It seems my image from “Pan-Pan” would be more appropriate for this episode instead.
Last time we heard what was happening on the Hephaestus three months after Doug was lost. And it turns out things were going really badly.
When Mayday started with Minkowski introducing, I expected there to be more of the same. But no. Instead everything rewound and changed points of view. After all what did Doug do after losing contact with Minkowski and the others?
Well, he screamed a bit. Which is par for the course and exactly the sort of reaction you would expect from someone hurling towards deep space on a broken shuttle that’s losing air fast.
After dealing with the air problem it’s time to sit down and figure out what to do next. All alone. Apart from the voices in his head. Doug Eiffel survives the potential of going insane, repeated cryogenic freezing and, the realisation that even if his lone booster does manage to turn him far enough left to get on course, he isn’t going to reach the last known position of the nearest space station that could give him assistance in the next few decades. And he is rescued. We don’t know who by. But they certainly know him.
This episode is very interesting. Not only do we find out what happens to Doug during these long months he’s been missing, but also how he sees and what he admires in the other characters. In Minkowski, it’s her leadership. Her ability to logically go through a situation and figure out what tools he has and how he can use them.
With Lovelace it’s the sheer determination to survive no matter what. She gives him the strength of will just to keep going, regardless of how hard it’s going to be.
Doug sees Hilbert as cold and clinical, not beating around the bush and forcing him to face the scientific practicality of where he is and what he is doing. It’s Hilbert’s voice in his head that makes him face the realisation he isn’t going to reach the other ship in his natural lifetime.
Hera is hope. When he want to give up it isn’t the voice of his rescuer he hears, it’s Hera. Who has always been there even during his darkest times on the Hephaestus. She tells him that things are hard but that doesn’t mean he can or should give up hope. She also doesn’t glitch. I feel that’s important to mention. Throughout the entire podcast Hera has always glitched slightly as she talks. This imagined version of her doesn’t. To Doug she is just Hera, a person and his friend. (Side note: Right now, I don’t think I could ship this pair harder. Why must my loves always be doomed??)
Also in this episode we gain more flashes and hints towards Doug’s elusive backstory. What are his regrets? And why is it so hard for him to be alone?
Doug accepts the hallucinations immediately. They appear as soon as he realises he is alone and he doesn’t even spend a moment to question the fact they’re there. He just accepts it and moves on. We also know from “What’s up Doc” that there is a reason Doug shouldn’t be on a mission such as this. It is because of this very scenario? He psychologically cannot be alone. After all in “Are we alone now” Doug couldn’t even take the psychological evaluation without using a voice box in order to talk to himself. He runs through the test with his usual flippant attitude until he is confronted with the idea of being alone. At which point he falters and pushed himself for an answer. @ace-pergers-syndrome has written a post that explains it far better than I have here.
So I have a lot of questions. Who is the mysterious stranger who saves Doug? How does he know Doug’s name? Will Doug ever see the rest of the Hephaestus crew again? Will I ever be able to spell Hephaestus on the first try? This episode ends a fair bit of time after the previous one, is this stranger someone from Command or have they genuinely just heard Doug’s distress call?
I have a lot of questions but for now, Doug Eiffel is alive. And I am content with that.