[Recap] Now Apocalypse: "The Downward Spiral"
So here’s the thing. Last episode and this one have been more about furthering developing characters and setting up apocalyptic events, both of the potentially world-ending kind but also of a relationship nature. As such, it can feel like treading water. But I’ve now watched this episode twice and I appreciate the subtle way it’s going about setting the stage. And, truthfully, I love the characters so much that I could probably watch a full season of just them going about their normal lives.
But there’s another part of me that’s like “c’mon guys, let’s get to it!” It doesn’t help that I’ve known what happens in the next episode for a long time and I’ve been anxious to write about it. Episode 5 is my favorite of the season, so far. But in order to get there, we have to setup the main conflicts with this aptly named episode that invokes one of the best albums (I’d actually argue it’s the best album) of that decade, Nine Inch Nail’s seminal work, The Downward Spiral. And boy, do we see shit spiraling…and that was sort of a pun. Because of the alien shit…oh whatever let’s get to it.
Carly Gets Pee Shy
We open on Carly at an audition with the most unhelpful casting director. She plays the scene naturally and he stops her with a caustic, “Actually try acting” this time. So she goes high. Too much. Too big. He tells her to try to “find humanity somewhere in between, like, nothing and….clown.” Ouch.
Take after take. Stand up. Sit down. Go high. Go small. It all ends with a fake smile from the casting director and a “we’ll call you” dismissal, as the most perfect song introduces the title card. I love this song and it perfectly encapsulates this episode: “This is what you get when you mess with love.” Keep that in mind as we spiral downward from here.
Carly meets up with Uly and complains about the casting process and he suggests she resurrect her web series idea. She also has been trolling Craigslist for roommates after hers left to join a totally-not-a-cult cult. How’s that going, you ask?
“It’s like estras casting for a David Lynch movie.”
Get that aloe out because this episode is full of sick burns. But Carly gets to turn around the situation and becomes her own casting director for the movie of her life. Or something. Her choices are full of loveable oddballs who just wouldn’t make good roommates, even though I’d probably want to be friends with all of them. Well, except our returnee Antifa polyamorous, Ford/Severine thruple partner Daphne because she kind of scares me, not gonna lie.
My favorite is a goth girl who tells Carly, “I don’t have a job at the moment. But I have over 32,000 Instagram followers…so…I’m really focusing on trying to monetize that, right now.” You do you, girl. But like, maybe don’t lead with that?
Carly takes her anger issues out on her cam show. Where we see some of the more kinky demands, including small penis jokes, playing dead and peeing in the tub. Where she gets a bit pee shy. And it’s obvious this side hustle isn’t really giving her the satisfaction it was when she first started. I’m waiting for her to get Jethro involved, somehow.
Severine Becomes Flappable
When we catch up with Severine, she’s driving in her sporty car, giving Lars some very alien-specific instructions: “Follow protocol and don’t take any biogenetic samples until I arrive on site.”
So I just want to take a pause because I think the term “biogenetic” is important. When I did some research on this (yes, Susan, I’m doing research on a silly sex-positive show) I came upon an interesting definition for this. It’s probably based on Biogenetic Law:
the theory of ontogenetic recapitulation
Okay, so what’s ontogenetic recapitulation, you ask? I could go through the entire Wikipedia article about it, but basically, I think this “biogenetic” sample is basically the birth or afterbirth or some kind of fetal organism that Lars found. Keep this in mind, later.
She notices a car seems to be tailing her. And her unflappable nature has become…er…flapped? The car angrily zooms past her, but she is concerned. That night, back at her icebox apartment (which has a security code on the door), she looks out the window and sees a man in the building across from her, staring right at her, before slowly closing the blinds. Eek! The plot thickens.
Ford Enjoys a Circle Jerk
We’ve already established that Ford works out like a man possessed when he’s angry or frustrated. And boy is he frustrated, based on the sweat-slicked colorful leopard print tank top that’s stuck to his chiseled, hairy chest. In between running, lifting weights, jumping and battle roping like a madman, he envisions Severine having sex with Mustafa. And Ford eventually stumbles in exhaustion and, like a vision of holy euphoria, he sees a sign for the most homoerotic men’s group called “Circle Jerk: A Sexuality Support Group For Men,” which sounds…either fantastic or terrible, depending on how you look at it.
So he drags Uly to the Circle Jerk, which is led by the dude from Office Space who created the game Jump…to Conclusions! Ford and Uly’s carefree chemistry makes the group think they’re a couple. Ford doesn’t quite understand and Uly’s face is hilarious during the entire exchange as the group thinks Ford is coming out of the closet, while he’s just upset that he isn’t in a monogamous relationship. The group actually provides him with good advice that this is a situation where it’s important to have an open dialogue with your partner.
They end with a chant of “Men have feelings, too!” This is either the best thing to happen to toxic masculinity…or it’s a Men’s Right Activist Group in the making. I’m not sure which, yet. More to come?
So Ford broaches the subject with Severine, with an assist with his sponsor George via FaceTime. And this is the most awkward conversation ever, even as Ford spills his guts about Mustafa and how they’ll do the polyamory together and not alone. When George offers to be their third, we get burn number three of the episode: “If the Earth was ravaged by a nuclear war. And you were the last man alive. I still wouldn’t fuck you.” Ouch.
In bed, Ford tries to get romantic with Severine, but she just isn’t feeling it. So he tries to cuddle. But she’s feeling that less. So she offers him a handjob because, “of the options presented, it’s the most agreeable.” And it’s the most uninterested handjob I’ve seen. Like she’s uninterested. But Ford is incredibly into it, moaning, “Oh I love you, I love you” until he has a very visual and explosive orgasm. She tosses him a Kleenex and goes to bed.
I think this is the start of the end for them.
Uly Discovers Some Biogenetic Samples
Ulysses is upset with himself for responding to Gabriel in the middle of the night last episode. Because Gabriel ghosted him. Again. But the weird thing is that when Uly woke up, all of the texts were gone. Like it never happened. Like he dreamt the whole thing.
After a dream in which he’s walking down some reject set from one of the Alien movies, Uly wakes up (e-joint in hand) to the hottest delivery man in the world knocking at his door. His name is Tlayolotl, who is married and straight. And comes from a family that thinks gay sex causes hurricanes. But that doesn’t stop him from having an eight-shot orgasm with Uly. Multiple times.
As Uly tells Carly that night while at his security temp job, “There’s something so hot about guys on the DL. It’s like they’re so repressed that when they finally get some it’s like the deluge-”
“Of cum, apparently!” Carly interject. Because, true.
While chatting, Ford texts about a party Barnabas is throwing in Palm Springs and they’re all invited. But their conversation is cut short by a woman screaming in pain. Carly hears it, too, so it’s not some drug-fueled delusion.
Uly goes to check it out and what he finds is a homeless woman, hunched over as if she’s pooping but the shit on the ground does not look like, er, shit. It looks like something the Xenomorphs in Aliens would coat their hives with. She scurries away and he looks closer at the stuff. And I’m pretty sure that it’s the biogenetic stuff that Lars discovered elsewhere. Whatever it is, it’s red, mucousy and shiny and gross.
My favorite lines
“This guy George describes it as a male coven…which, I guess is a type of stove.”
“My interests include labor strikes, premium grade Matcha and the downfall of society as we know it.”
“It’s like a bunch of guys, hanging out. Shooting the shit. Sorta like a locker room? Except less moldy smelling? And nobody gets naked……but in a way, you do!”
This alien invasion thing is becoming more pronounced. What I think is happening is that the aliens are fornicating with people, unsure of how. Which is why the homeless man was raped in the first episode. This woman, I think, was impregnated and I’m wondering if what Uly found was some kind of baby egg thing.
Everything seems spiraling out of control this episode. From Ford to Uly to Carly. It’s just all going down the drain.
The next episode has my favorite character, so far. And I think she might be a bit character but I can’t wait to talk about her.
So that’s it, good friends. Thanks for spiraling downward with me, as always. This episode had a lot of great songs in it. And while I usually end with the finale song of the episode, this time I gotta give it up to gay twink icon Troye Sivan.
So, until next time, let’s enjoy the music video that stars one of my favorite adult stars: