by Billie Doux
The first episode of this season was all Daniel in Nashville, and the second was all family in Paulie. "Bob & Carol & Ted Jr. & Alice" gave us Nashville and Paulie in parallel, as Daniel and his family were all wending their way through transition from one type of life to another.
Janet was surprised and intrigued by the possibility of selling the tire store. She was also considering the fact that her store is Ted's and Teddy's livelihood and that selling it could have a negative effect on her already troubled marriage. But you know, I sooo don't want her to make her decision based on what the Teds want. Janet has been cheated out of a normal life for twenty years and damn it, she should do what she wants for a change. And clearly, Janet wants to be near Daniel. Who wouldn't, under these circumstances?
I have always liked the way Janet and Daniel interact, even on the phone. They speak the same language, have the same quirky sense of humor. It's nice that Janet has a similar sort of interaction with Amantha, although their relationship always has more tension. It was fun watching the two of them, both a little stoned, sitting in the living room talking about not having tires in their blood.
I also liked Amantha having a beer or two with Billy Harris, who came by Thrifty Town not to buy cheap paper products. Interesting that Amantha blew off Jon's phone call while she was with Billy, gossiping about what happened to their high school class. Amantha's relationship with Jon has always felt lopsided somehow, and I don't mean that in a level of education sort of way, or even north/south. It feels like Amantha is comfortable with Billy and relates to him, something I never sensed when she was with Jon.
It makes me happy that Jon simply can't let go and transition away from Daniel's case. He stopped by to yell at Sheriff Carl about semen and CJ, George and Trey, and pretty much got nothing for his trouble. What's going on with Sheriff Carl? He proved himself to be fair and honest when he was ready to arrest Bobby Dean for beating Daniel. Is he just unwilling to mess with Daniel's plea deal, like Jon's workmates, or does he have something else in mind? I hope it's the latter. Go exonerate Daniel, guys. If Daniel were exonerated, it would set his entire family free.
Speaking of which, therapy is clearly having a positive effect on Tawney if she's finally ready to talk about divorcing Teddy. The current situation with Tawney feels a bit like Janet's; they've both spent years doing what their husbands wanted instead of acknowledging and addressing their own needs. Freedom, ladies! I wish I felt more empathy for the Teds, but I don't.
I also liked that little scene with Melvin of the turtles, who stopped by Amantha's apartment to make sure Teddy was on the lease, a very Melvin thing to do. It's so lovely that Melvin was worried about Daniel and angry about the whole thing with Trey when he's practically a stranger. It pointed out how odd and selfish it is that Teddy never gave a damn about Daniel.
While I don't like the separation of the main characters and how it's affecting the flow of the story, it was also nice to see Daniel successfully making a boring life for himself. He has his dull job, he's trying to help his not so nice roommate Manny, he's making jokes about Being There in group, and he's considering the possibility of serious therapy for his PTSD. He's also involved with the art co-op and developing some sort of unconventional relationship with Chloe, who is smart and prickly and forthright and now that I'm thinking about it, a lot like his sister Amantha.
Chloe googled Daniel and was deliberately seeking out his company knowing full well who he was and what happened to him. I think he was confused as I was about what Chloe wanted from him. Does she find the idea that he might be a murderer intriguing? Does she feel sorry for him? Why on earth would she want a "platonic fling?"
While Daniel and Chloe had an interesting conversation about her current unplanned pregnancy and cynicism and boredom and the nature of existence and they seemed to connect when she asked him to touch her stomach, I would honestly much rather see Daniel interacting with Tawney. That particular relationship is magical and come on, the series is ending -- there's only five more episodes. If none of them have Daniel and Tawney conversing about God and nature and Saint Thomas Aquinas, I'm going to be deeply disappointed.
-- Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a 1969 movie about consciousness raising and spouse swapping. I saw it once years ago and don't remember it, so clearly it didn't make much of an impression on me.
-- Was Jared photographing Furbys in the attic to sell online? Last week raggedy tents, this week Furbys. It makes no sense.
-- I loved Janet in the grocery store seeing an unattended cart and looking guilty about what she did to Trey's eggs. Good lord, Janet. If Trey did kill Hanna and pin it on Daniel, he deserves a lot worse.
-- Tawney couldn't quite bring herself to say the word "divorce." She spelled it out like the old Tammy Wynette song, which always makes me think of the movie Five Easy Pieces.
-- Daniel has less hair now. A pointless observation on my part. Aden Young looks good either way.
Teddy: "Okay, Bob. Well, this is Ted, by the way. Not sure where Carol and Alice are. (laughs) Nothing. Just a weird film I saw once."
Janet: "I just want to touch you, make sure you're real."
Daniel: "Okay. But maybe we should have lunch, too."
Laugh out loud.
Rebecca: "How have you been feeling around Teddy lately?"
Tawney: "What do you think? I mean, he's been so loving and so understanding. It's not even a trick, either."
And that says everything you need to know about Teddy.
Janet: "...so that I could sit here and sip my wine and ruminate on the tire business and all the business that goes with the business of the tire business."
Amantha: "Okay, well, I won't say anything until whoever knows or needs to know knows."
Janet: "All this shit he just walked into. I grabbed him like he was a life preserver, you know? Think I might have pulled him under."
I don't think Janet is being fair to herself. Ted Senior got something out of this relationship, too: a loving wife, a father for his motherless son, a tire store.
As I said already, I wish Daniel were back in Paulie or everyone was in Nashville with him, but it was a good episode. Three out of four beers... or should it be Furbys? Seriously. What are they doing with Jared?
Billie Doux loves quality television and spends way too much time writing about it.