Friday, September 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Away' - Misha Asks for Forgiveness Before Going Out for a Risky Space Walk in 'Negative Return'

Netflix's Away - Episode 1.02 "Negative Return"

When a ship malfunction threatens the voyage before it's barely begun, Emma works with a wary Misha on a high-risk repair operation.

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 Netflix's Away.

"Negative Return" was written by Jessica Goldberg and directed by Jeffrey Reiner

A million things could go wrong in space at any moment. That is the underlying theme of the series so far. It's a scientific achievement for humanity to explore beyond our planet. It takes brilliance and risk in order to reach for the stars. It takes determination and strength to overcome every obstacle that pops up. And yes, that means this episode functions in a similar way to the premiere. The Atlas crew has to come up with a solution after another problem arises early on in their mission. It seems too early for them to be having these crises. And yet, it's what they have to deal with. They can't dismiss them out of hand. This is always a matter of life or death for them. They have to trust each other because their lives are collectively bonded together now. They will either succeed or fail as a team. Trust still has to be earned though. The dynamics were tense before the crew went off into space. That only intensified after Emma's actions created a fire that put everyone at risk. She regrets her actions then. However, she is still the appropriate leader for this mission. But the story is still fundamentally focused on when it's appropriate to obey orders and when it's necessary to take a risk. Misha has spent more time in space than anyone else. He has done several space walks to make repairs to the ship. He is very superstitious as well. He continually has to ask his daughter for forgiveness. He abandoned her after her mother's death even though he promised he wouldn't. That has become the pattern for him. He embarks on the greatest missions in space. However, he misses everything that his life could have been on Earth. His wife tragically died years ago. He had to step up as a father. But now, his daughter doesn't really care about anything happening with him because it's always about providing the emotional support he needs in order to perform in the field. He has the expertise to make this mission a rousing success. He is still tortured by the past. He regrets that. He also doesn't trust Emma's leadership. That has to be earned in his mind. Their training together hasn't done that so far. The prior incident only put more doubts in his mind. Here though, she steps up and proves that she is just as brilliant and capable as anyone else in the world. In fact, her strength and resilience are on full display. Everyone is worried about her. Her crew is and her family in the hospital room are as well. She doesn't have to rely on others making the big decisions for her either. She won't just wait for NASA to report back with a solution once a problem arises during the space walk. She listens to Misha and then executes the action. She knows that people at mission control have great expertise as well. She trusts the information Matt passes along. Everything works out in the end. But again, it's all about the tension that comes out of the precarious nature of this dangerous mission in space. It's a risk. It showcases the many moving parts that have to be carefully navigated at all times. The astronauts have sacrificed so much to be here. Ram doesn't appreciate how reckless Emma was in her actions. He saw that as an unnecessary risk that could jeopardize this entire mission. The world is looking at them with awe. Lu is tasked with holding up the weight of her country. That is a lot of pressure. That is acutely felt at all times. Emma still wants to be a mother as well. She is engaged with Matt's prognosis and ensuring Lex is okay. Those connections are still strong and grounded. That may not last the further the Atlas gets away from Earth. The narrative knows how to keep these narratives connected. Danger still seems apparent on the horizon though. Another crisis has been averted. The next is probably right around the corner. That's what the audience can expect at this point as the various characters are still being introduced. Misha has more respect for Emma now. That is important progress made. It's a little rudimentary but it's still effective in the larger goals. Plus, the space walk is well drawn tension that leaves the audience on the edge of our seats hoping for the best. It was always unlikely that things would go awry. But the narrative still established the risks, had everyone watching with despair and finally letting it all out with a massive moment of relief that everything will be just fine.