(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “Sasha” episode of Amazon Prime Video’s “Solos.”)
On Friday, Amazon Prime Video launched its seven-part anthology series “Solos,” a show that, as the streaming service puts it, “explores the strange, beautiful, heart-breaking, hilarious, wondrous truths of what it means to be human.” One of those stories is led by Uzo Aduba, and it’s perhaps the most poignant episode of the series, created by “Hunters” mastermind David Weil, due to its central subject: A woman who has spent 25 years locked in a high-tech home to protect herself from a global pandemic.
“This was the idea of, ‘Is everything OK?’ Of us doing a more extreme version of, perhaps, where we are right now as we are starting to see guidelines being lifted,” Aduba told TheWrap about the parallels between the series and the COVID-19 pandemic. “That hesitancy you feel from various people — and to different degrees about whether what’s been told to you as safe, is in fact actually safe. You know, right now we’re watching that conversation happening with vaccines and masks. And then what that feels like 25 years deep. If you’ve experienced a back and forth of any kind, you become less and less likely as a society to trust what’s been told to you. I think that’s what we’re watching in ‘Sasha.'”
Aduba stars in the episode as the title character, with the actress’ sole co-star being the voice of Jack Quaid as the human person or A.I. — it’s never actually specified — that’s running her smart home for the Stay Homes company that developed this technology to protect people from the pandemic. On this particular day, the voice of the house tries to get her to leave the home of her own accord, telling her it is now safe to go out, that her friends and family have all left their isolation housing, and she should too. But Sasha cannot bring herself to believe that is true, and when she cannot make the choice to go into the world on her own, the house is forced to keep her inside forever, as the company running the program believes she is not capable of safely rejoining society.
“Twenty-five years of not knowing what is OK to do, is it truly OK to go outside? She’s been wrestling with that question for years at this point. That can be maddening; it can drive you mad,” Aduba said. “I think what was really great in the script, and then also with David’s direction, [was] that it broached the question of what does it mean to be well? Because now she’s inside and has been for 25 years and her grip on reality, perhaps, has slipped. Even though she has not contracted the outside illness, it seems like another form of wellness has been called into question.”
Along with Aduba, the series “Solos” stars Nicole Beharie, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Anthony Mackie, Helen Mirren, Dan Stevens and Constance Wu in “character-driven stories” that “contend that even during our most seemingly isolated moments, in the most disparate of circumstances, we are all connected through the human experience.”
Weil called the script for Aduba’s “Sasha” episode, which was written by Tori Sampson, “brilliant,” as it both reflects the very real COVID-19 pandemic and speaks to the timeless idea of what “home” means to each of us.
“All of these pieces were written over the course of the past year. So certainly, they exude and express, I think, many of the feelings and emotions and ideas that we’ve all been grappling with,” Weil said. “To me, the piece is really, also, universal. It is a story about a woman who does not trust what the outside world is telling her and the story about a woman who is seeking and exploring what home means to her. How does one construct home in the image that satisfies them, that brings them joy, that makes them feel whole? So it’s certainly inspired, I think, by many of the ideas and feelings that we all feel, ones of loneliness and solitude right now. But the ‘what if?’ of the piece, and the reason it is set in the future, is really because I think it’s a quite universal question and one that we are going to be thinking about for years and decades to come.”
“Solos” is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.