the Savage Lands being confused by terminology that is foreign to them. They don't understand the concept of monogamy. They don't understand the relationships between parent and child. They don't know what virginity is. This entire theme park is designed as a cautionary tale. It's a way to always demonstrate to the citizens of New London that the old world is destructive and confusing. It's a life of pain and misery. That can all be ignored through the mere action of taking a pill. That doesn't prevent a bullet being shot at them though. That is the climatic beat of the story. John decides to arm the guns used during the show. He does so because he feels the pressure to go along with the people trying to send a big message to their conquerors. He isn't engaged with the fight. He isn't a collaborator. He shouldn't be sentenced to death just like all the people who enjoy the art of performing in these shows. That's how reductive this whole argument turns out to be though. The leader of the resistance says that the group has to be willing to kill anyone who would allow them to be held in captivity and in compliance to their mysterious overlords. It's time for them to fight back. They have the weapons to do so and won't face any resistance should they take action. Sure, they may not be able to cross the barriers that have been erected. But the people from New London don't know how to fight. They don't have the emotions that allow them to justify any kind of personal action of vengeance. Of course, discrimination and intolerance still exists in their society. They claim that it has been eradicated from their lives. Even the children know though that alphas are meant to be seen as superior to betas. Meanwhile, the Epsilons are meant to loyally follow orders. They are slaves programmed to act in complete servitude to whatever the society needs. They are incapable of deception. The action in the plot seems to come from a virus infecting New London. That has infiltrated the lives of several characters. When they come into contact with someone who has felt an immense amount of pain, it then transfers to them. That is why Bernard is questioning the world around him. He is the one shot in the end though. Lenina doesn't understand why he isn't running away with her like a normal person. She doesn't comprehend his injuries making it incapable for him to continue living. She still lives in fear though. She is terrified upon being found by the savages that wish to kill her. It's expected that John will be her savior. They are given a moment before this disaster strikes. That is meant to inform so much about what will eventually happen. One that will provide insight into the ways these societies operate. But again, it's the expected plot beat. The show continues marking its time until it gets to the exciting parts. Yes, it is engaging when they finally arrive. It would be more rewarding if the audience understood the characters and what is motivating them. Instead, it feels like a bunch of people simply reacting to the actions of others without being active in the story themselves. That has to change. The storytelling can't be passive. It needs to have a perspective about the damage being done in this society. Right now, it's all about the vicious visuals instead of examining the horror underneath it all. Corruption has come to the lives of Lenina and Bernard. That will awaken something new. And yet, that may have been coming long before they made this trek to the Savage Lands to see if the experience could offer them the clarity and assurance they need from their lives back home.