Hello Tomorrow! S1E4 Recap: “Forms, Appropriately Filled and Filed”

Joey reaches into his suit pocket as Phil and Phyllis Montez stand to each side of him in Hello Tomorrow! S1E4, "Forms, Appropriately Filled and Filed"
Apple TV+/Screenshot

The following recap contains spoilers for Hello Tomorrow! S1E4, “Forms, Appropriately Filled and Filed” (written by Amit Bhalla & Lucas Jansen & Wes Brown and directed by Jonathan Entwistle

With “Forms, Appropriately Filled and Filed,” Hello Tomorrow! continues to explore the sometimes minimal difference between honesty and deception, though the context shifts more to interpersonal dynamics instead of focusing on the grand lie that lingers in the background. In a way, Ed (Hank Azaria) urging Herb (Dewshane Williams) to find the metaphorical milk in his marriage exemplifies the theme. It’s a question of what isn’t quite rational, but isn’t irrational either, or where to draw that line.

Ed bites his thumb while sitting on a bed
Apple TV+/Screenshot

In the central plot of S1E4, Jack (Billy Crudup) pretends to be Joey’s (Nicholas Podany) father so he can continue to date Phyllis (Dani Montalvo). It works!

And all is well and good except that Jack actually is Joey’s father and the things he said were true. Joey thinks he was lying, or pretending, and if he knew the truth it might explode their relationship, but thus we have to think about the possibility of lying by telling the truth. We might start thinking about the spirit of the law as opposed to its letter.

Jack respects the letter of the law insofar as what he says is technically true, and the spirit insofar as his affection for Joey is genuine. But he violates the spirit as he continues to deceive Joey about their relationship, and he violates the letter insofar as he pretends to be pretending.

So maybe this distinction isn’t all that helpful. At least it isn’t if we want to cut through the tangled web Jack has woven, but that’s not really my goal. If you want to judge whether or not Jack is lying, you have to ask from whose perspective. Would Phil Montez (Teddy Cañez) excuse Jack’s behavior if he were to know the truth of things? You can decide whether Jack is lying or not if you decide on a point of view.

But I’m more interested in laying out the structure of how Jack is lying and how he is not than in coming to any kind of judgment. Because that same structure maps onto the overall plot of Hello Tomorrow! quite nicely. After all, one can imagine Jack defending his elaborate Brightside scam precisely by arguing that while the promise of lunar property is false, the hope is real, and that’s what he’s really selling.

Do we buy it?

Jack, his smile fallen into sadness
Apple TV+/Screenshot

The B plot of Hello Tomorrow! S1E4 sees Ed even more seduced by the allure of gambling than ever before. While in the above-referenced conversation he uses milk as a metaphor to Herb (who is trying to be too straightforward with his wife rather than paying attention to signs and intuitions), Ed is taking it literally, as though milk were an augur of success in his wager.

By all rights, this should lead to disaster, and it does, but not through Big Fred (W. Earl Brown) and his threat of violence against the kneecaps of people Ed cares about. Instead, Shirley (Haneefah Wood) is physically safe, as Ed wins his bet, but his move in the wake of that windfall is to commit themselves to the lie they’ve been selling others (without knowing it’s a lie)—Ed wants to buy them a plot on the Moon.

Myrtle begins to offer a flourish with her sunglasses
Apple TV+/Screenshot

Meanwhile, Myrtle (Alison Pill) visits Mr. Costopoulos (Matthew Maher) and learns that the Brightside gang will be in big trouble if they make any further sales in town before they’ve gotten the right forms appropriately filled and filed. She tries to go in disguise to make a purchase, but since Ed sees right through that she has to settle for staking the team out.

Hello Tomorrow! S1E4 ends with her finding success, as Joey can’t resist the urge to sell to Mr. Montez despite his father’s Jack’s insistence against doing so. Because of course Jack hasn’t told anyone the truth about that either. He just told them to take the day off, trusting Shirley to correct the issue (while at the same time sending her gibberish by Telex and feigning solar interference?).

It seems pretty clear that all of this is going to come to a head for Jack at some point. The only question is whether Hello Tomorrow! stretches things out to the end of the season or pulls the trigger sooner. I’d hope for the latter, but my milk is on the former. And that’s OK!

Mr. Costopoulos in a hat with a hovering briefcase in Hello Tomorrow! S1E4
Apple TV+/Screenshot

The world of Hello Tomorrow! remains a joy to visit; the robots are quirky and cute, and maybe just maybe, by stretching out the main plot, the series will manage to hit on some broader stakes.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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