Everyone wants a rocket ride on Hello Tomorrow! [Apple TV+ recap] | Cult of Mac

Everyone wants a rocket ride on Hello Tomorrow! [Apple TV+ recap]


Billy Crudup in ★★★★☆
Salesman/serial liar Jack Billings (played by Billy Crudup) finally finds a situation he can't talk his way out of, this week on Hello Tomorrow!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewHello Tomorrow! returns for more Space Age shenanigans — and a brutal comeuppance for one of Earth’s biggest liars. The Apple TV+ show about a guy selling bunk timeshares on the moon finally hits the pause button on momentum to allow a devastating realization to sink in.

Salesman/con artist Jack Billings may be more doomed than he thinks, even as he succeeds beyond his wildest dreams. Shirley and Joey have had enough, Myrtle gets the sign she’s been searching for, Herb makes good, and Jack has to save an old hero in this stellar episode, entitled “The Gargon Mothership.”

Hello Tomorrow! recap: ‘The Gargon Mothership’

Season 1, episode 8: It’s crisis everywhere you look after Jack (played by Billy Crudup) accidentally lets slip that he’s been lying to his colleague Shirley (Haneefah Wood) about their business’ foundations. Now he needs to explain that there is no Brightside home office, indeed no corporate structure at all. He’s the only person running this business.

She slaps him, even as she tries to sell him on continuing their business. Finally, Jack apologizes and asks her again to keep the dream alive. Jack says he earnestly believes that they’re helping people, but it’s tough to know if he’s serious or if he even believes it. She leaves him in his car.

Meanwhile, the angry Brightside customers demanding refunds continue to cause a ruckus at the motel where Jack’s sales team is staying. They want answers. They’re there because disgruntled customer Myrtle (Alison Pill) broke into the Brightside offices, stole customer logs and called them all to warn them that they’re being swindled.

Herb Porter (Dewshane Williams) — Jack’s most desperate salesman — and his scheming wife, Betty (Susan Heyward), hit upon a solution. Jack’s friend Walt (Michael Paul Chan), who runs a moon freight operation, is landing a rocket on his property that night. And the sight of the rocket in the sky is enough for them to sell all the disgruntled customers on the illusion of the moon real estate. They all agree to drive out to see the rocket land.

Ready to rocket?

That would be one lie too many as it is, but there’s still more trouble a-brewin’ for Brightside. Buck Manzell (Frankie Faizon), the TV star Jack used as a company spokesman, has broken out of his nursing home and fled to the same rocket landing site. Jack needs to get Buck out of there. When his pleas fall on deaf ears, he dons a worker’s hazmat suit and tries to talk to the actor like he’s a character on Buck’s old sci-fi show. They narrowly avoid being incinerated by the rocket.

The sight of the rocket landing mollifies even Myrtle, much to the chagrin of her new friend, Lester (Matthew Maher), the word-mangling bureaucrat who almost ruined his career trying to help her take down Jack. Seeing Buck coming off the rocket doesn’t hurt, either.

This is a stay of execution for Jack, but he still has to make things right with Shirley and Joey (Nicholas Podany). Joey is his son. And though Joey doesn’t know it yet, he’s starting to put the pieces together. He’s going to be even madder than he already is when he finds out. After all, he quit his honest job to sell lunar timeshares with Jack (before discovering Jack is lying about every aspect of the business).

Joey goes to confront Jack and finds Shirley instead, who finally just says out loud that Jack is Joey’s dad. He’s stunned, speechless. Shirley and Eddie agree to quit Brightside and move on with their lives, just before Jack closes a deal with Elle (Dagmara Dominczyk) to go into business together, fleecing people out of even greater sums of money. He goes by Joey’s place to celebrate, and Joey tells him to get lost. That takes the wind right out of Jack’s sails.

One day I’ll be dead

Nicholas Podany in "Hello Tomorrow!," now streaming on Apple TV+.
Joey (played by Nicholas Podany) has finally had enough of Jack’s BS.
Photo: Apple TV+

There’s some very strong stuff in this week’s episode of Hello Tomorrow! The mounting chaos in previous weeks was fun while it lasted. But, of course, there had to be a moment where Jack realizes he’s gone too far, done too much wrong to be able to just keep selling his way out of trouble.

He got a bunch of those reminders this week, each devastating in its own way. Obviously, the showstopper is Joey dressing him down as brutally as anyone likely ever has. The sight of Jack walking mournfully and dazedly down the street in his suit with a bottle of unopened champagne in his hands proves haunting.

Maybe the best bit is when Jack finally wrangles Buck and gets him in his car to take him back to the old folks’ home. Jack asks, knowing the old man’s mind is beyond warped by disease, how he manages to get out of bed every morning and face the day.

“I tell myself: One day you’ll be dead,” Buck says. “What then?”

It’s remarkably sad, and delivered beautifully by Faison, a great actor who doesn’t get much in the way of awards attention but who has been a consistently welcome presence in movies and TV for longer than I’ve been alive. All around, this is a great episode.


Watch Hello Tomorrow! on Apple TV+

New episodes of Hello Tomorrow! arrive each Friday on Apple TV+.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.


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