Warning! Spoilers for Avenue 5 ahead!
The story so far: Judd is forced to face the passenger he fears most. After increasing protests and hatred from the public, Rav makes a rash decision. Billie seems to have found a way to get the Avenue 5 back home. It only requires Captain Clark learning something that normally takes five years to master. Many of the passengers start turning to religion after a surprising sighting. The show continues to add layers to the community that is on the ship.
The first season of Avenue 5 has had its ups and downs. While it has been consistently good, the show has struggled to find a consistent pace. That being said, the HBO comedy has continued to add to its story. The people aboard the stranded ship and how they are coping with what seems to be a futile situation has been the focus of the past few episodes.
Episode eight focuses on two revelations from the previous edition. Billie seems to have found a way to get the ship back home. Even better she has found a solution that will not result in having to play a lethal lottery. Her plan would have everyone back on Earth in six months. The caveat is Clark has to learn a piloting maneuver that normally takes five years to master in that few month period.
‘This is Physically Hurting Me’ sees the continued evolution of Clark. Though he does not have much confidence in himself – or from the actual crew – he still is willing to learn how to dock the Avenue 5. It is clearly important to him to succeed. Clark no longer has a self serving purpose and is not trying to save face. He simply wants to save the lives of the passengers on board.
When Judd makes a rash decision involving Clark, the show also explores the strain on the Captain’s psyche. At this point, he is almost glad to give up on his responsibilities. At this point, the more selfish side of Clark returns. In other words, he is a complex character. When in a position of responsibility, he takes the duties seriously. When he is essentially told he is no different than anyone else, he relishes the opportunity to not be the focal point. This is great writing that shows different sides to a character without coming off as hypocritical.
The past few episodes of Avenue 5 have seen an increased focus on Matt. The eighth episode sees the ship’s customer service liaison dispense his own brand of helpful advice. When it backfires on him in the most gruesome and spectacular way possible, the viewer sees Matt doubt himself for the first time. It is a nice touch to the character. It was obvious he took his job serious. The question was did Matt say things because he was being genuine or because it was his job? The episode showed just how much Matt cares about what he does.
The passengers have made increasingly strange decisions based on their situation. It was already made clear that most of them are self and short sighted. The trip was as much a statement about their status as anything else. As the entrapment has worsened, people have taken to different ways to cope. ‘This is Physically Hurting Me’ sees them go into a frenzied state of denial. The results are predictable and a highlight of the season.
As the debut season of Avenue 5 draws to a close, it delivers arguably its funniest episode. There is a sense of tension throughout the show as major decisions have to be made. The passengers continue to be the most interesting people to watch. Seeing how the group acts under the most dire of circumstances is almost an odd social experiment. Avenue 5 has gotten better over the course of the season leading to an interesting season finale.
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