Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Tomorrow 1.01: "Pilot"

“The point is we’ve got to stop doing all the things we feel obligated to do and start doing the things that we want to do.”

“No Tomorrow” is the new CW show that I was most looking forward to going into the fall television season. CW over the past few years has been rebranding itself as the network of DC superheroes and hour long comedies featuring quirky female leads. “No Tomorrow” falls in the latter category. I’m a huge fan of both “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” so I had to give another show in that same mold a try. It’s from the same creative team as “Jane the Virgin,” and it’s based on a telenovela, too. My verdict on the pilot is that it wasn’t quite insta-love like I felt when first watching “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but it was an entertaining hour that made me smile, so I’m definitely in for more episodes. I need to know if the apocalypse is really nigh!

“No Tomorrow” is the story of Evie, a driven, organized 30-year-old woman who appears to work as a manager at a fulfillment center for an Amazon-like company called Cybermart. She has an absolutely awful boss, a few good work friends, and a sister with two young children. She also has a recently ex-boyfriend named Timothy who is a really quiet talker. Her life changes one weekend at the farmers’ market when she asks a vendor about the listeria precautions he takes for his rutabagas. While having this conversation, she meets “Xavier with an X” (“Galavant’s” Joshua Sasse, unfortunately not singing in this episode), and they have an immediate connection. She tells her friends about this at work, and they think she might be a bit crazy. Especially since she and Timothy just went on a break.

Evie wants more out of life, but she’s also a chronic people pleaser who doesn’t take risks. There’s an opening in the unit of her company that focuses on charitable giving, and Evie would love to apply except for one small thing. The last time she told her horrible boss, Deirdre, of her interest in that unit of the company, Deirdre listed a whole bunch of reasons why Evie would utterly fail at that position. I have a lot of sympathy for Evie here, having had an emotionally abusive boss myself at one point in my career who tried to convince me I couldn’t write (I know, right?) and didn’t belong in grad school, even though I already had a law degree and was a licensed attorney. That kind of stuff can really mess you up. That particular day in the office, Evie and her friend Hank and Kareema are just happy that they aren’t the ones Deirdre chose to fire in her latest tantrum.

Evie’s life starts to change when she sees a case of Carpe Diem beer addressed to none other than Xavier (they have very similar addresses, and the delivery person mixed things up). After having a conversation with her sister, where her (very smart) sister tells Evie to leave immediately if any alarm bells go off, Evie decides to deliver the beer to Xavier herself. Xavier is very happy to see his case of beer and to see Evie. He does indeed remember her from the farmers’ market. Evie accepts an invitation to have a beer, which she kind of regrets once she realizes that Carpe Diem is a sour beer. At first, she and Xavier are really hitting it off, but then things get weird. The inside of Xavier’s house looks like a Sharper Image catalogue, and he says he doesn’t work. The precise reason he doesn’t work is because he firmly believes that an asteroid is going to destroy the Earth in a little over eight months (conveniently around season finale time). This definitely makes alarm bells go off for Evie, but she doesn’t entirely dismiss Xavier.

The next day, while Evie is hanging out with her family at the park, Timothy arrives on the scene. It’s pretty clear that in addition to Evie’s friends, her family are also all rooting for Evie and Timothy to make it. I get why Evie’s not really feeling it anymore, though. He talks really quietly, and he always plays things safe and risk averse. He’s pretty much the textbook definition of the safe choice (maybe so much so that the character needs to be worked on a bit to make him more complex). Anyway, even though they’re not together at the moment, Timothy brings Evie’s nephew a gift of knee pads (see what I mean about the whole “safe choice” thing being a little on-the nose?) and takes Evie away from her family to propose (also using a knee pad when he gets down on one knee). Evie, understandably, doesn’t have an answer for Timothy right away, and she tells him she’ll think about it. She really should have just let the poor guy go right then and there, but I digress.

Evie goes home to find Xavier waiting with an apology/thank you six pack of beer. They sit down on the porch and look through Xavier’s bucket list notebook. Xavier wants Evie to join him on his quest to try and complete as many of the bucket list items as possible before doomsday. Evie is a little reluctant at first, but then she agrees to join him for at least one outing. After a few vetoes (interestingly, one of these vetoes was “call dad”), they settle on going for a joy ride with Big Carl. This involves a very fast drive through the desert with somebody called, of course, Big Carl. Evie has the time of her life, and she ends up going back to Xavier’s place. The next morning, before Evie leaves for work, they make plans to have drinks later that evening.

At work, Evie is happier than she’s been in a long time. She decides to use positivity (allowing them to play basketball if they meet their quota) to motivate her team to fill more boxes than ever. Riding the high, Evie heads to the bar for drinks with Xavier. Evie had mentioned to Xavier that a major item on her own bucket list would be to sing in public, so Xavier arranges for Evie to have a chance to sing with the 80’s cover band that is playing at the bar that night. Inexplicably (I feel like she’s about ten years too young for this), Evie is a major Whitesnake fan, and she reluctantly starts singing “Here I Go Again.” At first she is tentative, until Xavier threatens to start stripping if she doesn’t start to sing for real. The night takes a turn, however, when Hank shows up to inform Evie that she’s been fired because of a horrible email she sent to Deirdre. It turns out that Xavier actually sent the email because he wanted Evie to really live her life. Evie freaks out about this, though (understandably), and she’s done with Xavier. For now, at least.

Evie immediately goes to Timothy, tells her something happened with Xavier, and tries to get on his good side again. She doesn’t, however, agree to marry him. Timothy, even if he’s super boring, does have good advice to help Evie get her job back. Evie shows Deirdre that her IP address is different from the IP address of the email sender. Deirdre agrees to rehire Evie if Evie will help her form a romantic relationship with Hank (who happens to be Deirdre’s assistant…WTV Deirdre!). A relationship that completely conforms to the company fraternization policy, of course. When Evie gets home, she finds a pogo stick at her door (using a pogo stick was also on her bucket list). Evie takes a pretty bad fall while pogo-sticking, though, and she ends up in the hospital courtesy of a 911 call by Xavier (who was watching her from a distance because he can sometimes be a creeper like that).

At the hospital, Evie finds out that she just has a mild concussion from the fall. She does, however, also have a heart condition that will require surgery (non-invasive) right away. After she recovers from the surgery (which seemed pretty quick, so I looked up her heart condition, and it’s not like she required open heart surgery or anything, so maybe the recovery time was only slightly exaggerated), Evie is ready to start truly living life on her own terms – a sort of compromise between the super controlled, people pleasing life she lived before and the complete abandon of Xavier’s life. She tells Timothy she’s not ready for marriage, and growing a spine for once, he accuses her of considering him as a safe backup plan, and he asks her to leave the bar, since he already ordered food. Then she goes to talk to Xavier. She needs to do the whole bucket list thing at her own pace, but the pair do agree to work on items on each of their lists together. First up is from Evie’s list. She wants to see what happens when you put foil in the microwave (because she’s a rebel like that). Evie and Xavier have a lot of fun watching the sparks, but things take (another) turn at the very end of the episode, when Xavier’s cousin shows up, having just broken out of prison.

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