“CordCutting.com Watches” is a new recurring feature in which the CordCutting.com staff watches and reacts to a streaming show or a movie.
STEPHEN LOVELY, Editor-in-Chief: Welcome, all, to another stirring discussion of the events of “Stars on Mars.” Today’s subject: Episode 6.
SHARI WEISS, Editor: Well, we wanted fighting and drama — we sure got it this episode, almost from the start. Or right after the food, anyway.
ANDREW COLE, Internet Editor: I love how after the resupply, everyone immediately dips into the wine. Like, it’s been nine days out here on Mars, and finally, we got wine.
DEANNA NGUYEN, Streaming Editor: Nine “sols,” you mean. The “sols” stuff was funny. Thank you for saving my immersion, Andy Richter.
SHARI: I'm still annoyed they have hard-core food now. I don't think REAL astronauts are getting shipments of rosé and buffalo wings.
DEANNA: Right? Like come on, I need to see them having a freeze-dried, food eating contest or something!
ANDREW: If I can’t order Domino’s on Mars, you can have my ticket back.
STEPHEN: Let’s talk about this week’s base commander election. It was quite an event! Lance versus Ariel on the grandest Martian stage. Lance looked like he was about to get the nod, but then others nominated his archrival, Ariel, and mud started to fly.
ANDREW: At the end of the day, I think this prolonged clash between Ariel and Lance will end poorly for each of them. Having this exchange in front of the new celebronauts just makes everyone look bad.
STEPHEN: Lance is the bigger jerk, but Ariel’s story about the Lance feud stemming from last week’s controversy seems like a little bit of a self-serving retcon. Ariel may be on the right side of history, but she was arguing with Lance in particular and the jocks in general for at least two full episodes before Lance started “just asking questions” about human rights.
SHARI: Stephen, I'll give you this: Yes, Ariel and Lance were clashing well before last week's controversial convo. However, it seems like that pushed Ariel over the edge, and I can't blame her for that.
DEANNA: At least Ariel stands up to her bullies rather than hanging out on the sidelines to stay neutral or “keep the peace!”
SHARI: It wasn't cool how Marshawn tried to paint Ariel as a problem child in front of the newbies. Besides him and Lance, who had a problem with Ariel before this? No one. And no, Paul doesn't count. He literally JUST arrived.
STEPHEN: Of course Paul Pierce is a Lance voter. He was born a Lance voter.
ANDREW: At one point, Marshawn says neither of them should be the base commander because of their drama. Dude, you literally just nominated Lance! Super awkward.
DEANNA: Agreed! I think Marshawn just didn’t want Ariel as base commander whatsoever, so he tried to play it off as being fair and not having Lance take the role, either.
SHARI: I can deal with Marshawn when he's being genuinely eccentric and funny. I could not deal with the Marshawn we got for the bulk of this episode.
DEANNA: He’s clearly been hanging around Lance too much. Do better, Marshawn!
STEPHEN: After much discussion, Ariel won, and her victory struck me as a serious fall from grace for the jock caucus. The new people may not like Ariel, but they’re clearly not down to join the bullies, either.
ANDREW: “The jock caucus!” Have you been rewatching “The O.C.” and honing your clique identification skills?
SHARI: And the election wasn’t the end of it! Lance announced he was going to “auto-select myself to leave.” Please. He was trying to play the martyr. Spare me. But at the same time, I wanted to yell, “Sayonara!” Prior to “Stars on Mars,” I just disliked him due to the doping scandal. Now I hate him on a far more visceral, personal level.
ANDREW: I was like, “What is this, a mutiny?” Never before has anyone questioned the vote after the base commander selection. Once the selection is made, you have to respect the results. Let’s not start yelling “recount” on Mars. For a 51-year-old man, Lance really has the maturity of a child.
DEANNA: Wait, I thought he was 70?
STEPHEN: Remind me never to ask Deanna how old she thinks I am.
SHARI: Anyway, I think Adam summed Lance up well: “He's the dumbest person I’ve ever met. He's such a baby.”
DEANNA: Honestly my favorite line out of the episode.
SHARI: Props to Ariel for taking charge the next morning and not letting the back-and-forth continue. She won the vote fair and square. Porsha said it best: “Who runs Mars? Girls do!”
DEANNA: I was worried that Ariel’s announcement would be that she’s going to leave or something but I’m glad she stood her ground even if that meant pissing off the jocks. They’re afraid of her power!
SHARI: Heading into the mission — where they had to patch holes in the hab — I started to wonder if Lance, Marshawn and Paul would throw it just to force Ariel out. I was relieved that didn't happen.
DEANNA: If they did that, they know they’d be put in the bottom for elimination and it’ll be clear to everyone else that they really don’t like Ariel. Which, honestly, three grown men going after a younger woman? Not cool.
SHARI: Not cool at all.
STEPHEN: Ms. Winter is a grown adult of 25! Though I recognize that Lance is older. Possibly even 70, depending on who you ask.
Let’s get back to the emergency event: As usual, the mission split participants across two tasks. While one group was mixing up some kind of plug thing for the holes, another group of people had to block the holes with their fingers and wait.
ANDREW: Finally, a job for Little Jack Horner.
STEPHEN: I love how every task seems to have one stupidly easy part and one really hard part. Though I have to admit that I thought the easy half of this one would be playing Little Dutch Boy. I changed my mind when I saw that they had the poor guys standing there with their arms up for over an hour! How long does it take to mix up these space plugs?
ANDREW: And what happened to the space duct tape from the earlier patching mission? Was that not good enough now?
SHARI: Excellent point, Andrew. I didn't even remember that sticky stuff existed.
STEPHEN: Was that previous hole-patching emergency the one where half the crew was tasked with holding ladders? That’s still the high-water mark for useless emergency roles.
DEANNA: Yeah, that was Episode 3.
ANDREW: To return to the hole-plugging thing: I know Paul Pierce has been out of the game for a bit, but he seems pretty out of shape. Surely Doc Rivers and Brad Stevens were running drills a bit more intense than “hold your hand up for 60 minutes” on the Celtics.
SHARI: At least they had Ariel on the radio to entertain them while they waited!
STEPHEN: The cut from Ariel droning on about Vegas to Marshawn’s suffering face slayed me. Beautiful moment.
DEANNA: Ariel is probably the only person who can make Marshawn be serious for once.
STEPHEN: At any rate, spoilers: They completed the mission. Which brings us to the elimination, which Ariel immediately made political by choosing Cat Cora and known Ariel-ally Adam Rippon as the first ones to get safely back into the hab.
SHARI: That wasn't political, that was deserved! Ariel saved the two mixologists without whom the mission couldn't have been accomplished. I was not surprised at all that Adam and Cat were chosen first. They earned it.
STEPHEN: They had to combine two ingredients and stir! They were playing Easy-Bake Oven while everyone else was doing an endurance test.
SHARI: Man, I wish I still had my Easy-Bake Oven. I was obsessed.
ANDREW: Okay, I got it. Since Cat Cora is now on the team, they gotta do “Iron Chef: Easy-Bake Oven” edition.
STEPHEN: To return to the elimination: Here’s where it gets baffling to me. Lance may have put on a decent performance, but if you’re Ariel, you just have to take him out here. I do not understand why she chose to keep him out of the bottom three.
SHARI: I don't see it quite the same way, Stephen. Lance was stunned that Ariel showed integrity — just like she said they would. That should've built some goodwill between them. And yet Lance was still being a b**** toward her afterward. Unreal.
STEPHEN: That’s why it was such a mistake for her to treat him with respect!
DEANNA: The way he made those expressions to the other crewmates when he was spared and then immediately avoided any contact with Ariel as he walked back in the hab — petty AF.
STEPHEN:Ariel ended up with this bottom three: Ronda Rousey, Paul Pierce, and Ashley Iaconetti.
ANDREW: If they had eliminated Ronda this week, I would’ve taken my stuff and gone home. Nobody even mentioned that she helped coordinate the team to find the holes and assign who was going to plug which spot. Yes, she rubbed her butt into the Martian soil, but that’s to be expected, come on!
STEPHEN: As shocked as I was that Lance wasn’t in the bottom, I figured there was still a chance for Ariel to pull off a pretty savvy play and remove Pierce, who seems like a key jock ally.
ANDREW: Instead: Ashley, we hardly knew ye.
STEPHEN: I regret that we never got to see bachelor-lady’s full potential, which Shari assures me was considerable.
STEPHEN: A tragic loss. Before we wrap up: Any predictions for next time?
DEANNA: Ariel might have played it safe in this episode but the more aggressive the jocks are, the more I think she’ll fight back.
STEPHEN: Ooh, that’s an interesting take. I had the opposite one in this week’s power rankings — I don’t think Ariel’s play was safe at all, and I think her choice to eject a neutral instead of one of her enemies will come back to haunt her.
SHARI: I wish she’d gotten rid of one of them. Especially Paul, who kept acting like he owned the place when he only just showed up. I was glad the difficulty of the mission was a bit of a wake-up call for him, but I wish he got the boot as quickly as he arrived. That surely would've sent a message.
ANDREW: Given a couple more sols, I think Paul Pierce is going to move into villain territory. He just strikes me as lazy and whiny, so he’ll shove his foot in his mouth or make a misstep soon — and that’s “The Truth.”
SHARI: He's already a villain in my book.
STEPHEN: In mine, too, and I love it. Do he and his fellow bullies have a majority yet, by the way? There’s Lance, Marshawn, and Pierce, for sure. Ronda seems like a fringe part of the crew. And is it just me, or is Porsha starting to build bridges with the jerk jocks?
DEANNA: Porsha comes off as someone who wants to stay in the middle rather than take sides. Like, she was pissed about Lance wanting to leave — but if she saw him as a rival, she would’ve been on the same boat as Ariel and Adam, who want the man-child gone ASAP.
STEPHEN: Good point. She’s playing it pretty close to the chest. I’ll be curious to see if we talk about her next week. For this week, though, that’s a wrap on “CordCutting.com Watches ‘Stars on Mars.’” See you next time, folks!