Friday, September 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Away' - The Crew Learns More About Lu's Personal Life Leading Up to the Mission in 'Half the Sky'

Netflix's Away - Episode 1.03 "Half the Sky"

A staff change at Mission Control upsets the usually unflappable Lu, and the fallout undermines Emma's command. Matt encourages Lex to return to school.

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.

"Half the Sky" was written by Andrew Hinderaker and directed by Jeffrey Reiner

This show has the daunting task of trying to create intimacy through numerous phone calls. It's difficult especially when that it is a core part of the structure. It helps showcase how the Atlas crew aren't completely on their own in space. They are responsible for this mission going well and taking care of one another. However, they still have a team on Earth that is monitoring their progress and giving them the support necessary to thrive in this environment. They have the ability to communicate with their loved ones as well. Emma notes that it would be devastating if the conversations with Matt and Lex were stopped with no warning. It offers the sense that she is still a part of their lives even though she is traveling to Mars. That distance is still an obstacle that all of these relationships have to deal with though. Matt and Lex essentially feel that they have to rely on each other. It's always great to hear Emma's voice. She remains active in their lives. However, she isn't physically with them. It hurts even though they encouraged her to continue with the mission. Matt receives some devastating news here. He learns that he may never be able to walk again. It pains him to tell this to Emma. He doesn't want to accept it. He thought it would only be a few months of physical therapy before he was back to normal. The devastation to his body will have a lasting impact though. His life has changed. His wife isn't there to help him navigate it all. Their marriage is more than simply caring for each other though. It's about offering that sense of connection. They could be millions of miles away but still enjoy the sounds of the piano together. It presents a solid goal to achieve again one day. They are together in that moment. That has to be good enough. Emma can continue to nurture this. She can offer an opinion and support about Lex needing to go back to school. Lex can't take on the emotional burden of managing her father's recovery. She deserves to be a teenager with her own life right now. She has to accept that things can return to some sense of normal. That may not feel right. It may be a long time before things start to seem okay again. That is the goal though. It's the sacrifice this family collectively makes together. They are fully aware of the challenges. Plus, they can continually help each other through the rough patches. Lu doesn't have that same luxury. Emma tells her offhand that Chen Mei has been replaced on the ground team. It isn't a big deal to the rest of the Atlas crew. It's devastating for Lu though. They had formed an emotional intimacy. One that absolutely could have turned physical. It's what everyone assumes about their connection. In reality though, it's a dynamic built out of love and respect. Lu has no passion in her marriage. She is devoted to it for her son. She cares about his future. She cares about representing her country on this mission. However, her country also wants to define the personal optics of her life. That means Mei gets reassigned. Nothing can compromise this mission. A personal connection shouldn't be destructive. That fear is present though. It's more than just a scandalous piece of gossip too. It has to be respected. Misha suddenly looks down on Lu because he realizes that she isn't actually better than him. She is just as talented as an astronaut and just as destructive in her home life. He doesn't know her truth though. He condemns her without caring to know. Emma doesn't need to understand the full picture. She has the empathy to reach out knowing that this has shaken Lu. She allows a private conversation between Lu and Mei to take place. It's bittersweet because it shows just how fleeting love can truly be. They have to accept that they can't be together for a long time even after Lu returns to Earth. It's the promise of something better that will propel them forward and hopefully back together. The years in between could be full of agony and emptiness though. It's up to everyone involved to ensure that their lives are full too. This moment shows that Lu can respect Emma as the commander. Every member of the team is being tested. The future is still full of so much promise. It's a personal struggle for all of them as well. They are still figuring things out knowing life keeps moving forward. Tomorrow may be better. It may not be as well. Life moves on. The Atlas crew are separated from their loved ones. They try to hold onto these connections. It may ultimately be fleeting. They have to fight to preserve them for as long as possible. That's still a worthy and noble goal in the end.