Women hold up half the sky. We finally understand that phrase a little better as we got to know more about Lu on Away.
It seems as though each episode will tackle each of the crew member’s backstories with “Half the Sky” dedicated to China’s hero.
Each member of the crew has made enormous sacrifices to get to this point, but Lu’s was heartbreaking to watch because she couldn’t be herself out of the fear of bringing shame to her country.
As predicted, Lu and Mei developed intimate feelings for one another while bonding over the English language leading up to the mission.
When NASA found out about their secret love affair, they immediately removed her from CAPCOM and pushed her to desk duty. They also shut down any possibility of Lu pursuing the relationship informing her that she had a job to accomplish.
Lu was forced back into the closet before she could really come out as China feared that it would make her less of a hero and bring embarrassment to the mission and her family.
It’s a stark reminder that not all countries are as accepting of the LGBTQ community as the U.S.A.
Lu and Mei’s relationship also caused some turmoil aboard. Jack spread the rumor to Ram, Kwesi, and Misha during a “boys” poker night, which obviously stunned the men, especially Misha who was close to Lu, admired her, and even knew her husband and son.
Emma wasn’t happy with Jack for telling the guys because she felt it undermined her position as Commander and watched as it drove a wedge between her team.
Worst of all — it wasn’t Jack’s secret to tell. He took it away from Lu, he outed her, and he did it while she was trapped in space. She was already struggling with the gravity of her feelings and now, she was being judged by everyone.
Jack’s tough to crack. There’s animosity between him and Emma as he was runner-up to command the mission to Mars and clearly feels some type of way about losing the position to her.
However, he showed that he has a heart by organizing an off-the-books call between Lu and Mei, that could have caused an international incident, nonetheless.
The hour that they had to chat helped Lu put many things about their relationship into perspective. Best of all, it helped her realize it was what she wanted; she no longer felt shame by her desires. Unfortunately, they still had to put their lives on hold because of the stigma that would come from the relationship going public while Lu was in the public eye.
While we’d like to think that the world is progressive, it’s impossible. Misha is the perfect example as he began to look and treat Lu differently because she “cheating” on her husband. We’ve already learned that he wasn’t a poster father, so he’s in no place to judge, but that’s the sad reality — people judge. All of Lu’s accomplishments would be overshadowed by this relationship, so, in a misguided way, NASA was trying to help her, too.
It’s hard not to feel for Lu as we learn she’s in a loveless marriage strictly for the sake of her child. She respects her husband, which is why she didn’t cheat, but that’s no way to go through life. The fact that she and Mei will get their happy ending is giving me hope to continue with the series and see what happens.
Back on Earth, Matt was making good progress on his arms, but his legs weren’t up-to-par and the doctor warned him that it may come with permanent immobility from the waist down.
That’s not something anyone wants to hear, but it’s the reality facing him that they may all have to come to terms with. Their life may never be the same, and it’s better to accept that than continuously try to fight the outcome. Though, I have faith that Matt’s desire to get better and walk again will push him to achieve the unachievable.
Lex has been doing well with all the adjustments, but she’s been avoiding going back to school. And it’s clear why — going back to listen to the drama of Instagram boyfriends/girlfriends seems so trivial when you’re mother is billions of miles away in space on a dangerous mission while your father is recovering from a stroke in the hospital.
A lot has been placed on Lex’s shoulders as she feels she needs to become her mother to take care of everything.
Don’t you just want to hug her and tell her that it’s okay to be a teenager?
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!
Away Season Finale Review – Did the Atlas Crew Make It to Mars? (1×10)
The final episode finds fans asking one question: did the Atlas crew make it to Mars?
But there’s really no question about it. If Netflix wants a second season, you know that the crew had to make it successfully to Mars. If the crew died, any hope of a second season would die right along with them.
The crew geared up to initiate descent on Away Season 1 Episode 10, which came with its own set of concerns. Admittedly, the dream scene at the beginning was a cheap way of throwing us off — it’s annoying when shows do that, but at least it painted a realistic picture of what could happen if one of the 42 steps in the landing sequence didn’t go as planned.
The hurdles Team Atlas has gone through up until now are othing compared to breaking through the atmosphere in a fiery can… which has a hole in it, might I add.
And then… touchdown.
As Neil Armstrong once said: “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Atlas crew just did what no one else was able to do before them.
It was a victory not just for the U.S but for the world, which is why it was awesome to see that Lu decided to go against the international agreement and take a photo with the whole team.
None of us know what went into this agreement for her to be the first person to step foot on Mars with an iconic photo, but it’s crap. This mission wouldn’t have been possible without a joint effort, so why should one country get all the recognition? Especially when the country didn’t even want the woman who made the achievement to take credit as the CNSA asked her to put her reflective vizor down
What a way to stab the person in the back who willing to die to bring honor and pride to her country.
This is her moment, but it’s also their moment. And talking to Misha about how he adapted ahead of everyone else and was the “first Martian” convinced Lu that no one can take this away from any of them.
The series wasn’t without its flaws, which explains the harsh criticism from fans who were expecting a more space-centric series, but it was a show that united instead of divided and instilled hope. For that reason, I’m looking forward to a second season.
It was great to see the growth of each crew member as they gave a shout out to their families. We’ve seen so much of Emma’s interactions with Lex and Matt that it wasn’t as significant as Misha telling his grandchildren to be proud of their mother because he is (Lu’s suggestion), Kwesi thanking his mother for instilling in him the faith needed to complete this mission, or Lu telling her son to follow his passion.
Getting to Mars was just half the battle but now, Kwesi has to prove that this desert can sustain life by planting a garden. Their work is only just beginning.
At least now the crew has learned to get along and value each other in a way that allows them to work together cohesively. It’s not only promising for the future but also brings a fun dynamic to the team that we didn’t get to see previously.
Though, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not entirely sure where the series plans to go with the romantic tension between Ram and Emma. She attempted to make it clear that she didn’t share his feelings, but if that were true, she wouldn’t feel compromised as a Commander.
Emma would never cheat on her husband in normal circumstances, but three years is a long time. You begin to miss that physical connection with someone, so I can see them exploring some kind of emotional cheating, which yes, is still cheating. I’m not exactly opposed to Ram and Emma getting together, but I am opposed to it when you look at how secure her life with Matt has been.
Then again, maybe they have some understanding since they knew they would be separated for so long?
I’m also unclear about Matt and Melissa’s relationship. Why did she have to develop feelings for him and worse, tell him about it? I’m telling you, the minute you leave the planet, women begin moving in on your man!
Personally, Away would’ve been better off just keeping all romantic relationships out of the picture, especially after they spent so much time building up Emma and Matt into this solid unit.
Other big moments in the episode included Lex testing negative for CCM, admitting that she loves Isaac, and her dad finding out that she spent the night with Isaac on Melissa’s watch. All moments potential but fizzled out against the backdrop of a Mars landing.
What did you think about the series as a whole? Are you looking forward to a season 2? Sound off in the comments below!
Away Review – Spektr (1×09)
Atlas is inching towards Mars, but you didn’t expect them to get there without yet water system issue, did you?
On Away Season 1 Episode 9, it’s made abundantly clear how much NASA (at least the TV version of NASA) needs to improve its water filtration system. Without oxygen and water, the crew cannot survive. You’d think there’d be better ways of guaranteeing a backup.
You’d also expect a team of people who were smart enough to get jobs at NASA to provide some kind of solutions, but instead, it all hinges on poor Matt’s shoulders, who seems to be the only one who has any ounce of critical thinking skills.
Darlene and George gave up way before they should have, which is infuriating because they essentially gave up on their astronauts before they should have.
I can understand wanting to prepare for the worst, but that shouldn’t take precedence over finding a solution to the problem. Also, how great was their last message? “It was worth it,” perfectly sums up what the crew has been feeling throughout the trip.
If you didn’t realize by now, the water filtration system — the system that was supposed to get them through the remainder of the two-week journey — just gave out. Kaput, as Misha would say.
The fear of dehydration began to settle in as they realized they only had 72 hours before they began to experience symptoms that would affect their ability to get anything done.
Matt’s first plan was to drill through the walls of the ship and siphon out the water that’s shielding them from the radiation. You’d think they’d need that water to remain in place because, you know, it’s shielding them from radiation, but regardless, the plan failed as Ram drilled through the wall and air began to leak into the crew chambers as it depressurized. Yep, that’s definitely terrifying.
Realistically, I’m not sure how accurate any of this is, but it sure kept the episode dramatic and suspenseful, so from a viewer’s standpoint, it was fine.
After evacuating to safer ground, they began to come to terms with the reality that they would likely die before they even made it to Mars.
As Lu pointed out, she was prepared to die on Mars, but she couldn’t fathom dying on a spaceship en route. And I’d have to agree — out of all the obstacles, to die of dehydration due to a mechanical error when you could practically touch Mars from the ship is grounds for annoyance.
However, Matt, who was determined not to lose his wife, came up with one last plan that used static electricity to pull water out of the outside of the ship.
Of course, that required another… you guessed it, spacewalk.
How much hell can this crew go through? Ram and Emma were prepared to do anything at this point to secure their survival and really, this was their only option.
Again, I’m not sure if this would be possible in real life, but despite all odds, they made it work and secured bags upon bags of water.
Great. I’m more concerned with the romantic tension between Ram and Emma. One could argue that they were on the brink of death, or, at least, mentally convinced they were going to die in space, so Ram decided to get everything off his chest including his feelings for Emma.
And again, when they got back from the spacewalk and successfully collected water, you could blame the adrenaline rush for their near kiss. But I pointed out in my previous reviews that this seems to have been bubbling up to the surface way before, especially for Ram.
Here’s the thing — Ram could feel some type of way about Emma, but she didn’t seem to be giving off a vibe that she wasn’t into it. It was more along the lines of “we can’t do this” because it’s wrong rather than “I don’t want to do this.”
I find this concerning. I’m not a fan of the series diving into the love triangle trope when there’s so much more that could be explored.
Maybe it was just a heat of the moment situation because again, both of them thought they were going to die, but we’ll see.
Now that they both survived, Ram will have to deal with the repercussions of baring his soul to his Commander. Way to make things awkward, right?
Back on Earth, Lex was a mess as she worried about her mother’s survival. And honestly, it’s a hard thing for a teenage girl to have to deal with. Nothing about her life is certain right now and every time she gets a phone call or text or hears the doorbell ring, her mind immediately goes to the worst place possible.
It’s a good thing she made up with Isaac and he was able to get her mind off things for just a little while even if it was with church, chili and kissing.
Otherwise, she’d just be sitting there drumming up the worst scenarios in her head.
We’re almost at the finish line. How do you think it’ll end? Will the crew make it safely to Mars? Will they encounter yet another hiccup? Will Pegasus greet them with all the supplies necessary for their survival?
Sound off in the comments below!
Away Review – Vital Signs (1×08)
After a brief hiccup, the crew aboard the Atlas have found hope once again.
Much of their survival relies on external factors including the safe landing of Pegasus, the rocket carrying all of the supplies they need to live on Mars along with a backup water system.
So, naturally, when Mission Control lost all contact with Pegasus, they assumed it exploded or went off course. This meant that if the Atlas crew landed on Mars, they would have to wait five months for the next rocket filled with supplies to arrive. And with their backup system already rationed, they wouldn’t have enough water to survive.
At this point, everyone was faced with an important decision: how important is this mission?
Emma refused to risk the lives of her crew members and while no one actually wanted to die, no one wanted to fail either. They were supposed to be the first people to ever land on Mars!
Despite orders from Ground to abort the mission and slingshot around Mars to meet Pegasus 2 in transit to get their water supply, they were determined to land on Mars and survive.
Misha’s lack of eyesight opened up a world of possibilities through sound. It’s crazy how much you can learn just by relying on sound.
Lu realized that while they might not have visual contact with Pegasus, they could use InSight, a rover, to determine whether Pegasus broke through the atmosphere.
Instead of going to Emma with the idea, Lu and the team asked Ram, who is second in command, to help them out. This undermined Emma’s leadership and strained an already tense partnership. However, you can’t really be surprised that the crew didn’t fully trust her to be open to the possibility of fulfilling their mission.
Emma has continuously wavered in her desire to make it to Mars saying time and time and again how much she wants to go home.
Lu was even right that the decision to slingshot and reroute home came from Matt because they’d both prioritized that over landing on Mars. This realization, however, meant that Emma questioned aborting the mission. Sure, she was saving her crew, but was she doing it for the right reason?
It was a subtle coup by the crew but a necessary one that finally shook Emma out of her trance. She wouldn’t have come this far if she didn’t really want to get to Mars and it was clear that her fears and insecurities of the unknown were stopping her from going the distance.
There’s no doubt about the risk factor — it’s a risky decision to continue on with the mission simply because they heard a “boom.” It broke the atmosphere, but it could still mean that Pegasus was still knocked off course. Still, the chances are higher that it landed and in-tact, plus, they lose more by turning back around instead of taking the plunge. After all, there was no guarantee that they’d successfully connect with Pegasus 2.
Lu’s speech about hope is what really solidified Emma’s decision. It underlined what I said in my review of Away Season 1 Episode 7, Emma wasn’t growing as a character, she was regressing into a worse version of herself. We started off with this badass woman who had managed to juggle being a mom and a brilliant astronaut, who risked it all to achieve her dreams, and now, she’s become a shell of a human who is all too eager to play by the rules.
History isn’t made by playing it safe.
Emma realized that she needed to channel the same courage that her daughter, Lex, was channeling by taking the CCM test. We don’t know the outcome of her test, but whatever it is, they’ll get through it together. If I were to write Lex’s story, I’d want her to become a doctor to pursue a cure for CCM but that’s neither her nor there at the moment.
The series has been criticized for feeding into stereotypes surrounding the crew members, particularly when it comes to Lu and her family. In one of the episodes early on, you’ll recall Lu’s husband yelling at their son because he got a 98% on a test instead of a 100%, which fuels the cliche belief that Asian parents are strict, only care about grades, and aren’t proud of their children unless they are getting A’s.
This continued into Lu’s backstory with her father expressing disappointment that his wife gave birth to a baby girl. From Lu we gauge that he was never proud of her, which feeds into the narrative that Chinese families have long favored boy children over girls. However, as she points out, she’s going to do something that no man has ever done before.
You’d think even getting close to Mars is a feat, but the Chinese representatives at NASA were less-than-impressed and would only accept her landing on Mars as a victory. The actual quote she says is: “I’d rather she did a hero on Mars than return home a coward.” This once again proves that failure is shameful and disappointing in the culture and thus, explains why Lu is so headstrong, disciplined, and determined.
I’m not a fan of propagating stereotypes, so it’s at least nice to see Lu break the mold by becoming the first woman to do the unthinkable, do it from a place of hope, encourage her child to draw comic books rather than study, and fall for a woman in a culture that shuns the very idea.
And lastly, does anyone think it’s ridiculous that Emma is now allowing Misha to handle taking care of the backup with his eyesight totally shot? If she’s entrusting him with it now, she should have just let him fix the prime, to begin with, and they wouldn’t have this whole water situation to worry about.
Clearly, nothing has changed for him and yet, he has her full faith and is proving that he wasn’t lying when he said he can fix this system in the dark.
What did you think of the episode? How are you enjoying the series so far?
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