This is not the extraterrestrial gentrification that Alex Turner sings of in “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”. But we do have an Alex here as well, riding the wave of his grief to land on Mars. Kyra Sedgwick’s Space Oddity is of the light at the end of the tunnel if you’re having one of those days. And if the devil on your shoulder is having a jolly day, you might as well take it as one of the few last gasps of a broken man trying to stay afloat. A Rom-com with a little bit of Sci-Fi sprinkled in, Space Oddity wishes to uphold the all-powerful rarity that is love in the face of engulfing hopelessness of a man seeking an odd death. Yet none of it’s for us. Stuffing in all the possible rom-com quirks the world has to offer, Space Oddity quite ironically feels severely disconnected from earthly people, their emotions, and their conflicts. Rooting for the Alexes of the world calls for a lot more reality checks and a lot less checking things off the list of occurrences that can “fix” a person.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Space Oddity’?
Convincing himself of the strange mission he’s made up his mind about, Alex reads his motto out loud. He will inhabit Mars, get married on it, and eventually die on it. You wouldn’t think that a man with two loving parents and a sister who flaked on her work to come back home for him would plan to leave the earth forever. But from the looks of his hardened determination and the press interviews that have already begun, there’s no stopping Alex from becoming a Martian. There’s something that eats away at Alex and causes his mom to approach him with cautious sensitivity and his sister Liz to linger around with the hope that she will be able to save her brother.
The quiet, Stars Hollow-esque town and its people have warmed up to the McAllisters and their flower farm. There is talk of a tragedy that the quaint little farmer family has recently gone through. Alex’s dad’s morose silence speaks volumes of the worries and sadness he hides within. It’s unlikely that Jeff would listen to the sound reason that his pragmatic daughter dumps on him. The couple with three kids named after historical figures have recently lost their golden boy to a car accident. Having been the to his brother, with whom he had dreamed of flying to Mars one day, Alex finds it excruciating to live on as the one who was left behind. He’s crafted quite a plan for his departure.
Backed by the peculiar “Mission Mars,” which claims to be ready to make Mars fit for human habitation in 10 years when it would take even NASA at least 20, Alex has gone too far down the rabbit hole to even think about backing out. He’s no interest in inheriting his dad’s farm. But it’s the greenhouse that Alex uses to set up a makeshift machine that their Russian farm-hand Dmitri calls a “Mars Grover.” Surrendering the entirety of his genius mind to the mission has even resulted in the Mars Grover being able to germinate seeds in Mars’ infertile soil. Although ‘Space Oddity’ doesn’t seem too keen on spending a little more time communicating Alex’s genius to those of us who rely completely on the narrative, It’s no surprise that Alex’s obsession with being fit has helped him pass the boilerplate health checkup with flying colors. But as he flinches at the mention of a psych evaluation prior to making his Mars journey official, we know that Alex would prefer that his wounds and the real reason behind his interplanetary journey go unnoticed. Fighting tooth and nail to stand his ground while the world wonders if Alex is walking into a scam isn’t as hard for him as convincing himself that “Mission Mars” is legit and the man on the other side of the screen who will be joining him on the journey shares the same desire as him.
Love And Awakening
If there’s one thing ‘Space Oddity’ is impressively adept at, it is concocting the instant chemistry between Alex and his new insurance agent, Daisy. The second their eyes meet, you can practically see the sparks flying, and the sparks soon transform into the family of fireflies that Daisy guides them to on their hike into the woods. Everything seems to fall right into place for Alex and Daisy. Enamored by a man who’s as adorable when he talks about space as he is when he arranges little chirpy kids to form the solar system, Daisy falls for Alex harder the more time she spends with him. And it’s the same for Alex, who’s quite taken by the girl who left her dream of being a pro swimmer behind to come work as an insurance agent for her uncle.
When Alex gives Daisy a surprise and takes her to the ocean for a swim, Daisy is almost ready to come clean about her feelings for him. But disillusionment comes for them both when they pay a visit to the other guy, who is supposed to be Alex’s only friend on Mars, and he turns out to be a complete loser whose only reason for moving to another planet is escaping his responsibilities as a father and a husband. Not exactly being his girlfriend has made Daisy bite her lips about Alex’s Mars mission so far. But now that even his teammate seems to have a problematic justification for leaving Earth, Daisy takes her chances with the truth. What she hopes to achieve by coming clean about her own embarrassing truth to Alex royally backfires when he turns around and uses her story of cheating in her swimming competition against her. Needless to say, Alex’s awful behavior puts an end to whichever way their relationship was supposed to go.
‘Space Oddity’ Ending Explained – Why Does Alex Change His Mind About Mars?
Conflict resolution being the heart and soul of any romcom, leaves very little room for any unusual turn of events, and Space Oddity is no different in that regard. When the puzzle pieces start coming together, you know that it’s all going to turn out okay. But there’s thorns to pick out of the way before walking over to the other side. After being AWOL for a day with no regard for the people who love him, Alex shows up only to hurt his mom even further and make her feel awful for worrying about him. There’s no justification for the way Alex acts while choosing not to seek help for the way he feels. While trying not to ever feel the pain of losing a loved one again, all Alex does is hurt the people he loves. Wearing nihilism and existential crisis as the cloak to hide his misery, Alex demands that everyone in the world sees the truth about how meaningless their lives are while lying to himself every step of the way. It’s ultimately Liz who gets through to him. The often underestimated power of acknowledging ones feelings is what finally shoos away the dark clouds from Alex’s mind.
Over a boulder where they used to play when they were little, Liz decides to shed her hard facade and speaks up about how Tom’s death has changed everything for her. It’s knowing that his sister is haunted by the same fear of losing a loved one that makes Alex take a look inwards and realize that he’ll be leaving behind way too many things and people he loves behind if he goes on the Mars Mission. He comes to terms with the fact that he’s been hiding himself in the ridiculous dream only to escape the pain of living in a world without Tom. What had taken over Alex was the guilt that his brother died trying to save him. It took him a while to realize that by leaving his family behind forever, he would only be drowning himself deeper into the ocean of guilt. The mission most likely was a scam anyway. But its having a purpose, which convolutedly justified his suicidal tendency, convinced Alex that it’s the right thing for him. Shocking everyone with an overnight change, Alex opts for taking Daisy’s suggestion and using the Mars Grover to get a job on earth. With a little help from Liz, he also chooses to make it up to Daisy for treating her the way that he did. The ending sequence of Space Oddity is all about the power of love winning over the power of grief. The Bowie song the title is a reference to serenades the acknowledgement of the same.