[Recap] Now Apocalypse: "Stranger Than Paradise"
Here we go. The last of the first few episodes I received before the show began and the episode that started pulling together a lot of the threads introduced. It’s my favorite episode so far because it fully embraces the zaniness of the show’s potential and introduces my favorite side character (who we probably won’t see again).
It opens with Carly, Uly, Severine and Ford in a car, driving to Palm Springs for the party Barnabas invited Ford to last episode. They are arguing about the pros and cons of Coachella. Uly is pro. Carly is con. But it could be that her experience was bad: “I did go with two girls dressed as slutty Pocahontases, though, so that might have ruined my experience.” They were apparently arguing whether HAIM was pronounced “Heim” or “Hame.” Obviously is “Hi-em.” Two syllables. But I digress.
Ford tries to involve Severine, but her deadpan response is “What is a Coachella?” And she’s back on her phone. And the car collectively sighs.
Uly Meets HENRY FUCKING ROLLINS
“Holy shit!” Uly says as he and Carly check into their room at The Jacobs. It’s swanktastic. They both seem oogie about Barnabas’s relationship with Ford. Carly just assumed one of them was sucking the other’s dick. But no. “Maybe Barnabas just believes in Ford’s screenwriting,” she says but can’t keep a straight a face. Seriously, Kelli’s facial expressions kill me. Her physical comedy and her timing is 🔥🔥🔥.
Conversation also turns to Severine’s terrible attitude, which Carly compares to nail polish remover. Uly halfheartedly says she’s stressed at work. But Carly has a different perspective: “She is French and drop-dead gorgeous so…C'est la vie!”
Ford interrupts them to invite them to lunch with Severine who is…waiting in the car. Oof. He’s barely keeping it together. And he looks nervous after they turn him down to say they’re just going to hang around the pool, where they meet the handsome Leif (RJ Mitte) who winks at them from the pool before he joins them and starts flirting with Carly. The witty and fast conversation between Uly and Carly when he leaves is why I love this show so much:
Carly: “What was that, a drive-by seduction?”
Uly: “I feel like I just watched him impregnate you with his eyes.”
Carly: “Wait am I in love with him?”
Uly: “I’m in love with him for you.”
Carly: “But how could he just leave like that, after everything that we’ve been through?”
Uly: “Maybe he saw your ingrown hair and was grossed out.”
Later, Uly and Carly are walking the streets of Palm Springs and Carly is bemoaning the fact that she should have got Leif’s number when Uly sees a literal and metaphorical sign that Mitchell Kent, the alien dude, is at a Palm Springs bookstore. “That’s fate!” They go, meeting a bunch of cosplaying alien aficionados. And there at the signing table is HENRY FUCKING ROLLINS. Who is rude AF to Uly when he tries to ask questions, telling him to “Buy a fucking book or get lost.”
This Party is Weird
That night, the four of them show up at Barnabas’ party and I fell in love with Severine again because she’s wearing some Death Becomes Her Isabella Rossellini meets Tim Burton gothic eleganza realness. And I’m gagging. The party scene, like all parties, is all jangled up. Here are some highlights
Carly and Severine, alone, discuss the Bechdel test and how they’re flunking it. Severine asks what it is and then says that it shouldn’t be difficult to pass since “cock isn’t the only thing” she’s interested in. And then they go awkwardly quiet. Bechdel test, failed. Like whoa.
Severine tells Ford she absolutely must leave the party. She’s already ordered a Lyft. Why, you ask? Because, my dear readers, shit is about to hit the fan. There’s been a development at the lab that requires her immediate attention. But on her phone is a red, gross splotch…that looks just like the red splotch that a homeless person…expelled from their body in front of Uly last episode.
Carly sees Leif, looking all hot in a blue suit. They leave the party, after finding out that Leif’s career involves making large-scale ceramic sculptures (plant pots). They leave the party and start making out in a car, but Carly quickly stops it from going any further and tells Leif she has a boyfriend. Leif seems ok with it.
Ford and Severine have a fight as she’s leaving and Barnabas calls Ford over and I’m not sure if Ford is super drunk or drugged but he ends up in Barnabas’s bedroom, which is not okay. It’s flashing STRANGER DANGER warnings all over.
Uly turns down a threeway with two hot dudes and then meets my favorite character: a whispery waitress named Aja (Cleopatra Coleman). She wants to have sex with him, he tells her he’s gay, she says she knows because “Gay dudes are always super into me for some reason.” And she’s right, because I think I’m in love.
Barnabas begins undressing Ford and his eyes glow like a lizard: he’s one of the aliens! Uly and Aja end up having sex and then things get wild. Aja starts laughing maniacally as she rushes from room to room, throwing open the door and howling at the people having sex in each one. Until she opens the door to Barnabas’s room and Uly stops cold. He kicks Barnabas out, grabs Ford and starts helping him out of the party.
But where’s Carly? The party has gone mad and everyone is in stages of undress. Carly is topless in the pool, sitting on Leif’s shoulders and play-fighting with another topless girl and wtf is going on.
“My mom was super into Steely Dan.”
“It’s better to be fetishized than poor”
“Maybe he’s a polyamorous flexisexual who wants to recruit us both for some sort of culty cuddle party?”
“I don’t want to crush your male ego, but I knew you were gay the minute I saw you.”
This episode felt like I was at the party. It just veered from subject to subject and made it difficult to really recap; which is why it’s a little different than usual.
Barnabas is an alien. And at one point Leif makes a comment that the people who buy stuff from him are the Hollywood overlords; interesting choice of words when we discover later that a Hollywood producer is an alien.
I just want to point out again that I was LIVING for Severine’s outfit.
I hope we see Coleman’s Aja more. I know she’s just a waitress at the party but her very deadpan comedic delivery had me in stitches, both times I watched this episode. I guess she’s dating Avan Jogia in real life. Which, good for them. They made a hot couple on this episode.
Halfway through the first season, everyone! Woof. I didn’t know I could keep this going. It’s more time-consuming than I expected and while I will keep it going for this season, I’d definitely like more views and shares of it because it really does take away from my movie reviews. Sorry to get real, but that’s just the tea.
I’ll leave you with this killer track from this episode