Tuesday, November 21, 2017

REVIEW: 'Future Man' - It's Up to Josh to Get Sensitive Information from a Biotic in 'A Blowjob Before Dying'

Hulu's Future Man - Episode 1.06 "A Blowjob Before Dying"

With just twenty-seven minutes before a bomb explodes in the head of their captured Biotic, Josh, Tiger and Wolf hold a high-stakes interrogation in Josh's bedroom while Josh's unwitting parents host a holiday dinner party downstairs.



"A Blowjob Before Dying" once again boasts a great premise. Josh, Tiger and Wolf just have 28 minutes to interrogate Jeri and learn where the biotics are keeping their time travel devices in 2017 before the bomb in her head explodes. That's the exact running time of a typical streaming comedy as well. And so, it sets up the expectation of a great real-time thriller where the core trio try different techniques to get this information out of Jeri even when she has no reason to be forthcoming with such details. It's a little disappointing in that regard because it isn't as well plotted as "Justice Desserts" was. However, it's still a fun premise that does produce a number of really solid comedic beats. It still presents itself as a condensed bottle episode. Most of the story just happens in the Futturman house as Josh, Tiger and Wolf are interrogating Jeri in Josh's room while Gabe and Diane are hosting a holiday party downstairs. It's funny to see the three of them circle in and out of the party in order to make it seem like everything is normal. Of course, nothing is normal. Tiger, Wolf and Jeri are all from the future. They don't quite blend in with the world of 2017. And there's the whole threat of the bomb in Jeri's head being able to destroy everything that Josh cares about in the world. As such, it's a risk to interrogate her in his bedroom. But it also seems like the only viable place to do it as well.

Jeri is easily able to get inside Josh's head too. This story works when it goes for the more personal beats. Josh and Jeri were a burgeoning romance. They were getting closer to one another. They kissed right before the holiday party became a disaster and Jeri was revealed as a biotic. Jeri has a perfect memory and can use Josh's precise words to create tension between Josh and Tiger. Josh was complaining about how disastrous it has been working with Tiger. And now, she becomes aware of that. Of course, she knows it's all just a trick by Jeri to get the resistance to turn on each other as time is running out. That's the effective part of this story as well. This story works when it is focusing on the personal relationships and how they have become complicated by this latest reveal. When it comes to Tiger trying to pose the neighbor's baby as baby Kronish, it's a less successful story because it doesn't really mean much. That's basically the only reason why Gabe and Diane's black neighbors are at this party. A baby needed to be in this environment to get Tiger to once again confront the true nature of family. She claims she wouldn't have killed that baby. But she's still determined to eventually kill baby Kronish. She hasn't changed even though her interest is piqued upon hearing that she could discover the ancestors she never knew she had through a simple DNA kit.

But again, the interrogation of Jeri is so much more effective when Tiger and Wolf leave the room. That's strange because they are the ones who have interrogated biotics before. They have all the supplies to torture her back in their sewer lair. They are unable to set up shop there because Gabe just so happens to catch the trio as they are returning home from the Kronish office party. That sets the whole plot in motion with Jeri being taken up to Josh's bedroom and Diane being very excited about Josh's longtime crush finally coming over to the house. Gabe and Diane are completely oblivious to what is truly going on. That's where they thrive in this ongoing narrative. Meanwhile, it's important for Josh to be the one to get the information out of Jeri because he has that personal connection with her. If Tiger or Wolf were successful, it wouldn't be all that interesting. They were destined to fail and just have to enjoy this time frame at this little party that the Futturmans have thrown. But the narrative also does just enough work to really make the audience suspect if Jeri is being successful in turning Josh against the resistance. The biotics see the resistance as a terrorist organization that blows up hospitals and kills innocent people. Tiger and Wolf have justification for that in saying that they were facilities that brainwash people and make them conform to the biotic way of life. But it's just enough for Josh to question the people he has aligned himself with.

It also sets the stage for Josh putting on a performance as the sad sack who can't believe that this entire romance was all just a trick. He is able to get under Jeri's skin simply by being obsessed with how far she went to keep this ruse going - including liking pictures on his Instagram. He wonders if it was all just a lie or if she actually had feelings for him. She denies that she did. But that just allows her to be more uncomfortable and sympathetic around Josh. It's a skill set that only he can bring to the table. It's the only way he can get the information out of her about how to continue this journey through time. It's obvious right away what is going on. Of course, it could have been amusing to see the story shift with Josh aligned with the biotics and fighting against the resistance. He easily could have been swayed to the other side in this war because he was easily swayed to fighting alongside Tiger and Wolf because they gave him importance as the savior. But Jeri is his only real connection to the biotics - and she is about to explode in just a few minutes. As such, he's going to remain loyal to Tiger and Wolf. That was apparent right away. But it's still very rewarding in the end as well. It shows just how far Josh has come in this war. It shows that he is prioritizing that over his own well-being. That's a significant change that is affecting how he is interacting with his family as well. That could be problematic. But he does get the victory in the end.

Of course, it then explodes right in Josh's face. He gets this victory and is able to gloat to Jeri about how he got all the information on history out of her even when she had no reason at all to share it with him. Those details about history are pretty amusing as well. The biotics in 2017 don't actually have any more time travel devices. They were sent back to the past for a one-way mission. It was their sole job to defend Kronish and ensure that the timeline would continue moving along the way it is suppose to. Sure, there are some doubts about how much Jeri actually cared about Josh. In the end, she is talking about getting butterflies in her stomach around him even though that condition was taken out of her. But it's still Josh with the last laugh in knowing exactly where to find the fuel supply for the time travel device. It's just very amusing that it is James Cameron who discovers this substance in 2023. That's completely random but also in keeping with the tone of this show. It's a complete victory for Josh. But he doesn't feel good afterwards either because Jeri explodes right in front of him. It's completely unexpected because the clock hadn't run out yet. He was expecting a huge explosion. But instead, it's just one of personal destruction that splatters all over him. So, Josh has the information. But he also has a huge mess in his room that defies any kind of rational explanation.

Some more thoughts:
  • "A Blowjob Before Dying" was written by Ben Karlin and directed by Nisha Ganatra.
  • That gun mounted on the Futturman wall was bound to have a purpose sooner or later this season. And now, it comes true with Gabe's younger brother, Barry, remembering that Josh, Tiger and Wolf were the ones who broke into the house in 1969. He points the weapon at them. Fortunately, it doesn't go off. As expected plot developments go, it's fine. However, I still expect that weapon to have more importance in the future. Is it actually loaded? We still have yet to find out.
  • Tiger and Wolf believe that they have to cock-block this party in order to avoid their mission being discovered in Josh's room. That's not the correct terminology at all. And yet, it's something that Wolf still unknowingly does. His presence is enough for the woman Diane wants to set up with Barry to become interested in him instead.
  • The title for this episode is very misleading as well. There is the expectation that it might imply Josh and Jeri because she is the only one who is actually going to die by the end of this episode. It would confirm that there truly was a connection between them - even if they were both exploiting that. Instead, it's simply Wolf getting a blowjob in the bathroom and then proudly talking about it to the rest of the party.
  • Family is becoming a huge theme for Tiger's internal struggles this season. She has just always assumed that her family was dead. It was just common to accept that in her time. She's never had to think about her parents or perspective children. But now, she's being confronted by a world that has a ton of babies and where family members are supporting each other despite their potentially dangerous flaws.
  • Of course, it's fully to be expected that Tiger sending in her DNA to discover her ancestors from this time will be the way that Detective Skarsgaard finds her. It just seems like a very convenient plot setup. Tiger's DNA doesn't exist in this time period. But Skarsgaard needs to make some progress in his investigation shortly. But again, that's only really a story in the background that hasn't amounted to much so far.
  • Jeri is right to point out that Josh is yelling at his mother more following the week of adventures he has had with Tiger and Wolf. He suddenly doesn't have any time for her constant mothering. It's a very minor but devastating beat of this story. He pushes her away because it's for the good of the mission. But it's still an awful way of doing that to her.

As noted in previous reviews from this show, every episodic review was written without having seen any succeeding episodes. Similarly, it would be much appreciated if in the comments, the conversation would only revolve around the show up to this point in its run.