Avenue 5
Credit: Alex Bailey/HBO

Avenue 5

S1 E6
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After the behavioral chaos aboard the Avenue 5 finally reached its climax in last week’s episode with Frank nearly getting ejected into space like a human Pez, along comes a dense blanket of delirium this week to settle everyone down … while also driving them nearly insane.

The first baby born in space has just been delivered aboard the Avenue 5, offering everyone a brief moment of hope, especially Iris, whom we haven’t seen smile this much outside of talking about inflicting bodily harm on other passengers. That brief high makes the plummet in mood all the worse when an incessant beep begins tormenting the whole ship. No one can sleep, no one can focus, and everyone has their own unique response each time the beep surprises them: Doug screams, “F— you, Doug!” Captain Clark grits out particularly British insults, Mr. Judd calls out for Iris, and Iris laughs maniacally.

I once couldn’t find a dying carbon monoxide detector that had somehow been buried in the back of a drawer for two weeks, and the demented beeping that I was convinced was coming from inside the walls was juuuust enough to make me contemplate murder as seriously as Karen — if only I’d had a target as worthy as Herman Judd.

Judd is the only passenger aboard the Avenue 5 who’s not thrilled to welcome Space Baby to their crew. As Matt continues his mission to sow chaos throughout the ship while acting as unlicensed therapist, Judd explains to Matt that he doesn’t feel like he’s in competition with the baby per se, but mostly because it wouldn’t even be a contest; he could easily destroy that baby “physically, emotionally, endurance-wise.” Matt thinks Judd’s reaction might not even be about “that non-combat-ready baby,” but about Mr. Judd’s negative feelings toward the ship. And that’s how these two bozos hatch a plan to illuminate the turds orbiting the Avenue 5 for a little aesthetic dopamine.

And it’s probably for the best that Judd is distracted with his task given that Spike has now told the rest of the crew the slightly alarming news that the ship’s ongoing beep likely means they’re leaking oxygen, and their tongues could be boiling in their mouths in nine months’ time if they don’t figure out a way to stop the leak or make people … breathe less. This creates a number of attempts at individually conserving oxygen like Karen eliminating spare letters from her words (now she just wants to “m” Mr. Judd) and people over 257 pounds not being allowed to walk upstairs (Iris helpfully supplies the number to allow Mr. Judd to maintain stair privileges).

Eventually, Mr. Judd does find out about the oxygen leak and films a video with Matt to inform the passengers that they need to keep breathing to a minimum, including: “no sighing, no gasping, no unnecessary sneezing, and if you have to be passive-aggressive, do it only with your eyes.” Between all the slow breathing — now a legal requirement, per Judd — and the inability to sleep because of the loud beep, everyone is walking around like zombies with the knowledge that in nine months they might actually become zombies if the oxygen runs out. And then there’s the news from Rav that the White House (more on POTUS and OPOTUS in the Space Nuggets section) is willing to fund a rescue mission for Avenue 5, but they’re also suggesting “the removal of 500 non-essential passengers.”

Things are pretty bleak! Captain Clark is trying to score sedatives from Matt so he can knock Judd out to keep him from meddling, Mia and Doug are actually working together in an alliance so they won’t get space-murdered, Frank has gone completely non-verbal, and Iris has finally turned on the Space Baby who’s unfortunately been named Kayden, and even more unfortunately, had to be put on a respirator: “He’s just lying there in his oxygen mask, the greedy little f—!”

So it’s a moment of true, earnest joy when Billie comes rushing into the chapel where — no shock here — Karen has set up her Passenger Liaison office, and announces that she’s checked all the oxygen tanks and there’s no leak; the beep that started when Space Baby was reborn is just the ship telling them that they need to recalibrate for an extra passenger.

Mr. Judd lights up the turd shield, and everyone stares in awe … then immediately passes out from exhaustion.


  • Do not ask me what was up with Spike talking to the beep like a lover, I do not know.
  • “You need to change the way you see the ship.” “Wait … are you talking about … lasers? Specifically, illuminating the ring of nasty s— around the ship … with some goddamn lasers?” The jury is still out on Mr. Judd maybe actually being a very dumb genius.
  • “God, the baby is going from a womb surrounded by bodily fluids to a ship surrounded by bodily solids.” The jury is in on Matt being a quote machine.
  • Rav gets word from the beanie-wearing Secretary of State that the president has approved their funding so that just means running it by Other President before the Avenue 5 can be rescued. Other President turns out to be a sort of skinny-Alexa automated robot that informs Rav that the $4 trillion in funding will come from the Child Welfare Fund, which Rav has no problem with, and Other President will need them to think about eliminating 500 non-essential persons, which does at least give her slight pause.
  • “That’s what I would go in on if I was bullying you. I’d make you self-conscious about something that isn’t even a thing. It makes you question your sanity — ain’t that right you jar-eared Dumbo f—?”

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Avenue 5
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