[**Spoilers for Episode 4 below!]
“…I’d hoped I’d be so much more.” – Audrey
Audrey is talking about her career but I’ think it’s time to admit Here and Now might not be much more than the show we’ve been presented with so far.
Instead of bringing the Bayer-Boatwrights together, Ramon’s hallucinations are stringing viewers along, affecting members of his family in passing, but not to the point where they’re forced to speak up or experience hallucinations themselves. Maybe that’s the show I wanted Here and Now to be, more than the show it was striving to become, but the pacing, which worked well in the premiere, is now the show waiting until the closing minutes to have Ramon see his biological mom.
Scratching her cheek like Farid’s mother did in the premiere, Farid’s since had a flashback that possibly explains her self-harm as religious observance of Ashura. While his memory, or vision, provides context to Ramon’s original hallucination, Ramon’s mother is from Columbia and likely not Muslim (Ramon’s never met his birth parents). This could mean her scratch is more symbolic, or meant to be interpreted separately, but then why draw the comparison at all?
Starting abruptly with a conversation that feels like carryover from episode 3, “Hide and Seek” may want to take its time unspooling its main mystery, but switches gears to tell stories that are no less vague but more obnoxious.
Realizing no one’s RSVP’d for Haley’s birthday party, Ashley rushes to pull a last-minute family picnic together. Haley’s four and, as Ashley’s siblings keep reminding her, won’t remember being jilted, but here’s the multiple things up with this scene:
- Firstly, immediate reaction: How much do these kids not get along with Haley that they wouldn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese? Vice versa, how much did Ashley upset the other parents that they wouldn’t let their children attend? Is this Big Little Lies? How much are Ashley and Malcolm not on the same page?
- Skip to the family picnic, and Haley? She’s not upset. She doesn’t ask why so-and-so couldn’t make it, or why there’s nobody there her age. She doesn’t look disappointed. Maybe she’s that good at rolling with the punches, but, really, all this says is that the kids Ashley invited? Haley didn’t know them. All this time Ashley’s been panicking, and you think it’s because Haley’s going to get her feelings hurt, but Haley’s birthday was a vanity project for Ashley, just like Greg’s 60th was for Audrey. She’s even concerned about Haley’s dress like Audrey was over Greg’s blazer.
- Given the cost cutting, how did Greg and Audrey get roped into making sandwiches? Why didn’t Ashley and Malcolm make them, or order a pizza?
- For a while the party is back to basics: blowing bubbles, ring around the rosie. Enter Malcolm’s droid.
Other things that happen in “Hide and Seek:”
- Tired of walking around in his underwear and creating fake farmer profiles (because creating fake social media accounts is something the Bayer-Boatwrights like to do), Henry disappears.
- Another shared Bayer-Boatwright ability: making visitors feel like their presence is unwanted. Ashley does this to Audrey, while Greg does this again to Duc in front of his TA (otherwise known as his replacement son).
- Ramon decides his video game needs back scars. This, of course, makes sense for a video game that’s been set in Ramon’s bedroom, and surely has nothing to do with the scars on Farid’s back. Sort of like the “fire” that signals the end of Ramon’s game, which has “nothing” to do with him jumping through fire at the end of his hallucination.
- Audrey decides she’d rather let the Empathy Initiative crumble than contact an old friend. Meanwhile, Navid’s mother is helping refugees as a lawyer.
Kristen says it herself – “This is, like, totally interesting when almost nothing is,” – but the best scene in “Hide and Seek” is Navid choosing to tell Kristen he’s gender fluid. Until this point, Kristen’s been ignoring him but Navid realizes telling her will change that. Like mother, like daughter, and while Kristen oversteps, she also doesn’t wonder in silence but asks Navid questions directly. She’s no hero, but there’s an admirable side to her lack of tact.
Here and Now airs Sundays at 9 PM EST on HBO.