“Never Gonna Give You Up” pumps the brakes in a longer episode that borders on filler.
This recap of Another Life season 2, episode 7, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, contains spoilers.
It’s hard to say that Another Life Season 2 has been better than its predecessor. It lacks some of the sense of mystery, and even though it has been replaced by consistent ambiguity, space is, at least to me, most compatible with that feeling of gradual discovery. But one of the things that has definitely been better about it is the short runtimes of the episodes – ten is still too many, but they’re easier to swallow, scientific babble and all, when they’re closer to a half-hour than an hour. “Never Gonna Give You Up” bucks that trend. It’s only a couple of minutes longer than the previous two episodes and about ten longer than most of the others, but you can feel every second of those minutes. This is a show that lives and dies on its pace. When it starts to sag, any oxygen in the drama gets vented rather quickly.
Another Life season 2, episode 7 recap
With Cas and co. having arrived back on Earth in the previous episode, it at least makes sense for the show to shift focus back to Niko, who has been stranded a week and intends to use lasers and sails to propel her half of the ship to safety. Well, maybe not safety, but at least to the planet Paula and the colonists landed on, which we knew we hadn’t seen the back of. The journey, though, leaves a lot of time for Niko and Richard to sit around doing nothing, and that’s where we lose some of the air that might have powered those sails.
Developments on Earth aren’t abandoned, though, with the rest of the Salvare being subjected to grilling by Seth, with Zayn being identified as a target, and Cas potentially having her memory wiped. There’s also a coding-level connection between William and Niko, which also includes Iara, and amounts to basically an excuse for him to re-reset to his pre-reset state in a rather confounding development. The fewer questions asked about this the better, probably.
Predictably, Niko and Richard get thrown off-course, leading to another age-old trope – the ejection of all non-essential stuff to reduce weight and oxygen and such. All the trinkets go out of the airlock. In the meantime, a veil of ambiguity begins to descend over proceedings. Is there something aboard with them? Is Richard just high on fentanyl? Is Niko hallucinating an Achaian in the landing bay, or is it really there? I must confess I liked this stuff a fair bit, even though the easy resolution – both are suffering from nitrogen narcosis, aka “The Bends” – exposes it for filler. It’s a shame, really, that this doesn’t amount to much, since it was building on the fertile territory of claustrophobic paranoia, which you have to imagine would crop up while trapped in space with one other person.
Anyway, the last-minute arrival of another ship, though not the Achaia, ends “Never Gonna Give You Up” with a bit of a cliff-hanger, but it feels like too little too late when it comes to justifying those extra few minutes spent stretching this episode out.