YOU, ME & THE APOCALYPSE – ‘Episode Two’

Yellow is the new bleak
4 out of 5 stars

Things kicked up a gear this week, as the effects of the on-coming apocalypse became clearer and we were introduced two new characters: Paterson Joseph’s preternaturally calm General Arnold Gaines, and his nervy sidekick Scotty (Cousin Francis from Poldark, actor Kyle Soller)—who also happens to be the brother of escaped convict Rhonda (Jenna Fischer).

I also felt that things are settling into a nice rhythm, with some gently absurd images (the elderly couple on their ‘erotic odyssey’, Dave car surfing behind a hedge in homage to Teen Wolf), and an interesting juxtaposition of melancholy with broad comedy. This last was most noticeable in the scene where a man committed suicide, derailing Ariel’s (Mathew Baynton) van in the process. On one hand the suicide was a reminder that a deeply serious event (the end of the world) is about to occur, and that’s causing people to make difficult, out-of-character decisions; but then at the same time it was almost impossible not to laugh in shock when his body landed on the car.

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Jamie & Dave

I really warmed to this paring this week, as Jamie (Baynton) set out to find his birth mother, while Dave (Joel Fry) tagged along for the ride. There’s a nice rhythm between these actors and I really could believe they’re genuine friends. It also became clearer that Dave does care for Jamie and would like him to start living life again. He’s still a happy idiot (witness the Teen Wolf lie which was wonderfully delivered by Fry), but he’s a caring and increasingly likeable one. It helps, too, that this is the least broadly-written pairing and in many ways the most believable.

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Father Jude & Sister Celine

I have a soft spot for our friends in the Vatican, who this week were tasked with investigating the possible second coming of Christ, in detail, while trying to deny their obvious attraction. Father Jude (Rob Lowe) continues to have the choicest lines, and God it’s fun to watch how much Lowe enjoys saying them, although Gaia Scodellaro was on top form as Sister Celine tonight (“I have very low expectations of you”), and my favourite revelation might be that she spent her time in the convent not just memorising the catechism but finding time to learn all of Miss Saigon as well. Good on you, Sister Celine—you just replaced Julie Andrews as my favourite singing nun!

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Rhonda, Leanne & Ariel

Meanwhile, over in New Mexico, things were taking a complicated turn. It transpired Ariel is far more interested in extracting Rhonda’s hacking knowledge (which of course she doesn’t actually have) rather than helping her in any way. He soon dumped her on the side of the road after she revealed she wasn’t an uberhacker, before heading off to try and abduct her son Spike instead—leaving our beleaguered librarian to make common cause with Leanne (Megan Mullally). I’m still not wild about this storyline, although Fischer does a great job of making me care for poor Rhonda, a woman desperate to get to her husband and son before the end of the world. That said, I rather liked Baynton’s turn as off-kilter Ariel; a man obsessed by manners, who appears to be capable of losing his temper with very little provocation.

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General Gaines & Scotty McNeil

Our newest pairing are high in the echelons of power and have been preparing for armageddon for some time. Rather disturbingly, it appears their answer to the end of the world—’Mount Genesis’—is some sort of crazy reproduction programme featuring fifteen beautiful, fecund, intelligent women, and a bunch of sperm donations. Oh, and the President of the United States (Lloyd Owen) swiftly accepted his role as leader of this harem once it became clear it was a case of survive or die. As General Gaines, Joseph gave us his best Johnson from Peep Show; all faintly disbelieving looks and smooth patter. Meanwhile, Soller was fantastic as the nervy Scotty; a man who understands death and destruction but who can’t even go to the loo without having some sort of accident occur.

Additional Points:

  • So it seems clear that Jamie’s biological mother Mary only gave him away and kept Ariel, raising him in some sort of nutty survivalist cult.
  • Equally, Ariel clearly hasn’t been behaving very well prior to his travels around the world, given the young lady with the rather large pair of secateurs at the show’s end.
  • I enjoyed Jamie and Dave’s debate about kiss versus abduction. Jamie’s missing wife Layla doesn’t look very happy in the photo with Ariel, but his twin brother clearly has a strong and unnerving attachment to her given his extreme reaction to Leanne touching the photograph.
  • It’s possible that my favourite bit of the whole episode was Pauline Quirke’s doleful expression on examining her DIY home improvements.

So what did you think: is the show holding your attention? What do you think will happen next? And what did you make of our newest pairing? As ever all speculation welcome below…
Watch You, Me & The Apocalypse on Sky1 and NOW TV.

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