TV Review: You, Me and the Apocalypse (Episode Five)

you me and the apocalypse review nbc sky atlantic rob lowe mathew baynton jenna fischer megan mulally joel fry pauline quirke hulu iain holland

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.

This week’s episode (well, I say that, it aired a few weeks ago now) was written by Sarah Dollard! (That’s @carrionlaughing, for those of you following at home on tumblr.) Her name stood out to me, actually, when I saw it in the opening credits, because I am a big Doctor Who fan, and obviously I knew that Sarah Dollard is going to be writing the tenth episode of series 9, Face the Raven. I’ve been avoiding plot details for that, more or less, but I do know one thing now – it’s going to be very good.

This fifth episode is very much a transitional one; it’s the mid point in this ten episode series, and you can clearly see a lot of story arcs drawing to a close, and new ones opening up. It’s something that Sarah Dollard handled really well, bringing (in some cases) a sense of closure to this crossroads, with plenty of intrigue following on.

Much like last episode, it’s a great episode for characterisation – much like the whole series, really. Jamie and Dave start to get to know Mary in this episode, and there are some genuinely compelling scenes between them; an obvious one to point to is Jamie’s grief when he finds out about Ariel and ‘Hawkwind’, but the one that stayed with me more was Dave reproaching Jamie for his response to Mary’s delusions – it was a rather powerful moment, actually. The way the show has handled Mary’s mental illness has been impressively sensitive, actually; they’re very careful as to how the other characters respond to her, and just what exactly is played for laughs, and what is a moment of pathos.

I also quite enjoyed the culmination of Rhonda and Leanne’s story; it was similarly well done. It’ll be a shame to see Leanne go, actually – she was a consistently very funny character, and there was a level of depth to her too; the goodbye between her and Rhonda (the circumstances of which were very well chosen) was in fact quite poignant. And, of course, Scotty and General Gaines had a similarly compelling storyline. Kyle Soller is a fantastic actor – fast becoming one of my favourite characters, actually. Very well characterised, from the acting and the writing. Paterson Joseph too is rather wonderful; there’s an interesting potential Doctor in there. (It’s always on the brain.)

Another very strong episode there then! Enjoyed it quite a lot; very much an “end of act one” sort of story, but it’s come at the right time, and it’s got a lot of strengths in its own right.

9/10.

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TV Review: You, Me and the Apocalypse (Episode Four)

you me and the apocalypse review nbc sky atlantic rob lowe mathew baynton jenna fischer megan mulally joel fry pauline quirke hulu iain holland

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.

Anyway, though.

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.

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TV Review: You, Me and the Apocalypse (Episode Three)

you me and the apocalypse review nbc sky atlantic rob lowe mathew baynton jenna fischer megan mulally joel fry pauline quirke hulu iain holland

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.

Another strong episode of You, Me and the Apocalypse, which is fast becoming one of my favourite TV shows. This episode displays all the same strengths as the previous ones, really; lots of funny moments (Nick Offerman is a gift), interesting character development (Father Jude remains fascinating) and entertaining interactions between characters (Joel Fry and Mat Baynton are a brilliant double act).

What’s most interesting about this one, though, was the furthering of the overarching mythology of the show, as You, Me and the Apocalypse begins to concern itself with a much wider ranging plot, with implications that reach far further – yet, at the same time, remaining tied to what we’ve seen before.

In this episode, we see Layla (if that is her real name) for the first time – the missing wife that Jamie is searching for. Her daughter (who, it’s implied, may also be Jamie’s daughter) is the fabled giraffe messiah. A whole crowd of people have gathered in Warsaw, worshipping this young girl in a giraffe onesie, and Father Jude and Sister Celine have come to investigate. It’s an interesting look at mob mentality, and the sort of mania that the apocalypse might create in people.

But at the same time, they imply that this young girl might, in fact, have some supernatural powers. Because she knows about Sister Celine’s dead friend, from the convent.

And then later on, we see a model of judgement day, built by Jamie’s mother – one which has a White Horse as a central part of it. The White Horse, we already know, is Ariel’s hacker name. So perhaps there is something to this?

It’s a genuinely fascinating concept, and I love the fact that this show has chosen to play around in that sandbox. It elevates the show further – playing around with this imagery and symbolism allows the writing to go deeper and play around with certain ideas, that opens up a lot more potential. It’s really encouraging, and it’s got me really excited for the rest of the show.

And, you know, if you’re not into all that, it is still consistently hilarious. 8/10

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