Strange Angel – “Augurs of Spring”
(This is a recap/review of the first episode of Strange Angel. There are spoilers, so proceed with caution!)
The first episode opens on an ancient hunting scene, beneath a bright red moon. The hunter (Wan Hu portrayed by Telly Liu) strikes against a large tiger. The scene is bathed in deep reds, with dramatic music. A whistle interrupts the action, and we are introduced to Jack Parsons (Jack Reynor). He’s on his lunch break, reading a comic, Amazing and True, The Path of the Hunter by Christopher Dexter. His boss orders him back to work, and we immediately discover Jack’s resistance to authority.
Turns out Jack is a janitor at Pueblo Powder Co. He steals some gunpowder on the sly and gets to work in his garage building his experiment, before driving out into the desert to meet his partner, Richard Onstead (Peter Mark Kendall).
Jack: “Ad astra…”
Richard: “Per aspera.”
(Per aspera ad astra (or, less commonly, ad astra per aspera) is a popular Latin phrase meaning “through hardship to the stars.”) Jack lights the fuse, and the rocket falls well short of their hopes.
Susan Parsons (Bella Heathcote) is at home reading the Bible, waiting up for Jack. She hides it in the mattress. Jack arrives home and fills his wife in, casually lying about the distance the rocket reached. Then he hits his wife up for more money when they’re behind on their mortgage. Nice!! (Blowing shit up is expensive, honey!!)
What’s even nicer is having sex with your wife while she lays still, looking uncomfortable as fuck. I didn’t quite catch this on my first watch, but thanks to Sydney, it looks like Jack pulls out before coming (because he never wanted to have kids, per the book. Susan gives Jack a sex rag to clean up. The whole scene shows their awkwardness and stiffness with one another. The music is also a little creepy here, just a piano playing simple keys before a slightly fuller sound. Jack hears a noise outside, and that’s when he sees Ernest Donovan (Rupert Friend) moving in next door.
Jack: “Who moves in the middle of the night?”
The next morning, Jack heads over to Caltech for a big meeting with Richard and Professor Mesulam (Rade Serbedzija). Again, you see Jack breaking rules, going where he is not allowed. Richard is clearly not happy with him and doesn’t think they are ready to present their proposal. However, Jack is not deterred one bit, maybe because Richard has his professional career at stake.
Jack: “Have a little faith, Rich. They’ll be naming buildings after us by the time we’re done.” (clever, eh?)
Professor Mesulam is not convinced and warns Jack and Richard about biting off more than they can chew.
Professor Mesulam: “Small advances needed before big ones can be made.”
Jack: “What if we’re not content to be someone else’s stepping stone?”
Jack continues countering Professor Mesulam, even minimizing the fact that he did not complete his undergraduate degree. Protocols just “weigh him down.” The meeting ends on the wrong note, so Jack returns to convince (exaggerating along the way) Professor Mesulam to observe their next demonstration. Much to Richard’s anxiety, the professor agrees.
The objective of the meeting was to get approval to build a functional rocket motor, but of course, Jack misrepresented their work as they already built one. Can you spell L-I-A-R?
Richard: “I just wish that you’d stick to the facts once in a while.”
After the meeting, Jack once again stretches the truth to Susan, who seems to be very much invested in her husband’s success. Next, the Parsons decide to walk over some banana bread and introduce themselves to their new neighbor.
If you couldn’t watch Strange Angel, follow @findmyrupertfriend for recaps, reviews, pics, and gifs!! The show is off to a great start 😇🚀🐐