Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Other Space: First Contact

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“First Contact” is an odd episode because it’s purpose is to set up the finale but spends a lot of time spinning its wheels in a way that does not feel particularly productive toward getting to the end of the first season. The thrust of the episode is that the crew has a found a way home (although, it’s probably important to note that Natasha’s calculations were no 100 percent guaranteed to get the crew home. There’s always that lingering three percent). Stewart and Kent and Natasha prepare for the probably that they will no longer be in space together for much longer, while Michael, Karen, and Tina rehash old habits.

Stewart’s desire to do more than collect the sand, dirt and rocks leads him to desperate measures: Doing drugs in order to connect with an alien, who, if the credits are to be believe is played by Sarah Baker, the actress who performed the incredible monologue from the Louie episode “So Did The Fat Lady” (she also showed up at the end of “Trouble’s Brewing”). This plot featured some funny interactions with Zalien (“Of course, my friend Stewart! I keep getting you confused with him because you’re a shorter, chubbier version”) and A.R.T., but it felt like a missed opportunity for Karan Soni to really go drugged-out nuts or go further into Stewart’s Tina-focused fantasies. I appreciated that the more drugs Stewart took, the pornier his dreams seemed to get (“I did it on purpose, I gave you crazy elbow boob”), but I wanted a little bit more from this plot, even if the end — the alien was attracted to love, not sex — was quite sweet.

I was not a fan of the Tina-Karen-Michael subplot. Karen, after showing no interest in Michael post-hook-up, freaks out when she figures out that Tina and Michael were intimate while stuck on a planet. The fact that Tina subsequently ATE MICHAEL’S LEG does not seem to be of interest when it comes to Karen’s jealousy. I’m fine with Karen and Tina hating each other because of professional reasons, or personality incompatibility, but it drove me a little nuts that the plot was initially set up for them to fight over a man. I don’t think this was some sexist conspiracy on the part of writer Matteo Borghese, especially considering the punchline that Tina and Karen have their own history. But there seemed to be no real reason for Karen to be so mad at Michael because he was with Tina. There were other ways to get to the “trial,” especially when there are other ways for Michael, who is consistently shown as irritating, and Karen, a hothead throughout the series, to get to the point that they did without some kind of unwarranted romantic jealousy.

The Kent-Natasha relationship is still an odd one for me. Although, like Stewart’s plotline, ended up being quite sweet as they figured out they will never live happily ever after. Natasha will be wiped and Kent will go back to the impossible task of pleasing his mother. While TV common sense leads me to believe that the first season will not end with the much-desired parade, Natasha and Kent’s relationship is perhaps the biggest indicator that the crew will stay in space. I’m not entirely sure how this hooded alien will affect their journey, or lack thereof, home. But I’m looking forward to it.

Stray observations:

  • If the medium is the message and all that, I have to mention that I really dislike watching anything on Yahoo Screens. The Closed Caption is off and the commercial breaks are odd and will often send me back to the beginning of the episode. I have not watched Community or Sin City Saints yet, so Other Space is my first experience and I am not a fan.
  • “Stewart and the alien fucking in the tree.”
  • “Michael. Underpants.” “Kent. nipple rocket.”
  • “I feel like the opposite of shit.” “That’s pee.” “The opposite of shit is food.”
  • As a massive Springsteen fan, I will forever laugh at “Dancing In the Dark” parodies