Saturday, October 16, 2021

REVIEW: 'Another Life' - Cas Leads the Final Stage of the Mission While Erik Pleads With the Achaia in 'Gift From the Gods

Netflix's Another Life - Episode 2.06 "Gift From the Gods"

Alone at last, or not? Salvare's team faces a rough ride home - and a cautious reentry. Elsewhere, Erik tests Achaian tech, then asks for a favor.

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.

"Gift From the Gods" was written by Romeo Candido and directed by Shannon Kohli

This show has conditioned the audience into believing that not everything is as it initially appears. Nothing goes according to plan. Some disruption always exists that creates an obstacle that needs to be solved. It's a basic storytelling impulse. One that the audience picked up quickly and learned to just expect from every development. This season has absolutely tried to challenge this directive. It has wanted to make more lasting impacts through decisions with good intentions that didn't work out. And yet, it still reverts to this standard with incredible frequency. It feels like the show is doing that yet again when it comes to the Earth scientists picking up the energy from the wormhole near Jupiter only to state that nothing ultimately came through. That gives off the impression that the Salvare wasn't successful in making this jump. That would have been an expected development. The audience wouldn't have been surprised if that's what happened. The show gives that impression just so it can buck the trend with the later reveal. Cas wants to be undetectable until the crew gets a better understanding of what's been happening on Earth all this time. It seems as if they have appeared at a crucial time. If they were delayed months, then Earth truly would have fallen to the Achaia. They would have accepted the miraculous from them and submitted to their dominance. That's exactly what the head of the project does. Of course, Seth has been such a non-existent character so far. In fact, this episode feels the importance to finally offer some dimension to the people working alongside Erik. He still remains the only character of value in that environment though. He pleads with the Artifact to save his wife as she's stranded lightyears away. He knows the Achaia are capable of doing that. They refuse. Instead, they turn Seth. An implant is put in his head. He immediately goes on a killing spree. He cuts out anyone on the project who has been at all critical of the Achaia's intentions. The audience knows that Nani is right to worry. But it's still mostly about Erik's decision whether or not to trust the resistance fighters forming nearby. This is only his second contact. It's not enough development to feel like a consequential twist when they are all killed. It's mostly just to reflect Erik's own horror at the devastation possible. He has worked with the Achaia to form some kind of ongoing dynamic. And now, he sees something new. It's what the Salvare crew has come to warn them about. It may still be too late. Outside of that, the episode is just full of plot machinations to explain why some things aren't going to happen quickly. That's incredibly frustrating in a lot of ways. Niko feels content knowing that the crew made it through the wormhole. Then, she's stunned upon learning that Richard is still with her. That then inspires an idea of how they too can survive. No follow up comes from that declaration though. She is forgotten about completely. It's up to everyone else to live up to her heroic sacrifice. Iara can't immediately open a new wormhole to rescue those left behind either because she is suddenly being torn apart by her dual programming. It's not the same as when William was taken over by Gabriel, who sabotaged the mission. That familiarity still exists though. It complicates her previous actions but not in an exciting or understandable way. It's just a twist to prolong this conflict. The crew is split. Some land on Earth. They don't exactly trust everyone. They are keeping some information secret. Erik may be the only person who catches a glimpse of something more dire going on. But again, that's just speculation. These characters aren't given the freedom to roam around and interact. Yes, it's significant when everyone on the crew has loved ones to greet them except Cas. She only has the mission. That's still important. That's still the priority Niko would want her to act on. It just comes with the sense that the show is actively putting up barriers without the necessary depth to make it exciting or ominous for the audience watching. It's padding out the story instead of delving into the complexity of these relationships and the choices they've had to make along the way. That longing is essentially lost even though there are moments meant to reflect on the true cost of this mission. It's not over yet. And so, no one is really allowed to process any of this. They just have to keep moving forward knowing that the threat is still very real and the person who made those tough choices is gone. She's not but no one thinks Niko can survive long enough to return due to the limited resources available to her and Richard. She has a plan. It would be good to know it sooner than later. The show can't keep the audience in the dark for too long. That doesn't establish trustworthy storytelling.