“Will to Power” pulls a development from basically nowhere as a diversion threatens to knock the overarching narrative off-course.
This recap of Another Life season 2, episode 4, “Will to Power”, contains spoilers.
Meet Gabriel. He’s an AI fighting William for control in the manner of some dormant personality in a horror movie. He’s also a complete ass-pull. I suppose it was too obvious that Iara, the likeliest suspect, would have been responsible for severing the tether that caused the magnetar to obliterate the Achaia. But I’m not sure the matter of Gabriel would only be coming up now, four episodes into a second season. Through flashbacks, analysis of coding, and some theatrics around the Salvare, we’re introduced to the concept in a way that at least feels somewhat fleshed out. Still, though, it feels a bit easy.
Another Life season 2, episode 4 recap
And it’s a shame since there’s an element of early paranoia that the show could have used more of. Following the whole deal with the tether, suspicions fall on Iara, naturally, and there’s actually a worthwhile bit about how torture isn’t a justifiable means of intelligence gathering since people will say whatever you want to hear if they’re put under the right amount of duress. Nobody buys Iara’s confession, which leads them to William, which, eventually, leads them to Gabriel. I can tolerate this chain of developments.
But I just never bought into Gabriel’s claims that William is really the inferior, unstable model. He’s so obviously antagonistic and such an out-of-nowhere development that really he has to fulfill the purpose of a villain, whatever his claims to the contrary. There’s no tension in that. The idea, thankfully, isn’t dragged out very long, but the entire inclusion feels forced and inorganic. Teleporting around the ship, antagonizing Iara – it’s all a bit obvious, no?
With this in mind, Cas venturing to a habitable nearby planet feels like a contrivance diversion designed entirely to give Gabriel time to be even more mischievous, hacking into the oxygen supply and setting a new route for the Achaia homeworld, leaving Cas and co. stranded. The first season admittedly had a kind of case-of-the-week structure now and again, so it isn’t altogether off-brand for the show to introduce a new little mission out of nowhere, but still. You get the idea.
And what it’s all building towards as a dramatic conceit is the classic solution to every technological problem – trying to turn it off and back on again. It might work with TVs, but reducing two sentient personalities to that is a bit of a stretch.
You can stream Another Life season 2, episode 4, “Will to Power”, exclusively on Netflix.