Images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, I may earn money or products from the company.
Atypical ends with all that made it great. Cringey moments paired with heartfelt ones alongside cute relationships and the question of: was Elsa’s affair necessary?
Sorry For Pushing You Away: Casey, Evan, Sam
While Casey is processing what Elsa has been doing, Evan is repeatedly trying to get in contact with her. However, she ignores his calls to the point he feels the need to show up. Leading to her saying there was an incident with Sam and that is why she hasn’t gotten back to him. Something which, at the time, clearly wasn’t an issue so Evan believes it is because he said I love you after they had sex. So, to try to maybe make things less awkward, but make them worse in the process, he backtracks and says he said “I love you” because he thought that is what girls want to hear after sex. Thus leading Casey to push him out.
Yet, during the dance, he gets called back into her life. If only because Sam isn’t capable of taking a hint at all. He is decent to snuggle with, after what Evan said, but talking to him about Elsa’s affair is difficult. So she first tries to warm Sam up to the conversation by offering to not go to Clayton. Show that she is still in his corner and ready to drop everything for him. Something he appreciates but also rejects. Leading her to inch her way toward why she brought that up, but then Sam is off.
Leading to Casey to call Evan. Someone who seemingly races over and with seeing him comes her confessing her mother is having an affair. Something he does his best to console her about. Which leads her to apologize for icing him out and him apologizing for taking back the “I love you.” For the truth is he does love her even if she isn’t there yet. Then, to lighten the mood, he races her for the chance to hear her say it. But, being that Evan is not a track star in the making, naturally, he loses. Yet, he still gets to hear the words which would have been his prize.
There is something so cute and natural about Casey and Evan. Which I say because, unlike a lot of teen romance, the drama in their relationship makes sense. Him taking back saying “I love you” makes sense considering how weird she got after that. Especially with her just noting how weird it was Paige said “I love you” to Sam despite dating less time than them. Plus, with her avoiding relationships until he came around, I think he came to the realization that maybe he was moving too fast. So he kind of wanted to, for both his ego and also to maybe slow things down, put the “I love you” on ice.
Now, I won’t pretend him saying something about “that’s what girls like to hear after sex” should be passed over. Yet, I think Casey got that he didn’t mean it. He was just frightened and panicking and being stupid in the process. Which is seemingly part of his charm. You know, seeming like a bad boy when he really is the type who would steal a tuba. Someone who is all image but really is a softie.
Switching to Sam and Casey’s relationship, you have to admire that even though Sam may not be able to give big brother advice, what he can do he does well. As noted by Sam, and seen with the Paige situation, while he doesn’t always get when someone is feeling a certain type of way, once he does it affects him more than the average person. So with him growing up and knowing Casey, it seems he realized, as much as he was going through something, and probably wanted to be left alone, his sister needed him. Hence why he didn’t let out any of his pain on her or anything like that. He just let her snuggle with him.
And to follow up on that, he also knows her well enough that when it comes to that whole “If you need my I can drop Clayton” thing, he can call her stupid. For while he gets the sentiment, I think he gets she is trying to run from something. Though maybe I’m giving Sam too much credit?
The Healing Process: Paige, Sam, Julia, Zahid
One of the most interesting and things I don’t think anyone cares about happens in this topic. One on side we have Sam breaking up with Paige, at the family dinner, confessing to Julia, who utterly rejects him [note]Especially when she realizes he broke into her home[/note], and later we see Julia and Miles (Michael Rady) get back together. The whole Julia bit, including her apologizing to Sam for being unprofessional, is the boring bit.
The interesting part is after Sam is devastated and has a snuggling moment with Casey. For the next day, Paige comes to his house, with a human sized stuff penguin, and decapitates it in front of Sam, Doug, and all the girls who Elsa is doing the hair of. I’m talking, Paige shows a side of herself you wouldn’t expect, outside of these conditions. Thus forcing Sam to desire to apologize for his actions.
Which leads him to follow up on what Paige said, her losing the penguin necklace. With Zahid, at the dance, they go through Paige’s whole schedule to try and find that thing. Leading them to the pool. A place where Sam’s neurosis [note]A word I’ve been trying to remember all throughout watching this show.[/note] flare up. Especially as Zahid talks about people peeing in the water and all that. Which leads Zahid to ask Sam if he wants him to get the necklace from the bottom of the pool. However, while appreciated, Sam says he has to be the hero of this story so he goes in himself.
Leading to a sort of reconciliation. Sam putting in this effort is appreciated by Paige. It isn’t enough to get back together, since him not loving her is a bit of an issue. However, she is still willing to mess around with him, alongside give him a hand job.
I’m both happy and mad Sam and Paige end on that note. Happy because I like those two together and even if they aren’t in a relationship anymore, I figure now they can really build up a friendship, you know? Sam can get to know Paige because he likes Paige and not with the pretense of dating her is for the experience to be ready for Julia.
Someone who I plainly don’t give a damn about. Her getting back with Miles is of no importance to me, if only because there was never a real push or reason to invest in her personal life. Not to say it isn’t nice they didn’t just make Julia this wise young sage, but similar to Elsa’s affair, her drama seemed more for the sake of giving the character a life outside of Sam than treating her like a real person. Or, to put it another way, her drama seemingly was to make it seem like her life didn’t revolve around Sam, only to circle to it being about him.
Leading me to wish her storyline was handled similarly to Zahid. Someone who may have been ingrained in Sam’s life, but dropped nuggets so you got to know him as well. Be it the fact he isn’t close to his dad, some of his family are into some sketchy stuff, or that he generally likes older women. All of which may seem like small and insignificant details, but if you add it all up it helps you understand Zahid to the point he doesn’t just seem like the token minority best friend.
So with Julia, it would have been nice if her personal life was noted subliminally. A sort of, this is what Sam knows about her so this is what we learn about her, point of view.
They Know: Elsa, Nick, Casey, Doug
Casey knows and until she opens to Evan about it, the secret eats at her. Even to the point of meeting Nick and making a scene. Yet, that isn’t enough. She decides to write on her mom’s calendar to stop messing around with the Bartender. Something Doug discovers.
However, that is after he realizes Elsa was lying about Luisa’s (Nina Ameri) cousin dying. Which helps push Doug to realize this has been going on for a while. As for how long? That he doesn’t know. But with him getting praised one minute for helping with Sam, after Julia’s rejections makes him unravel, to getting called out for leaving, you know his mind is racing. For while he was hoping him being here now was helping him and Elsa, alongside the family, recover, it seems that wasn’t true.
There are so many conflicting emotions with this episode that it was a bit of a struggle to recap. For the highs of Casey and Evan, alongside Sam and Paige, are met with Julia’s storyline and the impending doom of Doug and Elsa’s relationship. Something I still have such an issue with. Not necessarily Elsa’s affair, for you can kind of understand why she did it. After all, while Doug has been consistent for maybe a decade now? The fact remains that he still left her hanging. Something their relationship will never recover from. So with Sam more capable than ever of taking care of himself, so comes the time for Elsa to figure what she really wants and question if Doug is in that picture.
Which we have seen her go back and forth about since the beginning of the season. When he shows that he can be the guy she needed back in 2004, everything is great. She has that family she probably dreamed of before the kids were born. However, then comes Doug not telling people Sam is autistic or him going off on her about being more than Sam’s mom and things like that. Thus making her question, do the highs of the relationship make up for the lows?
And while she outright said Nick was a distraction or hobby, the fact she needed a human male, one she could have sex with, and barely talk to, really pushes me to question if Nick was the right look but wrong guy? Like, if there was a man who was single in Elsa’s autism support group, someone Elsa found attractive, would they have been more than a fling? Would she have considered them for something long term?
But even with Doug’s failings in mind, there is also what Julia said an episode or two back when it came to her parents dealing with her brother. For Doug, it is easier to pretend everything is fine, especially when Sam isn’t having any issues. In those moments, he can forget his child has autism and can just see him as odd and different. Something which is easier to talk about than, as Julia noted, dealing with people’s looks, questions, alongside pity. Never mind the isolation since, outside of maybe this show, and Claws, there hasn’t been any go to for understanding autistic people.
Yes, there are probably tons of documentaries and YouTube lifestyle videos. However, scripted entertainment arguably penetrates deeper. If only because there isn’t a clear agenda involved. So, like with Atypical and Claws, you watch someone like Sam in amazement. He sets a precedent and with that, it normalizes this foreign group for you. It helps you understand them, accept them, and be like Zahid. You may adapt a little bit to help them be comfortable, but you don’t bend over backwards.
Which is all to say, Doug isn’t a saint nor deserved to be cheated on. For the idea of having a child with autism is a frightening thing. Especially due to it being one of those things you can’t know how to truly handle until you have your own experience. Something that was likely a frightening idea for Doug, hence his reaction.
Other Noteworthy Moments
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- With Julia likely not Sam’s therapist anymore, who was he talking to towards the end of the episode?
- Sam voluntarily hugging Doug.
- Casey saying she loves Evan.
- Doug finally learning about Elsa’s affair.
- Julia and Miles taking up screen time.
- How rushed through Paige’s family dinner with Sam was.
- Us not getting to see Sam and Paige slow dance.
On The Fence
- Casey trying to blackmail Nick into giving her alcohol. Much less confronting Nick period.