Hello Tomorrow! S1E10 Recap: “What Could Be Better?” (Season 1 Finale)

Jack points at a rocket out the window in the Hello Tomorrow! Season a finale, S1E10, "What Could Be Better?"
Apple TV+/Screenshot

The following recap contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Hello Tomorrow!, S1E10, “What Could Be Better?” (written by Jiehae Park and directed by Stacie Passon)

Hello Tomorrow! S1E10 has that classic TV structure where a number of disconnected events all have to line up just so in order to reach the intended narrative result, and the episode works because the choices of the characters in their disparate scenarios are all well-grounded by what’s come before. This is what makes it a satisfying season finale: We can see how all the threads woven through the fabric of the story to this point are coming together. Unfortunately, the result is calamitous, but it does set the stage for a compelling Season 2!

Let’s recap the events of the episode.

Joey sits on a couch
Apple TV+/Screenshot

We start with Joey (Nichloas Podany) avoiding Lester’s (Matthew Maher) calls inquiring about evidence against Jack (Billy Crudup). And he’s avoiding calls from Jack, too. It makes sense that the boy’s conflicted, because Jack is his dad. And even if he didn’t know that when the two had their good times together, he looked to the man as a father figure nonetheless. I think that was clear, and so we might buy Joey being swayed by Jack’s remark in the message he leaves that it’s funny how good things can be without the truth getting in the way.

I was nonetheless a bit surprised at how quickly Joey came around to helping Jack, and how willing he was to buy into his schemes again. But on reflection I think we just have to recognize the sway our fathers can have over us and just how hard it actually is to break away from that.

And I’m not trying to suggest that Joey should have followed through and handed over the evidence to convict Jack when he had the chance, for the record. I guess I’m trying to reconcile what I’m saying now with claims I’ve made previously about Jack losing Joey for good. Things between fathers and sons are always more complicated than that. I think what Joey does in this episode makes sense, even if what Jack did previously was also unforgivable. He so desperately wants to give Jack another chance, and so he does.

Lester looks down at his hovering briefcase
Apple TV+/Screenshot

But Lester’s at the launch site anyway, expecting to be able to stop things. Joey’s about-face stymies his plans, but the fact that he’s there gives him another shot with Myrtle (Alison Pill), which he of course proceeds to flub. But the ground has been laid for him to wander back at just the right (or wrong) time.

Jack’s plan is to trap all of the Brightside customers on an elevator so that they miss the launch. Seeing the launch will be enough to motivate investors. Then he can take their money and actually build the homes he’s promised to people. As Ed (Hank Azaria) says, it seems like a sure thing.

Betty and Herb stand at the front of an elevator full of Brightside customers
Apple TV+/Screenshot

But Betty (Susan Heyward) has been poking at Herb’s (Dewshane Williams) faith in Jack all season long, so it’s no surprise that she finally gets him to crack at the prospect of missing the launch. They start making a racket, and there’s Lester to hear them and let them out of the elevator, to rush back onto the rocket prior to take off.

Still, all of these fine folks might not have been sent to be stranded on the Moon were it not for the fact that Walt (Michael Paul Chan) has insurmountable anxiety about being the one to launch a rocket full of people into space. He’s traumatized by what happened to Jack’s father, so insists that Jack be the one to push the button when it’s all systems go.

But then Marie (Annie McNamara) wakes up across town and asks for Jack, so he and Joey leave to go see her, handing the launch button over to Elle (Dagmara Dominczyk). This isn’t a well-considered plan, and Jack is by this point overly confident that his scheme has already worked, with the launch itself being a bit pro forma. If he had thought it through he may have realized it wasn’t the best idea, but it makes perfect sense in context that he does not. He’s viewing it as a done deal, and he’s got the wife he’s been estranged from waiting for him across town.

The decision is crucial to what happens, however, because Ed notices that the elevator has become empty and he and Shirley (Haneefah Wood) come running to try to stop the launch. Elle simply does not care. She’s never cared. She’s more prone to being mad about Jack’s attempt to get people off the rocket than apt to stop the launch because they’ve gotten back on. So she pushes the button.

To the Moon!

Jack and Elle sit in the back of her car
Apple TV+/Screenshot

Oh, and Big Fred (W. Earl Brown) is also on the rocket because Ed has a robot hand he can’t completely control, which led him to choke the man until he lost consciousness. Ed and Shirley thought he was dead, so they snuck him onto the rocket to nowhere to get rid of the body. But he’s not dead. We see him waking up inside the bag. He’s not going to be happy.

Ed raises a robot hand as Big Fred enters the room while Shirley looks on
Apple TV+/Screenshot

So all of this sets up a potential  Season 2 quite nicely. We can expect to see what’s actually on the Moon relatively early on, and I’d have to guess some conflict between Jack and Elle back on Earth as he does his best to help those who’ve been sent up there.

It is his fault, after all. You can forgive him as much as you want to, and try to exculpate him from blame by appealing to his good intentions if you so desire, but the fact remains that he lied to these people and remained committed to the charade to the point where this happened to them. Nebulous good intentions don’t really cut it in terms of letting him off the hook.

But I’m still rooting for him, to be clear! He and Joey deceive Marie, too, making her think they’re a happy family when she doesn’t remember the truth. It’s funny how good things can be without the truth in the way.

Jack and Joey stand to each side of Marie as she looks at photos
Apple TV+/Screenshot

She does seem to be questioning it as S1E10 comes to a close, however, and that’s the problem about the truth. It has a way of coming back around on you like a hard kernel of reality that sticks in the craw of your pleasant delusions.

Hello Tomorrow! has played in this space throughout its first season, asking us to ponder the value of truth versus that of happiness, and whether there might be more of the latter if we give in to ill-founded dreams. Maybe the truth isn’t the most important thing.

But those people are going to the Moon. They’re going to be waylaid and not know what’s going on. We don’t yet know how bad their circumstances will be. And yet I can already start formulating the question I imagine will inform Hello Tomorrow! Season 2: When Jack tries to convince them that everything is actually fine, will we be able to stomach his new web of lies? Will we be able to remain on his side, and on that of the dream, or will it just become too much?

Because there’s no way he’s just going to admit the jig is up. That would mean conceding to the truth.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

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