Away Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Half the Sky

AWAY (L to R) VIVIAN WU as YU in episode 103 of AWAY Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020
AWAY (L to R) VIVIAN WU as YU in episode 103 of AWAY Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020 /

Away Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Mei and Lu’s love story

Away Season 1, Episode 3 predominantly focuses on the love story between Lu and CAPCOM Mei. As mentioned in my previous recap, one of the Chinese directors appeared to notice the communications between Mei and Lu. She finds a note in Mei’s desk and recognizes the calligraphy as Lu’s.

Realizing the relationship between the two women is more than platonic, she takes measures to reassign Mei to a new job, cutting off her only avenue of contact with Lu. Homophobia is still rampant in the world, particularly in China. And since Lu will be the first person to step foot on Mars, she has been hailed a hero there.

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The Chinese directors at NASA are putting immense pressure on her to remain perfect. It’s not unlike the pressure her husband is putting on her son — who is scolded for earning a 98 instead of a 100 on a math exam.

Lu surprises them both when she encourages him to draw more comics simply because it makes him happy. Some part of her wants her son to feel the way she does when she’s with Mei.

Jack Willmore is called to replace Mei as the Atlas CAPCOM.

When Emma learns Mei has been reassigned, she informs her team. Lu is obviously shaken by the news, although no one on the Atlas crew understands why until later. During a poker game between Misha, Ram, Kwesi, and Jack (via video chat), Jack lets it slip that Lu and Mei were rumored to have had an intimate relationship.

Ram is utterly disrespectful in his response, while Misha and Kwesi think it’s inappropriate to discuss.

Later, Lu tries to convince Misha to help her hack the comms to open a private line to Mei. He tells her he won’t help her cheat on her husband and rather cruelly lets her know that everyone aboard the Atlas is aware. Lu immediately assumes Emma is responsible for outing her and scolds her in front of the crew.

Away Season 1
AWAY SEASON 1 (L to R) NADIA HATTA as MEI CHEN in episode 103 of AWAY Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020 /

Once Emma learns what happened, she confronts Jack, coolly reprimanding him for both outing Lu and undermining her authority by sowing discord through the crew. Jack later tries to make amends for his mistake by finding a way to create a private channel for Lu and Mei to chat.

Emma and Lu seem to make an improvement in their relationship as Emma consoles Lu after the truth spreads and gives an hour to say goodbye to Mei, as they will be unable to communicate again until the trip is over.

Throughout the episode, we get to see how Mei and Lu’s relationship formed. It started two years before when Mei started helping Lu practice her English. She would take her to a karaoke bar to sing and it slowly made Lu more confident and fluent in the language. In turn, Lu started teaching Mei calligraphy.

Regardless of what people believe, Mei and Lu never even so much as kissed. They were undeniably in love with one another, but Mei refused to disrespect the vows she made with her husband, despite admitting they had no love or passion between them.

During their final phone call, Mei and Lu wish each other tearful farewells and Mei promises to wait for Lu past the mission, past the parades and glory that will follow, and even until Lu’s son grows up.

The ring Mei keeps with her is a cherished keepsake with an inscription that reads, “women hold up half the sky,” a saying Mei said to Lu to grant her strength before gifting her the jewelry.  By the episode’s end, Lu has stopped hiding it and put it on a chain around her neck.

Away Season 1

Away Season 1, Episode 3 recap: Matt & Lex on Earth

On Earth, Matt tries to encourage Lex to go back to school and return to her normal life, but she’s having a hard time leaving him behind at the hospital. Emma realizes Lex is trying to be her in her absence. She’s attending all of her dad’s doctor’s appointments, befriending everyone at the hospital, keeping track of his medications, etc. They worry it’s too much stress for her as a teenager.

Eventually, Matt tells Lex she has to stop postponing school and she returns alongside Cassie. Her friend Annie immediately greets her and all of her school friends are nice to Lex and welcoming of Cassie. But it’s hard for Lex to focus on the daily drama between their friends as she remains distracted worrying about her dad.

Lex later admits to Matt that she’s afraid when she’s gone something bad will happen to him. He comforts her, saying what will happen to him will happen regardless of whether or not she’s there. It gives him the strength to see Lex being brave and going to school. He wants her to be happy and have her own life, that’s vital to him.

Speaking of Matt’s recovery, while Dr. Madigan believes he will likely make a full recovery in his upper body, or close to it at least, the doctor has doubts that Matt will ever walk again. When he told Matt his recovery would last a few months, he meant he would only need to stay in the hospital for a few months. His actual, overall recovery will take years and he might not ever be back to the way he once was.

The moment he tells Emma this, she goes into fix=it mode, calling that diagnosis premature and promising to contact the doctor.

But Matt tells Emma he doesn’t need her to fix this right now. All he needs is his wife to be there for him. Will he walk again? It’s too early to tell right now, but obviously the possibility is going to push him even harder during recovery.

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All ten episodes of Away Season 1 are now streaming on Netflix.