Dispatches From Elsewhere (2020) s01e01 Episode Script


1 And now that I have your attention, I'll begin.
As you know, this entertainment is called "Dispatches From Elsewhere" a title that I assure you will have more relevance as the story progresses.
Unless this is your first experience with a limited-run episodic, which our records indicate it is not, then you're aware of the storytelling convention which dictates that the filmmakers spend an unnecessary amount of time to introduce you to our protagonist, his occupation, the particularities of his life, and, most importantly, the obstacles which stand in the way of his happiness.
As the first of my many gifts to you, my friends, I propose we skip this convention and get on with what you came here for the story.
I propose I return to you 20 minutes of your life by reducing the standard introduction to a mere two minutes.
[Snaps fingers.]
This is Peter.
[Alarm ringing.]
Think of him as you.
He is you if you lived alone and woke every weekday to your iPhone alarm, still set to the default chime "radar".
Peter is you if you walked to work in the morning, which he neither enjoys nor does not enjoy.
He never makes eye contact with his fellows and assumes his fellows never make eye contact with their fellows, either.
Peter is you if you worked a reliable job at a company which offers on-demand listening of over two millions songs for a modest monthly fee.
In addition, the company's innovative algorithm conveniently informs you of songs you will enjoy based on your prior listening history, saving you the hassle of unpleasant and unnecessary musical exploration.
Peter is you if you walked the same route home as you did to work, only, as I'm sure you understand, in the opposite direction.
He generally stops into his corner bodega to procure dinner, which often consists of packaged sushi with a small packet of brown liquid salt - and spicy green putty.
- [Cash register dings.]
Peter is you if you ended your day in the same place you began it, with no change.
Every day like the others, with the exception of meaningless and arbitrary deviation.
Burrito instead of sushi, perhaps.
And this is tragedy in its most quietly devastating costume.
A life without risk.
A life without real pain.
A life without real joys.
This is existing, not living.
At least that is my philosophy.
And at the end of the day [Chuckling.]
that's all I've got.
So, my friends, I think we've got the idea.
Now you know Peter.
Squint your eyes, and Peter is you.
Enough so, at least, that I think we can jump right into the day something changes.
I should like to confess now that I lied to you once and only once during my introduction.
I can assure you, however, that I remain a reliable narrator.
[Alarm ringing.]
[Ringing stops, cellphone clicks.]
- [Indistinct conversations.]
- BARISTA: Norman? Normal? Are you Normal? I'm sorry, what? Are you Norman? Oh, no.
- Oh, man.
- [Liquid splashes.]
That's okay.
Can I help? Um, no, it's it's an accident.
- Okay, sorry again.
- I'm sorry.
No, sorry.
[Indistinct conversations.]
[Dolphin chittering.]
I understand.
[Thunder rumbles, rain falling.]
[Indistinct conversations.]
[Shells clinking.]
[Whistle blows.]
[Footsteps approach.]
[Cannon fires.]
Work stuff, work.
Work stuff.
Work stuff.
[Keys clacking.]
[Vehicle passes.]
[Siren wailing in distance.]
[Paper rustles.]
[Indistinct talking on TV.]
[Cellphone clicks.]
[Indistinct talking on TV continues.]
[Cellphone ringing.]
[Ringing continues.]
[Cellphone clicks.]
Hello? BRITISH WOMAN: [British accent.]
Peter? Y-Yes.
Um, how did how did you know that? You called.
Oh, um, well, yes, I-I saw the the man the man from the sign.
He was putting up his own "have you seen this man" flyer.
I'm not surprised.
Thank you for calling the Jejune Institute, Pennsylvania Headquarters.
We would like to invite you to a special orientation session.
I'm sorry, orientation session? We are located at 12616 South 7th Street, Suite 1607.
That's so many numbers.
Would you like to procure a writing implement? N-No, I'm fine.
Saturday at 2:00 p.
, Eastern Standard Time.
Oh, I don't think that I can, actually.
For those Dark Horses with the Spirit to look up and see A recondite family awaits.
[Indistinct talking on TV continues.]
[Indistinct talking on TV continues.]
[Utensils clinking.]
PSYCHIATRIST: And how has this week been, socially? Have you had lunch with a co-worker? Any interesting conversations? No.
Try any new restaurants? Watch anything new on TV? No.
[Chuckles softly.]
Peter, can I ask you a question? Yes, of course.
Why do you come see me? Well, it's free, you know? It's included in my medical benefits, and I've never had medical benefits until this job, so I just thought, "Heck, Peter, take advantage of the opportunity and see what psychiatry's all about".
And what are your thoughts so far? I like it.
I do.
Um, I think our conversations go pretty well.
I know that you do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Um I wish I brought more to the table.
There are times that I feel guilty about that after our visits.
Like maybe I'm boring to you or something.
I understand what you're asking me.
I - Keep talking.
- I'm tal I am talking.
I guess I'm just settling into the idea that this is it, that this is what life is.
I don't really have anything to say about that yet.
You feel stuck.
No, I feel nothing, mostly.
Maybe like a sense of loss, but I don't know for what.
Don't you think it's time you found out? [Leaves rustling.]
[Indistinct conversations.]
Where you headed? Um, I'm not sure.
The Jejune Institute? [Beep.]
The gentleman that we talked about is here.
A pleasure indeed.
Oh, thank you.
Answers await on the floor 16.
[Key clatters.]
This way? [Elevator bell dings.]
[Electricity humming.]
"Exit the elevator and head towards the hallway.
Immediately look right.
Look right again.
And a third time.
Head down the hallway".
"Bipedal in a forward direction.
Continue bearing to the front".
"At the end of the hallway, utilize this key at the double doors to enter the Induction Center".
[Lock clicks.]
[Electricity buzzing.]
BRITISH WOMAN: Welcome to the Jejune Institute, Philadelphia Induction Center.
Please have a seat in the armchair which has been provided for you.
Orientation will begin in - [Alarm blaring.]
- five, four, three, two, one.
[Blaring stops.]
[Tones playing.]
We are the Jejune Institute, purveyors of Nonchalance and a myriad of innovative products designed to fill the void.
Current offerings include Poliwater, a more condensed form of water with astounding regenerative properties.
Clone-free human-replication systems designed to create an external ambassador with one's sovereign form.
And our most exciting development yet Jejune's THE IDEA, patent pending.
And now a word from our founder, Octavio Coleman, Esquire.
Hello, and welcome home.
I truly hope that our introductory video has provided you with at least some context for where you find yourself now.
Nod if you agree.
Then perhaps I can offer you a simple explanation.
For often, in my experience, it is only through the greatest simplicity that we find understanding and, from understanding, truth.
Nod if you agree.
My name is Octavio Coleman, Esquire, and for more than 40 years, I have given my life, my spirit, and my vital energy in pursuit of one endeavor to illuminate the oneness which lays hidden in plain sight right before your eyes and under your nose.
To highlight the illusion of separateness which permeates our thinking and is responsible for all forms of human strife.
This has been a long road, my friend, and there have been many times along the way that we as a collective and I as a leader have questioned the fruitfulness of this undertaking.
Dark nights where voices whispered that I had indeed been laboring under a delusion and that my vision-quest was, in fact, a fool's errand.
But I've proved myself wrong by proving I was right.
And you are a key to unlocking our vision.
You see, my friend, it is a very unique person indeed who finds themselves in the chair in which you sit.
It is a rare soul who pulls the tab from the flyer.
A rarer soul who calls the number.
A rarer soul still who reports to our humble headquarters as directed, and the rarest of souls who sits before me prepared to answer my future call.
Know it or not, my friend, you contain something.
Perhaps something hibernating, perhaps something not yet born, but something that I promise you is unique, vital, and essential.
We all share one common wish.
A secret.
One rarely uttered but more universal than any hope ever hoped.
That one day it will be revealed that there's been a mistake.
That one day you will learn that you are meant for more.
That one day someone will arrive from the mundane nothingness and say the words, "No, my friend, not you.
You don't belong here.
Come with me.
You belong with the special ones".
I am here, and that day is upon you.
No, my friend, not you.
You don't belong here.
Come with me.
You belong with the special ones.
What is happening? [Static.]
I do believe that this moment of emotional revelation is quite enough for one day.
In the drawer beside you, you will find an induction card.
Should you desire to explore this relationship further, simply provide us with the requisite information, and we will gladly find you when your moment has come.
Thank you, my friend.
"Do not return to reception.
Head through the fire door.
Alarm has been disabled".
[Door closes.]
"Take the stairs to level one.
Do not run, but do not go too slowly".
"By now they will be coming for you".
[Siren wailing, cellphone ringing.]
"Abandon this card and answer your phone".
- [Cellphone clicks.]
- Hello? COMMANDER 14: This is Commander 14, fearless Skipper of the Elsewhere Society and mortal enemy of The Jejune Institute.
Peter, you don't know what you've gotten yourself into, not yet, but you will.
For now, don't talk, don't think, don't worry.
Just report to the South Street location.
The exact address will arrive on your phone via end-to-end encrypted multimedia message.
- Okay, but - [Click.]
Hello? Hello? 277.
77 South Street? Divine Nonchalance? What the hell does that mean? [Tires screech.]
- Sorry! - Come on, man.
That's That's my fault.
[Tires screech.]
[Door creaks.]
Touch me, and I'll kill you.
You hear me? Yeah, real tough, now, aren't you? You ass-sucking piece of shit.
- Jesus.
- No one tricks me, assface! I'm I'm not trying to trick you, and I'm not an assface.
- Oh, you're an assface.
- I'm not an assface.
- You're an assface! - I'm not! I'm just me I'm me.
Are you not part of the thing? Wha No.
I'm really confused about what's going on.
Oh, you're like me.
You saw the video? - Yes.
- It's crazy, right? I don't know what's going on, either, but it's freakin' fun! Well, I'm very confused and scared.
Uh, yeah.
I was just role-playing.
- [Chuckles.]
- Oh, okay.
That was good.
Um, you're very authentically threatening.
It's a little skill I've developed.
Yeah, that's cool.
Um, I still don't understand what's happening.
Me neither, but I think it's some kind of, like, new ad campaign or something.
Like, any minute now someone's gonna pop out and try and sell us something.
Like, "Surprise! This experience brought to you by Bender Elmore".
- [Chuckles.]
- Bender Elmore? It's got to be something like that.
Some kind of major corporation.
Whatever this thing is, it is not cheap.
And people don't spend money unless they're trying to make money.
Actually, um, I sometimes spend money on things that don't make me money.
Like Like cable television.
I guess you're right.
Somebody could be trying to entertain themselves.
Are you watching me, you sons of bitches? I'll shove that Institute right up your tight corporate asses.
You say "ass" so much.
Do you want to do the next part together? Next part? Oh.
"The The power is within you.
Find her".
[Chuckles lightly.]
Honor system.
You can only get away with that in a hidden alley.
- [Chuckles.]
- Oh, right.
Do you see anything you want, uh, before we go? This place has lots of things that are new to me that I would like to touch.
Yeah, no kidding.
It says, um It says "elsewhere" on that on the brick.
I don't know how they did that.
They probably had to get a special mold made, um, which isn't easy to do.
I'm not in construction, but I do I have Who knows.
Are you ready? Um Are you sure that it's allowed? Allowed? To do the next part together.
I don't I don't know if there are rules or I mean, you're an adult.
You can think for yourself, right? I've never really thought about that as a concept.
Yes, of course.
Yes, yes.
Whatever Whatever you think.
Uh, here.
- [Zipper opens.]
- Try this.
It'll calm you down.
Uh, I-I'm afraid of drugs, sorry.
This is a good drug.
Look, this thing, whatever it is, it's supposed to be fun.
And things like this don't just happen, so don't waste it.
You can't post-enjoy things.
That's why people who film concerts on their iPhones are morons.
It's, uh It's in there snugly.
Just please don't mess this up for me.
Of course.
Oh, wow.
Huh, that's so neat.
I've seen people wear these.
I felt like how I felt a few times when I went to the movie theater and saw a beautiful film.
How, when it ended and I went outside, colors seemed brighter.
The world seemed like a better place.
I wanted to keep feeling that way.
I guess for the first time in my life I was walking around looking at the world through a new pair of glasses.
Up until then, life had been this series of unfulfilled promises.
Work hard, and you will be happy.
Do the right thing, and good things will come your way.
So, naturally, we kept expecting someone to show up and take it from us, but the Institute never came.
For the first time since I was very young, I felt I don't know if this sounds stupid.
Actually, I do know it sounds stupid.
I-I don't care.
I felt like there was magic.
I felt like there was real magic.
Maybe I could be a part of that.
Because suddenly all the signs around me that I had allowed to dictate my life they lost their power.
PSYCHIATRIST: And what happened? It lasted a few days or so, and then much more easily than I would've hoped, it just drifted away.
Is there anything you took from the experience that has stayed with you? I guess how differently life must feel to her.
I was so scared.
She was having so much fun.
And what does that make you feel? That I wish I was more like her.
[Indistinct talking on TV.]
[Thunder crashes.]
[Telephone ringing.]
[Thunder rumbling.]
[TV shuts off.]
[Ringing continues.]
[Thunder crashes.]
- Hello? - COMMANDER 14: Peter! This is Commander 14 of the Elsewhere Society.
You are needed now! Commander? Hi.
It's me.
It's Peter.
I'm here.
Um, I'm just in the middle of my dinner.
COMMANDER 14: Dinner can wait, Peter.
The human body can survive weeks without food - and days without water.
- Okay.
I need to know now are you in or are you out? - I'm - Now, Peter! - I'm in! - Your location will be transmitted via end-to-end encrypted multimedia message.
Your help is required posthaste! - [Click.]
- Okay, I Hello? Hello? [Thunder rumbling.]
[Telephone rings.]
Hello? COMMANDER 14: The time is nigh.
Listen very carefully.
I said dance! The only way to proceed is through rigorous physical jamming.
So dance! Dance, you lanky son of a bitch! Dance! [Feet tapping.]
Keep dancing.
Hang up this phone and dance.
Dance, motherlover! Dance! - Okay, but just - [Click.]
- [Dial tone.]
- Hello? [Thunder crashing.]
Punk rock, new wave, and soul Pop music, salsa, rock 'n' roll Calypso, reggae, rhythm and blues Master mix those number-one tunes Play that favorite song of mine And accept my calls on the request line Deejay will play just for you But I gotta get down and show I know how to A favorite song to sing And when I'm in the mood to hear good music play I'm entertained by my favorite deejay I wanna dance and think of romance I wanna get down on my favorite sound Play it, kick it, play that beat Why don't you play it for me? Play it, kick it, play that beat Why don't you play it for me? Play it, kick it, play that beat Play it on your lunch break The beat that makes your body shake Play that beat Play it, kick it [Howls.]
Play that beat Why don't you play it for me? Switch the mix, mister deejay Play that beat Why don't you play it for me? Switch the mix, mister deejay Play that beat Why don't you play it for me? Switch the mix, mister deejay [Echoing.]
Play that beat [Thunder rumbling.]
[Breathing heavily.]
[Phosphorescent's "Song For Zula" plays.]
Some say love Is a burning thing That it makes a fiery ring Simone! Peter.
- What the hell, dude? - Hi.
I don't know if that was Bigfoot or Yeti or Sasquatch, but that thing can dance.
It was Bigfoot.
- Oh.
- Yes.
Thought so.
We have to, um Yeah.
Uh, you having fun yet? Um, I have so much anxiety but in a really good way.
I think that's called excitement.
[Click, static squealing.]
Three, two, one.
[Frequency warbles.]
COMMANDER 14: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Radio Nonchalance Dispatches from Elsewhere.
As we begin our live broadcast, there remains a task at hand to be completed while simultaneously absorbing the message and meaning of our transmission.
Within your envelopes resides a colored paddle.
These will serve as identifiers for your immediate family.
Please remove your paddles now and find those with whom you shall proceed on this journey.
Take a moment to look around you at the faces of the other intrepid souls you can now call family.
You've all been selected as Agents of Nonchalance.
And now cryptic radio brings you the secret of Nonchalance.
What is the secret? What is Nonchalance, and who are its hidden followers? Are they friendly, or are they a menace? What does their existence portend to today's world of political, economic, and spiritual bedlam? - [Indistinct conversations.]
- Listen carefully, and we will tell you.
This is your announcer, Commander 14, trusted servant and head honcho of the Elsewhere Society, broadcasting for a limited time on this special frequency.
Like Saint Peter in prison, the keys to your cell rest at your feet.
Reach down and unlock the door.
Emerge as free men and women.
[Speaking indistinctly.]
- Hey.
- Hi.
Okay, you find the others.
I'll wait here.
Are you s You don't want to come with us? No.
I don't want to be distracted.
Every piece of evidence is essential.
- But first, a warning.
- Okay.
- Beware of false Nonchalance.
- [Chuckles.]
The false prophets are even now consolidating their forces as they endeavor to find her, Clara, the special one, keeper of Divine Nonchalance.
Beware especially the one the world calls Octavio Coleman, Esquire, for he is, in the present era, the main opponent of The Elsewhere Society and a cynical and fiendishly inspired deviser of false Nonchalance, founder of the evil Jejune Institute, CIA operative and informant, saboteur and provocateur.
Octavio Coleman, Esquire - Excuse me.
- is the man who is behind all - of the monitoring, subversion - Oh.
Excuse me.
Can I Can I see your your your - Oh.
- Oh! Oh, we match.
Do we match? - We do, yeah.
- We match.
- Yeah.
- Oh, I'm so glad.
I-I thought I was alone.
I'm not alone.
Couldn't find anybody.
All alone.
So glad.
- I'm Peter.
- Peter.
I can hardly hear you.
- I'm Peter.
- Peter.
- Simone.
- I'm I'm Janice.
- Hi.
Hello, Janice.
- Hi.
- I can hear now.
I-I took it out.
- Oh.
- We have another one.
- Oh, okay.
- Come on.
- Okay, great.
Oh, I'm just Oh.
- Okay.
- Yeah, yeah.
I'm in.
My friends, there is a world behind this world which has been hidden from you.
No longer.
The power is within you.
It always has been.
Now, listen closely, my friends, as I exit the realm of obfuscation and make your assignment abundantly clear.
You must find Clara! She is the harbinger of great things to come, the bringer of Divine Nonchalance.
Find her before the evil forces of Octavio and his wretched Institute, and rewards will abound.
Find Clara, and we will change this world! Life could be a dream, life could be a dream That was batshit crazy.
It was quite an elaborate hoax.
It's thrilling.
I'm sorry.
What do you mean, "hoax"? You think this is some type of prank or something? No, no, no, not not a prank.
A lovely charade, you know, wonderful evening out.
Lev is gonna Lev is is my husband.
He is gonna He is gonna have quite a laugh when he hears about this.
I'll tell you that right now.
There's something far more meaningful than a laugh being had here.
There is? This is a government operation.
What was your name again? Jani Mrs.
Well, no.
- Okay.
- Mrs.
Fo - Janice.
- Janice.
I've been keeping track of every clue, major or minor, since the moment of induction.
There's code in that broadcast.
And more importantly, more infuriatingly, they're keeping track of all of our personal data cellphones, e-mails, et cetera.
This is clearly some type of high-level social experiment.
Oh, my.
I don't want to be rude, and I really mean this as a sincere question, but are you a crazy person? Hmm.
They say crazy people don't always know they're crazy, but in my experience, that's not always the case.
I scored 1590 on the SA when I was 13 years old.
I missed one question, which I still dispute.
I'm not crazy.
I'm acutely aware of patterns, and I feel like one is operating here.
All of this All of this is funneling towards something.
JANICE: It's certainly an, uh uh, an out-there story they've concocted.
I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all of it, the missing girl Clara.
Divine Nonchalance? What? [Chuckles.]
SIMONE: Look, I think you guys are burying the lede here.
The The radio guy, he said that if we find Clara, then rewards abound.
I bet whoever finds her probably ends up on TV.
Oh, I hope not.
That's not what he meant at all.
I'm sorry.
What was your name again? Fredwynn.
Excuse me? Fredwynn.
F-Fred Win? Yes.
That's the correct pronunciation, but I feel like if you wrote it out, you'd spell it wrong.
It's one word Fredwynn.
Fredwynn? - Fredwynn.
- Yeah.
It's not It's not that hard.
- Fredwynn.
- Yes.
- Yeah.
- Okay.
Well, Fredwynn, I feel like it's gonna help if we just talk about everybody's theories for a bit and not just yours over and over again.
- You know what I'm saying? - Yeah, I understand.
- I understand.
- Great.
How about you, Peter? You've been pretty quiet.
Well, anything that I might say is something I already know, so I'm not gonna learn anything by talking.
I thought I would just listen to all of you and gather information to process.
That sounds enlightened, but it's selfish.
You're like a-a selfish Buddha.
I'm gonna call you SB, Selfish Buddha.
Well, I mean, I'd prefer you didn't.
Well, share your thoughts with the group.
Um well, what if it's real? I don't want to sound stupid.
I don't want to sound naive.
But he he he says it's a conspiracy, you say that it's a prank, you say that it's a game, but what if well, what if it's something real? [Chuckling.]
Hey, don't laugh at that, okay? - Oh - That is not funny.
- That is beautiful.
- It was a question, not a theory.
I-I said I didn't want to sound stupid.
- That's why I said that, which is why - No, you didn't - I didn't think it was stupid.
- No, I know, but he he especially was asking me to say something.
He was like, "Say it now.
Say it now.
" - I really liked your question.
- "Say it now".
- It's all right.
It's all right.
- "Say it now", he kept saying.
It's all right.
You didn't Maybe we should get some pie because it tastes so good.
And sometimes diners like this have pie.
- Yeah.
- Is there pie, ma'am? Do you have Do you have pie? FREDWYNN: Pie? WAITRESS: Strawberry or coconut cream? Strawberry or coconut cream? Oh, my God.
Just bring them both.
Bring them both.
Pie was a really, really good idea.
I like I like to eat it eat it.
Well, yeah.
WAITRESS: Two of each.
On the house.
That's very kind.
No, it's not kind.
I think it'll be amazing to watch you all decide who gets what.
[Footsteps depart.]
You can have mine.
Oh, you don't have to do that.
No, no.
I, uh - Oh.
- I got to get going.
I don't want to walk home too late.
I could walk you.
Uh enjoy the pie.
Tell me which one's better.
It was very nice to meet you.
- Mrs.
- Uh, Janice.
- Janice.
- And you're - Simone.
- Simone.
[Both chuckle.]
[Clicks tongue.]
One word.
I, uh I don't know when, but I have a hunch I'll be seeing you all again soon.
Oh, I hope so.
Till then, follow your Divine Nonchalance [Chuckles.]
whatever that means.
[Bells jingle.]
And just what do we mean by "Divine Nonchalance" anyway? [Violin playing.]
A casual way of sauntering down the street? A kind of cool, perhaps? Or something more? Divine Nonchalance cannot be bought or sold, packaged or purveyed.
It is a power - that can only be found within.
- [Indistinct shouting.]
I can tell you're still confused.
Perhaps I can help illuminate further.
Let's take a look at this again.
[Tape rewinding.]
You like cartoons, don't you? Of course you do.
Everyone likes cartoons.
Picture in your mind a cartoon character, any cartoon character.
Watch as she saunters down the street, seemingly unaware of impending danger lurking around every corner.
Some may mistake her ease for ignorance.
Others may marvel at her naiveté.
But Divine Nonchalance is something different, my friends.
It is a perpetual quietness of heart - when all around you is seeming chaos.
- Yo! - [Indistinct shouting.]
- It is an unspoken understanding that somehow, through the trials and tribulations, - fears and foes - [Glass shatters.]
you are protected by some timeless innocence, some eternal joy, some universal love that need not be named.
But life is not a cartoon, is it, my friends? So what, then? [Siren wailing in distance.]
Do not mess with me.
I am not playing around.
Game or no game, this is gonna burn your goddamn eyeballs out.
[Spray hissing.]
- [Spray hissing.]
- [Groans.]
- [Groans.]
- [Coughing.]
- [Spray hissing.]
- Why do you have to ruin everything?! [Dog barking.]
NANA: Simone, is that you? Yes.
I'm home, Nana.
You can go back to sleep.
Did you have a good night? Overall, yes.
Good night.
Night, sweetie.
[Keys clatter.]
[Light switch clicks.]
[Breathing heavily.]
[Glass shatters.]
You're okay.
You're okay.
OCTAVIO: This is Simone.
Think of her as you.

Next Episode