When does someone pushing you to try new things swing over from helpful to annoying? For Evie and Mary Anne, this is a line that falls in different places. Evie finds Xavier charming, Mary Anne thinks he’s kind of an ass. As we’ve seen throughout the run of the show, both are more or less in the right.
Xavier is only as charming as the other person’s willingness to go along with his plans. It makes him really fun if you want to go cliff diving, and way less fun if you just want your house painted. There’s a way in which the show is so enamored of him that it lets him off the hook for bad behavior. Ignoring Mary Anne’s request isn’t just obnoxious, it’s deeply condescending, because he’s saying he knows better than her what she wants. And while he does eventually apologize (Mary Anne’s son saying his mom isn’t fun really seems to hit him hard), he’s still more or less proven right after Mary Anne succumbs to her desire to be fun again. There are people out there who know who they are and what they want, but the conceit of the show is that every person who interacts with Xavier could stand to loosen up a little. It’s both vitally important to the plot of the show and also means that he’s always forgiven for what is, actually, some pretty obnoxious behavior. Remember when he quit Evie’s job for her?
In that instance, he apologized and helped her get her job back, but it doesn’t seem like he learned very much from it. This is somewhat in keeping with his characterization so far—he’s kind of resistant to change—but also suggests a kind of bone-deep inability to understand others, which isn’t otherwise the case with him.
The episode also suffers from a lack of thematic connection between its various subplots. Timothy’s realization about his feelings for Evie is certainly a big step for him, but Evie doesn’t seem to have much of a reaction to it, and it hasn’t really seemed like the two of them were spending that much time together before this. And Deirdre is half torrid romance novel and half cruel, unfeeling manager. Did she forget that Evie helped her win over Hank? Why does she continue to hate her so much? The ending makes her seem vindictive, but actually Evie going over her head to the owner of the company is pretty serious stuff. Anyone who has ever considered doing that in the workplace knows the repercussions can be intense, and Evie’s passionate (and ultimately successful) speech to Corey Casey is a little more trope-y than the show has been recently.
On the plus side, the show’s sense of humor was really firing on all cylinders tonight. Kareema’s lack of patience with Evie’s attempts to be cool is perpetually funny, and also a welcome source of humility for her. There’s a tough line to walk with pretending that Evie’s life has difficulties, considering she’s a beautiful person who owns her own home, has a pretty fun work life despite a mean boss, and has two handsome interesting men in love with her. It’s one thing when Deirdre says cruel things to her—we know they don’t mean anything—and another entirely when Kareema repeatedly points out that Evie is just kind of a dork. Evie is definitely in the tradition of the “I’m such a klutz” school of romantic comedies, wherein the heroine has quirky negative attributes shoehorned in to make up for her designer shoe collection and rock star career. Evie’s tendency to say “what the fig” isn’t as successful at making her seem human as Hank brutally shooting down her fist bump.
But hidden amongst the awkward fist bumps and truly disastrous HR meetings, there’s a big step for Evie and Xavier. The show nicely underplays the importance of this within the broader narrative. While we get a big romantic gesture at the end from Xavier, his failure to say “I love you” back to Evie at the beginning of the show doesn’t take over the entire episode. It’s a positive sign of the way No Tomorrow is building out its world without an over-reliance on the romance of its stars.
- “It just slipped out.” “That’s why I do kegels.”
- “I swear, it’s like he’s never even here. Have you noticed that?” No Tomorrow is getting meta on us. Will her husband show up by the end of the season?
- Loved also that Kareema was casually eating a lunch labeled “Seamus,” although I am also thrown that this is a thing that people do. Who eats someone else’s lunch at the office?
- “They have rules, and I have to follow them, because I am a responsible mesmer of the communmony” is the closest I can get to what Mary Anne said.
- Hey, there are those Galavant pipes! Kind of impressed the show held out this long before having Joshua Sasse show that off.
- Wait, was Xavier the secret sidewalk poet? I couldn’t quite tell if they were suggesting he was.