After the casual nod here and there—the “hub” in the space-camper looks a lot like the Alien mess hall—this episode goes all-in on the Aliens homage, complete with a little girl (Nevis Unipan) surviving on her own for months and months with aliens out to eat her. Leslie Hope directs the episode. It’s excellent suspense direction. The flashback stuff with Parker Posey, explaining her backstory, isn’t good, but it’s not Hope’s fault. So mostly, it’s one of the best-directed episodes.
The Posey material, both in the present and in the flashbacks, is at best wanting and, in actuality, is pretty bad. The script, credited to Liz Sagal, reveals Posey is a blue blood who became a professional con artist after her mom died and the money faucet turned off. Selma Blair’s back as Posey’s disapproving sister. Angela Cartwright plays the mom. Unfortunately, neither gets anything to really do, though—again—Blair and Posey are fantastic siblings casting.
Given Posey’s dumb luck escapes all last season from her terrible decision-making, it strains credulity she’d survived three days as a professional con artist without an infinite lawyer fund, much less years. Especially since her actions in the present, while showcasing newly revealed extensive computer skills, also seem very obviously primed to cause significant disaster for everyone, including Posey. If part of the character is supposed to be her ability to act in self-preservation is broken… it needs to be addressed. Otherwise, it just comes off like lazy writing.
Otherwise, the script’s good. Like, sure, Unipan’s a little much, and when Taylor Russell comes across her, the show owed us a line about it being from that antique movie Aliens, but there are some good surprises in it. Again, since the regular cast seems invulnerable to too much harm, those good surprises help a lot. Leads to some fun scenes and suitable tension relief valves.
It also leads to way too much mooning from Mina Sundwall about Molly Parker not liking her enough because it’s apparently going to be a season subplot. Unlike the Maxwell Jenkins mooning over the robot—much of the episode teases a return of at least the evil second robot, if not the good one too, because the last time we saw the mothership, the two robots were crashing into it.
Parker and Toby Stephens mostly get a concerned parents arc—they’re all wandering the mothership looking for signs of life and then explanation at the lack of them. It’s not until the end (when there’s set up for next time) they actually have much action.
The episode gets a lot of mileage out of Sundwall and Jenkins in a familiar environment we’ve never seen them in—the show started with them getting away from the mothership in their space-camper. We also get some backstory on Russell’s birth father, which… would’ve been more interesting to see in the context of their voyage from Earth to where things went wrong to start the show. Like, there’s a constant reminder of the dad on the ship, and Russell was super-pissed off at Stephens when the show began for other things. Might’ve made for good character development.
The finale sets the show up for its next big dramatic turn. Or, depending on how you count them, its first big dramatic turn. Since all the other ones have been flashback reveals. It’s potentially compelling, even if it seems like it could’ve come at the finish of the season’s first episode, not its third.
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