Another week, another solid episode. This show’s a bit of a slow burn, especially since it’s strictly characters and dialogue, but after a couple hours of familiarization, it starts getting rewarding.Tim DeKay gets to play a few moments of horror in this episode that are fun and well, horrifying. Watching him squirm as his daughter presses him to buy lingerie for Katie for his anniversary present to her, and then as she asks Katie to open the gift at the restaurant. David’s just perfectly embarrassed and speechless, while trying not to be either for the sake of his daughter. Katie’s mixed emotions at the end of their anniversary night were interesting. That vocalized doubt over David’s proclamation of love will surely return, perhaps in relation to whatever it was the started the two down this path. It was a bit tough watching her torpedo her own pleasure at getting David a gift he truly got excited over by forcing the issue, but at the same time she seemed content with the development.
Likewise, watching Palek grow cocky (hah!) over his successful fertility test only to then get burned by Carolyn was rough. Poor guy is finally hopeful about the whole trying-to-conceive thing and then goes one step too far by announcing that ongoing attempt during a get together with friends, prompting Carolyn to spitefully reveal that they’ve been trying for over a year, right after Jeremy London’s cameo character reveals his wife’s third pregnancy. Ouch. Bad move Palek. Reign in that excitement. This couple’s storyline also continues to make the sex scenes actually mean something, as we see Palek funnel a bit of anger and frustration into their coupling, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Carolyn. And of course, following this, Palek manages to upset her with a question that she previously upset him with: what they’ll do if they cannot conceive a child.
Hugo’s absent this episode, leaving us to follow Jamie for their plotline. Can’t say this week’s stuff changed my opinion much regarding those two. Jamie spends the episode smoking pot, drinking and bemoaning the breakup with Hugo (which she initiated) while her friends push her to fuck someone else to put her mind of him. Rinse and repeat. I was, however, amused by the cameos by Rhys Coiro and Joshua LeBar from Entourage (the characters Billy Walsh and Josh Weinstein, respectively).
Something weird happens in this episode though, which rubbed me the wrong way. The point of view shifts away from the main characters for two moments. One is at the birthday party that David and Katie attend, where the show pauses to let us hear two women discuss their perceptions of Katie’s emotional state. The second is less noteworthy, but we stick with Jamie’s friend after she halts their looming hookup and see him phone another acquaintance to satisfy his needs. It’s kind of strange to give us perspectives beyond the four couples. The audience is certainly in the position of a voyeur, but it’s much more interesting and challenging when we’re forced to stay with those characters at all times. There should be no reprieve when someone else comes in and vocalizes what we’re watching or confirms our suspicions about what’s happening outside our view. It’s too easy. We didn’t need to hear the women contemplate whether Katie’s happy in her marriage. We already know there’s a conflict there, we can see her insecurity in talking about her marriage with these women, and we can see that that isn’t lost upon those friends. That’s enough right there, no need to spoon feed us.
Finally, I’m not sure what I should be making of Dr. May Foster and Arthur’s relationship. The first episode showed these two as a seemingly very happy elderly couple. The second episode introduced an unseen character, John, who presumably has some kind of former relationship with May, and here we have Arthur reveal some insecurity about John and May, asking her to visit the old acquaintance and then return to him in some show of fidelity. It appears that May has reservations about revisiting this, and I find something strangely unsettling about the way Arthur acts around her. Something is going on, and I’d be surprised if these two make it through the season as the resident idyllic couple.