“Here and Now” is going to be a weird show. That much is implied in the first moments of the series premiere, as a barrage of apparently unrelated images flashes across the screen, followed by a shot of a woman and a little boy playing on the beach. The camera quivers. The sound skips like an old record. The woman gasps, removes her sunglasses, calls out the name “Ramon” and scratches four long, deep gashes into her own face with her fingernails. She says something in a language that isn’t English. It’s as though we’ve entered some new “Twin Peaks” lodge.
But, phew, it’s nothing more than a dream. Or, at least, it seems that way when Ramon Bayer-Boatwright (Daniel Zovatto), a college student who designs video games, awakens in his Portland, Ore., apartment. That same morning, he summons the courage to take his flirting to the next level with Henry Bergen (Andy Bean), a bearded barista who might be Ramon’s soul mate and who is surprisingly eager to accompany him to his father’s 60th birthday party that evening.
It’s a good day. The only thing that seems off about it is that Ramon keeps seeing the number “11:11.” First it’s a clock in the coffee shop. Then it’s the dashboard of his elliptical, at the gym, which freezes 11 minutes and 11 seconds into his workout. After a few of these scenes, it occurred to me that the four gashes from his dream also resembled four ones. Ramon tells Henry about a website that claims that people who are “contacted” by the number 11:11 have “some positive mission to accomplish.” They laugh it off in bed, joking that their hookup is that mission.
Still, the extent to which this show is going to be weird doesn’t become clear until the final ten minutes of the episode. At the party, as his depressive philosophy professor father, Greg Boatwright (Tim Robbins), delivers an uncomfortably pessimistic speech, Ramon has a vision. There are four candles on top of a bookshelf, and their flames seem to stretch into, yes, four long, straight, blazing lines. No one else sees it.