Better Things: Season 3, Episode 6 “What is Jeopardy” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Dr. Miller (Matthew Broderick) saying Hi to Sam.
Dr. Miller (Matthew Broderick): Hi
43.97% (1)

As Sam revisits her past, far more than she’d like to, Phil finds herself part of one life-changing event and admitting that, for her personal life, things aren’t the same.


Network
FX
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Ira Parker
Air Date 4/4/2019
Introduced This Episode
Deezy Miller Matthew Broderick

It’s Time: Phil, Frankie, Duke, Marion

Phil hits Duke with her car, and while she manipulates Duke into thinking it was her fault, it seems she realizes it’s time to give up her keys. But of course, she doesn’t tell Sam this and give her the satisfaction. Instead, she gives her keys to the one who advocates for her being put in a home since, unlike Sam, he isn’t bold enough to tell Phil what he wants for her golden years to her face. Thus likely giving him more fuel for his ultimate plans.

But, getting back to Duke, her getting hit by a car coincides with her getting her period and of all people Frankie is the only one in the house. Luckily, Frankie shows her softer side to Duke, even when she mentions wishing she had Max rather than Frankie. Showing that, despite the blow up in the last episode, there is a realization they are all each other has and that means sometimes, they have to set aside ill feelings. For when Duke made it seem she just got hit by a car, Frankie couldn’t be more indifferent. Yet, when she learned the truth, she went into big sister mode with no problem.

The Doctor Who Used To Make Out With You: Dr. Miller, Sam

Sam’s therapist, Dr. Miller, knew her as a kid and she made out with him. Leading to them dancing around the point of her visit a bit, which seemingly is what Sam wanted. However, Dr. Miller forces her to do what she rarely ever does: Talk about herself, her feelings, without a drink, someone to interrupt, or an easy way out.

That is clearly an uncomfortable feeling, and yet one we see is entirely necessary. After all, when has Sam had the opportunity to kindly say how she felt without someone jumping in or her having to yell? Making the fact this rare moment had to deal with residual feelings about Xander likely suck.

One Last Time: Xander, Sam

Sam and Xander meeting at a hotel room.

You know how some say you just need to get it out of your system? Sam was willing to put that to the test and despite Xander and her not having sex for years, he was down too. However, she eventually realizes what was about to go down and decides to reject Xander, throw away the little outfit her likes, and seemingly that allows her to get to sleep.

Leaving you wondering what was the original trigger for this unless it is just because she wished things were different and not all on her 24/7?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Do the kids, Frankie anyway, truly not understand why Sam left Xander after all they’ve been through with him?
  2. With Max knowing Sam is in therapy, how will the other kids react? Heck, what about Phil, Marion, and her friends?

Highlights

Another Side To Frankie

While Frankie continues to follow in Sam’s footsteps, in terms of antagonizing her mother and calling her by her first name, we see a rare softness to her. As noted, when Duke originally mentioned her car accident and being hurt, likely remembering being cursed out, Frankie didn’t care. But with mention of bleeding and showing it was serious, the concern was a bit shocking and her being tender when she realized Duke had her period was eye-opening.

Yet, it is becoming increasingly clear as Frankie and Duke interact, they know all they have is each other right now. Max is barely in the house, Sam is out supporting the household, trying to stay sane, so they have to learn to be there for another despite their issues. This episode isn’t even the first time we’ve seen that either. Xander has long been a source of helping the girls bond in their shared disappointment, and while Frankie still has some faith, maybe it isn’t just for herself? Perhaps she wants a taste of having a dad and Duke to be saved from the repeated disappointment she and Max have grown accustomed to.

Frankie realizing Duke is having her first period and her taking her upstairs for a tampon.
Frankie: I have something you need up there. Yeah?

The Side Effect Of Letting Your Kids Have The Childhood You Didn’t

Sam is worried sick with bills, dealing with her kids fighting or, in Max’s case, seeming aimless is getting to her, and yet this is what she set up. With not having a childhood herself, she has crafted what is almost an eternal childhood for her kids. One which makes Max still not fully take on a sense of responsibility and hardship for she knows her mom will bail her out.

But, it’s coming to the point where I don’t think Sam will be willing to blow off some steam and be a softie. Her threats of tough love may come true, and I don’t know if any of her kids are ready for that.

A Dead Dream, Goodbye To A Twisted Fantasy

And maybe that is what triggered the whole Xander fantasies? Sam hasn’t been dating for quite a while, and as seen in her therapy session, she can’t handle asking for help or even talking about her struggles. Maybe it is because when she does talk, no one listens? Heck, considering how used she is to solving her own problems, it could be she doesn’t know how to ask for help and be in the position of needing someone?

Either way, as Frankie asks why Sam left their dad, we get our answer. He shows up when it is convenient for him, no matter if it is Sam or the kids and even when he is around it’s on his terms. He’s selfish as a father, lover, and likely was as a husband too. So call Sam showing up to his room like his girls still calling and wanting to forgive him. It stems from a moment of weakness in which she, like the kids, are repeatedly left disappointed by the man who likely doesn’t care one bit.

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