You, Me and the Apocalypse is a bold, adrenaline-fuelled comedy-drama about the last days of mankind – boasting a relentlessly entertaining mix of action, adventure, romance and wit set against a backdrop of apocalyptic chaos.
The story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways, all triggered by the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course towards earth.
Now, obviously, since this is a serialised program, and typically the reviews I’m writing for this series a much shorter than my reviews for, say, Doctor Who, I’m trying to find something new to comment on each week, where possible.
This time, we’re going for the strength of the acting, particularly in terms of characterisation. There were three main standouts, in this episode – Rob Lowe as Father Jude, Jenna Fischer as Rhonda, and Mat Baynton as Ariel. Obviously, our other main characters were still entirely at their usual standards – have I mentioned how funny Joel Fry is as Dave? It’s reached a point where I’m wondering how the actor ever fit into something quite so serious as Game of Thrones – clearly, he’s very talented.
We’ll start with Rob Lowe, because his performance in this episode as Father Jude was his best of the series so far. Jude is a really interesting character; on the surface, he’s so irreverent and acerbic and cynical, yet he still has a very deep faith. The apparent contradiction between what you’d expect of a Vatican priest and what we’ve actually got is the basis of a pretty compelling character – and in this episode, we got to the heart of that. Jude is a priest because his religion helped him through a very hard time in his life, after the death of his father (something I’m guessing will become relevant soon); Rob Lowe gives a brilliant performance in this episode, trying to talk a man down from suicide – it’s handled with great care and sensitivity, and I think it’s one of the stand out moments of the series so far.
Similarly interesting character development for Rhonda, too, as we get to see just how far she’ll go in her attempts to see her family once again – threatening to kill a young boy, who’s deliberately shown to be not so different from her son. It’s an interesting place to take her to, given that she started out as a meek librarian out of her depths – clearly, she’s been spending too much time with Leanne! Still, though, it’s a compelling character arc to see playing out.
And, finally, Mat Baynton as Ariel. Typically I’ve been commenting on his role as Jamie so far, but I think it’s really worth highlighting just how excellent an actor Mat Baynton is; Jamie and Ariel feel like very distinct and separate characters, with no chance of confusion between them. Often I forget that they’re the same actor – obviously, they’re both identical because they’re the same person, but there’s such a gulf between the two characters, it’s easy not to be conscious of the fact.
But, yes. Mat Baynton did a brilliant job as Ariel, particularly in terms of the final moments of the episode – when he killed Max, it was a genuinely shocking turn, and Ariel was elevated from more than just a dangerous hacker type, but a proper psychopath to be feared; as a villain, he’s going to have repercussions throughout the rest of the series, I’m sure. And it’s very much down to Mat Baynton’s performance, which is really excellent.
This was a really good episode! Possibly the best of the series, in fact. I’m inclined to give it 10/10, actually.