Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1 Review: A Way Out

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An endless loop becomes Yossarian's main enemy. Catch-22 leaves him in a state of continually trying to stay alive when the odds are against him -- and still rising.

Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1 begins with everyone wanting better than what they have.

Yossarian wants to live, Milo wants to create a food enterprise, and the higher-ups want to win this war.

Pointing the Finger - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

Some are luckier than others in their hopes and take advantage of their surroundings.

Catch-22 is a devastating circle when someone wants a way out but there is no real way out.

Scheisskopf Chews Out Yossarian and Clevinger - Catch-22

It's a vicious cycle, and no matter your move, there is no next move.

Even Doctor Daneeka sees the futility in making a move when he shares with Yossarian how a superior had to come in and get convinced of the doctor's intentions, as he, too, is treated with skepticism.

The episode shows how impossible it is for any of these characters to own their destiny.

They're stuck at a point where the end gets closer, only to be taken from them again.

Yossarian Carries His Belongings - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

Yossarian is constantly looking for a way out, a way to move on to something better.

The episode smartly plays coy with what he'd rather be doing wtih his pessimism making it seem like he doesn't enjoy much of anything outside of peace and quiet.

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Christopher Abbott plays Yossarian as difficult to read past his fear and reckless hope to abandon his post.

Yossarian is relatable. He sees the mortal danger he is in while those around him appear more casual or accepting of it.

Capitalism at Work - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

He's distracted, caught up in something he doesn't believe in and doesn't want to die for.

Yossarian's descent into madness in the final scene when scratching blood off the front of the plane while being shot at is a striking image.

One of my favorite moments comes from the short story about Mudd.

It only take a couple of moments, but it's a fascinating little story about how getting the wrong directions leads him to his doom.

The intensity of the bombing sequences are superb.

Facing Scheisskopf - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

The flak exploding around the planes makes it a game of chance so that any moment could be their last. Such that it is, they all descend into madness.

That is the point of the episode, after all.

To complete the bombing runs requires a certain level of madness, even if madness will not allow Yossarian to be free of his duties.

The idea of Catch-22 is a fascinating one.

It will leave them all to near-certain death with the way the bombing mission quota goes up rather than going down.

Cathcart's near-enjoyment in demanding more missions is darkly comedic, with Kyle Chandler doing wonders in the role.

Lamb Chops - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

Exploring how Major de Coverley lives on the base is one of the episode's great oxymorons.

Instruments of death take off and land all around him, but there he is leisurely playing a game of horseshoes and concerning himself in the acquisition of lamb chops.

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The comforts of home are more important to de Coverley than the war, it appears.

Hugh Laurie has great fun with it, bringing a mixture of boredom and faint excitement to the role.

The visual style is one of the show's strong suits.

From the sun-baked color palette to the quick zooms used to foucs attention, the show keeps what you're seeing exciting and fresh.

Hugh Laurie on Catch-22

The music, as well, adds a strangely upbeat tone compared to the subject matter.

The period music, mostly swing, is this bizarre juxtaposition, catchy and cheery, another of the great contradictions the show likes to make.

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Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1 makes the danger visceral while portraying a comedic edge through it all.

Despite the oppressive and desperate tone of the episode, it still finds time to add humor to the situation.

Yummy Yum Yum - Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1

Clooney's Scheisskopf tearing down Yossarian and Clevinger, and Kyle Chandler's Colonel Cathcart are two of the most fascinating characters.

There's earnest anger behind them, where nothing will ever be good enough for them.

Everyone's trying to do their best whether high in the air and on the ground. 

On Catch-22, it depends on your rank how much this means for you.

For Yossarian, it means a potentially endless round of missions.

For us, it means a highly entertaining episode.

What did you think of the opening episode of Catch-22?

Do you think Yossarian will be able to make it out alive, or will things turn for the worse? 

Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

Episode 1 Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (4 Votes)

Kevin Lever is a staff writer at TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Catch-22 Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Milo: When was the last time you had a strudel?
de Coverley: Not recently...

In his eyes... there's no life flashing before them or any of that. There's just terror.

Yossarian