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No Tomorrow begins to address its rom com problems

Jesse Rath, Tori Anderson / Bettina Strauss, CW
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Having set up its rom com premise, it’s about time that No Tomorrow started tearing it down. “I can’t be the girl in the rom com who overlooks serious issues just because the guy is charming,” says Evie, and with that, the show finally started to address the big Xavier-shaped problem it created.

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It was probably inevitable that a character designed to be as rom com-ish as Xavier was going to have some huge downsides. He encourages Evie to seize the day, but with no ability to see how it affects her life. He’s perceptive about what she needs to change, but it makes him think he always knows what’s best for her. He’s not stuck on worrying about things, but it means he’s dismissive when Evie insists something is worth worrying about.

And she has forgiven an awful lot about him. But overlooking the fact that he lied about who he is would turn Evie into a total doormat. He’s literally lied about his identity throughout their relationship. That’s some con man level lying, and while his reasons for creating a new life, as Evie points out, are valid (he doesn’t want to have the same name as the father he hates, and his criminal record came right after his mother died), it’s still unforgivable that he didn’t think it was worth explaining to her. Besides, it’s not actually up to him to decide what Evie gets upset about, and his failure to understand that seems like a bigger problem for their relationship than his reluctance to reconcile with his dad. Saying “relax” to someone during a big fight, as Xavier does here, has surely never, ever been a good idea. In addition to perpetually making people angrier (who wants to be told to relax by the person they’re upset with?), it says he doesn’t think the problem is worth fighting over. This may only be the first episode where No Tomorrow begins to address Xavier’s flaws in a serious way, but if it turns out to be the last, the show is going to have some big problems making its central romance work. There’s a fantasy about winning the rom com guy at work here, but the fantasy has gotten a little off track if this is what it means.

Evie’s immediate dash back into Timothy’s arms is predictable, if a little convenient. She’s often been insensitive regarding his feelings about their relationship ending, and doing something she knows is not something he can handle at a casual level is just the latest step in her taking him for granted. For a character who generally serves as the moral heart of the show, Evie has a huge blind spot when it comes to the guy she brutally dumped and moved on from after he proposed to her. Given how much time the show has spent exploring Timothy’s recovery from their breakup, it would be a shame not to have him call her out for treating him badly.

Hank and Deirdre, meanwhile, continue to try and deal with their breakup like adults. Or at least, Hank does. Deirdre’s last-minute call to him is exactly the kind of questionable post-breakup behavior that people tend to engage in. It’s technically for business reasons, but it’s also an attempt to keep Hank’s attention, and he rightfully points out that they can’t really keep having the same emotional connection now that she’s engaged to another man. It seems totally possible that Hank and Deirdre could be in a functional relationship by the end of the season, but not Evie and either of her beaus.

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The slow burn triangle that’s been developing over the course of the season likely has people rooting for each side of it, but right now it’s weighted a little too heavily in the direction of the guy who doesn’t treat Evie like someone incapable of making her own decisions. And Xavier doesn’t have too much time left to grow up.

Stray observations

  • There is an entire other show to be made about the tragedy of Evie’s attempts to be as important to Hank and Kareema as they are to each other. It’s also, weirdly, turning into one of my favorite running jokes on the show. Does this make me a bad person? That sad third wheeling of their secret handshake was very funny.
  • “Please don’t speak French around me. You know how I feel about that country.”
  • That whole Grocer’s Blowout plotline felt a little underdone (their interest in the host got dropped, in particular). It’s like someone in the writer’s room thought of a joke about the sadness of a grocery-themed game show, but then no one wanted to admit there wasn’t enough room in the episode to really go all in on it. Other than pouring soup all over Evie, of course. Big commitment there.
  • Didn’t really get into Xavier’s dad issues, but it seemed really out of character that he didn’t tell his father about the apocalypse. He’s emphasized over and over to Evie that it’s a huge part of who he is.
  • “For someone that smells like soup, you’ve got good ideas.” Is this executive generally around soup-smelling people with bad ideas?
  • “I felt constantly sawing women was a dangerous anti-feminist metaphor.” This is also addressed in a book I feel certain Hank and Deirdre would love, Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold. Did everyone else read that in the early 2000s? Highly recommended, if not.
  • The world-building happening with the invented charities and silly game shows has a bit of a Pushing Daisies vibe, doesn’t it?
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