Better Things: Season 2/ Episode 10 “Graduation” [Season Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Better Things Season 2 Episode 10 Graduation [Season Finale] - Duke, Phil, Sam, and Frankie
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Better Things Season 2 Episode 10 Graduation [Season Finale] - Title Card

It’s Max’s graduation and perhaps the parting lesson Sam gives her is about consistency and a reminder of what love is.


Previous Recap: Episode 9 “White Rock”

Network
FX
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K.

Daddy Wasn’t There: Max, Sam

It’s Max’s graduation and she wants to do it big. I’m talking a keg of beer, a real DJ, tacos and an ice cream station and Sam not in the house. Of which, outside of the keg, she gets what she wants. However, you know what she really desires, her dad. For, as has been made clear, Max is spoiled rotten by Sam and her friends. But the one thing Sam can’t give Max is her father’s time, attention and commitment.

Better Things Season 2 Episode 10 Graduation [Season Finale] - Xander

But, as Frankie showed in an earlier episode, no matter how many times Xander may disappoint, there is always this hope that this will be the time he pulls through. Heck, Max works directly with him to try to work something out yet Xander still bails for reasons not revealed. Leaving Sam to be the bringer of bad news on perhaps one of the biggest days of Max’s young life.

Yet, You Are Worthy: Sam, Max

Sadly, the embarrassment of Xander not coming is heard amongst all of Sam’s friends and Frankie as well. Someone who, surprisingly, doesn’t rub it in. Though Phil ends up doing that. But, being that the way Sam’s friends kind of made their own little community, all of them, well most of them, volunteer to take Xander’s place. For, in a way, Max is like their kid. She is this sweet, often times annoying, girl who didn’t deserve to not even get a reason for not being important enough.

But she chooses Rich, the closest thing to a dad she and her sisters know, and they go out. Leaving one last thing: Sam’s gift to Max. Of which is a kind of trippy dance performance that I don’t fully understand but Max loved it so that’s all that matters.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • The song which Sam, Duke, Frankie and Phil perform is “Tilted” by Christine and the Queens. In fact, what they are doing is reenacting the video you can watch here [External].

Highlights

What Makes It A Milestone Is The Community Support

Better Things Season 2 Episode 10 Graduation [Season Finale] - Max

I want to say the overall idea here was that graduating high school, becoming 18, and things of that nature, yes are big events. However, in the long run, they are not truly milestones but bookmarks. True milestones are having moments when someone you so badly want to be part of your life doesn’t show the same commitment yet you have this community all ready to take their spot.

All the while, recognizing not everyone is so lucky. This is made clear when it comes with Phyllis and her children. She didn’t show up for Marion’s graduation nor can she remember Sam’s. On top of that, she didn’t build this support network like Sam has. One in which these people, from Tressa to Rich and Sunny, aren’t just mommy’s friends, but are aunts, uncles, even perhaps a surrogate father in Rich’s case.

The Guilt

Better Things Season 2 Episode 10 Graduation [Season Finale] - Max

Like many, I think I maintain the consistent opinion that Sam is raising two brats – when it comes to Frankie and Max. However, I’ve been coming to realize that Max may actually recognize how lucky she is. Mostly in the form of how she sometimes hesitates to ask for things. Which I can’t say it is because Sam is a very passionate speaker or what, but when she was asking for all that stuff for her party, the hesitation I believe wasn’t just about costs.

In a way, I like to believe she knows she can be annoying and even demanding sometimes. Yet, she is sort of leading by example. Sam isn’t one to hold her tongue when it comes to what she wants, what upsets her, and things of that nature. Max is trying to have that confidence but she is still shakey. If only because, she leans more toward Sam’s softness than her abrasiveness, unlike Frankie who is full on the sandpaper side of Sam unless she really values your company.

Yet, even with her, as noted in the “White Rock” episode, she too recognizes that as lucky as she is to have Sam, Xander has left this impression on her that is hard to shake. One which, in the “Eulogy” episode, she makes clear. Not how Xander’s absence affects her solely, but that and not being sure how to deal with the commitment Sam provides while balancing out a father who is rarely, if ever, there.

Catch Up or Follow Along: Here [External]

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