Last week, the team of Moonbase 8 received a new member who quickly made her presence felt and disrupted the guys’ lives. Soon after, a sickness hit causing Skip and Cap to quarantine. That left Rook alone with Alicia and he began having impure thoughts. In the end, Alicia proved her worth to NASA and was awarded a spot on the next mission while the rest of the gang remained.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead]
The crew are hit by budget cuts from above affecting all aspects of their lives from spark plugs for the rover to the bagels they eat to the soap they use. To try to compensate, NASA forms a strategic partnership with Mars (not the planet but the candy company). As a result, they must participate in taste tests for new products including the Snickers honey glazed maple bar (do they really exist?). Skip questions whether they’re doing any important work anymore and is offended at the latest assignment.
Meanwhile, SpaceX moves in next door with a training base of their own. Cap things they should team up with their neighbors to help resolve some of their money issues and invites them over. One of the SpaceX astronauts, Billy (Adam Lambert), happens to be Skip’s former protégé. Seeing the sorry state at Moonbase 8, Billy offers his mentor a position at SpaceX, which Skip strongly considers.
“Visitors” places the spotlight on Skip for the first time and nicely builds to his dilemma. Out of the three, he is the strongest candidate for the moon and his feelings are understandable after the budget cuts. He receives a very enticing offer but he can’t ditch the guys he’s come to the party with. Though Skip may be socially awkward and has problems making personal connections, he does care for his teammates when they’re being insulted by their guests and publicly refuses the position.
There’s also a nice play on generational differences with NASA being the established old guard and SpaceX being the flashy upstart. The Moonbase 8 crew have antiquated practices while their neighbors have all the latest gadgets and rely on the latest scientific research to guide them. These aspects help play to the obnoxiousness of the non-Adam Lambert astronauts and their passive aggressive bullying.
With this episode, the series is past its halfway point and I’m left wondering why I should care about the main characters. Initially it felt like an underdog story with these inept astronauts with big dreams but so far, they haven’t shown any glimpses of competence that makes you believe they have a chance. They’ve gone from lovable losers to just losers. Despite my fondness for the talent, it’s hard to be invested in their characters because they don’t seem worthy of it.
“Visitors” gives Fred Armisen’s Skip a moment in the spotlight that tests his ambitions and his loyalty to his teammates. Even though the episode reinforces the main trio’s relationship and provides entertaining generational differences, the overall seasonal arc begins losing steam since it feels like the team has no chance to make it to the moon.
Moonbase 8 airs Sunday nights on Showtime.
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