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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Man Who Fell to Earth 1.6: Music of the Spheres



An usually beautiful, powerful, erudite episode 1.6 of The Man Who Fell to Earth this past Sunday on Showtime, in a series in which every episode has had a rich helping of those qualities.

[Spoilers follow ... ]

Music of the spheres -- the idea since at least the time of Pythagoras in Ancient Greece that the mathematically describable motion of the planets describe a kind of music, if not necessarily hearable, definitely knowable by the soul -- has given rise to all manner of philosophic speculation since then.  I'm neither astronomer nor mathematician, but the idea has always appealed to me in some fuzzy, consoling way.

And it provides the solution to the problem vexing Faraday and his allies -- how to turn those equations into a workable energy generator.  And that solution is: music, or, more precisely, jazz.  The essence of jazz, as everyone knows, is improvisation.  Josiah turns out to have been a jazz man -- literally, in this case -- via the infusion of Faraday's Anthean DNA.

Let's rewind a little.  Faraday cured Josiah, made him whole, by giving Josiah some of Faraday's DNA.  Josiah always loved and gravitated to jazz.  But with Faraday's DNA, Josiah's music, fed into a computer, is able via Faraday's and Justin's brilliant orchestration to implement Newton's vision.

Now, I doubt that's quite what Pythagoras had in mind, but his whole theory, after all, is a kind of magnificent science fiction.  Meanwhile, this episode was also animated by Faraday's video letter to his Anthean wife, which provided a droll and incisive commentary on human nature and custom.

The episode ends with Spencer in maximum threatening mode, and, frankly, given the luminescence of the rest of this narrative, I'm beginning to find Spencer and his threats more of an annoyance than anything.  But such is the nature of even cable television these days, and the rest of The Man Who Fell to Earth, especially this past Sunday, was so sublime, I'll take Spencer and his irritations.


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