Monday, October 18, 2021

REVIEW: 'Another Life' - William, Cas and Erik Risk Everything to Get Niko and Richard Home in 'What's Bourne / What's Left Behind'

Netflix's Another Life - Episode 2.09 "What's Bourne / What's Left Behind"

Eager to go home by any means necessary, Niko and Richard head to a planet with an artifact. Erik and Cas go undercover, and William brokers a deal.

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.

"What's Bourne / What's Left Behind" was written by Sean Reycraft and directed by Metin Hüseyin

Niko and Richard are in a race against time to make it back to Earth. They are willing to do whatever the Achaia want in order to achieve that goal. Their allies are also in a race against time to develop a defensive system to protect the planet from the pending invasion. The Achaia have already taken root. The Artifact landed. People have gone in and come out changed. Seth wields a great deal of people. It's incredulous when people are stunned to learn that his behavior and loyalties have changed after receiving the implant. They don't have the same experience as the Salvare crew. The crew saw just how corrosive the implants could be. They had to be completely reprogrammed in order to offer any salvation whatsoever. Even then, it only extended Javier's life a little bit. He is still essentially counted as one of the lives lost from this mission. It's not over yet though. Everyone still operates with that urgency. The Achaia are trying to cover up this massive secret. Everyone is closing in on William as the only entity that still wields the knowledge. Seth has even persuaded Ursula that it's best for everyone if humanity just accepted their limitations and submitted to the will of the Achaia. She is informed by the countless cases of humanity ruling by death and destruction. Those qualities may only extend further should humanity continue to pursue this path of exploration. William is a brilliant invention. He wields an emotional complex that makes him lifelike. He is a member of the crew. He expresses things right alongside everyone else. He is crafting plans because he has an allegiance to humanity. It's still startling when he suggests that his love for Niko is greater than the urgency to protect this secret. He wants to be downloaded into an implant and placed inside Erik's mind. That way he can be with Niko for the rest of their lives. It's vicious and despicable. It brings out the ugly nature of what Seth has become in this leadership position. That startling fact immediately changes Ursula's viewpoint. It's all a ruse. It's a well-crafted lie in order to save the crew and launch their own attack against the Achaia. It's a risky strategy. It will enrage a species that has connections all across the galaxy. Not much time will elapse between that betrayal and the invasion for vengeance. It's enough time to welcome Niko and Richard back onto the planet. This episode actually serves as a fascinating inverse of the expected. In the past few episodes, it's been annoying to watch as the show was choosing to embrace the formulaic story twists instead of offering anything truly consequential. Niko remained active as a character. As such, she needed to be present for when some massive development occurred in the fight to save Earth from the Achaia. That truly consequential thing does happen here. It's not Niko driving the conversation though. That's an interesting development. It places the responsibility elsewhere. It shares the complexities across the board. Sure, it leave Niko behind on the ground to witness the potential horror in space. She is in communication with the crew aboard the Salvare. They want to connect the various equipment together again to make William's weapon functional. An explosion is witnessed. It's not immediately clear what happened and which side prevailed. That's an intense and earned development to close out the hour. Does it justify all the time spent with Niko and Richard off on their own side adventure? Probably not. They aren't even able to carry the alien technology they've discovered back home with them. It may be eerie and visceral as they stumble upon a planet that built a shrine to the Achaia. It's different than all former civilizations that had contact with the alien species. That doesn't really inform the actions taken after that. It's just information to have mostly to tease that something will come of it later. That's not all that great. But Niko doesn't have to sacrifice herself in the way she expected. She knew she would return home changed. She wanted to spare her family from seeing her like that. She avoids that fate thanks to William's compassion and the opportunity afforded to him by Erik and Cas' presence on the ship. And yet, it may still end here. The finale will confirm just how dire this outcome is. Has humanity found a way to defend itself from this invasion? Or will the Achaia take over just as fiercely and cruelly as they have across the galaxy?