For all the emotion in the two-part Season Finale of People Of Earth, it starts out on a rather light-hearted note. After flirting relentlessly in last week’s episode, Richard is on what could barely qualify as a date with Nancy/Jeff, who is only using him to get close to, and eventually kill Gina. To make the point of just how little he cares about him, we find out they apparently spent their time talking about Ayn Rand, and amusingly, Jeff scolds him after he mispronounces her name (hey, a lot of people have trouble with that). Richard’s desperation provides a welcome bit of comic relief, but after that, it doesn’t take long for the show’s heavy emotion and mystery to set in,
After being offered a job at the New York Times last week, Ozzie leaves Beacon. It was originally stated that he would need to disavow his alien story in order to be offered the position, but we don’t see that happen. However, we do see Ozzie become convinced that his abduction wasn’t real, and he was merely repressing a memory of his parents losing him over a 48-hour period during a childhood trip to Beacon. As we saw last week, Ozzie seems to prefer the version of the events where his abduction never took place. Knowing the scrutiny that comes with claiming to be an “experiencer” (something this show has handled quite well), it’s not hard to see where he’s coming from. However, at this point, the viewer has already seen enough flashbacks to know that this version of events is not accurate, so Ozzie has to keep on searching.
Meanwhile, StarCrossed is in shambles, having been kicked out of the church by Father Doug following his kidnapping last week. We see the group meet initially at Gina’s Poterry Barn-style store, then later in Ennis’ barn. While this goes on, we watch the group’s membership slowly deteriorate; having already lost Ozzie, Gerry has gone back to sell insurance with his father, and Richard is too busy chasing Nancy/Jeff to care much about the dreaded reptilians these days. The whole thing comes to a head in a dramatic moment where Gina explodes at the group, feeling as though her help has been taken for granted. It’s a heavy scene, particularly when one remembers the moment that made Gina quit her original job as a psychiatrist. At the end of the first episode, StarCrossed appears to be dying once and for all.
While the Nancy/Jeff-Richard plot is little more than comic relief, we do see two other more serious romantic relationships play out in this episode (three if you count the short bit of screen time that Gerry and Yvonne’s fling gets). After Doug decides to take some time off from the priesthood to reunite with his latin-jazz combo Operation Mongoose, Cheslea shows up to support him, and ends up quickly becoming a fan, while the pair continue to form a bond. While this is happening, the viewer gets the sense the each of the pair are feeling guilty about what’s going on; Doug because of his vow of chastity, and Chelsea because despite her husband’s neglect, she still believes the marriage can be saved. However, the final straw comes when she realizes that her husband is likely having an affair. After initially resisting, the two are ultimately unable to stop their attraction. While knowing the catastrophic actions it may cause, it was nonetheless hard not be happy for them when they finally kiss at the end. If two people on this show deserved each other, it was certainly them.
And yet, there’s also the budding romance between Don and Kelly. As with Doug and Chelsea, this would appear to be doomed by circumstances, but they eventually overcome it. This one, however, comes with a bit of a twist; rather than revealing his role in the alien conspiracy, Don tells Kelly he has to break up because his mother is dying in Iceland, and Kelly convinces him to quit his job and go see her. At first, it appears as though we are going to see them surprise Jeff and board the ship, but instead, the pair actually flies to Iceland. How Don will manage to invent a family for himself to introduce to her will certainly be an interesting development in Season 2, but for now, it was enjoyable to see this storyline end on an optimistic, if not particularly practical note.
At the end of episode one, Ozzie finds the drawings of Jonathan (the Snakeman) that he drew as a child, and he now understands that his story won’t be given the simple convenient ending that might have wanted. Instead, just as he was about to get his old life back, he now has to head back to Beacon to find the missing pieces, while enlisting Gina to help him. While initially reluctant after the dissolution of StarCrossed, she ultimately relents, and the pair goes venturing into the convenient store where Ozzie went missing as a nine-year-old. After some work to distract the clerk, he finds out that it all went down beyond the “employees only” door, where Ozzie met three reptilians who took him on the ship. In an amusing bit, we get an argument from the aliens (who have always acted as this show’s comic relief) about the effectiveness of hanging an “employees only” sign on the door, but the real meet of the story comes when Gina puts Ozzie under hypnosis, leading us to the essential revelation that she was on the ship with him.
As it turns out, it would go even farther than that; after breaking free last week, Jonathan has his ultimate showdown with Jeff/Nancy, and in the process, he manages to re-program the Nancy robot, making it no longer wish to kill the members of StarCrossed, who, in the biggest twist of all, were all on the ship at the same time. This gives us the essential revelation about the group that we’ve been waiting for, while also allowing the show to go in various directions next season. Gina and Ozzie have discovered their past history, will the same prove true for the rest of the group?
With all of these arcs happening simultaneously, the one character remaining is Gerry. After turning down a front-row seat to Ozzie’s hypnosis, it seems as though he’s dead serious about leaving his interest in aliens behind for good. Then….it happens. In the final scene of the first season of People Of Earth, we see Gerry be beamed up onto the alien ship, while he is absolutely thrilled. “I knew it! I knew I was special!” he proclaims. While a pragmatic view of the situation might make us wonder just what the aliens are going to have in store for him, it’s hard not be thrilled for him in this exact moment. He’s spent a large portion of his life with a massive chip on his shoulder about not being an Experiencer, and seeing him finally get his wish can’t help but be gratifying.
People Of Earth’s first season was an always compelling and often brilliant show that did a fantastic job of making us care about the group of oddballs who made up StarCrossed. Every character had an interesting background, and watching them be fleshed out while the show also revealed more of the alien conspiracy was always rewarding. It would’ve been nice to see a happier ending for Richard, and Margaret was rather under-utilized, as she often gave us amusing material about sex life, but little else. Still, these are minor complains; this was a thoroughly compelling first season, and the show should have more than enough material to keep things interesting in season 2.
Season 1 Grade: A-
-Apparently, Top Ramen is the first choice of broke aliens as well as broke humans.
-”We were going to send you to therapy, but your father referred to it, as, quote ‘white people shit.’” “Which I still think it is! ”
-”I just really don’t want to kill anyone again.” “Oh yeah, you shouldn’t do that.”