You, Me and the Apocalypse
I am super into this show, you guys. There’s a lot of plot to discuss this week, so I won’t belabor the point, but I’m baffled You, Me, and the Apocalypse didn’t warrant a bigger publicity push from NBC. True, it may not be NBC’s original programming, but it is still some of the most original programming to appear on network primetime in a very long while.
Let’s jump right into it: Just when you think things can’t get any better, Nick Offerman appears. Isn’t that always the way?
Better still, he shows up with a beard so formidable even Ron Swanson would be impressed. Offerman plays Buddy, a character with an honestly touching desire to be seen for who he is: “A regular Joe who likes wearing pantyhose.” Unfortunately, he’s introduced pointing directly at Rhonda’s face.
After Rhonda and Leanne trespass on Buddy’s property, they’re attacked by his dog. Leanne escapes, but Rhonda finds herself in the unenviable position of having to talk Buddy into putting his gun down and not calling the police. She explains her situation, and they end up talking about a whole mess of topics: the end of the world, what they want for it, and Buddy’s aforementioned preference for wearing women’s clothes. He is so genuinely touched by Rhonda’s acceptance that he goes to change into an outfit he feels more comfortable in, which gives Rhonda time to call Scotty, who still hasn’t checked in on Rajesh or Spike. Scotty does know, however, that Spike is with his biological father, Tim, who gave authorities the wrong address so Rhonda wouldn’t find him.
While Rhonda is on the phone, Buddy turns on the news and sees the Anonymous-style video that Ariel has made through Deus Ex, in which he claims Rhonda as one of their operatives and asserts that the comet is just a government hoax to control the population. (Early theory: I bet Spike is actually behind the comet panic. Why would they tell us that he hacked the NSA and didn’t do anything if it weren’t somehow tied to the bigger picture?) Ariel wants to get Rhonda arrested so he can have Spike to himself — but although Buddy calls the police, and Rhonda finds herself in the back of a police car, she isn’t arrested.
Turns out Leanne had been waiting outside the whole time. When Rhonda was in trouble, she ran away, stole a police car, and posed as a cop to break her reluctant friend free. Leanne acknowledges that in “real life” they’d never speak to each other, but the end is nigh, and Leanne has a strict code: “I do not abandon my friends. Ever.”
Meanwhile, Celine and Father Jude the Bad-Boy Priest
desperately want to have sex with each other fly to Warsaw on the Pope’s private jet to investigate claims that an English girl (an almost upsettingly adorable Grace Taylor) rose from the dead. After dying in a car crash, the girl known only as Jane Doe miraculously came back to life when the comet collision was announced. She is now “God’s daughter.” Jane Doe also wears a giraffe costume, which has become a symbol to the dozens of believers gathered outside the hospital.
At first, both Celine and Jude are skeptical. However, the girl gives Celine a message from her late friend, Sister Sophia, and also says a voice has been telling her not to panic about the apocalypse. This leads Celine to believe that Jane Doe is the Messiah, even as Father Jude publicly renounces the idea.
Furthermore, her mother shows up to claim her … and it’s Jamie’s missing wife, Layla (Karla Crome). Her father is presumably Jamie; Jane Doe is about six years old, and Layla has been missing for seven years. Things. Are. Getting. Juicy. Celine and Jude sneak Layla and Jane Doe onto the jet and away to safety.
Jane Doe, by the way, is the newest addition to the bunker flash-forward. As the episode opens, we see her banging something against the couch. Messiahs will be kids, I guess.
In Washington, General Gaines and Scotty have organized some of the world’s top minds to come up with a plan to save the world from catastrophe. Or at least, that’s what they’ve told the world they’re doing. They’re still trying to put together the Genesis bunker in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Remember that? The one that will save fifteen women and the president, who will then repopulate the world?
I know, there’s a lot going on here.
We also learn that Scotty and General Gaines are a couple. The weight of knowing that humanity can’t be saved (and, as Gaines point out, might not be worth saving) is starting to make them both crack. Even so, Scotty carries out Rhonda’s wishes to see Rajesh in the hospital, where they’re both watched in case Rhonda comes to find them.
Across the pond, Jamie and Dave are still held captive in a bathroom by a nail-gun-wielding pregnant woman named Skye (Fiona Button), who is convinced that Jamie is Ariel. When she suddenly goes into labor, they convince her to let them go free — which means they have to help deliver her baby. The delivery goes surprisingly well, but the baby isn’t breathing. Oh no.
In a really lovely moment, Jamie leans close to the baby and whispers, “There’s still stuff worth fighting for.” He repeats the message, over and over, until the little guy’s lungs spring into action. (I love how this show hones in on the tender things people do in the face of death and disaster.) Skye is then convinced that Jamie can’t be Ariel — not because of his life-saving maneuver, but because he doesn’t immediately wash his hands — and she tells him that his mother has long since been committed to a psychiatric institution in the Scottish Highlands.
Speaking of Ariel, he finds Spike at the trailer home of his alcoholic, abusive biological father, where Spike’s phone has just been destroyed. Ariel convinces Spike that he’s a friend of Rhonda’s, and Spike gets into the car with him. Dun dun duuun!
Also, we finally get a half-glimpse at the glorious Diana Rigg’s character, albeit through plastic sheets and a respirator. She has summoned two figures in hazmat suits to an old house — the place is so wrapped up, it looks like Dexter is about to commit a murder inside — and points them to a folder full of photos of the main characters. Is she selecting the members of the bunker? Does she want to kill them all? Is she going to say actual words next week? Who can say!
I’ll admit that these episodes should probably be trimmed down just sliiightly, and I find the stuff with Scotty to be somewhat tedious, but I suspect that it’ll all be worth it once the smaller story threads start to pay off. A genuine love for the human spirit coming through You, Me and the Apocalypse. It reminds me a lot of David Tennant’s run on Doctor Who. Things are fast, the stakes are high, and even though humanity might be beyond saving, it is not beyond salvation.
Considering how good this show has been so far, the same could be said of serialized network television. I’m of a generation that puts its faith in Netflix, but I really enjoy looking forward to this every week. To those who might believe that great network shows no longer exist, I think Jamie put it best: There’s still stuff out there worth fighting for.