Sam finds his pack this episode as Doug makes the decision that Sam more so needs a support group vs. another intense one on one relationship.


Network
Netflix
Director(s) Silver Tree
Writer(s) Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal
Air Date 9/7/2018
Characters Introduced
Ms. Whitaker Casey Wilson
Lily Nikki Gutman
Amber Layla Weiner
Megan Angel Laketa Moore

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Plans Go Awry: Elsa, Sam, Doug, Ms. Whitaker

Over a year ago it was agreed Sam would stay home after graduation, take community college courses, and maintain his job. However, as noted by Julia, and due to recent events, Sam has perhaps outgrown that plan. He still has his moments where he elopes, which apparently isn’t a word just for marriage, and hides away, but he is doing better.

However, there remains the serious issue of finding him therapy and so Ms. Whitaker recommends a support group filled with kids on the spectrum who are coming up on graduating. Something Sam isn’t for, nor Elsa, at first, but Elsa’s influence is waning. Plus, this episode’s human to nature relation deals with needing to be in a pack for protection. So rather than go see Dr. Brob, as Elsa wants, Doug is able to convince Sam to check out the group.

Commentary

Ms. Whitaker offering Sam the opportunity to be part of a group of his peers.
Ms. Whitaker (Carey Wilson): I facilitate a district-wide peer group for students on the spectrum

I think there is a need to question what can happen if Elsa decides to stop feeling guilty and assert herself back into Sam and Casey’s life. For while, yeah, she cheated, and has given Doug space to deal with that, you got to admit he is being low-key disrespectful. Add on Sam is becoming distant from her and I just can’t imagine some kind of custody thing not coming up. For if these two do divorce, that has to be on the table right? Sam may nearly be an adult but there is also Casey. Plus, I’m not sure how, even for high functioning people with autism like Sam, if guardianship is involved or they get emancipated like everyone else at 18?

Either way, unless Doug starts to co-parent better and not seem to take sides and have Sam disregard Elsa’s role as a parent, there are going to be some problems.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?: Izzie, Casey, Elsa, Evan

It seemed like it was going to be a setup. First Izzie makes it seem like Casey pushed her and after them spilling their personal business, Izzie gets vodka from Quinn’s locker. Pushing you to think she is likely going to get Casey dRuNk and make sure the coach sees it. For you notice she isn’t kicking back that bottle like Casey is throwing back that cup. Plus, they’re in the coach’s office so sooner or later the lady would have to return right? Check to see if they made nice, see Casey drunk as hell and then have to do something. After all, the whole point of the conversation was they can’t mess up like the other girls and get away with it.

Yet, Izzie does no such thing. They truly just bond. Izzie talks about her dad leaving, her mom being addicted to painkillers, and seemingly raising her 3 younger siblings. Which leads to Casey talking about Sam, Evan, and Izzie noting she doesn’t even know if she likes Nate or he is just an escape from her everyday life.

Leading to, somehow, Casey getting from school to Evan’s room and her being so drunk that you’ll believe she is going to vomit. However, she just gets slightly frisky then goes to sleep. Which becomes a problem because it gets late and Evan bringing home a drunk minor, to Doug of all people? HA! So he calls Elsa and who knows who may get it worse. Casey for drinking or Evan for calling Elsa of all people.

Commentary

Izzie opening up to Casey.
Izzie: I don’t get to mess up.

Is it wrong that I expected the worse out of Izzie? I mean, what was she expecting to happen with that whole “She pushed me!” thing? Especially when there were mad witnesses who could say that didn’t happen? Was she trying to get Casey suspended or expelled? Heck, I can’t be the only one who thought she was going to get Casey drunk and expect Quinn or whoever to bring the coach in or take a video?

But, this isn’t that kind of show. Even Elsa’s affair isn’t handled in an over the top manner. It’s a punch in the gut to everyone but we barely hear anyone raise their voice. Pushing me to think, even with Nate seemingly walking up to the galley in Izzie’s life, maybe he won’t cross the line with Casey. Perhaps he’ll just be a friend and Evan may even become cool with him.

It could happen. Unlike many shows, Atypical doesn’t seem to desire anything beyond telling a good story. There doesn’t appear to be a need to be the most dramatic, to leave its audience completely aw-struck, or anything like that. What we get is really just people trying to make the best of life.

The Support Group: Lily, Amber, Megan, Sam, Doug, Elsa, Paige, Ms. Whitaker

One of the things this show likely was criticized for in the first season, as any show which features an underrepresented group, is that it lacks diversity. On top of that, someone not part of that community representing the community. For while the argument constantly is, “They are playing a character” there is the need to remind everyone how powerful depictions in the media are. Whether a child, teen, adult, or senior citizen, media is your window into another world.

So when a show like this comes around and it is clear it isn’t trying to be jokey but serious, it pushes the idea you are getting an honest depiction. Which makes the inclusion of many autistic actors like Lily and Amber of great importance. For their inclusion, among the others not yet named, show different parts of the spectrum and make it so Gilchrist, alongside Highmore on The Good Doctor, aren’t benefitting from a community who rarely, if ever, get seen in a production which has the backing Atypical and The Good Doctorir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=7cfd608bee9ed26172fd3876bd801119& cb=1536364662375 do.

Getting to the story, as said, Sam is looking for his pack and with Casey gone, his mother gone, Zahid only seen at work and Paige kind of distant, being around other kids with autism seems to feel safe. Maybe affirming since some, like Lily, are as weird as Sam, or aggressive if you bring up Amber, yet are functioning. Ready even for the world.

And while Sam is feeling less alone and isolated in that room, it seems Doug is prepping for the next stage in his life as well. For, who I want to say is Amber’s mom, Megan, it seems her and Doug get a little flirtatious. She even, because he mentions giving her daughter a ride in his ambulance, since she loves them, gives her number.

Leaving one last thing: Sam decides, after feeling affirmed by his peers, he’ll go away for college. A bit of a shock to both parents, but for different reasons. Also, as per Ms. Whitaker’s task for the week, everyone is tasked to ask for help. Which, for Sam, since he is rather lonely and feeling isolated at school, he asks Paige to walk with him between class. Not all of them but between two periods. Which she jovially accepts.

Commentary

Sam requesting of Paige if they could walk the halls together, especially when it is crowded.
Sam: But I was wondering if sometimes we could walk down the hall together still

Touching on the importance of representation one more time, just look at what it did for Sam. Because he saw so many other kids like him wanting to do things beyond his imagination, now he is willing to try. Which is what makes shows like this important. It’s like how many Black people, in their 30s and 40s, maybe beyond, note A Different World inspired them to go to college. It’s seeing yourself exist in spaces unfamiliar, exciting, challenging, and not struggling, which make it so you believe it is possible and not just a work of fiction.

But, with all that said, considering Elsa has been in an autism support group all these years, why is one of the few people Sam knows on the spectrum, Christopher? Why hasn’t he been in a group like this before? Or am I forgetting something?

That thought aside, is Doug moving on already or is he just being friendly? Also, with Paige just distancing herself from Sam, why was she so gung-ho about walking with him between class? Could it just be, she wanted to feel chosen, wanted, desired, more so than in power? For it is clear she is jealous over Julia so could it be Sam approaching her, asking for something only she could really give, why she was ready and willing, then talking a mile a minute as she usually does?

Either way, it seems things are going to get better for everyone but Elsa.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So, is Julia going to just have a whole separate storyline which has nothing to do with the rest of the show?
  2. Was that the girl from Runawaysir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=02755099df10fa0fca3a9a06c360c074& cb=1536364757085 in the closet smoking?

Highlights

  1. An expanded view of what people with autism look, act, and feel. As well as showing how, for someone like Sam, finding your community, finding inspiration in people like you, can change your life.
  2. The possibility of Sam and Paige getting back together and Doug maybe finding a nice lady to date.
  3. Izzie not being an ass and setting up Casey.
  4. Evan being a gentleman and not having sex with a drunk Casey.

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One Comment

  1. As much as elsa deserves the cold shoulder, i don’t like that doug seems to be using the kids to get at her. They’re already pissed after finding out about the affair without him adding to it. Even though the group was a good idea it didn’t come across like doug took sam for the right reasons.

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