Drawing heavily on Cuaron’s Gravity for inspiration, “Helping Hand” is too weightless to have a big impact. One of the weaker entries in this anthology.
Love, Death + Robots is a Netflix Anthology series created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Here is the review for Episode 11, “Helping Hand”, which will contain spoilers. You can read the spoiler-free review of the entire series by clicking these words. You can check out our archive for reviews of each episode by clicking these words.
Alex gets into her space suit and leaves her pod to do some maintenance work on a satellite. She complains on her radio to her buddy about corporate budget cuts.
A loose screw drifts through space and cuts a hole through her mobility unit and oxygen tanks. She is stuck drifting through space, marooned whilst she waits for a rescue crew. It looks like they won’t make it in time.
She tries to maneuver herself by first throwing the glove of her suit to propel her and then throws the arm itself (helping hand, geddit?). She returns to the ship and calls it in.
It feels like they started with the punchline and worked backward on this one. The stakes are set high, but the tension doesn’t quite build enough for the payoff to be satisfying.
When a similar idea to this was just put on screen in Gravity, where you got to spend much more time with the character and subsequently care much more that she makes it home in one piece, you are never really given a reason to root for Alex, which is perhaps forgivable for a 10-minute short. However, unlike many of the stories in this series the set-piece itself is quite underwhelming too, which means that “Helping Hand” never quite reaches a satisfying conclusion.
Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.