Well, the mission to Mars certainly did not get any easier on AWAY Season 1 Episode 2.
"Negative Return" tested the Atlas crew's trust for each other as a solar panel malfunctioned. And since the team was on considerably rocky grounds when they left for Mars, fixing the solar panel was certainly not a piece of cake.
With a lack of trust among crew members, everyone had tough decisions to make in this situation. These decisions could successfully fix the panel, force the Atlas to return home, or result in certain death. It is safe to say the stakes were already higher than ever, and there are eight more episodes after this one.
However, despite the high stakes, "Negative Return" was not as riveting as AWAY Season 1 Episode 1 was. There were riskier and more dangerous choices to be made, but the episode did not necessarily make these potential scenarios super exciting.
Nevertheless, it was a great episode that portrayed the importance of decision-making, trust, sacrifice, and teamwork.
"Negative Return" also featured Misha's backstory and the tough decisions he made that led him to today. Furthermore, Misha's backstory provided a vastly different approach to family compared to Emma's.
Misha: Look, I did nine EVAs. Trust me; I know what I'm doing. We shouldn't have any confusion about who is in charge out there, okay?
Emma: We have confusion in here; why wouldn't we have it out there?
Misha: Because you wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Lu and me, none of us would.
Ram: You know you really need to start treating her like the commander of this ship.
Misha: She proved in the first days of mission she's not fit commander, so relax, and don't tell me who to treat like what. You have no idea what I had to sacrifice to get here.
That does not mean Misha loved his family any less. However, sometimes, making the wrong choice involves someone paying the price, and in Misha's case, it was his daughter, Natalya.
A flashback showed Misha's dynamic with his daughter and his wife. They were a very loving and happy family until disaster struck -- while Misha was away in space, his wife died.
He came back to a room full of condolences and a heartbroken daughter with only one request -- for Misha to never leave her again.
Considering that Misha is in space, he evidently, did not keep his promise. Although he is on speaking terms with his daughter and her family, she holds resentment for her father, and rightfully so.
Misha's past decision is curious because he only regrets part of it. Misha regrets breaking his promise to his daughter and breaking her heart, but he does not regret going back to space.
We see how Misha is genuinely at home while aboard the Atlas, but we also see the pain and regret on his face when he asks his daughter for forgiveness just before his spacewalk.
AWAY does a great job of balancing Misha's feelings about his past decision. They show that we cannot define choices as good or bad, and most often, they are complex. There are positive and negative consequences for them. So, the question is not, "Is this a good or a bad choice?" Instead, it is, "Which consequence do I value more?"
Thus, a bad choice is only terrible if the decision-maker falsely valued one consequence over another, which is Misha's case.
Misha's past seemed riddled with choices, but his present did not lack them -- in fact, they raised the stakes. Misha and Emma must team up together to fix the spaceship's solar panel because they will not make it to Mars if they do not.
But how could they work together if Misha does not even trust Emma? After all, he does not think that she should be there, and now, his future depends on her.
Emma: It's just the two of us out there, Misha. We have to work together. You have to trust me.
Misha: Look, spacewalk is like war. You have to trust the man walking with you to save your life, or vice versa. Now, you and I... first time with emergency, you froze. Trust, it's good, it's important. But it must be earned, Commander.
Misha has another difficult choice to make: should he trust Emma to help fix the solar panel, or should he keep his guard up and do as much as he can by himself?
Well, when an electrical issue occurs during their spacewalk, Misha and Emma must figure out how to get to the solar panel without blowing up. Their spacewalk is truly a life or death situation, and Misha knows he must tread carefully.
If there's anything life has taught me, you don't get exactly what you sign up for.Melissa
Emma insists on risking her life by briefly detaching her suit from the ship. She volunteered herself so that Misha could finally trust her as an astronaut, as a colleague, and as a commander.
However, many things could go wrong because it is easy for astronauts to float away if their suits are not clipped to their spaceships. So, if Emma is unable to fix the solar panel on her own, then the Atlas is doomed.
It is a tough choice for Misha, but he takes the leap and trusts Emma. He looks at the possible consequences and realizes despite the risks, it is better to rely on Emma because if she proves herself, a united crew with a trustworthy commander would be more likely to make it to Mars than a crew who distrusts each other.
Listen to me. It's just you and Misha out there. Plans don't matter. Mission Control doesn't matter. You gotta work together. You know what's right, and you keep looking ahead, find that next hold.Matt
It is a very big "if," but Misha's decision proved to be a good one. Emma fixes the solar panel, and Misha makes a daring rescue to save her from floating away.
Misha and his daughter may have a strained relationship, but it seems that he built a foundation of trust with Emma. By extension, Lu and Emma also trust each other now. The crew is more united than ever if they need to team up and get work done. Trust and teamwork won at the end of the day on "Negative Return."
However, not everyone was happy about Emma and Misha's decisions. Group Captain Ram Arya, the Atlas doctor, is furious because of their recklessness.
Although Emma and Misha are safe and the solar panels are working, Ram viewed the choices differently from Misha and Emma. He did not value trust when weighing the consequences of this situation. Instead, Ram considered Misha and Emma's safety and the likelihood of death.
Emma and Misha are okay now, but who is to say they would make it if another risky spacewalk occurs? If they throw their lives on the line the way they did every time, how could they make it to Mars?
Ram: Do you think you're the only one haunted by the sacrifices you made to get here? And you, I vouched for you with Darlene, but what you did out there was irresponsible and quite frankly insane. You keep behaving like that; you're gonna get yourself killed.
Ram: We all need you alive. I need you alive.
Ram and Misha have two very different perspectives, and they define who they are as characters. They are both scientists, but Ram values procedure, statistics, and safety, while Misha values trust, work ethic, and bravery.
Over to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of AWAY Season 1 Episode 2? Do you think Ram has a right to be mad? Whose values do you align yourself with -- Misha's or Ram's? How do you think crew dynamics will change moving forward? What are your expectations for future episodes?
You can always watch AWAY online right here, at TV Fanatic!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.