'Now Apocalypse' episode 1: This Gregg Araki show is off to an abstract, absolutely bizarre and sexy start
The first episode of Starz show 'Now Apocalypse' introduces us to characters who are clueless, to a plot that is bizarre and an episode that is abstract.
'Now Apocalypse', the Gregg Araki directorial had piqued our interest with its trailer, which was psychedelic, sexy and fluid - the first episode of the show follows the same pattern in addition to being bizarre. The show begs not be taken seriously but also contains pearls of wisdom cloaked under that humor. We meet Ulysses (Avan Jogia) for the first time and he is having sex with another man. Just when they are about to hit a climax, the other man's husband comes home and Uly is forced to jump out of the window with his clothes barely on. He seems unperturbed about almost being caught but is unusually aware of how 'fu**** up' his actions are. So why does he do it? Just for the heck of it.
He vlogs to understand his thoughts, "download the sh** that goes on" in his head and during vlogging, he introduces us to his life. He lives with his best friend Ford, who he loves. He also says that if Ford "had a molecule of ambiguity in regards to his sexual orientation" he would be married to him by now. He also tells his followers that recently something strange has been happening in his life. He has a strange dream that gives him the feeling that we are all "teetering on the brink of total annihilation". And then we cut to Uly talking to his other best friend Carly about this dream. She tells him, "Maybe you should smoke a smidge less pot before going to sleep". This abruptly cuts and we go back to it later on throughout the episode, which in parts sets up the mood for the entire 30-minute long episode.
The first episode also introduces us to the other characters of the show - Carly's boyfriend Jethro (Desmond Chiam) who is a fellow actor aspirant, Ford's girlfriend Severine (Roxane Mesquida) who wants to be in an open relationship and Uly's online date - Gabriel (Tyler Posey). The young bunch of people in this show will not be boxed by their sexual desires, curiosity or opinions. So when Carly tells her friend Uly to set the bar very low because the men on the dating platform today are a weird bunch, you take it from her. Especially, when she recalls how the last time she had sex with her boyfriend and he wanted her to be his 'teacher'. This is when he sets up a date to meet Gabriel.
We also see Ford try to convince Severine that maybe it's time that the two became exclusive since they have been together for six long months. Severine, on the other hand, would prefer to be in an open relationship and introduce Ford to being polyamorous. Carly's boyfriend Jethro, on the other hand, is a simpleton who jumps out of joy for making it to the small screen as a dead body (his character is axed in the face). All of them speak different, want different things and it may all seem like overkill to a few, but it is the hyperbole that adds humor to the show.
The most interesting part about the show is not the plot, but the conversations between the characters. The one where Severine and Ford speak about how capitalism and monogamy are related, how when Carly explains why expectations need to be lowered - these dialogues are abstract, but fun. Also, Araki's signature style is to make films that on the surface, may look surreal, but he makes a very simple point. All his films surround inclusivity, freedom to choose and acceptance without judgments. This is also present in Now Apocalypse. Case in point, when Uly finally meets Gabriel and they are just about to kiss, men in a jeep pass by and make offensive actions, catcall and all of this is over in just seconds - but it is present. Araki, simply doesn't stress on the reality in his work, instead, we get served with surreal dreams and bizarre alien lizards.
Speaking of alien lizards, the closing scene of the first episode is sure to have you burst out laughing and will have you wondering -- Now what?