“My Own Worst Enemy” has some big moments, but shaky plotting conspires against it.
This recap of Another Life season 2, episode 3, “My Own Worst Enemy”, contains spoilers.
The worst enemy of Another Life is pretty clearly itself. And far be it from me to make a jokey point without any context, consider this episode, and almost everything that happens in it. Consider what it means for a sci-fi show to introduce a big, very science-y concept and then completely undermine it by having it not follow through on its explicitly stated purpose. Imagine the utter convenience of a random action on one spaceship being perfectly timed to save the life of someone on another. People are far too nitpicky when it comes to science-fiction at the best of times, but Another Life betrays not just scientific principles but basic storytelling ones as well. It makes the contrivances too difficult to ignore.
Another Life season 2, episode 3 recap
Again, the Achaians basically making a hostage of Cas by presenting her with tailored visions is a good idea – not a new one, granted, but it makes sense. It implies cleverness on the part of the extra-terrestrials and an easy manipulability on the part of the humans. This is thematically coherent. It works. Javier instructing Iara to link up with him, causing the destruction of the Achaian embodiment of Ava in just the nick of time, is a Michael-Jordan-in-Space-Jam level reach. It’s just too convenient to be believed. You can’t build drama this way!
It’s pointless picking holes in how a magnetar works – I’m no astrophysicist, which is why I complain about TV for a living. You could make the case that the whole thing is symptomatic of a larger issue, and I certainly wouldn’t argue with you, but whatever. I’m happy to meet the show halfway. But in most of its character writing and basic A-to-B plotting, it isn’t even getting that far.
Consider Richard deciding to leave Niko and Cas behind. Consider the once again convenient development of Cas getting through on the radio just in time to stop that from happening, preventing the decision from having to be reckoned with. This sort of thing is irritating to me. I might not know how magnetars work, but I have the basics of human interaction and storytelling down. The morality of leadership is a worthwhile theme, but you have to commit to it.
Thus far, the only thing Another Life is really committing to is keeping things moving at a fast enough pace that continuing to watch seems easier than stopping. “My Own Worst Enemy” builds to a big conclusion in which, thanks to some meddling, the Achaia are destroyed by the magnetar, which is sure to have repercussions for the crew of the Salvare. So, there’s still a baseline level of watchability here, and the show knows this about itself. Since there are so many things it hasn’t realized about itself, I suppose we should take this as a consolation.
You can stream Another Life season 2, episode 3, “My Own Worst Enemy”, exclusively on Netflix.