[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Avenue 5, "Eight Arms But No Hands."]
Those on board Avenue 5 probably thought it couldn't get much worse than facing three-and-a-half years in space. But boy were they wrong, as proven in the Season 1 finale. The good news is that the HBO series was renewed for a second season in February, so fans will get some resolution to that major cliffhanger.
Matt (Zach Woods) was in hiding with the airlock codes after seven passengers killed themselves trying to prove they weren't really in space. "No one will ever use them again. No more deaths, no more tragedies. I came here to fix people, but I need to fix myself. You will not see me again," he declared in a message to Ryan (Hugh Laurie). He was going into hiding for the remainder of their time on the ship.
And they would be on there for years if they didn't get the codes so they could jettison the extra weight to narrow down that time to six months.
Ryan and Judd (Josh Gad) found Matt moments before everyone reconvened, including Rav (Nikki Amuka-Bird) who had just arrived from Earth. And facing the threat of her hitting him, Matt gave up the code: 0005, for Avenue 5. Judd immediately took off for the shuttle, with everyone following him.
What followed was a struggle for the one seat back to Earth. Jordan, the comic, got Judd to give it up when he pointed out everyone hated him on Earth and he'd be ripped limb from limb. Doug (Kyle Bornheimer) and Mia (Jessica St. Clair) threw Jordan out of the shuttle and tried to convince one another to take the seat, a far cry from the arguing they'd been doing all season.
Ryan finally had enough and kicked them off the shuttle, shouting, "My patience has snapped like a 200-year-old breadstick! I've had it! I am the captain still, and I decide who stays and who goes." Everyone decided he should be the one to go — except for Billie (Lenora Crichlow), who knew he couldn't because he needed to stay to steer the ship. Ryan got off the shuttle upon coming to that realization. (Jordan ran back on.)
The fighting over the seat stops as two countdowns commence: one for the jettisoning and the other for the shuttle launch. Iris (Suzy Nakamura) decided the seat was Judd's and forced the comic off the shuttle just as they jettisoned the extra weight — from the port side airlocks, Karen (Rebecca Front) announced gleefully. They'd be home in six months.
But wait! They were supposed to jettison out of the rear, Billie reminded her. "We had so much stuff — and there are five airlocks along the port side and only two at the stern — so it was more efficient to jettison from the port side," Karen explained.
"No, the whole point is to jettison from the back of the ship because that's what pushes you forwards, in the direction you want to go," Ryan corrected her. "You have knocked us off course." And on this new trajectory, the soonest they could attempt a rescue from Earth was eight years. Everyone immediately panicked (and hated Karen).
Of course, everyone really wanted the seat on that shuttle after that, but that countdown too concluded, and Iris was the one on board. The others could only watch as the shuttle detached from Avenue 5, and Iris told the pilot to go back.
So what comes next for everyone on Avenue 5? Everyone's been thrust into a new situation. Those on board now have to cope with the possibility of eight years without rescue rather than the more ideal six months they'd hoped for or even the three-and-a-half years they'd previously been facing. Whether it will actually take eight years or not remains to be seen, but it is probable that they'll come up with another possible solution (like the jettisoning of non-essential items) that won't work out as planned.
Rav may have escaped her problems on Earth (directly caused by Judd), but now she's going to have to adjust to life on the ship — and with Doug and Mia. "This is awkward. Last time I saw you, you were kissing my neck," she told Doug upon seeing him, before insisting to Mia, "I was legitimately trying to help save this miserable marriage by sending him away from me."
And what about Iris? Will she end up back on Avenue 5 or be on Earth in Season 2? Either way, it's likely going to mean some changes for her character.
"Because she's such a control freak, the one thing she can rely on is at least the ground, so to speak, she's standing on is stable and when that's shaken, it's fun to watch her unravel," Nakamura told TV Insider before the finale. It's probably safe to say that whether she's on Earth or facing eight more years in space, she's going to be unraveling a bit.
"I know a little bit because we had mini writing meetings with Armando and the writers just to flesh out character-wise what's going to happen for Season 2," she revealed, and while she couldn't share any specifics, added, "I'm hoping to explore different levels with Iris. I want to see how her coping mechanisms change and evolve."