After last week’s intelligent but accessible and grounded start to the series, Electric Dreams’ second episode is an altogether hazier, woozier affair with some excellent acting, gorgeous use of colour and no real point.
“Impossible Planet” has an incredibly old lady (Geraldine Chaplin) and her slightly sinister robot factotum (robotum?) turning up at a space tourism agency at 5pm on a Friday – first mistake, lady – and insisting they take her to Earth. Since weekends still exist but Earth does not, they initially refuse but a briefcase full of cash and yet another failed transfer application (I’m guessing the soul-destroying horror of competency-based recruitment processes didn’t die out with the planet, then) combine to persuade them otherwise, so off we all go on a space trip to a vaguely similar-looking giant rock, during which cynical pilot Benedict Wong falls out with the robotum; younger, kinder sidekick Jack Reynor breaks up with his girlfriend and flashes back to when he was the old lady’s grandfather/husband; and the story chooses depth of feeling and a vague sense of profound but indeterminate meaning over any form of narrative sense. It’s all very sensitively and emotionally done, but the gaps in logic are insurmountable; the story, such as it is, turns into a cross between a fever dream and a high-brow episode of Doctor Who, leaving me scratching my head when, had it worked, I should really have been wiping my eyes.