The show has been steadily getting better. I know some people have criticized the show as it tends towards melodrama more than SF, but the fact of the matter is that they’re living on a space ship, and they’ve got a lot of time to kill. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to get a lot of melodramatic crap, just ask anyone who’s ever lived in a Co-Ed dorm. This week in particular, the scale tilts in favor of the soap opera stuff, rather than the more traditional skiffy stuff, but truth be told, I actually kind of liked it. We learn a lot more about the characters than we knew last week, the dynamics between them are building, and this felt like a nice intermezzo between the initial batch and whatever’s coming next.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shaw and Jen are dating, more or less openly it seems. The Antares cadets get their comparative rankings to see who’s in the top of the program and who isn’t, and we’re reminded that there’s more than just 8 cadets, there’s a whole slew of ‘em in addition to the ones we’re following. While this has always been the case, we really haven’t seen the others since the episode where Wassenfelder almost drowned. Our main characters don’t do well. Jen places high, but Zoe is 28th on the ranking, and Wassenfelder is dead last. Shaw and Donner come in 12th and 13th respectively. They realize that Goss is screwing with the results, and go to confront him. “I’ve been on Mars.”
“Yes, I know, I was there.”
“No, you were in the Zeus giving orders, I was actually on Mars, he was on Mars” [Points at Shaw.] “Now, I might be willing to tolerate second on that ranking because Ted Shaw is a hell of an astronaut, but there is no way in hell I’m thirteenth.”
Goss admits he’s handicapping them because he doesn’t want them on the mission, he doesn’t even want them connected to it. Too much baggage, he says, looking at Donner’s baseball. They leave. Eve, who was on hand for this, senses, something is wrong here, and pokes in to it. Donner heads back to his class, obviously upset, and can’t find the right materials. Finally, after flailing around looking for schematics for a while, he freaks out and hurls a baseball at the back of the room and storms out.
Zoe, meanwhile, is dejected about her position in the ranking, and contemplates leaving the program entirely, having the baby, and teaching high school geology or something lame like that. Jen keeps pushing her to have an abortion, and reluctantly she meets with a doctor. This is done on the sly, because, of course, abortion is illegal in 2047. He tells her that in Europe, only one woman in a thousand has a negative reaction to the procedure, but doesn’t actually say what the procedure is. She tells him she isn’t sure she wants to go ahead, he says ‘call me if you want to,’ and leaves.
While pondering what to do, Zoe’s mom shows up, just a shambling, alcoholic mess of a woman, railing on about astrology and her husband leaving her for a young lab assistant and blah blah blah. Zoe is frustrated by this, but her mom continues to auntie mame about the place with her outrageously bad plastic surgery and her outlandishly large nose and her entirely-too-young-for-her haircut. She’s a mess. She insists Zoe take her to Major Toms, so she does, and immediately embarrasses her daughter by introducing herself a s a friend and trying to do tarot readings in public. Zoe gets pissed and leaves.
Donner comes to the bar, and Zoe’s mom recognizes him. They get to talking and she gives him a tarot reading and talks to him about being haunted by his past. Then her husband calls and she leaves. Evram comes in and gives Donner back his baseball. Donner thanks him, and Evram says there’s a rumor that there were two astronauts dating against the rules. A few days before their mission, they went to a baseball game and the guy caught the ball, gave it to the girl. She took it with them to mars, and she didn’t make it back, and now the guy can’t bring himself to let go of it. Of course, that’s just the rumor. I might be wrong about it.
“You are. She caught the ball, not me.”
Eve, meanwhile, goes to inspect the Mars Mission records, and finds that the