There aren’t enough characters like Anna Volovodov on TV. I suppose that’s not entirely fair; part of the reason Anna is so compelling is that she’s played by Elizabeth Mitchell, and there’s only so much of her to go around. But on a show with its fair share of people trying to do the right thing—a show which, for all its darkness and violence, does appear to have a base level optimism about the nature of humanity—Anna still manages to stand out. Her kindness and warmth would normally relegate her to a backseat position, the sort of passive figure that other characters aspire to be more like while they galavant around having adventures. But she has also has an intense passion for discovery that drives her to stay on board the Prince even when all common sense (and the pleas of her wife) would suggest otherwise.
She’s dynamic, is what I’m saying, capable of being both deeply empathetic and kind, and also a little selfish—albeit in a completely defensible and entirely relatable way. She’s also optimistic, and while that optimism doesn’t always yield positive results, it’s a relief to see someone whose faith and hope legitimately does drive them to be a better person. When a lieutenant on board the Thomas Prince tries to reach out to her in his fear, she’s polite and supportive, but ultimately distracted; the lieutenant, Nemeroff, is awkwardly needy at the worst possible moment, and Anna’s “I’m just going to go over here for a second” dismissal is something any of us might do under similar circumstances. When Nemeroff shoots himself (the cover story is that his gun went off while he was cleaning it), Anna is asked to deliver his eulogy. She’s shocked, and despondent over her failure to connect with him; but she speaks on his behalf, and her message is about the importance of reaching out to one another, of staying connected.
It’s possible that the show is setting her up for yet another fall; Tilly Fagan, who recognizes Melba as Clarissa earlier in the episode, takes Anna’s sermon to heart and tries to reach out to the other woman at the worst possible moment. Clarissa takes her murder pill in response, and all that saves Tilly (for now, anyway) is something that happens deeper in the Ring, a sudden explosion of alien power that holds everyone in place. But she’s still likely to die, and if she does, the death will come back to Anna’s feet. Yet I don’t think the intention is to make us believe her eulogy was naive or foolhardy. Communication is still crucial if we’re going to make it as a species. It’s only that just because it’s a necessity doesn’t mean it’s ever easy.
None of this is directly connected with Anna, of course; her time in the episode is largely character work, reminding us she’s around, seeing how she reacts to the Ring itself. But her eulogy is another part of why Holden’s choice makes sense, even if he himself doesn’t hear her. Because as much as he’s pushed to move by fear for his own life and the lives of his crew, there’s that same optimism, that willingness to, well, take a leap of faith and believe that if something wants to talk with us that badly, it’s our job to listen.
The author of the article was already very nice to Liz.
It is left to Anna (Elizabeth Mitchell) to minister to the crew of the UNN Thomas Prince, which actually makes her check herself, as she has been getting very enthusiastic about the ring itself, and suddenly finds that she feels guilty, yet bitter, about not putting pastoral work first, ahead of her own interests. She is clearly too hard on herself here, but it works very well in demonstrating how the scenario before them is both awesome (in the true sense of the word), humbling, exciting, and requiring some existential thought or reflection.
Just like last week, there are some great scenes between Elizabeth Mitchell and Genelle Williams (Tilly), and Anna appears to be influencing Tilly, as she feels compelled to help Clarissa/Melba (Nadine Nicole).
This season so far has seemed like a season of two halves, and after a great first half, this half, although having a much different feel is equally as great. The whole production continues to be on a very high level, and somehow they’re maintaining that standard.