I honestly don’t know how I missed this scifi show. I caught up on it three weeks ago and was impressed by the show, the acting and pretty much everything. The fact is that I wasn’t expecting much.
For the first few weeks in August, I kept seeing Defying Gravity in queues. I expected it to be some kind of extreme sports show. That is until I stumbled upon someone mentioning it as scifi. I did my homework and started watching the 7 episodes that I had missed.
I was surprised at how interesting this show was. That being said, it wasn’t very surprising that this show got canceled pretty quickly. It’s off ABC for now and the remaining 5 episodes are being aired on the SPACE channel in Canada, which isn’t available to the US. Luckily, enterprising viewers will be able to find the latest episodes of Defying Gravity easily enough.
Honestly, I’m annoyed that this series got canceled. Naturally, it was foreseeable, but if it would have been on another network, like Syfy, it could have easily continued its full run. Anyway, the initial order was for only 14 episodes, so we should be grateful that we can watch these episodes.
Warning: spoilers ahead
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The show is all about a mission in space, in the near future, by astronauts. They are on a grand tour, visiting all of the planets of our solar system. The mission will take six years. The astronauts don’t know the whole truth behind the mission, as they will all discover in episode 9.
Until then, they have unexplained hallucinations, which endanger the mission. Meanwhile, the back story of the show is also shown. It goes back 5 years when the mission was being planned. Donner and Ted are two of the astronauts that went to Mars 10 years ago. Two of their fellow astronauts were still outside when a storm hit. They had to leave the planet. They were ordered by Mike Gauss, who was still on the spaceship. Donner and Ted complied, but under extreme duress.
Donner’s lover was left on Mars, as well as another astronaut. This has haunted and tainted them ever since. They were part of the training team, but Mike was under orders that they should never be able to go to Venus. As it happens, at the last minute, Donner and Ted were taken aboard after two of the astronauts developed health problems.
Eve goes on about how they were chosen for this. Eve is now married to Ted, who was involved with Jen five years ago. Right now, Jen is married to Rollie, one of the two astronauts who was grounded. Donner is involved sexually with Nadia, the German astronaut, but is in love with Zoe, who was also involved with Donner 5 years ago.
Anyway, there is quite a lot happening in the past to explain the situation of all of the astronauts. It’s quite intriguing. I’ve watched ten episodes and I’m still hooked.
There are only a couple of issues that I see. Sometimes, the recaps are long. By recaps, I mean when the astronauts talk about their past. The astronauts are all linked. Beta is making both Zoe and Donner dream the same dream, although their hallucinations are different. Donner keeps seeing Sharon while Zoe keeps hearing a baby crying.
Donner seems connected to Beta in some fashion. He believes that he is destined to go to Venus, not Paula. He believes that he should have gone on the rover on Mars 10 years ago. He didn’t and Walker went. Both Sharon and Walker were stranded on Mars. In this episode, Donner seems to have the gift of prophecy, as something happens to Paula’s Venusian ambitions. Wass is trying to understand the effects that Beta has, on a quantum level.
Meanwhile, the crew is still trying to cope with what was revealed in the last episode. Jen still can’t hear or see Beta. She starts telling some of the crew about this. All of them deal with it in their own way. This episode lets viewers assimilate the big discoveries of the last episode and their impact, even though we don’t really know what Beta is and what it wants.
Also, I don’t like how they addressed the gravity issue. In space, there is barely any gravity. Usually, spaceship designs include rotating habitats to simulate gravity with centrifugal force. However, in the rest of the ship, the gravity is simulated by their high-tech jumpsuits, which are made out of some nano-fiber that “clings” to surfaces. I don’t really know much more, as it’s only been mentioned a few times.
Even if some people at Mission Control, those being Claire, Eve, Mike, Rollie, and other unnamed higher-ups know of the real mission, the astronauts have still to discover what it really is. We discover it at the same time when they finally open up pod 4 and bask in the glory of alien life.
The crew knows of the real mission now. They are on an alien treasure hunt to collect alien living objects. The objects communicate via hallucinations. They won’t be able to do anything except what the object wants. This was a good episode, setting the tone for the Venusian landing, which will most probably happen in the next episode. Donner and Zoe will be on the lander together.
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The astronauts are trying to cope with the revelation of their true mission. Jen still can’t see or hear Beta. Throughout their video diary entries, Beta is playing music.
Donner asks Eve what Sharon and Walker were doing on Mars in the other mission 10 years ago. They were there to retrieve Alpha. They knew what they were doing. The Mars mission failed because Alpha didn’t want Walker. Eve didn’t have the authority to get him out of there. Eve is full of shit. After they stop talking to her, Donner is pissed at Eve. He takes it out on Ted. Ted is being a good CO and tells him to forget about the past. Donner joins Zoe watching Beta. Nadia is refusing to pilot the ship into Venus orbit entry. Nadia is pissed. Mintz is trying to psychoanalyze her.
Donner believes that he should be piloting the lander instead of Paula. Donner thinks that they are making the same mistakes as on Mars. Paula is running a landing simulation with Zoe. Paula believes that Beta is God.
Rolly stashed a ring for Jen in her lab. She is still pissed at him for not telling her about Beta. When Zoe walks in, she cuts him off. Jen isn’t happy with this situation. She doesn’t hear Beta and mentions it to Zoe. They have a little argument. The crew votes live in the American election of 2052. Donner is looking at them. He keeps staring at Zoe and remembering Mars.
Zoe takes Donner apart. He’s been acting strange. He says that Paula shouldn’t go to Venus. Sharon was hallucinating right before the walk. He says that this is the same mistake that they did on Mars. Zoe says that she isn’t Sharon and he doesn’t need to save him.
Mintz noticed that all of the dental floss has gone missing. The straws are also gone. Paula is going through her final checkup before the mission. If she doesn’t get this, she can’t pilot the lander. She fails twice. Her hand is shaking. There is stress in her extremities. Her thumb is bleeding. Mintz tells Donner that Paula failed. He’s going to be the pilot.
Nadia finds out that Wass has taken the straws and dental flows. He’s made a mechanical model of a n+1 dimensional universe arising from quantum fluctuations emanating from Beta. He wanted to check his calculations without MC checking up on him constantly. Wass manages to abate her worries somewhat.
Ted and Donner drink some vodka. Paula is preparing to do the election coverage. She has to reveal to the world that she isn’t going to pilot the lander. She spouts some Biblical nonsense. Wass intervenes so that she doesn’t look too mental. Paula believes that Beta is evil. After peering at Beta some more, Nadia pilots the ship into Venus entry.
Claire says that she is concerned about the medical effects of Beta. Mike is briefing the Mission Control team about how to proceed. Rolly is to report strange behavior from the crew. The British journalist Williams is trying to weasel some info out of Mike. He isn’t talking. Rolly calls Jen from AJ’s console. She answers thinking it’s AJ. Jen tells him that she can’t see or hear Beta.
Mike and Eve are worried about the news of the real Antares mission being leaked. Rolly drives over someone while checking his phone. It’s possible that he killed someone.
10 years ago, Sharon is looking at the Martian skyline. Donner is talking to her, but she isn’t listening. She is hearing Alpha, most probably. She says that she keeps thinking about her childhood best friend Tabitha. Walker interrupts them from fooling around.
Donner wakes up and finds Sharon crying. Once again, Donner is trying to make a case for him to take the rover with Sharon instead of Walker. Ted refuses to let him go. He had a bad feeling. During the final walk, Walker had chest pains.
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