We’re more than halfway finished with Away, so I thought it would be a good time to look at the series overall.
For a show about going where no man or woman has gone before, not much has happened since the pilot episode. Sure, the Atlas crew launched into space and yeah, they’ve spent months together getting closer and closer to their destination each day, but the pacing of the show has been very leisurely. I guess if we’re to get a sense of how they feel up there, then it’s hitting the mark because being stuck in a tin can for months has got to be draining.
I’ve seen plenty of criticism about the show pointing out its inaccuracies and that it seems like they never consulted NASA or even an astronaut, and I’ll admit, those inadequacies do add up. The whole mission control has been shown to be inept and it’s concerning how great their cell service has been even now when they can only communicate via email and texts. It’s astonishing considering I lose service every single time I drive down a heavily wooded road here on Earth.
But if you throw all those concerns out the window, you see the show for what it’s really meant to be. Space is used as a backdrop for the drama building up between family and co-workers. It’s about relationships and how they fluctuate far more than it is about space travel. And most importantly, it’s about hope and achieving your dreams. When I look at it from that perspective, I get especially peeved with Away Season 1 Episode 7 and with Emma in general.
From the beginning, she’s been weighed down by her sacrifices, but seven episodes in, she still hasn’t gotten a handle on her emotions proving that maybe Misha and Lu were right all along — she’s not fit to be Commander.
Right now, she’s on a spaceship millions of miles away from her family. No one ever said it was going to be easy, but her priority right now needs to be the “family” on the ship, not the one on Earth.
There’s a difference between checking in with your husband and daughter and wanting to parent that’s in control at all times. When you’re in space, it’s impossible to be both. And if Emma didn’t realize that going into this mission then she was living in denial.
Lu said herself that she understands the task at hand and the circumstances she’s in. It doesn’t make her a bad mom or a less caring one, she’s simple looking forward and not stuck in the past, which seems to be Emma’s problem.
Even her advice to Lex about Isaac and “flying” was hinged on her own experiences of getting pregnant and thinking she’d ruined her future. Lex finally found something that made her happy, that allowed her to breathe, that made her feel free, and instead of getting some sound advice from her mother, she told her “boys are distractions.” It may have been well-intentioned, but it completely backfired.
Space takes a heavy toll on everyone and they’re supposedly in the “hardest part of the journey,” but it’s only Emma that seems to be cracking. And she shouldn’t be — she’s worked her whole life to be here. She prepared for this, she knew this was coming, and she’s supposed to be one of the best astronauts in the world.
It’s problematic that the episode found her coming to a revelation that there are more important things than Mars as she’s on her journey to Mars. Honestly, no, there’s nothing more important right now than the mission you signed up for and trained your whole life for.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your family. Despite the struggles they’ve faced with Emma away, Matt and Lex are immensely proud of her and her accomplishments.
She needs to honor that.
If she didn’t care about Mars, she would’ve pulled a Melissa and given up the dream when she decided to have the baby. But she didn’t — she went ahead and proved that you can have a career and become a mother, which makes her a hero and an inspiration. It proves that women are just as capable as men even if it costs them a higher price. Emma needs to shine in that space and own it rather than trying to prove her belief that she’s “less of an astronaut” because she’s a mother. Otherwise, she’s just proving everyone right and last I checked, I signed up for a dose of female empowerment.
It would help if Emma trusted everyone around her and recognized that her family can take care of themselves. She’s not Melissa because she’s lucky to have had a better man than Scott. Scott bolted when things got tough, but Matt buckled down for the ride despite his own struggles.
There should never be a moment where the team has to worry about breaking any type of news to their Commander out of a fear that she’s not in the mental space to handle it. If it comes down to it, it means their leader is again, not capable.
There’s no denying Lex is Emma’s daughter — she’s just as reckless and irrational as her mother. They’re also both flying way too close to the sun and if they keep it up, they’re going to get burned.
She wanted to prove something after getting her mother’s email, which is why she got a little carried away on the dirt bike. She didn’t think about how dangerous it was or what could have happened to her.
She’s lucky the outcome was just a “small concussion.” Though, it doesn’t bode well for her seeing Isaac again.
Similarly, Emma made a poor decision when she began rationing her rations to keep a dandelion alive. Yes, proving that life can grow on Mars is one of their main missions but not at their own expense. She was careless and ignored the very real risks that came with dehydration, which could have hindered the mission for everyone.
Emma’s smart, but she can be so incredibly stupid. The whole family is their own worst nightmare. Surprisingly, Matt was tolerable during this episode probably because he was so focused on Emma and Lex. It’s beginning to become obvious that his recovery has been put on the sidelines as he dedicates all his time “consulting” at NASA.
It was funny how Lu and Kwesi both had different scientific theories for why the flower continued to grow when it was so obvious what was happening with Emma.
Ram missed the signs, which would have been surprising if he didn’t have such a blind spot for Emma. He has her back without hesitation, which can be a good and a bad thing. In this case, he didn’t see what was going on with her even though the symptoms were right in front of him. Towards the end, after he gave her saline, I couldn’t figure out if the “moment” between them was supposed to be something romantic and Ram’s realization that he has feelings for her or that he’d finally come to a point where he didn’t fully believe she was the best person to lead the mission.
It’s unclear, but I’m hoping it’s the latter for the sake of drama.
How are you enjoying Away so far? Are you just as frustrated with Emma as I am?
Will ‘Manifest’ Get a Season 4 After All?
Merely weeks after the devastating cancellation of NBC’s Manifest, TVLine confirms that the network has been in talks with Warner Bros. and Netflix about a possible Season 4. However, reps for NBC, Netflix, and Warner Bros. have refused to comment for now.
Following the news of the supernatural drama’s abrupt ending in mid-June, fans took to social media with the hashtag #SaveManifest in hopes of reversing the decision and getting it picked up by another network.
After the release of the first two seasons on streaming services, the series quickly dominated the charts. It remained on Netflix’s “Top 10” watched shows for 27 consecutive days and Nielsen’s weekly streaming chart during the week of June 14.
Jeff Rake, Manifest’s showrunner, tweeted in late June, “Your support is awe-inspiring…we’re not giving up. You deserve an end to the story.”
While Rake has not confirmed that another season is officially happening, he did note: “Lots of speculation out there. No comment. Other than, if the impossible happens and the dead rise again, it’s because of YOU.”
Lots of speculation out there. No comment. Other than, if the impossible happens and the dead rise again, it’s because of YOU.#SaveManifest
— Jeff Rake (@jeff_rake) July 20, 2021
Whatever it takes, Rake will even choose to produce a two-hour movie to bring closure to Manifest.
So Manifesters, you’ve been heard, and you can only get louder from here! Will the answers you’ve been waiting for resurface in a possible Season 4 pick-up? Will 828 fly again?
‘Feel Good’ Season 2 Packs Quite the Punch
In Season 2, the final adaptation of comedian Mae Martin’s (they/them) semi-autobiographical comedy, Feel Good takes on much more content in its short six episodes, packing quite the punch.
We’re guided deeper through the traumas of the primary character Mae and left wondering how they’re able to stand on their own two feet after years of childhood grooming, drug addiction, and parental toxicity.
The light answer to this is humor. As it’s joked often throughout the episodes, “comics are supposed to be sacks of shit.” Through light-hearted comedy and the power of laughter, Mae’s story is dissected. However, at times, big topics are rushed and viewers are left grasping at strings, wishing there were more episodes in the season.
Following an unfortunate relapse in Season 1, we’re immediately thrown into Mae’s life in Canada, as they’re about to reenter rehab. They’ve only been away from England for a couple of months, but with the fresh wounds of the breakup, both George (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mae aren’t healed and are still stuck in their desire for each other. I mean, Mae still has George’s photo on their nightstand!
While in rehab, Mae reconnects with an old “friend,” Scott. When he’s first introduced we’re left wondering who he is and what his role is in Mae’s life. As an addict and queer comedian, there’s much more behind Mae’s curtain of trauma than initially presented in Season 1. Much more trauma that’s led to rash behavior, and Mae’s conversation with Audrey, easily foreshadows this.
Intertwined with the main storyline, Mae’s also navigating their non-binary identity. Mirroring Martin’s own coming-out as non-binary, Mae’s figuring it out, explaining that they see themselves as more of a Ryan Goslin or Adam Driver.
Again, with only six episodes to squeeze so much storyline into, Mae’s rehab stint only lasts 15 minutes into the first episode before they’re running out the door back into the arms of Scott.
As Mae’s stumbling through life in Canada, George is also trying to keep her mind focused on things like saving the bees. At an event at her school, she meets Elliot, a bisexual, polyamorous man with whom she bonds. He’s the nice guy, maybe too nice for George. He’s one of those men who are self-proclaimed progressive and ultra-feminist, trying to mansplain the harm in porn’s presentation of women and how sex needs to be a safe space for connection.
And as Mae knows, that’s definitely not how George likes to be treated during sex. Thankfully, George and Mae reconnect, and Elliot is quickly out of the picture with Mae and George recreating their first meet-cute, hoping to restart from a fully healed wound.
As Feel Good is written by a queer person, the portrayal of queer sex is finally construed in a realistic and non-hypersexualized manner. Mae and George run through various role-playing scenarios as they are falling into what seems to be a healthy relationship.
Realistically, their timeline is rushed, but Mae needed some stability before they faced the bigger demons hiding under the bed.
The show cleverly depicts Mae’s moments of withdrawal and trauma responses through a high-pitched ringing sound. As if we’re inside Mae’s head. Originally, Mae experienced the ringing sound when they were with George, as George was a replacement drug. But, in this season, the ringing sound appeared whenever the past tried to resurface.
Mae told Audrey that they had a hard time remembering the past, that it was all like a jumbly tumbly mess of Tupperware containers. But, as the episodes progress, each Tupperware slowly found its way to its matching lid.
It becomes clear that Scott isn’t just an old friend, but a man who used to abuse and take advantage of Mae. After Mae’s kicked out of the house at a young age for drug addiction, they move in with Scott who presents himself as a safe haven and gateway to Mae’s comedic success. When, in reality, he’s a pedophile who’s grooming them.
When a woman calls Mae to talk about Scott, presumably about the things he did to both of them in the past, Mae’s reminded of the trauma they had compartmentalized. A doctor suggests Mae might have PTSD, and with George’s help, they begin the journey of confronting the harmful past.
Meanwhile, through all of the personal traumas, Mae’s working through their professional success after being signed with an agent and fulfilling their dream of TV comedy. However, Mae finds it challenging to reinvent their success from the original standup virality that got them the agent in the first place. As mentioned earlier, with comics, the butt of their jokes is their own trauma.
Unfortunately, as Mae hasn’t healed from their trauma, there’s no way they can make light of it yet. As their career goes for a bit of a downhill turn, and they have a hard time performing for an audience, they begin to seclude themselves and withdraw from the world.
In a much-needed getaway, Mae, George, and Phil take a trip to Canada in order for Mae to confront Scott.
The scene in which Mae directly tells Scott they never want to speak to them again, although a bit anticlimactic, was retrospectively a strong scene that finalized Mae’s character arc in the perfect ending to a witty, raw, and endearing show.
The final episode leaves Mae leaps and bounds beyond where they had been before on their road to recovery. And just as Mae’s love for George grew healthily from a need to a want, our need for a Season 3 resolved itself, and we feel good saying our final goodbyes to Mae and George, knowing fully well they are on their way to a fresh start.
‘Elite’ Season 4 Review: New Students, New Mystery, Same Scandalous Drama
The wait is almost over.
On June 18, Elite returns for its fourth season, but aside from a few new faces and a new principal hellbent on making a difference, things at Las Encinas haven’t changed much at all.
In fact, things are more dramatic than ever.
The premiere of Elite evokes the same feelings as the start of the school year — there’s a rush of excitement for what’s to come.
The series indulges in more of what has made it such a success: scandal, parties, threesomes, love triangles, intrigue, crime, and sex. So. Much. Sex.
I always forget just how many vivid sex scenes there are until I get pulled into a new season, but I’m very quickly reminded.
The first day of school for Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau), Samu (Itzan Escamilla), Ander (Arón Piper), Rebeka (Claudia Salas), Cayetana (Georgina Amorós), and Omar (Omar Ayuso) is bittersweet. While they may be getting another shot at repeating their final year, their classmates Carla, Lu, Nadia, and Valerio have moved on to bigger and better things. It’s a bummer to lose such a great group of characters, but you almost don’t feel their absence when the new crop of students takes their place, flips the world upside down for current students, and simultaneously ushers in a brand new mystery.
The new mystery anchors the story, and like in seasons past, it plays out with flashbacks that lead up to the fated moment.
However, unlike in previous seasons, we find out pretty early on who is at the center of the mystery with the how remaining the big question mark.
But there’s no question about whether the Blanco family is involved.
As Ander tells the investigator, the toxic family’s arrival “tainted everything.”
Benjamin (Diego Martin) is the extremely rich new school director. He comes in like a bulldozer with big plans to rehabilitate Las Encinas and its reputation after a tumultuous few years that led to two student deaths. He begins his reign by setting his sights on Samu and Omar, who he doesn’t believe belong at the elite school.
It’s honestly surprising anyone wants to send their children to get an education there at this point.
Benjamin doesn’t waste any time making changes, but with his focus solely on “discipline, excellence, and achievement,” he fails to realize that his family’s arrival brings the bulk of the drama.
Immediately, you begin to wonder how Benjamin plans to fix a whole school if he can’t even control his own children — Ari (Carla Diaz), Patrick (Manu Rios), and Mencia (Martina Cariddi).
Benjamin has a fraught relationship with his youngest, Mencia, who has brought the family pain in the past and continues to rebel and defy her father at every turn.
She has a genuine connection with new girlfriend, Rebeka, but the relationship stirs up even more problems for Mencia as Benjamin disapproves and thinks Rebe is a bad influence considering her mother’s reputation as a drug kingpin.
Little does he know, Mencia has gotten into a world of trouble all on her own.
While Rebe’s relationship with Mencia grows into one of the purest this season, following Samu’s betrayal last season, she’s understandably closed off and cautious with her heart.
Ander and Omar are still going strong but find their relationship is tested in unexpected ways when they invite Patrick, Benjamin’s son, into the fold.
Patrick knows the power he wields over them and intentionally meddles in their lives, but there’s also much more to him than meets the eye.
Ari is Benjamin’s star child who respects and listens to her father, but to her peers, she’s the resident mean girl who is oftentimes uptight and has a chip on her shoulder.
She catches the eye of both Samu and Guzman, which fractures their budding friendship. These two have always fought over women, but last time, Samu was being protective over his best friend, Nadia, who Guzman is still dating when the season commences.
Nadia appears only via video chat from her New York apartment, and their relationship allows the series to explore the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship that’s tested as temptation lurks right around the corner for Guzman.
While Guzman stands a chance with Ari based solely on social class and standing, Ari and Samu connect unexpectedly in an academic setting.
Who will the love triangle favor in the end?
Additionally, the school has attracted the youngest royal heir in Europe, Prince Philippe (Pol Granch). The series flips the classic “princess and the pauper” narrative to “prince and the pauper” as he connects with the school’s janitor Cayetana, making all of her fantasies come true.
But as the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for” as this fairytale quickly turns into a nightmare when it’s revealed the prince has a dark secret, and Cayetana’s past secrets with the late Polo and Valerio come back to haunt her.
Overall, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you press play on the fourth season. The writers have managed to deliver yet another incredibly intoxicating season about a group of lost souls looking for a purpose and tapping into the extreme lengths they’ll go to numb their pain.
Elite hits Netflix on Friday, June 18 with eight brand-new episodes.
*This review is based on the first four episodes of season 4 that were available to the press*
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