Avenue 5: I'm a Hand Model
February 12, 2020 11:02 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

With Avenue 5 staff slacking in their customer service, Ryan offers Karen the opportunity to channel her unique talent for speaking the passengers' language. Judd outlines a new plan and tasks Iris with organizing an effort to raise the money to fund it. Rav endures a barrage of messages from the ship and handles an unruly press conference. "Oh, come on. My door's always broken."

Avenue 5 Episode 3 Review: I'm a Hand Model -- The façade is lifted as the numbers are recalculated again on Avenue 5, episode 3, "I'm a Hand Model." (Tony Sokol for Den of Geek)
In space no one can hear you scream. This is doubly true when you're wrapped up like a mummy in a transcendental body wrap at a spa floating through the stratosphere. Avenue 5, episode 3, "I'm a Hand Model," opens with a graphic reminder of the zombies which were introduced at the close of the last episode. The crew laid its most useful member to rest by shooting him off to space, but his sarcophagus was so heavy it didn't get far enough away from the ship and is now circling in a macabre orbit. Three passengers who succumbed to injuries from the gravity flip disaster were also dispatched to space and now circle the engineer's coffin, borrowed from the owner of Avenue 5, in a traumatic reminder of real horrors to come.

Besides a linen shortage which even NASA couldn't have calculated, the guests are also facing a shortage of courtesy from the on-flight staff, who are fashioning the towels into obscene body parts. The true terror comes from who is in charge of taking care of things. Ineptitude and arrogance go hand in hand on Avenue 5, but this isn’t the kind of reckless megalomania which forced Captain Kirk to personally head every landing party on the original Star Trek. This is the supreme self-centeredness of the successful entrepreneur who has no consideration of the people he's supposed to be catering to. Herman Judd (Josh Gad) is a master of clueless self-awareness. He is a self-made man who thinks he can create reality, He conjures science itself as though he invented it and lets nothing get in the way of his self-esteem.
Cracks splinter through its facade as Avenue 5 settles into its prolonged journey (Kate Kulzick for TV/AV Club; episode rating: C+)
One week into their prolonged journey and the facade is already starting to crumble. Karen may have found new purpose, and Billie and Iris remain steadfast, but most of the crew is already feeling the strain of their new reality. Ryan is downing wine with gusto, Matt has proven himself entirely useless, and poor Rav is starting to buckle under the weight of the near-constant demands on her. Even the hospitality staff is finding the fun in their situation—what is Judd going to do, fire them? At this rate, Avenue 5 is in for a rough three and a half years. Maybe they won’t need all 500 rescue ships after all.

While the plot does inch forward in “I’m A Hand Model,” it’s notable that three episodes in, the writers are still establishing their premise. After a lot of back and forth in the first two episodes, Cyrus and Billie settle on three and a half years for the new return date for the ship. Iris has been working on survival plans for the passengers and presents her findings to Judd, including answers for their inevitable potable water and food shortages. Judd details his plan to get the passengers back to Earth once they’re close enough, and Ryan bribes Karen with a fancy suite to take over for Matt as Passenger Liaison Officer. Now if only Mia and Doug would stop arguing, the show could move on to some new ideas and tensions.
posted by filthy light thief
 
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