Better Things: Season 2/ Episode 5 “Phil” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

100% (5)

While Phil has always been mean-spirited and quirky, something is seriously wrong now. To the point, Sam isn’t sure if she can handle her anymore.


Previous Recap: Better Things: Season 2/ Episode 4 “Sick”


It’s Not as Glamorous as It Seems: Phyllis

More often than not, when it has come to Phil, we have seen the girls and Sam’s side of things. Phil is this loony grandma who is politically incorrect. Someone who probably is the reason for the majority of Sam’s issues and meanwhile Phil acts with such whimsy. However, something is clearly wrong.

After all, in the last episode, Phyllis peed on herself in public. Then in this episode, she finds herself wanting to steal a priceless Egyptian ring which belonged to one of the first queens (pharaohs) in the kingdom. On top of that, she, for reasons not explained, is trying to re-mortgage her home, that is in Sam’s name. Though the icing on the cake is her seemingly tripping and sending herself to the hospital on purpose.

Which I only say for we have seen that Phyllis, while she does have friends, desires Sam’s company more than Sam wants hers. And despite Phyllis trash talking with her friends about Sam and her daughters, sans Duke, at the same time, whose house do we see Phyllis at all the time hmm? Whose attention does she try to incessantly get in a similar fashion to Max? Sam.

Prepping For End Game: Phyllis, Sam, Marion (Kevin Pollak)

However, if Phyllis is truly trying to get Sam’s attention, or maybe a mix of losing her wits and trying to push Sam to be nicer to her, it might potentially backfire. If only because now Sam is really thinking about putting Phil into a home. She even calls her brother Marion about it to make sure he supports the idea – even if he lets his issues with their mom keep himself from seeing her. Much less his sister and nieces.

But, then Sam has a conversation with Tressa who had to take care of her dad when he turned 80. To make a long story short, they had a terrible relationship, he disowned her when she was 18 but with the sons away he found himself stuck with her. Leading to a long and winding road towards his ending. One in which there wasn’t this grand Hollywood reconciliation or nothing like that. When he got dementia things became cool since he forget about all the hate and pettiness, but it still was hard.

Leading Sam to renege on putting Phil in a home, at least for now. When it gets really bad though, the option will be put back on the table.

The Girls Meet Robin: Robin, Duke, Sam, Max, Frankie

One step forward and then a potentially huge step back. That is what happens in Robin and Sam’s relationship this episode. The step forward is Robin meeting Sam’s kids, Duke taking to him, Max being nice, and Frankie being well… Frankie. However, despite how well that dinner went, which surprisingly didn’t include Robin’s 14 year old, Sam ends up at her exes’ home.

Now, it isn’t clear if she did anything with him but there still needs to be a red flag raised. If only because Sam seems prone to sabotage and I can imagine her sleeping with her ex to spite herself. To ruin a good thing because she may feel, for one reason or another, she doesn’t deserve genuinely good things. Like she doesn’t deserve to have something which makes her happy. As for why? That’s a laundry list. But it should be interesting to see where we go from here.

Highlights

Robin and The Girls

Being that we’ve never really seen Sam’s partners interact with her kids, for good reason, it was interesting to see how the girls reacted. With Duke, it was odd yet cute how she leaned on Robin’s shoulder. Cute because of the action, yet odd because this is the first time she met him. Yet, considering her dog just died, how in and out her dad is when it comes to her life, and maybe trusting her mom’s judgement, it could be she felt comfortable with him. Maybe wanted, or needs, a father figure like Robin and she is just getting the time while she can have it.

As for Max, I think she too wants consistency. I don’t think she has any sort of craving for a new father figure, but would like someone who has influence over Sam but is neutral, you know what I mean? Someone who asks her about her life and doesn’t feel the need to follow it up with judgment because they watched her grow up and has some sort of investment due to that. Much less, is more positive than Sam’s friends and family who are more glass half empty people.

As for Frankie? Well, as we have seen, Frankie likes testing people before letting them in. Pushing buttons to see if, when she is being her most authentic self, they will just accept it vs. make her uncomfortable. So with Robin rolling with the punches, I think she may grow attached to this guy with time.

A Complicated Phyllis

Up until this episode, Phyllis has seemed like a comic relief to me. Yes, there were hints dropped there was more to her than showing where Frankie got her love for creating awkward moments. However, it was all from other people’s point of view. In this episode, you begin to understand Phyllis a bit more. Does she have friends? Yes, but over the years she has pushed away damn near everyone she was close to and now the only one she really has is Sam. Someone who less and less wishes to be bothered.

Yet, with Sam, again we see the Frankie resemblance. For Frankie seems to love pushing buttons, but there is something about the person still being there despite that. However, with Phyllis, there is a major difference. Frankie is a child and though she gets on Sam’s last damn nerve, it’s her kid. Her dad is who he is so she is all she has. So an excuse can be made. With Phyllis though, she is a grown ass woman who increasingly is losing the privilege of family mattering.

Dealing With Aging Parents

Taking into consideration Sam’s relationship with Phil, never mind Marion, it makes Phil maybe losing it an interesting topic to pursue. For we have seen each, I believe separately, address their issues with the other with other people. Much less, we have seen that as Phil tries to draw herself closer, Sam has pushed her away. So with Tressa giving some insight into what may come, it leads you to wonder how Phil will evolve, perhaps devolve, in time?

For while it isn’t clear what is wrong with Phil, at least to the point of having her pee on herself, among the other things, as said this is probably the beginning of a downward trend. So you have to wonder if this show is really going to take on Phil possibly having dementia, among other things. Much less, how far it will go?

On The Fence

Did Sam Really Just Cheat on Robin?

I don’t believe anyone would be surprised that, with everything going so well in her life, Sam wouldn’t decide to royally screw things up. To not do so would pretty much go against her character archetype. Yet, at the same time, isn’t that what makes Better Things so interesting? That Sam seems more like a person than a character? But, I guess, there are people like her when things are going well, and your new boyfriend does well with your kids, better to test old waters before deep diving into new ones.

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About Amari Sali 3365 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.