“Dry” makes for a promising, funny opener to Moonbase 8, as a water shortage leads to some unexpected consequences.
This recap of Moonbase 8 season 1, episode 1, “Dry” contains spoilers.
Thank goodness for opening crawls. In this one, Showtime’s new half-hour comedy lays out its near-future premise, in a text that insists in the next few months, NASA is going to build a base on the moon. In the meantime, they’re running several simulation bases back on Earth, to train prospective candidates for living and working on Luna. One of them, in Winslow, Arizona, is where “Dry” picks up, with John C. Reilly’s Cap going about his business on the titular Moonbase 8. Travis Kelce, playing himself, is working out. The tone is so serious that it’s not serious at all, which one supposes is the point.
The crew — which also includes Rook (Tim Heidecker) and Skip (Fred Armisen) — get a new mission, which is to plant a modified apple seed and monitor its growth. But the character dynamics begin to establish themselves nice and early here, with it becoming obvious that Travis — who’s really good here, by the way — is bullying Cap. There’s also a water crisis; the crew has burned through a month’s worth in a week, so they need to improvise a solution.
With three days of water left, that gives everyone about a week to live, and since they can’t drink the canola oil or successfully recycle their own urine, that’s a major problem. Travis comes up with the solution of digging a well, a dangerous and likely terrible idea, but naturally a terrified Cap is in full support of it. In a quick glimpse of characterization, Cap explains to Travis that he messed up his whole life prior to coming here and that getting to the moon is the only way he isn’t going to be a deadbeat dad. So, plenty on the line here. Travis uses his feigned support as a way to finesse Cap’s water rations since his hydration is important for his skin and his workouts.
When Rook and Skip question Cap about being Travis’s “assistant”, we learn that the latter is only present for good PR in a cross-brand venture with the NFL. Which means it probably won’t go down well (no pun intended) that Travis, while digging the well, collapses the ground and falls straight through it. When his vital signs flat-line, that’s a pretty major problem for the crew, who have all seemingly experienced great financial hardship and sunken business endeavors and are here as something of a last chance at redemption.
As soon as the report of Travis’s death is sent out, it all becomes a cover-up. Until then, they need to figure out how not to die of thirst, and drinking cleaning solution isn’t going to do it. Away from Travis’s hands-on jock influence, Cap, Rook, and Skip put their brains together… which doesn’t seem to work either. With their kidneys close to shutting down, they have one last hail mary — the celebration champagne, their only remaining source of hydration. Everyone gets a one-second sip. Before long, they’re deep into the second bottle and everyone’s steaming.
It’s a good opportunity for bonding, at least, and eventually leads everyone to don their spacesuits and lay on the ground outside for a “moon bath”. Guilt gets the better of Skip, who wants to call in Travis’s death, but all of them are too drunk to move. The authorities later arrive and fish Travis’s dead body out of the well, and NASA’s higher-ups inform the crew that there was a leak in the water tank and Travis was clearly negligent, meaning none of them are at fault. They can continue with the mission, which, since this is the premiere, is probably just as well.
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