After Life Episode 1 manages to merge together comedy and the themes of depression in a well-balanced chapter.
This recap of After Life Episode 1 contains spoilers. You can check out our review by clicking these words.
In the opening of After Life Episode 1, Tony (Ricky Gervais) is watching a video of his terminally ill wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman – also cast in Gervais’ Derek). She recorded a guide for him before she died, providing life advice because he is “******* useless”. And that is immediately known; in the first few scenes he cannot feed himself or his dog, and his house is a living nightmare.
Episode 1 reveals just how miserable Tony is after his wife died, berating the postman (who claims to be called Pat) for trying to hand him his post rather than putting it through the letterbox, mocking overweight people and calling a school kid a ginger **** for accusing him of being a pedophile. There are many gags, but the underlying issue to the character is that he is depressed, and he is determined to reap misery on to the world.
Tony works at a free local newspaper firm called The Cambury Gazette, which is given a The Office type environment. A new starter joins called Sandy, producing a slightly awkward moment when her boss explains the situation of Tony’s dead wife on her first day. His boss, clearly unsettled by Tony’s behavior, asks for him to be more professional, but Tony instead professes that there is no advantage to being kind and caring and that he only stopped himself from committing suicide because the dog needed feeding.
We also meet Tony’s dad, who is in a care home and due to his condition continues to think that Lisa is alive, much to Tony’s displeasure. The nurse of Tony’s dad is played by Ashley Jensen who you may remember from Extras, making After Life Episode 1 almost a reunion.
Once we have established that Tony is a depressed character, the crux of the episode comes when he accepts an invitation to the pub with his boss, who surprisingly still cares for him despite Tony stating he’s too kind-hearted, which is why he will never fire him. From the pub, Tony does what he’s meant to do: his job. He decides to venture to a pointless lead about an older man who received the same birthday card five times.
Tony, at this point, is a character that does not care about his wellbeing; when by violence with some youths at the end of Episode 1 – he decides to take his chances, busting one of the teenager’s noses to stop them from stealing his money. As the chapter closes, his wife asks him not to blame the world.
You can check out our recap of the second episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.