Now Apocalypse begins to criticize its own approach to sex and sexuality in “The Rules of Attraction”, even if the overarching plot takes something of a backseat.
This recap of Now Apocalypse Episode 3, “The Rules of Attraction”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the next episode by clicking these words.
As seems pretty typical of Now Apocalypse at this point, “The Rules of Attraction” opens with the show’s favorite character, Ford (Beau Mirchoff), having a celebratory stroke over last week’s impromptu threesome with Severine (Roxane Mesquida) and her friend. He’s interrupted, perhaps portentously, by his new actor acquaintance Otto (Devan Long), who wants to read his script in person and in his swimming gear. Everything is fine!
Carly (Kelli Berglund) is reminiscing about last week’s shenanigans too, mostly that she found a way to get the endlessly idiotic Jethro (Desmond Chiam) to open up with a good spanking. But Ulysses (Avan Jogia), despite being happy about his new security guard position giving him an excuse not to speak to people, is nonetheless a bit dismayed at having interrupted homeless person sex — which is just like normal sex, but dirtier, in more ways than one. And he’s still fretting about the ominous significance of his new boo, Gabriel (Tyler Posey), having the same double lightning-bolt tattoo he sees in his alien sex dreams.
Carly’s acting class — run by Frank, a refreshingly against-type Mary Lynn Rajskub— makes the effort to poke enthusiastic fun at overly sensitive contemporary views on sex and relationships (“Consent is for p*****s,” according to Frank), which is fitting considering the episode’s title, “The Rules of Attraction”. And attraction is everywhere in this episode, not least between Otto and Ford in their homoerotic photoshoot, even though it might be one-way traffic, as well as between Severine and her ex, Mustafa (Alain Washnevsky), whom she casually tells Ford she has slept with twice as part of their new, “open” relationship policy, and between Frank and Carly, the former of whom lures the latter to her swanky bachelorette pad on the pretext of audition rehearsal.
But the underlying point of “The Rules of Attraction” might be that there kind of are rules after all. Even though, as Carly says, sexual fluidity is almost a mandatory component of being a Millenial, the classical ways of conducting a relationship are popular for a reason; they don’t result in a broken-hearted Ford crying in Uly’s arms, or Carly being banished from her acting class for not wanting to sleep with her teacher. Despite the show’s laidback approach to sex and sexuality and all it entails, its characters are beginning to get hurt by embracing that attitude. And the biggest sucker of all might be Uly, who finally gets a long-awaited late-night text from Gabriel. We see his responses on-screen as he types and re-types, cycling through the outrage he feels at having been ghosted and then contacted randomly from a blocked number. But in the end, he doesn’t settle on any of them and says instead exactly what Gabriel wants to hear. I’m sure that’ll go well.