Avenue 5: This Is Physically Hurting Me
March 20, 2020 10:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

There's a new hope for Avenue 5, but it involves an effort to jettison non-essential items. Meanwhile, Billie tries to teach an inattentive Ryan how to dock the ship, and the passengers suspect all is not as it seems with the journey. "I'm around movie sets a lot. I work in VFX. Stands for visual effects."

Avenue 5 faces some truly dire consequences for its lack of competent leadership (Lisa Weidenfeld for TV/AV Club)
If you were wondering whether it would eventually become a problem that no one knows what they’re doing on Avenue 5 and the people trying to keep things running are immature and egomaniacal, tonight’s episode answers that question with a resounding yes. Everyone’s worst instincts come raging to the forefront, with Judd’s insecurity and Ryan’s impatience combining to create a leadership vacuum. The end result is seven dead people, who then ricochet off the shuttle bringing much-needed supplies (and Rav).

For a show that is perpetually heading right up to the brink of utter hopelessness, it’s an incredibly bleak turn, especially with the development that Mike and Barbara, the recently introduced parents with a son in a coma back on earth, are both among the passengers who die. The show has a balancing act to accomplish, in that we must believe that the small crew of people keeping things running are always beleaguered and under assault from an ungrateful group of contempt-worthy passengers, but we have to stay invested in the survival of that same group of people. This episode features possibly the wildest swings on that pendulum yet, with the passengers so convinced the whole operation is fake that they rush into the airlock even after the apparent evidence that people are dying in it.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total)
Whew, THIS is the episode I was watching when everyone (locally) was starting to provision for quarantine and Trump was still insisting that covid-19 was being blown out of proportion. The whole of Avenue 5 is pretty clearly meant to be a stand-in for the greed, shortsightedness, and willful delusion of our time -- but also, like, damn. And it was a nice touch that all this was touched off by an expert in one field (special effects) insisting that her expertise actually applied in this situation (traveling through space). And that, in a way, she was right -- the ship was riddled with frauds. Unfortunately, the part where they're actually in space is basically the only real thing about the ship.

When the second load of people intentionally shot themselves out the airlock, it probably should've been too on-the-nose...but it was so very funny, man, I like this show. And I love Matt. I'm fairly certain he should not be in charge of essential safety information on the ship, but in a show full of people spitting insults and throwing tantrums, it's charming that he at least tries to persuade people.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:04 AM on March 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

The VFX person was totally right — it makes no sense whatsoever that they are in space — the physics of gravity, trajectories, propulsion, poop, economics, none of it makes any sense whatsoever and far more plausible is that it is just a fake set. Even the super-fake-looking airlock freezing corroborated her point. The fact that she is right on all the merits but still derided as (apparently) wrong is strangely irksome to me.
posted by chortly at 4:52 PM on March 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

This episode was initially released on March 8, 2020. It was BY FAR the most engaging and interesting episode of the season because of the airlock scene.

The first US reported death due to coronavirus was on March 1, 2020.

My household specifically had begun preparations by Feb. 23, and we were watching this lackluster rewrite of “Aniara” with fading interest. The overriding satiric intent aas already quite clear, but the show wasn’t landing the jokes.

Then this episode. The jokes still don’t land, because they are not jokes. Exactly two months later, we cab simply watch the news to see people jumping out the airlock because the pandemic, in their view, is misrepresented and oversold.

What a fucking world.
posted by mwhybark at 10:15 PM on April 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

Ok I watched this first in 2022, just did another rewatch and this episode might be my favorite.

Maybe without the lens of an immediate threat that people ignore, which is now essentially kind of a joke, this totally landed for me. Of course idiots would not believe their own eyes even when people freeze in front of them.

The stupidity and sheepleness of the passengers is hilarious to me. And of course Zack Woods knocks it out of the park again. Poor guy! Sad this is the last of Sarah/Sara but her existential crisis cracked me up.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:23 PM on August 2

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