Sunday, October 17, 2021

REVIEW: 'Another Life' - Niko and Richard Are Tortured Upon Being Rescued By a New Alien Species in 'Just a Rat in a Cage'

Netflix's Another Life - Episode 2.08 "Just a Rat in a Cage"

In a flash, Niko and Richard's world takes a terrifying turn as they wake up in a cold, cruel trap. On Earth, the team grapples with memory gaps.

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.

"Just a Rat in a Cage" was written by JP Larocque & Maggie Gilmour and directed by Avi Youabian

Humans and Achaia aren't the only species in existence. Their interactions have provided the series with its dramatic tension. The Achaia were the first alien species to make contact on Earth. It felt like an invasion. It's exactly that as well. And yet, some people are tempted because of the prosperity that is suddenly offered to them. The world can dramatically change in an instant. That's more tangible than holding onto the belief that the world can be changed for the better over a gradual period of time. Of course, the Salvare crew knows the true danger the Achaia pose. They would destroy the planet if their dominance is questioned. So many still submit to their will though. That's even the place Niko ends up here. Sure, she does so using it as deception in order to return to Earth. That suddenly seems like the only viable path for her. It's one that doesn't leave her stranded on a ship with no options to help her survive. She and Richard are being tortured by the species that found them. It's absolutely brutal as well. That too showcases the difference with how the Achaia operate. They too may produce the same end result of chaos and destruction. They are more keen on offering the illusion of salvation. That way it makes it more inevitable when the society ultimately falls. In this case, Niko and Richard are being tortured and then put back together. They are separated and tested. They receive pain when they deviate from the expected path. This episode highlights Niko's ingenuity. She always leads by protecting her crew no matter what. She hopes to save Richard for as long as she can. She is the one who experiences him dying right in front of her. She even has to cope with the errors of the past too. Nothing may have ultimately worked out regarding this space exploration. The Salvare was sent out to explore the world the Achaia came from. Even when the ship found a place for humanity to potentially colonize, it was driven by ego and not by science. The colonists on the ship were determined to make a new planet their home. They wouldn't return to Earth. That wasn't their mission. They still had to determine whether the potential colony was good and prosperous. That determination was ultimately made too quickly. The colony didn't survive a week. Niko and Richard wouldn't have been saved if they simply made it back there. The colonists fought back as well. They were still picked off one by one. If they didn't die, then they were turned into the creatures causing this destruction. Niko hopes to avoid that fate. She refuses to let anything else in this world dictate her path. It's overwhelming and exhausting. She is continually fighting to get back home. Every turn only seems to offer more hopelessness. She still survives though. She endures. She's gotten to the point of thinking the Achaia will still honor their previous deal. That's unlikely. That's the only place to look. A new map shares just how much of the universe the Achaia have conquered. Everyone wants to protect Earth. And yet, nothing truly consequential in this conflict can happen without Niko at the helm. She isn't the only person who has fostered a connection with the Achaia. However, the narrative is actively keeping her a part of the story. She is off on her own adventure. That action limits the potential of what can happen elsewhere. That's difficult when the show wants to maintain a level of tension and intrigue throughout every single beat. And so, everyone on Earth is essentially left spinning. The plot advances slowly. Seth can't just invade William's mind. Instead, he has to recruit the scientist that invented him. Erik and Cas may get to him in time. That may be enough reason to feel hopeful. It also means they can't linger on the idea that one of them broke which allowed all of their minds to be invaded. They were violated. Zayn reflects on how wrong he was to judge Sasha. Even that moment of reflection is short-lived. The tension of this episode comes from the uncertainty of Niko and Richard's predicament on a new alien ship. Now, they are in control. It may not offer an easy ride to anywhere in the universe. It's sure to produce one complication after another like how so much of the narrative has functioned up to this point. That's expected, which removes a fair amount of excitement and mystery from the proceedings.