Here And Now Review – Season 1, Episode 3: “If A Deer Shits In The Woods”

by Rachel Bellwoar

[**Spoilers for Episode 3 below!]

Beginning where episode two left off, there’s a moment at the start of “If A Deer Shits in the Woods” where I felt for sure we were heading towards a Greg solo outing, and why were we heading towards a Greg solo outing?

We weren’t, but I bet if you asked Greg at that moment, when he first spots the (very CGI) deer, he probably would’ve said the same thing. Not in terms of being on television, but in terms of how these deer spotting moments are depicted on TV as catalysts for spiritual awakening. This is Greg being rewarded for acting spontaneously and disobeying GPS. From the look on his face, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot, too.

Necar Zadagen as Layla Shokrani, Marwan Salama as Navid Shokrani and Peter Macdissi as Dr. Farid Shokrani (Photo By: Ali Paige Goldstein/HBO)

Instead, it’s over before we reach the title card. Greg follows the deer, gets lost in nature, slips on some mud, wakes up the next day, and realizes he’s been sleeping in sight of his car the whole time. The deer does what the title says, and it’s basically a case of karmic comeuppance for Greg.

Funnily enough, “If A Deer Shits in the Woods” is Greg at his most endearing, but not because he fails at nature, but because he finally talks to Audrey about his existential crisis. He talks to her because she tells him they’re going to have sex. He doesn’t return home to have a conversation, but one takes place, so I guess it’s progress, however neat and tidy the success.

Spotting the numbers 11:11 above their bed, as he ends his affair with Famiko (Jessica Lu), it’s starting to feel like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants on this show. Instead of sharing a pair of magical jeans to sort out their problems, the Bayer-Boatwrights are passing around a date, November 11th.

Except the baton doesn’t pass in episode three. Greg and Farid are hogging all the hallucinations, while Ramon hears the sink…gurgle?

When Here and Now premiered, it looked like Ramon’s hallucinations would be the connective tissue that tied the show together, but for that to happen Ramon would need to be more of a central character, and his outlier position makes that difficult. While the rest of the family are on top of each other, he maintains a healthy distance, which is great for him but not the show. It doesn’t feel like the scenes are beholden to air in a certain order, and there are too many disparate elements, from the too quickly addressed hate crime at Kristen’s school, to Ashley raining vengeance down on Randy the model. Twenty minutes in, you’re watching Ramon have a therapy session, but you’re unsure how you got there.

Episode three sees the meeting of the siblings – Ramon, Duc, and Ashley – that I’d been anxious to see happen, but it’s worse than I expected. Duc and Ashley don’t have a reason to be awful to Ramon’s boyfriend, Henry (Andy Bean). They just decide he isn’t good enough. Planning their attack before they can bother to learn his name, Ashley later apologizes for the family meeting that Audrey staged behind Ramon’s back, but makes no mention of the venom she just spurted minutes before.

This is what keeps happening on Here and Now. The characters go back on what they say. Farid gets angry at the marijuana distributor for questioning his name but then does the same thing to a guest at a family wedding.

When the show focuses on weird coincidences (Farid driving past Canabliss) and introducing intuitive characters (the very likable, but fishy Carmen (Fernanda Andrade)), it can be fun, but then you have Farid getting high with a homeless woman, and Here and Now struggles to work out its kinks.

Other thoughts on “If A Deer Shits in the Woods:”

  • Whether the Empathy Initiative is on the right track or not, does anyone else question the reasonableness of the school firing Audrey now? They just had an incendiary hate crime. It’s not the time to be dropping an organization designed to help.
  • Duc’s celibacy was mentioned in episode one, but it wasn’t until hearing it again this week that I realized what the string of hook-ups in Vancouver meant. It’s one thing to hold yourself to a high standard, but another to lie to achieve it. Expounding on the virtues of celibacy while playing darts, nobody brings up the fact that he misses the bullseye.
  • This week Farid has a vision of a young boy being beaten. There’s also a man who’s self-flagellating and a man who’s hitting someone (I think it’s the same man?), and a woman (Farid’s mother?) scratching her cheek like in Ramon’s dream, but in the dream, it felt symbolic. We’ve seen the scars on Farid’s back. This is real – a memory – but cut in a way where it’s difficult to make out what’s going’s on.

Here and Now airs Sundays at 9 PM EST on HBO.