“Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” has the spectre of loss around it as nightmares besiege the crew of the Dauntless.
This recap of Pandora season 2, episode 4, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Since last week gave us our first big character “death” of the season – although the door is very much open for Matta to waltz right back through it later, this show rarely treating death with any kind of permanence – “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” is still dwelling on it, at least as far as Ralen is concerned. While Jax and co. head out in search of a lost alien race and find themselves besieged by nightmares, Ralen stays behind on Earth to handle his grief, giving Jett and Zazie a chance to get involved with the main plot.
The Zatarians, social awkwardness notwithstanding, have consistently been depicted as the smartest people in any given room, and so Ralen feels Matta’s loss incredibly deeply. This is to say nothing of their plans for a new, private home after their mutual banishment from Zatar; Matta wasn’t just his wife, but his only remaining connection to a homeworld that wants nothing more to do with him. You’d be upset too, especially if you’re so-called friends subsequently left you behind for adventure and the only person you had to confide in was Jett.
Then again, Jett really turned a corner here, not only becoming more rounded by revealing his own personal story of loss, but by insistently being there for Ralen despite actual physical threats to his wellbeing if he didn’t leave him alone. Jett’s stubbornness actually paid off here, and it made him much more endearing as a character after this second season has spent a good chunk of time trying and failing to redeem him. I guess that’s mission finally accomplished.
Besides, this more personal drama proved to be significantly more taxing than the actual main plot of “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’”, since as it turns out, tracking down a long-forgotten alien race is pretty easy when everyone puts their heads and DNA together. If anything it’s a means to an end, an excuse for more backstory regarding Xander and his dead brother and Shral and his lingering guilt over involvement in the New Portland attack, especially given how closely he’s working with Jax.
The gimmick of telepathic nightmares based on each individual’s worst fears isn’t a new one, but Pandora gets some decent mileage out of it. The suggestion of them communicating with and helping out other races without having to leave their planet is a nice idea, and one that could easily pay off in a cool way later, and I continue to like the idea of a galaxy-wide recruitment drive as an overarching plot-driver, especially with the promise of more races to come. You can never rely on Pandora to execute anything well, but at least you can rely on it to actually try and do something interesting, which will certainly do for me.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.