[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Avenue 5 Season 2 premiere “No One Wants an Argument About Reality.”]
And to think: Those in the know thought the eight additional years it would take Avenue 5 to get home was bad.
Five months have passed since the Season 2 premiere begins, and Ryan (Hugh Laurie) hasn’t told the passengers the truth, so they all think they’re four weeks away from reaching Earth. Matt (Zach Woods) is giving him daily reminders and trying anything to get him to do the right thing. (He’s failing.) ”If I tell the passengers that we are stuck up here for another eight years, and the food is running out, I’m going to become the next all-you-can-eat buffet. I will tell them when I’ve seen the food shortage plan that Rav is working on,” Ryan decides.
And what perfect timing: Rav (Nikki Amuka-Bird) has a solution. However, it’s a terrible one. They split the passengers into two groups: the Guaranteed, who will be fed, and the Pioneers, who will be sealed below deck, with limited supplies, to manifest their own destiny without communication with the rest of the ship. (“Pioneers of what, pop-up cemeteries?” Ryan asks.) Judd (Josh Gad) puts it best: “What the f**k?”
Ryan eventually decides he should do the right thing and tell the passengers the truth, and Billie (Lenora Crichlow) offers to help him rehearse. “You don’t rehearse expelling kidney stones,” Ryan says. Speaking of those eight years, Karen (Rebecca Front) finds out Frank (Andy Buckle) has been lying to her: He’s been telling her everyone already knows and hates her, so she’s been staying hidden away in their cabin. “The vow is to have and to hold, not hold hostage,” Matt says. Frank’s defense? He had the chance to be him.
Meanwhile, back on Earth — where there’s a streaming show about what’s going on in space — Iris (Suzy Nakamura) tries to get the word out about the government abandoning Avenue 5, on a live-streamed show, with little success. Then, at Judd Mission Control, she meets Lucas (Arsher Ali) from the Office of the Other President, and he’s taking over. His first goal: fix the delay with the ship’s comms. He knows the passengers don’t know the truth, and he’s planning to reopen comms. And so Iris — who ends up being the only one Lucas allows to stay — reaches out to Judd, leading passengers to overhear about those eight years, and things quickly become a bit chaotic.
But that’s not the worst part, all it takes is a kid in engineering playing around with buttons and locking the wrong thing, and the ship’s course is switched. If they use a fuel burn to return to their original trajectory, they’ll be 400 years old when they get home. That’s still not the worst part: Their new course has them heading toward the sun! With Billie announcing that in front of the passengers, now everyone knows why they should probably start panicking.
Avenue 5, Mondays, 10/9c, HBO