“Crashing” proves a powerful exploration of addiction and the best episode of Dom thus far.
This recap of Dom season 1, episode 5, “Crashing”, contains spoilers.
Dom’s themes of addiction, family, and a strained father-son bond have been obvious all throughout, but they really crystallize in “Crashing”, which is easily the best, most somber, powerful, and thematically resonant installment thus far. Building from Lico’s death in the previous episode, it ventures deep down a rabbit hole of personal despair, beginning with Pedro, still reeling, falling deeper and deeper into his addiction as a coping mechanism.
Of course, this is also paralleled with Victor’s exploits in the ‘70s. Dom episode 5 shows him still using at the behest of Ribeiro and being given another job, one that brings him into the orbit of Marcio and his mother, Mae, whose story is fittingly similar to that of Pedro. If it’s about anything beyond the obvious, “Crashing” is about the insistent pull of addiction, and the sheer difficulty to break free of it, exemplified by flashbacks to the ‘90s chronicling Pedro’s experiences in rehab, and the endless, tireless cycle of one step forwards and two back. This whole sequence is the most powerful stretch of filmmaking thus far, a near-perfect embodiment of addiction’s pain, struggles, and never-ending process.
Here is where we also see Victor’s personal life conflicting with his work on more than a thematic level. After learning of Lico’s death and Pedro’s subsequent spiraling response to it, Victor goes to tend to him mid-operation, leaving Jessika to what turns out to be a death sentence. The knock-on effects of Pedro’s addiction aren’t confined to his family; self-destructive impulses are never limited to the self. But it’s the additional layer of blame that Victor has for himself that really gives Dom season 1, episode 5 its complexity and power. His flooding Brazil with drugs – even as an undercover operative – contributed. His forcing Pedro repeatedly into rehab and then a juvenile facility contributed. The drugs and his life experiences have hardened Pedro, eroding the slivers of his humanity until all that remains now is a husk – a husk who has just lost the person closest to him.