You, Me and the Apocalypse
When I first I called this show NBC’s Game of Thrones, I should have guessed that, in addition to convoluted lineages and an ever-expanding world, we might also be in store for the deaths of beloved characters. In “Saviour Day,” simultaneously YMATA’s most sobering episode and one of its campiest, that tragedy finally came to pass. I’ll miss you, sexy bad-boy priest Father Jude — but I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a hell of a lot of ground to cover here.
At this point, the biggest bunker mystery seems to be how Rhonda, Spike, Scotty, and now Gaines all make it from Washington, D.C., to Slough. After all, Rhonda is now being held on a military base with no chance at a fair trial, and her lawyer theorizes that the state will seek the death penalty. Rhonda’s best hope is that Operation Saviour, which is now well under way, is successful.
Scotty tells the president that Operation Saviour has about a 50 percent chance of working. The plan is to launch a nuclear warhead into the comet, then hope the force of the detonation pushes it just far enough off course that it misses Earth. If the nuke doesn’t work, all hope is lost.
For Jamie and Hawkwind, if Operation Saviour doesn’t work, then there are only seven days left to get Frankie back from Ariel. Realizing that Hawkwind is the ultimate bargaining chip, they decide to make it seem like Jamie is holding her hostage so they can do a “prisoner exchange” for Frankie in the same car park where Jamie was left as a baby. As they wait for Ariel, Hawkwind makes Jamie promise to take care of Frankie in case anything happens to her — and, in doing so, reveals that she and Frankie used to watch all of Jamie’s videos. Ariel arrives and all goes according to plan until Ariel pulls out his ace: He put a bomb in Frankie’s giraffe costume, and unless both Hawkwind and Frankie come with him, he’ll let his finger off the button, causing the bomb to explode. Frankie goes to Ariel, but not before throwing up all over him, distracting him enough that Jamie can tackle him while Hawkwind and Ariel slip away. After some back and forth about Ariel finally having won his game of “Doofus,” he realizes that Frankie’s vomit seeped into the remote detonator, rendering it useless. Hawkwind returns and maces Ariel, then she, Jamie, and Frankie make their escape.
Meanwhile, Celine’s affair with Jude is discovered by the Mother Superior, who tells Celine that if she wants to be with Jude, she must leave the sisterhood or risk an eternity in hell after the comet hits. Celine tries to convince Jude to renounce his vows and run away with her, but he is convinced that the work of looking for the Messiah is more important than ever. Heartbroken, Celine returns to the convent while Jude is called to a meeting with the cardinals. If Operation Saviour fails, they propose to anoint a new savior from one of the alleged messiahs he had already vetted and dismissed. Jude is horrified at the prospect — they want to endorse a false prophet — but the cardinals insist that letting people of faith die with hope is more important than telling the truth. Jude, however, maintains his faith in both the importance of honesty and in the impending return of Christ. Disgusted by what he’s seen, he renounces the priesthood.
Back in Washington, Scotty, Gaines, and the president watch as Operation Saviour fails. The scientists behind the project are devastated at first, then thoroughly confused as a news broadcast announces that Operation Saviour was a success. Armed guards storm in and take the scientists who know the truth captive, while Scotty accompanies the president to deliver a joyful speech that he knows to be a lie. As the world celebrates, Gaines sobs in Scotty’s arms.
Now that the apocalypse supposedly isn’t imminent, the future looks brighter than ever. The entire world is celebrating as though there once again is a future. Rhonda cheers her hero brother from her prison cell. Hawkwind and Jamie kiss as fireworks light up the night sky. It’s so sweet that, for a moment, I wanted to believe that would be their future, too.
Most heartbreaking of all, Celine has just found out that Jude renounced his vows and is rushing to find him so they can start their life together. Unfortunately, Jude turned his back on one of the most powerful institutions in the world, and now knows that it is willfully lying to its believers. By the time Celine gets to him, it’s already too late — they’ve killed him. R.I.P. Jude.
You, Me and the Apocalypse has always been a show about the steadfast ways humanity holds on to hope when all else seems lost. When we first met Jamie, he was making videos for a woman he hadn’t seen or heard from in seven years, all out of slim hope that somehow, somewhere, she might see them. Father Jude and Sister Celine devoted their entire lives to the hope that there is be something out there bigger than us. Rhonda gave up her freedom in the hope that her son might have a shot at a future. In “Saviour Day,” we are shown the darker side of clinging to hope, and how it can be used to justify lies both large and small. Whether it’s the president promising that the end is no longer nigh, the Vatican working to anoint a false Messiah, or Hawkwind pretending to be dead to keep Frankie from Ariel, YMATA seems to understand something profound. Even as people try to take care of each other, humanity often finds ways to damage itself beyond repair.