I’ve also written a general introduction/review of No Tomorrow.
“Listen up everybody! The clock is ticking! There’s no time to waste! Every moment counts!”
Those are the first words we hear in the pilot of No Tomorrow, while the visuals are external shots of Seattle, the setting for the show. They’re spoken by Evie, the plucky female lead who’s lacking in self-confidence. They tell us what the series is about, but they’re also a fake out. She’s speaking, in a wavery voice, to her coworkers at an Amazon-like warehouse, trying to motivate them to get orders ready for shipment. Her speech fades out at the end as she gives up on trying to bring out any enthusiasm in the other employees. Everyone is just walking through their lives like zombies, hating their jobs, bored, but accepting the status quo.
Next we meet Evie’s coworkers. I’ll let Kareema and Deirdre speak for themselves.
Kareema: Honestly, I don’t know what’s sadder. The utter meaninglessness of this job, or your attempts to imbue it with meaning. But then I remember there is no sadness and we’re all just bags of dust in an infinite universe.
Kareema is smart, loyal, analytical, pansexual, modern, and very, very cynical.
Deirdre, telling Evie why she’s not right for her dream position: (chuckles, then goes deadpan, and speaks rapid fire, without pausing for breath) That’s adorable, but no. [Evie asks why.] Well, you’re not a leader. People don’t listen when you talk. You’re too timid. You don’t motivate people. You lack confidence. You don’t command respect. You’re an inspiration to absolutely no one.
Deirdre is smart, honest, no-nonsense, insightful, sexy and hiding a wicked sense of humor and a huge romantic streak.
These are not stereotypical female characters. Neither is dressed in black, and neither is dressed in tight, revealing clothing. They are presented as normal looking women who care about their appearances, and dress in appropriate work attire. Deirdre is the manager. Kareema is more off beat.
The fourth series regular who works at the Cybermart warehouse is Hank, Deirdre’s assistant. He’s an outgoing, enthusiastic, lovable, sloppy conspiracy theorist.
Kareema, Evie and Hank talk about Evie’s dream guy, Xavier with an X, who she sees around town occasionally, but has never gotten up the courage to speak to. Evie is in an off and on relationship with her college boyfriend, Timothy, that’s currently off. When Evie gets home from work that day, she finds a package addressed to Xavier on her porch. It’s fate! Their addresses are similar, and the mail carrier made a mistake.
The package is a case of Carpe Diem beer. Xavier invites Evie to have one with him when she brings it to his house. It’s a limited edition sour beer. They hang out for a while inside Xavier’s house, which is filled with games and curiosities. Xavier says he doesn’t work, because the apocalypse is nigh, and there are better ways to spend his time. Literal warning bells and sirens go off behind Evie’s head.
Evie tries to leave, because, crazy guy, but Xavier stops her. He explains that he used to be a normal guy who worked as a copy editor for a science magazine. In the course of his work, he read about Asteroid 2000WX354, which will pass the Earth in 8 months and 12 days. He believes, based on atmospheric expansion, due to global warming, that there’s going to be an impact. He’s done the math, and worked his theory out in great detail, but no one will listen to him. Xavier doesn’t know if NASA and other authorities know the truth, or not, because they won’t respond to him.
Evie realizes that the implication of Xavier’s theory is that they’re all doomed. Xavier, however, is a glass half full kind of guy. He feels it frees everyone to spend their last few months living out their dreams, since they have nothing left to lose. People can stop wasting their time on obligations that drag them down. Xavier asks Evie to list some things she’d never do again if she didn’t have to, and 2 of the first 4 items have to do with maintaining her perfect looks. Good job, show.
Then he shows her what will become one of the main premises of the show, his Apocalyst. He’s made a list of all of the “last things” he wants to do before the end of the world, from the most trivial (sleep with taco truck girl) to the most poignant and meaningful (reconnect with his dad, whom he hasn’t spoken to in nine years). Finding Evie again after their brief first meeting at the farmers’ market is one of his items. Xavier invites Evie to join him in his adventures, but Evie needs to think about it.
Of course she does.
Evie asks Hank for advice about Xavier. And now we’ll let Hank speak for himself. She asks if Hank agrees that Xavier is nuts:
Hank: (Laughing) Totally nuts. I mean an asteroid’s not going to destroy the world, the Russians are. (Serious now) Nuclear holocaust. I’ve spent the last four years hoarding office snacks that are high in preservatives to survive the fallout. [Evie: Gummies. That’s your plan?] Yep. I’ve also got a jar of pickles in the filing cabinet. Now, you’ve heard of Jade Helm, right? [Evie: No] On May 22nd the US military is conducting a massive so-called training exercise code named Jade Helm, that involves ferrying all of the government elite into deep underground bunkers as a “drill.” [Evie: So?] So, that’s exactly what you do when there’s a nuclear annihilation on the horizon. And, mark my words, I’m going to fight my way into that bunker. I’m going to be all up in it. I even got the day pre-approved for vacation by Deirdre.
Evie still needs time to think. She goes to a family picnic to celebrate her nephew Tucker’s birthday with her sister and parents. They remind her of the time she threw up on stage while she was singing when she was in elementary school, and was mocked about it for years. We can see where her self-confidence issues come from. Her quiet ex-boyfriend Timothy shows up with a pair of knee pads as a gift for Tucker, because it’s fun to be safe. Tucker’s not impressed. Then Timothy proposes with the nerdiest proposal ever. Evie tells him she needs to think about that, too.
Evie’s mom and sister try to talk her into accepting Timothy’s proposal, because she’s not getting any younger, and they don’t want her to miss out on having a family. Evie feels like she’s only 30, she doesn’t have to worry about that yet. She wants to believe she still has all the time in the world.
Xavier’s sitting on her porch steps when she gets home. He wants to know if she’s decided to help him with his list, now that she’s had some time to think about it. She asks why he’s so interested in her. Cue flashbacks of Xavier watching Evie play with Tucker at the market, and asking the rutabaga farmer about Listeria precautions. Out loud, he jokes about being interested in her bum, but in reality, he was looking for more stability and meaning in his life. Evie’s personality balances Xavier’s, and it doesn’t hurt that she comes in a cute package. And she’s charming and funny.
Evie gives in and decides to help Xavier with his list. The first two she picks involve family members who aren’t available. They end up going joy riding in dune buggies in the desert with Big Carl. Evie starts out scared, and ends up so thrilled they go again, then spend the night together.
She’s inspired at work the next day, and comes up with a fun reward system to increase her coworkers output. She and Xavier go out for drinks later. He pushes her, hard, into singing in public, one of the big items she’d told him would be on her apocalyst. That turns out okay, but then Hank comes into the bar and shows Evie an insulting resignation email that she’d supposedly sent to Deirdre. Xavier admits that he sent it to give Evie a nudge to live life to its fullest. Evie and Hank throw drinks in Xavier’s face and storm out.
Evie calls Timothy, who helps her come up with a plan to get her job back. Evie explains to Deirdre that the email came from a different IP address, and that she absolutely doesn’t think that Deirdre looks like Judge Judy’s mother, or that her breath smells like a loaf of freshly baked barf. Deirdre gives Evie her job back, but breathes right in her face to do it. Deirdre has conditions though. She and Hank have an obvious connection, but Hank doesn’t seem to be feeling it. Deirdre wants Evie’s help in winning Hank over. She pulls out a 20 lb. binder, which turns out to be the company’s HR guidelines. Evie needs to study them. Deirdre says that, “Like all good love stories, our romance must be both passionate and legally permissible.”
Later, Evie returns home to find that Xavier has left her a pogo stick as an apology gift. She tries to throw it in a dumpster, but it bounces straight out again. It’s fate! She tries it out, and ends up falling and getting a concussion. The hospital tests reveal a heart problem that requires immediate surgery.
After the surgery, Evie decides to seize the day, but on her own terms. She tells Timothy that she’s not ready to get married. Timothy responds that he won’t be her back up plan. He gets to move on, too, even though he doesn’t want to. Evie’s wearing a shirt with hummingbirds on it in this scene, which sums up her character perfectly.
Then Evie knocks on Xavier’s door. She has an apocalyst of her own that she’s crossing items off of. She lets Xavier know that he doesn’t get to make decisions for her, she’s keeping her job, and she likes his bum, too. She thinks they should keep hanging out and take turns crossing things off of each other’s lists. He thinks that’s a great idea. They can start right now. Tin foil in the microwave it is. Xavier didn’t think it would be very exciting, but he must never have made the mistake of putting metal in the microwave before. Even a little creates sparks and fire. Evie’s baked potato-sized hunk sparks like fireworks and ruins the microwave. It inspires more sexy times in Xavier and Evie.
Before they get very far, the doorbell rings. It’s Xavier’s cousin Jesse, one of the apocalyst items from earlier. He was in federal prison for tax fraud, but Xavier somehow helped him escape. What’s the sense of spending the world’s last 8 months in prison?
This pilot was fast-paced and packed full of story. The characters and their relationships feel fully developed already. There was none of the awkward, stiff exposition that usually bogs down pilots. Any exposition that happened was so charming and hilarious that it didn’t slow the story down at all. The show has a delightful balance between its silly humor and dark premise. Issues of values, philosophy, science and media were woven throughout the story, but they could also be ignored if one wanted to view the show only as a light romantic comedy. A smart romantic comedy, with a wicked sense of humor, and a fantastic sense of hipster style. They do live in Seattle, after all.