After exposing the secrets of the Glint corporation last week, Ozzie has become the toast of the journalism world, and ”Mars Or Bust” begins with him giving a speech to a group of enthusiastic J-school students, while simultaneously being offered a job at the New York Times. His bubble bursts rather quickly, however, when one of the students has followed his move to Beacon after his story on StarCrossed, and has surmised that he believes in aliens. Rather than dodge this claim, he quickly cops to it and believes that by doing so, he’s destroyed his journalism career.
While that would be settled later in the episode, he first has to deal with the frustration of Gina, who is understandably upset that he was willing to reveal this to a room full of journalism students, and by extension, the world, but not willing to participate in her own coming out day. This scene establishes the growing feeling that Ozzie, despite making connections with several members of the group, doesn’t quite feel like a full-time member of StarCrossed. While acknowledging his experience, he’s never been thrilled about it, and he seemingly wishes he was still observing the group as a reporter rather than being a true part of it.
And yet, this episode also requires Ozzie to handle the problems of both Father Doug and Gerry. After receiving an urgent message from a disoriented Doug, who fell asleep outside a drive-through following a hazy encounter, Ozzie finds Gerry, who is despondent after Yvonne breaks up with him. I’ll confess; after their enjoyable connection last week, I was sad to see this couple only last one episode, although when you consider Gerry’s intensity and general lack of stability, you could see why she wouldn’t be willing to commit. While Gerry’s initial pain is hard to watch, what’s even more difficult is his overall frustration with the world. Last week, his fling with Yvonne distracted him from his failed attempt at being an experiencer, as well as his generally depressing lot in life. Now, all of it is inescapable, which is tough to watch considering that despite his vast imperfections, Gerry is one of the more likeable characters on the show.
He does get a bit of a redemption when he is able to become a detective in Doug’s story. After a disorienting experience, Doug believes that he, too, has been abducted by aliens. However, Gerry figures out that it was actually just some kids who kidnapped him and got him high on whippets. Or so it seems. When they report their story to the police, we find out that H. Jon Benjamin’s cop character — who has been established as working with the aliens — set up the kidnapping himself, as a means of convincing Doug to kick StarCrossed out of his church, hoping it would lead to group disbanding once and for all. Sure enough, Doug forces them out, leaving their future in Jeopardy.
During the StarCrossed meeting that had been taking place prior to this, the group was infiltrated by Jeff, who controls the body and voice of Jonathan’s assistant, Nancy. Earlier in the episode, we saw Jeff/Nancy take Jonathan’s money, ripping a piece of his human suit off in the process, leaving us wit the question of how Jonathan will cope on earth in his current state (he is not seen again). Following that, Jeff/Nancy becomes the newest member of the group. While initially shy, and afraid of appearing weak, Jeff finds the group to be an outlet for him to express his grief over the loss of Kurt. It’s clear that despite his tough exterior, he’s still reeling from this, and it makes for a surprisingly touching moment, even if Jeff’s ultimate motive is to destroy the group once and for all.
The episode ends on a transitional note; Ozzie is still offered his New York Times gig, but only on the condition that he recant his alien story. While initially reluctant, this strikes him as the perfect move, as he seems all-too willing to move on from this period of his life (similar to how Richard’s ex-wife felt in a previous episode). Ozzie leaves Beacon for New York, while StarCrossed is presumably left to search for a new home. Towards the end, Jeff is able to figure out that Gina is the one with the “empathy” bumper sticker, and thus, the one who killed Kurt. So, he essentially confessed his feelings of grief over losing Kurt to his murderer, which should only amplify his lust for revenge.
This episode thrives on the combination of suspense and catharsis that has become a staple of People Of Earth. Admittedly, it would have been nice to see a more satisfying conclusion to Gerry’s plot, but one can assume that will be handled next week. In the episode’s final scene, we see Ozzie have yet another flashback, this time involving a coin-operated horse from his childhood. As he heads back to New York, it feels like a reminder that he won’t be able to run away from his past, and that his time with StarCrossed will catch back up to him. This show has several threads to wrap-up next week, but with how well it’s first season has gone, there’s no reason to think it won’t be up to the task.
“Do you know how long it takes to get to Mars? At least nine months!”
-Nancy’s movements during her scenes with the group are extremely stiff and awkward, making it clear that she’s not like the rest of the group, but not one notices. It certainly doesn’t stop Richard from hitting on her relentlessly. In a scene from next week’s finale, they apparently go on a date. That ought to be fun.
-Doug describes the dubstep music his abductors were playing as “otherworldly,” which I would say is a pretty charitable assessment.