Episode 5 of Brave New World gives us teasing glimpses of the quiet faces of discontent in New London’s utopia. CJack60 steps up to the window and draws a sad face, refusing to pop his Soma pills. At the same time, Mustafa rises from a pool of water having had a vision.
Lenina and Henry continue to sleep together, with Lenina taking control and trying to convince Henry not to take the Soma pills so they can be in control of their own destinies. Henry however, rejects her suggestion and continues to pop pills.
Bernard feeds back an update on John and receives his own from Mustafa. A new Director is on the way but Bernard is conflicted over whether to reveal the truth to John about his Father, unbeknownst to him that he already knows.
Heading back to John, Bernard admits that the entire system is rigged but when Lenina arrives to oversee what’s happening, she struggles to control her own emotions upon seeing John and hurries away.
Frannie however does not, as she and Lenina discuss the difference in their changing fortunes. This spills over into a competitive squash game as Frannie lets herself feel frustration and anger while showing small glimmers of hope that she may be coming around to Lenina’s way of thinking.
Bernard and Helm find John downstairs in the basement talking to the Banished. He challenges their ideals around a synchronized schedule of them popping pills, as Zoe tells John they can’t be thinking like this in New London. When Helm arrives, she breaks up their party but makes no illusion that she finds John wholly fascinating.
That evening John gets himself dressed ready for the big party, challenging conventional norms by asking for fashion advice from one of the Gammas called Gary. At the party, Helm finds John and takes him above the mass sea of people where they discuss the framework behind everything that’s happening in New London. An AI algorithm known as Indra was constructed to oversee the fortunes of all in New London and produce a utopia where happiness is a mainstay and there’s no ill feelings or displeasure.
While Helm and John sleep together not long after, CJack60 arrives downstairs for clean-up duty but questions just why he can’t be part of the orgy. He too begins questioning the entire hierarchy of New London. Interestingly, there’s a moment just after this that really captures that glossy facade that clings to everything as John and Bernard watch Henry arrive and start kissing Helm straight after humiliating him.
John refuses to stand for this though and and after some punching lessons, watches as Bernard squares up to Henry and punches him in the face. While this results in the group grabbing John and Bernard, integrating them into the orgy, CJack60 sees this take place and makes a fist while standing on the fringes of the party.
As the party reaches its climax (literally), Bernard and Lenina spend some time together away from the sweaty, hedonistic club and watch the globe in quiet tranquility. As the episode closes out, Mustafa plays a game of Go and throws the board down on the ground in frustration when she realizes she’s lost. While a lot of this seems confusing on the surface, we soon come to understand exactly what’s happening here in future episodes.
The Review Write-Up
With some interesting symbology and imagery, Brave New World’s biggest strength comes from the way it visualizes these ideas against the backdrop of New London. While the Savage Lands are now seemingly a distant memory and question remain over whether we’ll see that again or not, all is obviously not well in paradise. There’s some decent character progression for all involved too and while the show never quite reaches the upper-echelons of sci-fi wonder, there’s enough here to enjoy nonetheless.