Warning! Spoilers for Avenue 5 ahead!
The story so far: The Avenue 5 looks to NASA to get back to Earth before supplies run out. An engineer offers a solution that leads to Judd angering the people who are best equipped to help. Karen becomes more of an advocate for the passengers on the ship. Captain Clark is still trying to navigate the tricky waters of being in charge while still refusing to accept his position.
With each episode, Ryan Clark (Hugh Laurie) is becoming more of a captain. The first episode he was the picture of a perfect leader. Of course, this was before the accident that blew the Avenue 5 off course and was all ceremonial. After the malfunction, he was quick to remind everyone who was in on his secret that he was not a captain. It was almost funny to see people look to Clark for advice as he tried to send them to those who could actually help.
As things have become more dire on the Avenue 5, Clark has tried to become more of an actual captain. This is seen through his interactions with Karen in ‘I’m a Hand Model’. From her introduction, Karen has constantly shown that she is willing to voice all issues she has. She has also done everything she can to rally the passengers of the Avenue 5 around her.
Like any good leader, Clark has surveyed the situation and has figured out a solution. His plan involves taking advantage of someone’s skills in order to improve the situation on the Avenue 5. Basically, he is acting like any other person in charge. This is great writing. The spaceship is in peril and it would make no sense for the people in charge to not react in some way. Clark’s gradual change and decisions make sense and add to the show. Even though Avenue 5 has a fantastical premise, small choices like this make it more realistic.
Judd continues to be over the top and one of the highlights of the show. After almost alienating NASA, his latest scheme involves manipulating public sentiment. It is an easy thing to do, after all. There is a ship full of people trapped in space with a limited amount of supplies. Unsurprisingly, there is an added motive to Judd’s plan. It is not so much about rallying support for the denizens of the Avenue 5.
This is where the third episode of Avenue 5 is similar to Armando Iannucci’s previous works. ‘I’m a Hand Model’ sees more political machinations than the previous two. Clark and the heads of the shuttle are like the heads of state while the passengers are their constituents. There are backroom dealings and dog and pony shows for those trapped on the ship. The writers have done a great job of adding a deeper layer to what is a great premise with silly situations.
After three episodes, Avenue 5 is starting to find its groove. The show is still flawed, but it is one of the funniest currently on television. HBO has an impressive resume of excellent Sunday night programming. The latest output from Armando Iannucci is no different. For those expecting Veep in space, it may disappoint. But viewers wanting to watch a fun TV show will be pleased.