Synopsis: With the mission in danger of being shut down, the Vista team travels to Washington to testify before Congress. Meanwhile, the Castillo family pursues their lawsuit against the company.
Review: This was a good follow up to last week’s episode. Sean Penn absolutely steals every scene he is in. He combines the rugged manliness of Hugh Jackman with the dutifulness and desire to help those around him of Chris Evans’ Captain America. I loved the scene where he faced down the American President, played with a certain cynical snideness by Jeannie Berlin, as well as the emotional speech he gave to Mr. and Mrs. Castillo about why their son’s dreams mattered. That scene was my favorite because I felt it showed that real change is achieved one face to face conversation at a time as opposed to decisions made in a court of law as well as providing an excellent counterbalance to the argument against the space program. Miguel Najera packed a real emotional punch in his performance in the courtroom scene and in the more intimate conversation with Sean Penn afterward. The CGI of space was well done and lent weight to what Tom Hagerty was saying. I thought that the theme of real-world issues being the same no matter what decade humanity is in grounded this episode and made it feel more real.
Anna Jacoby-Heron’s performance as Tom’s daughter Denise felt stilted at times although I did like the scene where she remembers her mother. There were some excellent shots of Denise on her own which really captured the alienation that teenagers feel. The ending was quite sweet and reinforced both Tom and Denise’s characters, although I thought Tom’s reasoning for going back to the space program felt a bit forced. The camera work and montages were consistently good all the way through. I liked the clinical, washed out feel of the courtroom and I really liked the overlay of Sean Penn’s testimony before the court with his daughter in their house. Natascha McElhone proves to be just as relatable as Sean Penn but as a more by the book, corporate figure. The build up of romantic tension between the two should be fun to watch over the coming weeks. The only thing that rankled somewhat was the strawman protestors outside the courtroom who were portrayed as more of a nuisance than anything else.
Overall, an interesting second episode with a spectacular central performance by Sean Penn.
- Incidental Music9.5