“Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1” makes for a decent, pacey opening, as the world and the show’s tone are introduced at a breakneck speed.
This recap of Daybreak Season 1, Episode 1, “Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1”, contains spoilers.
Meet Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford). In high school he was a nobody; now he breaks the fourth wall to explain to the audience how cool the end of the world is. Daybreak Episode 1, fittingly-titled “Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1”, is told from his verbose perspective. He’s a chatty guy, Josh. And he wants everyone to know how much fun he’s having.
There’s nothing all that fun about Glendale, California when you first glance at it. A nuclear blast has wiped out virtually the entire adult population, leaving behind only grown-up “ghoulies” — zombies in Daybreak‘s nomenclature — who’re fated to repeat the last stupid thing they were thinking. Six months after the bombs dropped, the city is virtually a high-school cafeteria, divided up into the cliques all the kids were in before, only with nobody to keep them in check.
The first group Josh runs into in Daybreak Episode 1 are golfers, an ostracised subcategory of the feral Jocks who have a funny upper-class slant that won’t carry them far. Josh believes they’re holding his true love Sam (Sophie Simnett) hostage, which lands them in a conflict that justifies both Josh’s hastily-told origin story — “Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1” flits enthusiastically back and forth between the present day and flashbacks — and a comedic action sequence which sets the set-piece tone. As it turns out, the golfers don’t have Sam — they have ten-year-old wild child Anjelica (Alyvia Alyn Lind), who quickly teams up with Josh.
We do meet Sam in flashbacks, though, a pleasant and well-liked English girl who you can imagine a guy like Josh falling for, as well as Principle Burr, who is played in a knowing bit of stunt casting by Matthew Broderick.
Josh really loves Sam, and Daybreak Episode 1 makes sure we know it. A lot of effort is expended in establishing this, as well as Josh’s relationship with his mother — he keeps a box of post-it notes written by her as a memento, and one written by Sam as motivation to find her. We also meet Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), a former Jock turned wandering samurai.
The Jocks, made up of all the smaller sports tribes, are also introduced in “Josh vs. the Apocalypse: Part 1”, as is their leader, Turbo (Cody Kearsley), and his Road Warrior-inspired cronies. At one point they all surround Josh’s house and get pelted with blood bombs — Josh had been stockpiling it for potential transfusions. The heroes are forced to flee to a nearby mall, where they’re confronted by a figure in a gas mask, who reveals himself to them off-camera in a cliffhanger that ends Daybreak Season 1, Episode 1.