Quarantine Binge: Netflix’s “Into the Night”

Tom, get your plane right on time….

So last night I binge watched the entire six episode Belgian science fiction mini series “Into the Night” on Netflix.

It’s hard to know if the thriller lands a different way in a pandemic than it would otherwise. I don’t fully remember life before the pandemic. I vague recall I was less likely binge a full series.

If the idea of watching a dystopian scenario in which nearly the entire human population is wiped out by a phenomenon that makes the sun toxic is not too off-putting to you just now, I recommend it. It does a great job of sucking you into its world as you watch a small band of airline passengers in a race against time to survive the night.

The story begins in the Brussels airport as a late night flight to Moscow is just preparing to board. Odd things are going on in the background. An internet celebrity is talking to a friend in another part of the world and she collapses. On the screen over the bar is a news story showing people lying face down. (If the sun kills everyone on contact, who was supposed to have recorded and broadcast these images? We’ll put that aside for the moment, and chalk it up to what I like to refer to as “exposition hell.”) As the flight begins pre-boarding, with just a handful of passengers inside, a man pushes down an armed guard, grabs his weapon and storms the plane shouting about the sun. Thus the action begins. Unless the plane keeps flying west and staying in darkness everyone on board will die.

You know those quarantine house lists that people have been sharing on social media? Where they list groups of famous people and ask which house you’d want to be stuck in? Well, this plane is almost entirely populated with people you would not want in your quarantine house.

[Mild spoilers in this graph] The characters have their moments, but what a bleak view of human nature this tale has. In spite of the fact that this airplane contains the last living human beings on the planet, as far as anyone knows, a fair amount of the drama centers around various characters scheming to get other characters kicked off their airborne life raft. This isn’t just banishing them from the village– it’s choosing to murder them. (Even characters possessed of skills that might help them survive.) I would like to think that if there were a great die-off the survivors would band together a bit more.

[Ok, you can come back now.] This show will take you for a fast-paced ride and you might just find that before you know it you’ve unintentionally watched the full series in one night.

 

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