Season 1, Episode 1: “Into the Void”
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Leah Rachel
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Right to Know” – click here
Sasha Yazzie (Sivan Alyra Rose) and her uncle, Big Frank (Marcus LaVoi), live in a trailer together. They’re working class, if that. She heads off to study with her guy, TJ Locklear (Griffin Powell-Arcand). They’re really going to go have sex at a mattress store his dad owns. They’ve got the place to themselves. TJ lights candles to set the mood. Then they get down to it. Except something goes wrong. Sasha’s hyperventilating and going unconscious. TJ runs off with her in his arms, looking for help.
The aftermath leaves Sasha with a massive scar from where she’s had a heart transplant. Now she takes a regimen of drugs everyday. At school, idiot dudes call her “Frankenstein” and make fun of her body. Like life’s not tough enough in high school. Her friend Yvonne (Kyanna Simone Simpson) tries to protect her. But everything’s different. TJ’s changed. He treats Sasha much more sensitively, afraid she’s fragile because of her condition. She makes clear she’s strong and ready to live life again.
When Sasha goes back to her uncle’s shop one day, she’s surprised to find a man called Ben Lefevre (Tony Goldwyn) there. The heart she’s received as a transplant belongs to his daughter, Becky. He shows Sasha a picture of his daughter. It’s an intense experience for them both. His use of the phrase “skin to skin” re: their meeting is eerie. Before heading off he invites them to dinner at their place with him and his wife Nancy (Uma Thurman).
“But sometimes, rules only exist to keep us from feeling
exactly what we need to feel.”
Sasha’s weirded out and doesn’t want to go to the Lefevre house. She and her uncle have a serious talk. She’s worried she’ll “die a virgin” and hates having to repeat a grade, take medication, and struggle through this strange path cleaved through her life. Frank still tries to get to have dinner with the Lefevres.
That evening, Sasha feels strange in bed. She sees the smiling face of Becky (Lilliya Scarlett Reid) next to her on the pillow, like they’re bound together.
Soundtrack note: Sasha listens and dances to “The Jungle” by Destiny Roberts
Sasha and Uncle Frank head to the Lefevre home. On their way, an old woman bangs at their window as they stop in the street. “You don‘t want her in you,” she yells as they drive away. They get to the massive house, where they meet Nancy, and the son, Elliott (Nicholas Galitzine). The class difference is evident, even in how they speak, from Frank’s cursing to Nancy’s vocabulary compared to Sasha. Elliott doesn’t dig the “intense interrogation” his parents give Sasha, wanting to know every detail of her life, as if she’s vicariously living Becky’s life. Frank tries to offer a toast. It can’t erase the strangeness.
They get talking about a scholarship in Becky’s name. The Lefevres offer it to Sasha. She doesn’t have great grades. Yet Frank’s itching for his niece to take the opportunity. Meanwhile, a dust storm’s heading over the town trapping Frank and Sasha at the mansion for the night. Being there makes her feel weird. She sees herself in one of the family photos— not actually there, just a trick of her eye, like she’s slowly melting into Becky. She eats cereal with Elliott in the middle of the night. They talk briefly about his “track marks” and her “old soul” heart giving out. Afterwards, she walks around the house, looking through Becky’s things. She sees a mouse, similar to the one at her place, though this one without a tail. She accidentally knocks something over, only to see there’s a camera in it.
Creepy? Yes. Slightly. Were they spying on their daughter?
In a trance-like state, Sasha goes outside. She sees a car, wrapped in plastic. Inside are a young guy and girl having sex. The girl reveals herself and it’s Sasha, only with blonde hair. The guy calls Sasha by Becky. It’s all a dream, naturally. Only it suggests, again, that her identity is becoming hard to hold onto, and she doesn’t feel like herself. At least in the morning they’re able to leave. The odd feelings continue to linger in Sasha.
Sasha has made the decision to take the scholarship offered by the Lefevres. It’s a long bus ride all the way to Crystal Valley High School and she starts Monday. More readjustment. She meets Coach Jones (Michael Stahl-David)— “I coach life“— and she’s given a meal card, a laptop, and everything else she needs. She’s given a “transitional partner” to get to know the school. Her name’s Marnie (Sarah Mezzanotte), and she used to be Becky’s friend. The place is “super chill” aside from the mural of an Indigenous warrior, presumably for the school sports teams, that woke Marnie’s started a petition to get taken down.
We hear more of Becky’s story, too. Her radio fell into the shower while she was washing. Could there be anything more there? Was there foul play? What about the fact she was electrocuted? She couldn’t donate a heart, could she? It’s all making Sasha start to wonder. And the dissociation from her own identity is only getting worse, the strange air of her mind matching the electrical storm brewing in the air around her town.
Father Gore digs this first episode. We’ll see where the story and the characters go from here. Already it’s intriguing. “Right to Know” is next.