Moonhaven S1E4: “Mada” Do You Think They’ll Drop the Bomb?

Bella looks incredulous, with a white flower painting in the background
Courtesy of AMC+

The following contains spoilers for Moonhaven S1E4, “Mada” (written by Al Letson and directed by Laura Belsey)

I guess there are aliens in this story now? Alright, then.

Of course, to be precise we don’t actually know coming out of Moonhaven S1E4 that there really are aliens, just that Maite believes that there are, but to this point parsing such fine-grained distinctions hasn’t seemed terribly necessary with regard to this show. Bella claimed that Tomm was a double agent, for example, and I took pains last week to think about the possibility that he wasn’t really, but it turns out that he straigthforwardly just was.

Awake from his stupor, something about Tomm is a bit off, but not really in an intriguing way. I actually find it kind of sad that we didn’t get to see more of his character before he was injected with Singer, insofar as I found him to be generally more compelling and nuanced in “The Pilot” whereas now he just kind of seems like a power hungry zombie.

Tomm looks on, in profile, in the woods
Courtesy of AMC+

He wants to rule the Moon, and Sonda is secretly in cahoots with him even as she pretends to be loyal to Maite on the one hand and pretends to be loyal to ICON on the other. But the narrative is actually really straightforward. There is a faction of rebels on the Moon who seek to take it over and keep the power of IO to themselves, denying the Bridge and any plans to help the Earth. Tomm is a key figure in this conspiracy. Strego was bringing him the flower compass thing but then had a change of heart when he learned Bella was Chill’s sister. So he hid it for her, undermining Tomm’s plans, until Arlo finds it at the end of “Mada” and it turns out Tomm is lying in wait to say, “thanks.”

This story is not exactly nuanced, but that doesn’t keep Moonhaven from being fun. If you want to know what I thought the series could be, you can read what I wrote on the first two episodes. If you want to hear me lament how it went another way, you can read what I wrote on Episode 3. I’m really going to try here, and moving forward, to just take the show on its own terms and go along for the ride.

Indira reclines against a table
Courtesy of AMC+

I do continue to wonder if ICON has some secret agenda we’re not privy to yet. “Mada” sees Paul’s son Wish (along with others) getting ready to form the First Wave of Mooners setting off to help the Mother (Earth) and explores a bit the question of how receptive Earthers would be when it comes down to it.

Wish expects a war. His planned drop site is in the desert, and it’s hard to see how this plan is supposed to work in line with the rhetoric that has been put forward. Given the events in Indira’s past we saw last week—which she suggested taught a lesson but one she apparently didn’t learn from—I have to wonder if the plan is actually for the powerful on Earth to just take the bounty of the Moon for themselves. Does IO’s technology perhaps include an ability for them to summarily dispatch with the poor and downtrodden?

A little girl with a corwn on stands in front of trimmed hedges
Courtesy of AMC+

We get the story of the Moon in S1E4, as told in a child’s play, which includes a time when IO decided the slate had to be wiped clean and the project begun again. Blood leads to blood, so on the second attempt we get the whole idea of water parents instead of people raising their biological children, but what exactly happened to that first round of Mooners who fell into problematic tribalism?

Could that be a part of the actual plan with regard to Earth—something akin to genocide? Or might it be a risk the Mooners again face now that tribalism of a sort is asserting itself once again? Just how much power does IO have? And is there any way to bypass Maite’s approval?

Paul, in the woods, looks up at floating casket things
Courtesy of AMC+

Paul and Arlo determine that the flower Strego killed Chill over was leading her somewhere. Given the indication of aliens (or Others), along with the claim that Bella’s mother didn’t die but disappeared, I have to wonder if this is where the flower leads. Perhaps Maite is right and Loa did find them. Maybe there is a connection between the rebels and these aliens, and it is their influence that has derailed the project.

Paul's mother ascending on her casket hammock thing, as Paul pulls a rope below
Courtesy of AMC+

Personally, I hope they are good benevolent aliens, but either way I’m prepared at this point for Moonhaven to just keep pushing past its inaugural premise. In S1E4 we again see the strange girl that Bella saw previously when she went beyond the settlement’s walls. I’m curious how she fits into all of this.

The powers that be recently took Raised by Wolves from us, and perhaps it is all of the Mother talk that’s putting me in mind of that series, but at this point I’m rooting for Moonhaven to get just as bananas as that show was. Let’s just keep making this whole thing more baroque!

A fiery M type symbol on the face of the Earth over Africa, as Mooners look up at it
Courtesy of AMC+

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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