“What’s Bourne / What’s Left Behind” is a serviceable penultimate chapter that does the best with what’s available.
This recap of Another Life season 2, episode 9, “What’s Bourne / What’s Left Behind”, contains spoilers.
It’s the responsibility of a penultimate episode to set the stage for a finale, to move all the right pieces into place. It’s a functional thing, usually, but a necessary one. And “What’s Bourne / What’s Left Behind”, annoying title notwithstanding, is a decent attempt. But it’s too little too late, for reasons that have been discussed in previous recaps. There’s a fundamental disconnect between this show’s drama and its audience. The inorganic plotting and thin characterization have created a gulf between the two; the naked mechanics of the narrative have exposed the artificiality at its heart.
Another Life season 2, episode 9 recap
All of this is a long-winded way of saying the episode is fine, and the show is mostly fine, but it doesn’t run the risk of becoming anything more than that. This penultimate outing is a game of two halves, really. In one, Niko and Richard attempt to return to Earth using the power core and the maps they discovered in the previous episode, while Cas and Erik try to locate William aboard the planetside half of the Salvare. Simple stuff, but again, necessary.
Niko and Richard’s quest takes them to another random planet, similar to the others containing Achaian artifacts in that it possesses a breathable atmosphere, which I suppose is just as well (wouldn’t be much of a show if it didn’t!). Through some brief exploration, they discover a literal door that leads, basically, back to Earth, and so the episode becomes about facilitating this transition by linking the storyline up with the shenanigans taking place on Earth itself.
William is playing a long game that requires Erik to be fitted with one of the spidery Achaian implants, which all, in a roundabout way, facilitates both Niko and Richard’s return to Earth, Seth losing the upper hand, and the Achaians promising to arrive rather imminently, teeing up the much-teased conflict with Earth that has been building all throughout the season. We’re introduced, too, to the idea of an under-construction neutrino weapon that might well be the only way to fight back against the Achaia but requires a great deal of cooperation in order to be made functional – I drew comparisons with Mass Effect in a previous recap, and it’s difficult not to do the same here.
But the explosive final moments might put paid to that idea.