Warning! Spoilers for Avenue 5 ahead!
The story so far: With each situation that arises, Captain Clark is becoming better at leading the ship. But will a failed publicity stunt force Clark to reevaluate what he is doing? Judd seems to be losing touch with reality. His main concern is winning over the trust of the passengers while avoiding the needs of the crew. The tension aboard the ship continues to rise as home seems further and further away.
Avenue 5 has done a great job of focusing on how the people aboard the titular vessel are feeling. Naturally, there is a lot of tension that has been leading to frustration and finger pointing. Predictably, there have been those who have refused to assess the full danger of the situation. Episode five takes a look at another side of the spectrum by looking at the various ways the passengers need to vent.
Despite the malfunction that has blown the ship off course, Judd decides to carry through with the Halfway Home party. Almost the entire episode is based around the event and the affects it has on the crew. For the first time since the show’s debut, the passengers are allowed to have some fun. Unsurprisingly, much of it is forced and takes an unexpected turn, but it adds further depth to Avenue 5. It is a nice job by the writers since it is impossible to explore the dynamics of each person aboard a ship of hundreds. ‘He’s Only There to Stop His Skeleton From Falling Over’ essentially gives a personality to everyone.
This does not mean it does not focus on individual characters, though. Billie has been Clark’s go to person for all of Avenue 5. It would only make sense that this would begin to wear on her. The fifth episode sees this come to a head. After weeks of being a shoulder for Clark to lean on, Billie is left in his shadow after a critical moment. It is a natural progression of their relationship based on their situation.
The writing takes center stage this episode. Various moments throughout the ship are interspersed between a stand up routine that is not going as well as it could. The act does a great job of setting up the next scene while punctuating what has just happened. It also gives Zach Woods some great opportunities to shine. He has been one of the best parts of the entire show and episode five may have been his funniest performance of the season.
Avenue 5 is a very funny show that has never forgotten about the danger. Still, this episode sees more of a focus on the characters than the danger. There are brief mentions to it, but it seems more like a window dressing than the actual premise of a series. That being said, it is an incredibly funny show. It may be that the writers wanted to make viewers care more for the danger by adding the characters.
HBO has a strong pedigree on Sunday nights. A show helmed by the creator of Veep will only add to those expectations. Avenue 5 may not be perfect, but it is still one of the better shows on television. Adding to the intriguing premise is great comedy and interesting characters. Comparing it to any other show would be a mistake since there is really nothing like it.