Photo Credit: Robert Clark/Stalwart Productions/AMC
If you deny that something happened, you can, in some timelines, make it go away. It’s not an unfamiliar tactic: think of the last six years of American politics, or any kind of famously abusive person in general. and in this week Kevin can fuck himself, denial is driving all the characters. In the dimly lit hospital in Bleak World, Neil lay asleep in his bed. Allison pushes him to wake him up. He begins to threaten Allison, saying that he has influence over her because he knows about the assassination attempt on her. However, Allison and Patty are a united front. They tell him no, they never tried to kill Kevin. Obviously it was Neil. They are turning it on silently.
So Patty and Allison solved Neil’s problem for now, but Patty is out. However, Allison’s quest to escape Kevin one way or another continues, and her next move is to visit the office of Billy Terrell, who offers private detective services.
There, Aunt Diane cries over Chuck’s affair. Allison, meanwhile, presses Billy for information on how to disappear. Is it possible to “order off the menu” of suspicious PI services? Diane gets a call from Chuck and apologizes. “Marriage, right?” Allison says, but Billy knows that’s not the point. He assesses her as the real person who needs help and tells her to come back with $350 if she wants her time. The only person who is not in denial: the PI.
So Allison needs money. Relaxing in the car with Diane, she asks about going back to work at the liquor store. It’s not possible because Diane hired a teenager who “smells like one of those teen shops at the mall,” an evocative little dialogue; you know that exact smell. Diane suggests pawning things, like pawning Chuck’s gold necklace. It’s possible, according to Diane, because Kevin’s valuables are now in Chuck’s storage space after the break-in.
Meanwhile, Patty collapses on her bed before being interrupted by the doorbell ringing. It’s Tammy, asking to stay with the most convenient excuse. “People showing up at front doors without knocking are intense,” admits Tammy. She’s right, but she doesn’t have electricity, her phone doesn’t work, and she needs a place to stay. Patty lets her in with a sexless guy mwah.
Patty and Tammy, well… I’m not sorry, folks. Tammy rolls her eyes at every mention of Allison, fair considering Patty’s barely concealed crush. Tammy is interested in Patty, which would be a dream for the right person. They should be burning right now! But it doesn’t, and there’s no time to stress because Neil, a stoic man with a freshly shaved head, is standing outside. Patty and Neil stare at each other, and when Allison and Tammy walk out, he becomes uncomfortable. Neil’s anger is palpable. He teases Allison about her haircut and pretends to tell Tammy that her giant stapled wound to her head is a “food poisoning” accident. After awkward exits, Neil walks into Allison’s kitchen, where he is frozen, lost in memories of her murderous attack.
But Kevin walks into the kitchen, a break to Neil’s mood, and we’re finally in Sitcom World. Neil practically tackles him in a hug. Kevin makes fun of his haircut. He calls it names. He asks Neil what happened, and Neil repeats the story for him. Still in Bleak World mode, he tells Kevin, “I’m back and I’ll always be here for you.” He is intense. Christian bale intense. But Kevin remains in his own world “like a newly minted local celebrity,” and he needs an assistant: Neil. Dude is delighted to get out of his own head.
At Bleak World, Allison and Diane check out Chuck’s storage unit. Allison finds a rookie card from Wade Boggs. She finds his old pearl necklace. Allison puts it on and smiles to herself. But once Neil arrives at the unit, looking for Kevin’s lucky Red Sox cap, she has to hide in the corner. Diane distracts Neil with a can opener, a silly runner, and Allison uses her moment of distraction to take Wade Boggs’ card and Kevin’s lucky hat.
Later, Allison walks into the kitchen of her comedy world. Kevin is there preparing for his big newspaper interview. (The respect this show has for the print media! local media! We love to see it.) She wears her studded leather jacket and a “wild guy” headband made of T-shirt fabric, and has her own vision board. She accuses Allison of always being tall and powerful when she wears her pearls. For Kevin, this interview is going to be the difference between whether the Worcester Wild Dude is a flash in the pan or a brand, which is why he’s worried. Also, his dad says he’s more “aspirational” if he’s not married, so he needs Allison to get the hell out of there.
Allison, a woman on a mission, heads to Sam’s restaurant in Bleak World. She makes a very familiar move, she says that they’ve been friends for a long time, and that she needs some…money, in this case. Sam interrupts and says that she hasn’t gotten her work back. Allison has no idea that she lost her job: denial! In her misery, Allison is very self-absorbed! She was looking for a contact with Sam’s pawnbroker uncle, but he’s actually dead in this case. Allison apologizes and nervously leaves the restaurant. It’s classic Annie Murphy flutters, and it’s fun. But overall, it’s hard to like Allison much during this episode. She is mostly a machination of other people’s misery. Something similar to… Kevin?
The O’Connor house is basically Denial City. Neil can’t find Kevin’s lucky hat and is scared, gasping for breath, on the verge of a panic attack. Patty offers to help and Neil darkens and yells “Get out!” to her, her threatening and violent tone. Patty can’t win: Tammy leaves, for now, to stay with her brother. Tammy has been trying, paying attention to the little things, like Patty’s dislike for cashews, but Patty is distant. That is not worth it. Tammy is putting herself first, like she should!
Once again, Aunt Diane saves Allison and takes her to the pawnshop while downing a full shot of “Smirnoff and Ice”. Allison is cheerful: “Hello!” she says. “We would like to PAWN an item!” Diane gets $375 for him and asks if a “weekend in Branson” will fix anything. “Worcester is a trap, Diane,” is Allison’s rude reply. Diane gets sassy, as does Allison. But there’s no time to figure it out because Wade Boggs’ card shows up as a stolen item. Not only can’t Allison get the money, but she can’t even get the card back.
In Sitcom World, Kevin tells the demure interviewer that he was Worcester’s biggest baby at birth (14lbs!), Natural, of course (ouch). Neil walks in with the Buffalo sauce samples and Kevin tells him to make some tea. Neil walks out of the living room and is now in the Bleak World kitchen, where he puts water on sad tea and falls asleep. He blows the tea whistle as Neil has another flashback of him attacking Allison.
But again, when Kevin walks in, it’s a cut from Sitcom World. Neil says that he got sidetracked and then tells Kevin, “She’s trying to kill you.” He brought the harsh, cruel truth into the fluorescent lights of Sitcom World, and all Kevin can hear is jokes about women. reporter’s skirt it is terribly short; marriage it is a death sentence; women, right?
Kevin walks into the living room for his interview. As he devours a buffalo wing, he brags about staying cool in any situation: he points out the jokes! The hot sauce is too hot! Kevin flails, bumps into the door and falls. Neil comes out of the kitchen and bumps into him. Kevin grabs a carton of milk and pours it over his eyes.
In the backyard, Bleak World, Allison is shaking and calls Diane to tell her about another trip to the storage unit. The reporter appears on the porch and recognizes Allison from high school. Turns out Allison was a champion swimmer! She appeared in the newspaper every two weeks. And she left the team. Reporter Kelly says that she had a chance to leave Worcester. She could have gone to college (but not, like BC, ie Boston College). Allison corrects her: she really didn’t have a chance. But do we believe Allison?
Allison is in one this week. Her self-obsessed pity party isn’t doing anyone any favors. Of course, her next move is to talk to Patty on the porch. She asks him for help. “I don’t want to be me anymore,” she says.
But Patty has grown up a bit, and while she’s helping Allison, she’s also doing something for herself. She meets Tammy at a bar, which is actually the site of a wake for Tammy’s ex-partner. Patty acts like an adult and talks to Tammy, explaining why she has been so cold. Patty has to run, but not before kissing Tammy a bit in public.
In Sitcom World, Kevin’s plot takes on a bit of resolution as he sings on the couch. However, when he makes a lesbian U-Haul joke about Tammy and Patty, Allison and Neil yell “Leave her alone!” in tandem. Allison leaves, but Kevin doesn’t mind as he and his dad clink beers. Neil looks dead inside: the guy is becoming a Worcester wildcard.
Allison and Patty have a mysterious meeting in an abandoned parking lot. It’s our old friend Billy PI. His car is wrecked because Chuck got revenge; Apparently Diane ran off to South Carolina and left a note. Allison gives Billy her pearl necklace to take advantage of. She asks what they want. Patty and Allison swear that this case is much more complicated. In unison, they say, “We have a lot of work.” It’s a self-deprecating but honest statement to close an hour that has otherwise been all about denial.
• Sensual Dunkin’s (it’s always and forever Dunkin’ Donuts for me) cameo this week when Allison and Diane talk in the car. Diane likes her coffee with a sprinkle of sugar!
• According to my attorney husband, “If Allison doesn’t have more money than Kevin and they don’t have kids (established last season), getting divorced is not a problem and it’s cheaper than faking your own death.”
• Kevin’s vision board – has words like kick ass, incrediblean image of the seals of the city of Massachusetts, Worcester (a sad, minimalist heart framed by a crown; no Illuminati code found, unlike other cities in this state or even the state seal) in various sizes, and very interesting drawings of lions in sunglasses.
• Goodbye Diana? If she’s in South Carolina and off the show, well, Jamie Denbo is still a stealthy MVP, hilariously half spilled, half crying with smeared eyeliner throughout the entire episode.
• There sure seems to be a gap between the scheming, self-pitying Allison we see, and the Allison in her head. I wonder if that is going to be rectified in a meta way?