Saturday, October 16, 2021

REVIEW: 'Another Life' - New Scientific Discoveries Propel the Salvare to a Pathway Back Home in 'A Better Earth'

Netflix's Another Life - Episode 2.05 "A Better Earth"

The new planet holds promise - and unexpected threats in the brush. The tables turn as Richard reaches out to Iara. The Achaia open up to Erik.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 Another Life.

"A Better Earth" was written by Alejandro Alcoba and directed by Shannon Kohli

The mission comes first. That's the philosophy Niko always leads with. Of course, it's ultimately up to her to decide whether a specific action keeps the crew on that path or deviates from it. She hasn't always been right. She has her faults. People have died because of the risks taken on this mission. And yet, the Salvare now has a way to mine the information taken from the Achaia and apply it to their lives. Science advances quickly. Miraculous things are suddenly possible just because humanity has this exposure to another species in the universe. Everything that happens on the Salvare carries risk. People signed up for this mission knowing that it could kill them. Some of them were even planning for the idea that they may never return to Earth. They could simply start a new colony elsewhere. Of course, that doesn't line up with the Achaia's desires. Erik finally gets the aliens to open up about what they truly want. So far, it has just been some vague talk of peace. And now, he gets tangible answers. The Achaia can save Earth from ecological destruction. They can bring prosperity back to this planet. They will only do so if humanity agrees to stop exploring. For hundreds of years, humans have been sending messages and probes out into the universe. It's been done for the purpose of finding a new home should they continue with the destruction of the one they have. It was also a desperate attempt to answer whether humanity is alone. The world has expanded greatly. The aliens have arrived. First contact has been made. And now, it's all being done with the expectation that this could be the end. Those questions have been solved. There is no longer any further need to keep exploring. Is that likely to satisfy some people? Probably. It may be limiting for others who see a whole world capable of exploration that is now suddenly off limits to them. It's not Erik's decision to make. He is simply the messenger. He has the device to implement this deal as well. All of these choices are crucial. And yet, the colonists on the Salvare have already determined that they are going to start building on a new world. They will do so even though it is already populated with an intelligent species. That only becomes evident after Niko wakes up the 24 colonists for this mission. In doing so, it further stretches the resources of the ship. They can't just be put back to sleep. It was about to be even more cramped on the Salvare. Instead, procedures are broken. If this team is determined to make this new planet work, then they can go off to do that. They can't be judged based solely on their first interaction with the current inhabitants. Of course, that also carries forward the same ideas of all the past times humanity has conquered new worlds. It has never been a pleasant experience for the people who were already there. Those trends continue. Niko needs to think about what's in the best interests of her crew. She receives confirmation that Jana actually received her wedding ring. That confirms that the Achaia have found a way to move through space with great amounts of matter. That technology can now be applied to the Salvare. Sure, it isn't perfect. And yet, Niko is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring the rest of the crew home to Earth. That's the mission to her. She may never get to see Erik and Jana again. She can be comfortable knowing that the rest of the crew survives and passes on what they've learned about the Achaia. This mission has taken many twists and turns. Some of the dramatic moments are more successful than others. The appeal of this episode certainly doesn't come from the colonization plot. It's built around the devastating loss Niko accepts as well as Iara's decision to keep Richard from receiving this freedom. Those decisions have an impact in a way that feels true to the characters and the stakes of their journey. Niko trusts Cas to complete the mission. This probably won't be the end for the characters left behind though. Having access to these new wormhole pathways may inspire even more inventive plot mechanics into the narrative. More opportunities become available at the time when the Achaia want humans to stop all exploration. They should be grateful for what they have. That's not going to be enough though. That's especially true once the Salvare emerges with the promise of so much more being out there.