In “A Prison Without Bars”, Tomorrow’s mishandling of tone and touch subjects continues to be its undoing.
This recap of Tomorrow season 1, episode 7, “A Prison Without Bars”, contains spoilers.
Tuning into each new episode of Tomorrow is like rolling a dice to determine what’s going to annoy and/or worry me, and “A Prison Without Bars” returns us to an old problem – tone. While last week’s double-bill found a better a better rhythm but instead began to mishandle some of its larger worldbuilding and logical elements, here we’re firmly back in slapstick, thoughtless territory, and the show is absolutely not stronger for it.
Tomorrow season 1, episode 7 recap
That isn’t to say that the sloppy writing and slapdash plotting has gone anywhere because that’s here too, with the new case raising some awkward questions about how this whole reaper thing is supposed to work. There’s an element of detective work here as circumstances suddenly mandate a more analog approach for the team as they try to identify Shin Ye-Na, a suicidal bulimic whose eating disorder stemmed from a failed suicide attempt in her youth. The fact that this was never addressed at the time by a team whose explicit function is to stop suicides raises some awkward questions, doesn’t it?
This is to say nothing of the whole jokey approach in an episode about an eating disorder. Jun-woong gets an opportunity to relate to Ye-na having experienced the same thing among his family, but there’s a sense of the writing here not having a lived-in quality, like all its information about bulimia is second-hand. It builds to a highly questionable conclusion that I think might warrant a raised eyebrow from anyone with a legitimate knowledge of eating disorders.
If there’s something Tomorrow doesn’t have, now that I think about it, it’s subtlety. And you’d think these cases require it. The entire premise is built on the idea of people suffering to such an extent that they don’t want to live anymore, and yet the solutions always seem bizarrely convenient, neat, and tidy. When we move on from these cases, I don’t really get the sense that the people the Reapers have “helped” will be any better off. As varied as all the stories are, they all tend to be united by quite a meaty, sensitive topic or theme, and the show just doesn’t possess the necessary sensitivity to do any of them justice. Tomorrow continues to be an interesting show, on several levels, but it’s so flawed and inconsistent that recommending it to someone, much less someone with any of the issues that it discusses, wouldn’t be something that I could do in good faith.