Episode 1 of The Man Who Fell to Earth begins with an introduction to our alien. This refugee from another world is reborn on this planet, crawling through a strange orange goo and quite literally changing into a different skin. This is Faraday, and as we skip forward to the modern day briefly, we see he’s a big tech guru now. Or “Willy Wonka” as he refers to himself later on in the chapter. Anyway, he steps up to talk to a big crowd and shows them the mystery box in his hands; something that’s going to revolutionize everything.
Before we find out though, we cut back in time to see Faraday moments after he’s been reborn and stepped out that large hole in the ground. Sights and sounds are heightened as this stark naked man is eventually stopped by the police, who show up with weapons. They’re shocked to find him with a hosepipe in his mouth, drinking copious amounts of water.
We’re in Los Alamos, and the police eventually taser this confused alien, knocking him down to the ground. When Faraday comes to, he’s in the police station, dressed in clothes taken from the morgue. A cacophony of noise surrounds him.
As the officer shows up to ask him what he’s doing, Faraday continues to act bizarrely. He claims to be from a hot planet called Anthea and once more, he continues to drink copious amounts of water. There’s absolute hilarity in the way Faraday composes himself, and the name he adopts actually happens to be the officer he’s talking to. Katie Faraday.
Our alien Faraday mentions a woman called Justin Falls who can help. Cue a scene change to Justin herself.
Justin has a lot on her plate. Her boss is a jerk, bills are piling up and her father’s medication is going to cost a bomb. However, driving back from work she receives a call from Katie, telling her that Faraday is calling for her and she needs to come in.
When Justin arrives, she’s sceptical and more than a little freaked when he begins quoting her graduate thesis. Katie leaves, naturally, while Faraday walks out the station and somehow manages to spew up a whole bunch of gold rings in order to get himself some money.
Faraday is a genius and a whizz when it comes to electronics and after putting some music on, sets to work making an antenna of sorts, trying to communicate back home.
Faraday also takes Katie’s advice onboard, shouting loudly and cursing the pawnbroker as he obtains 25k for those rings. As he heads outside and looks up at the sky, Faraday sees flashes back to his home planet, Anthea.
Unfortunately, he lets his guard down and thanks to all the notes floating around, finds himself mugged by several men who begin beating him down. Justin passes in her truck and decides to stop and help him. Thwarting the robbers, the pair eventually talk. Faraday claims that Justin is necessary to his plan, and pacifically to help take him along to a site called Shiprock to receive further instructions.
On the way, Justin stops to pick up drugs for her sick father, but Faraday is worried given they have less than 3 hours to get to this site. She actually buys these pills illegally, given this is the only way she can afford them. Faraday has two children waiting for him if he’s to return home. It turns out his planet is suffering from a drought but he also throws shade on Earth too, claiming that they “have very little time left” to get this transaction done.
Faraday and Justin eventually make it to Shiprock, where Faraday claims that Justin is key to his survival and the survival of everyone on Anthea. Justin is spooked, and even more so when he almost breaks her car door handle open. After pulling a gun on him, she takes off and drives away.
In doing so, a massive dust storm picks up. Faraday walks nonchalantly into the heart of it, only to find himself inexplicably transported across to a forest. Faraday experiences flashes to Anthea where Bill Nighy tells him he’s going to become the God they can’t ignore. This seems to be a cryptic riddle for those scenes in the present, the ones we saw at the start of the episode as we see Faraday about to unveil his little grey box.
The Episode Review
The Man Who Fell to Earth gets of to a pretty good start, with some genuine laugh out loud jokes (That f*ck joke in the police station was genius) while the show interweaves modern social ideas around this reboot of the 1972 movie (and the subsequent novel that’s based on) of the same name. Having not watched the film or read the book, I can’t say how well this has been adapted but so far the show is doing a pretty good job establishing the characters and the general tone of the piece.
Of course, the real kicker here is the writing, which happens to come right from Alex Kurtzman. Undoubtedly, there will be two reactions to this new. An indifferent shrug from some and a big groan from others. Personally, I fall into the latter category, given some of the sloppy writing in Trek over the year. However, let’s judge the show based on what we’ve got.
It’s a bright start by all accounts, although the usual cryptic chatter and mystery box shenanigans are in play too. It’s rather amusing to find the meta idea of a literal mystery box being used to showcase this mystery; the show isn’t even being subtle about this either!
The show’s diversity is good and certainly welcome, while the series has – so far at least -actually done a good job writing parallels to race relations and brief glimmers of climate change interwoven into the story. However, we’ve seen how on-the-nose Kurtzman’s writing can be when it comes to these topics, so let’s wait and see what happens. For now though, a pretty good opening chapter.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!