Here And Now Review – Season 1, Episode 2: “It’s Coming”

by Rachel Bellwoar

[**Spoilers for Here And Now: Episode 2 below!]
It’s not like Duc wanted his dad to write the forward to his book, but with his publisher making their deal contingent on his father, it might be wise to act soon. That book of Greg’s they want to republish and cross-market with Duc’s isn’t going to be boosting anyone’s sales if Greg continues to forswear the ideas inside.

Tim Robbins as Greg Boatwright and Raymond Lee and Duc Bayer-Boatwright (Photo By: Ali Paige Goldstein/HBO)

More than renounce the contents of his book, Greg’s claiming the opposite is true to a class of his philosophy students. He’s no longer of the belief that people should choose empathy over fear, and his wife’s organization is the Empathy Initiative. This change of heart feels personal.
We get a chance to see Audrey and her blowhorn in action this week, when she talks down a conflict at Kristen’s school (which, although we know why Kristen wasn’t at the meeting, you’d think there’d be some discussion about it – they could’ve visited any school, but these are students we know are Kristen’s classmates). Something about the settlement doesn’t feel over, but Audrey believes that what she’s doing will help. She cares, and while that can make her more abrasive than Greg, especially when it comes to Ramon (fear’s beating empathy there), you’re more inclined to want to forgive her.
Greg’s opinions are more amenable, but he doesn’t care about voicing them. Sitting like a lump in the back of the car, he couldn’t look less invested, and when he speaks, it’s with misery in his voice. Audrey’s stances always come from a place of concern. Greg’s stances often feel deliberately combative.
Sure, he looks up the numbers Ramon’s been seeing, 11:11, but then runs into them on the way to meet his regular call girl. His midlife crisis is real and, assuming Duc’s publisher wants the book where Greg looks young in the photo, his opinions should be allowed to evolve. Still, Greg shouldn’t be so quick to renounce empathy. His situation’s sympathetic, but his infidelity isn’t. Duc’s made every effort to reach out and he can’t be bothered to reply to an e-mail. Now Duc’s career is dependent on Greg’s and there’s nothing he can do about it. His publisher won’t let him break in on his own.
Also facing a choice between fear and empathy is Ramon’s therapist, Farid. While supportive of his son, Navid’s (Marwan Salama) gender fluidity [I’m not sure whether “he” is the right pronoun – Navid’s mother (Necar Zadagen) continues to use “he” but Navid hasn’t mentioned a preference], he doesn’t want Navid to wear women’s clothes outside. He isn’t entirely comfortable with his wife wearing a hijab. He’s not comfortable with his name, giving patients the option to call him Fred. He’s worried his family will be targeted, and tries to take every precaution, even if that means suppressing who they are in public. Fear and empathy are both at play in Farid’s life, and instead of a happy medium he’s not allowed to have much peace of mind.
Other thoughts on “It’s Coming!”:
Sosie Bacon as Kristen Bayer-Boatwright and Jerrika Hinton as Ashley Collins (Photo By: Ali Paige Goldstein/HBO)

  • Last episode, when Ramon told his dad that the shadows followed him, I thought he meant from a child’s perspective, of explaining how shadows work, but this week Ramon brings it up again. He knows he’s seeing things and he knows the shadows followed him, and that confidence is one of the reasons Ramon is the best (that and the way he firmly, but gently, tells his mom to back-off pushing meds).
  • There’s still a sense that Ashley and Duc are in cahoots (though Ramon’s the one not getting in touch with them) but they aren’t imagining Ramon is their mother’s favorite. One of the reasons she’s worried about him is that she thinks he’s spending too much time in front of screens, but really he’s the one not attached to his phone.
  • The Planned Parenthood scene is political but takes a different approach of looking at the assumption that every woman who goes there means to have an abortion.
  • Kristen is a teenager, but having been raised in a ‘woke’ household, I don’t understand how she can overlook how upsetting (and different) the experience of being arrested is for her sister. Maybe she can treat it like a joke during the arrest but, afterwards, she should be aware something’s wrong. It’s the difference between thinking the cop is innocently asking Ashley about the brand of her purse and Ashley knowing right away that she thinks it’s stolen. The cop isn’t asking casually. She’s using her police authority to demand an answer.
  • For those unfamiliar with porous mind, it’s specifically a mental connection between a therapist and their patient.
  • While surprised, I’m glad Ashley and her husband have already worked things out, after she brought a model to her dad’s birthday party.
  • Reading text messages on TV usually means getting off the couch or hoping it wasn’t important. Here and Now goes a more Sherlock route and also highlights the text, so you don’t have that problem where the white subtitles sometimes blend in with the background.
  • Ramon’s hallucinations are bringing in a lot of men but, so far, there have been no female sightings of 11:11.
  • Since Farid had his wife translate his mother’s phrase early, I thought “It’s Coming” would make more headway, figuring out what’s coming. As far as I can tell, it has not.

Here and Now airs Sundays at 9 PM EST on HBO.

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