“Everybody Happy Now!” ups the tension with a daring escape, a tragic loss, and a return to a life that will never be the same again.
This recap of Brave New World season 1, episode 3, “Everybody Happy Now!”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It’s easy to put bullets in guns, but it’s not so easy to dig them out of someone’s flesh. This is what John is quickly realizing in Brave New World episode 3, as his mother, Linda, digs a round out of Bernard’s shoulder. He made a rash decision to pitch in with the Resistance and now, given the responsibility of finding the foreigners, he realizes he has made a mistake. This opening to “Everybody Happy Now!” is tense, and does no favors for Madysun, who turns up to find out what John’s up to and promises to shoot his mum in the head if he’s lying — which he is. When she discovers this she holds him at gunpoint, but Linda stabs her from behind. “I don’t wanna hear it,” she sternly informs John. Demi Moore remains endlessly awesome.
This is really a showcase for Linda, who far from being a directionless drunk is a former Beta who has been dying to escape this life; John, in his impulsiveness, has given her the opportunity to do so. There’s a good mix of humor and tension in these sections, as Linda turns to Pope for help in patching up Bernard, which includes cauterizing his wound. Bernard promises that if they make it out alive, he and Lenina will be monogamous with each other.
“Everybody Happy Now!” is about running away. John, Linda, Bernard, and Lenina are obviously running away from the Resistance. But Linda has also been running away from her past. Not only was she once a Beta, but John’s father was an Alpha. He’s a child of New London. And with Bernard’s help, they can bypass the barrier and return there, escaping their life as zoo attractions. The fact anyone sees New London as some kind of idyllic paradise just highlights the depths of desperation in the Savage Lands.
A couple of car chases and a dopey incident at a checkpoint are fun, but Brave New World episode 3 is at its best when it slows down, as everyone is forced to progress through the woods on foot. This is where all their separate ideas and expectations are brought to the boil, and it’s the show leaning into character rather than plot or worldbuilding. When they finally reach the barrier, Lenina experiences a change in outlook. It’s sudden, but given her on-going questioning of New London society and open sexuality and such, perhaps less sudden than it appears. But she recognizes that abandonment is one of the worst fates, and refuses to leave Linda and John behind, despite Bernard’s urging. Eventually, they all cross.
But there’s a penance to pay, a toll for crossing the border, and it turns out to be Linda’s life. She was shot during the escape. But just because Lenina and Bernard make it back to New London, that doesn’t mean they’re returning to their old lives. How can they, now? And John, captured, begging only to see his mother’s body, is about to experience a new life of his own — one quite unlike his old one.