A married couple (Christine Milioti as Emma, William Jackson Harper as Noah) is experiencing the blahs on a 10-year-anniversary vacation to a tropical Mexican resort. William Jackson Harper has only been known to the world-at-large as the tight-laced hypochondriac ethicist from The Good Place so it’s a little jarring to see him chilling out in the tropics with his hair in an — — sorry I’m not well-versed on African-American hairstyles and not going to try — un-Chidi-like state.
Anywho, Noah and Emma get shaken out of their rut when Emma discovers an old cell phone from 15 years through going down the rabbit hole of a local missing persons case. During one frightful and stormy night (cue the organ music) 15 years ago, a pair of late adolescents (Skyler Gismodo as Sam and Nina Bloomgarden as Violet) disappeared during a hurricane. Careful not to reveal the sequence of events before Emma and Noah (and the audience) learn them, the series deftly cuts between past and present as Noah and Emmy chase after the trail of Sam and Violet.
It’s soon revealed that Sam and Violet had a steamy fling, and the series tries a little hard to posit Sam/Violet (Vam? Siolet?) as younger and hornier doppelgangers to Noah and Emma who not so coincidentally also met for the first time 15 years ago. Although the series acknowledges that Noah and Emma are going through a funk, they still never exhibit much chemistry and are often the least interesting part of the story except as audience surrogates.
Sam and Violet, on the other hand, are a fun combination of hormones, angst, and naiveté. They bounce between a crazy hotel proprietor to an outdoor farmer’s market to an author (Luis Guzman) with mystical properties and, remarkably, they still manage to stay separated from their parents over six episodes and counting.
In the interim, Emma and Noah join forces with Balthasar Frias, a local heir to a powerful family of tailors (this series more than any other needs a larger fan base, just so a more robust wiki can be created and confusions like “rich family of tailors” can be sorted out) who’s a delightful brand of kooky on his own. Frias came to the resort looking for a job of any sort and is urged by the manager to reinvent himself so he fashions himself a detective after the novels his father used to read to him as a kid…