After Life season 1, episode 2 recap


Episode 2 of After Life deals with boring dreams, fantasy dinner party meals, odd neck fat, bad restaurant policies, and love and loss.

In the premiere of After Life, we saw Tony Johnson (Ricky Gervais) as a man grieving over losing his wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) to cancer. He had considered suicide, but it just wasn’t him. However, this episode examines more of what happened. For starters, in her last video to him, she tells him only to grieve a little. This, of course, implies that she wouldn’t want a dark cloud following him everywhere, or for him to kill himself.

In addition to that, when Tony did have a razor to his wrist in the bathtub, his dog showed up begging for food. Now, although he’s bitter and brutally honest to people around him, he seems ready to live on his own terms. Still, he’s not mean to everyone. He meets Anne (Dame Penelope Wilton), who’s visiting her husband Stan’s grave. She tells him Stan never disagreed with her once in 48 years, which he doesn’t have a snappy comeback for. Later, when Tony visits his father (David Bradley) in a nursing home, his nurse (Ashley Jensen) chastises him for being dismissive of the old man.

Apathy and intentionally spiraling out of control

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Although Tony’s a cocktail of grief and apathy, there’s a sense that it’s not all just from his wife’s passing. For example, his therapist (Paul Kaye) ignores him during a session. Instead, he has a device out and gets in an argument with some medical student over Twitter. Also, Tony finds his small-time newspaper job quite uninspiring, and probably always did. Knowing that their deliveryman Julian (Tim Plester) is a drug addict and dealer, Tony tells him he wants to try a modest amount of heroin later. It’s not an ideal part of someone’s grieving process, but After Life is realistic in how some people cope with loss and lethargy.

On the job

This episode establishes Tony’s view that co-worker Lenny (Tony Way) has fascinating neck fat. He even asks, “Is that how you were carried around when you were young?” Later, Tony and Lenny scope out a story about a kid (Ethan Lawrence) who has mastered the “double nostril recorder.” Tony can’t suppress his lack of interest, but Lenny asks out the kid’s mom (Jo Hartley), despite its lack of journalistic integrity. Back at the office, Kath (Diane Morgan) asks Tony and new employee Sandy (Mandeep Dhillon) if they have any weird dreams. She relates her own recent one, involving cryptic imagery of her as a baby, and teeth and hair. Tony again can’t suppress his ennui.

Then, when Kath brings up her ideal fantasy dinner party guests, Tony goes well out of his way to summarily dismiss them. While many would love a dinner with Rowan Atkinson, James Corden, Princess Diana, Kevin Hart and Michael Jackson, it’s clear that Tony would ask to be excused. This makes Tony’s brother-in-law and boss, Matt (Tom Basden), chastize him for not working. He hardly takes the message to heart, though. He urges Sandy to watch Lenny while he eats, comparing it to a magnified video of a snail eating cabbages (one of the funniest comparisons on After Life so far).

Kid’s meal conundrum and a trial run at heroin

Matt drops off Tony’s nephew George (Tommy Finnegan). After talking briefly about his being sad after Lisa’s death, the two head out to a restaurant. Controversy occurs when the waitress (Nancy Sullivan) refuses to let Tony order the kid’s meal. He resolves the issue in a less-than-sophisticated manner. Later, after George is picked up, Tony indeed tries drugs. Of course, while Tony’s on the nod, it gives Julian a chance to rip him off (it’s likely he didn’t ask Tony if he could take money from the wallet).

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So, as you can see, After Life offers some interesting and potentially compelling characters, even if their lives don’t seem to amount to much. In many cases, that is how life seems to be, right? A few questions remain, though: Will Tony even care if he was robbed? Will this be his only excursion into heroin land? Will this episode encourage some strict restaurants to re-think their kid’s meal policies?

What are your thoughts on After Life? Let us know in the comments!