Better Things: Season 3, Episode 8 “Easter” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Marion driving Duke home.
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It’s Easter and while Max does a photo shoot, and Sam cooks up a storm, Phil causes a bigger scene than usual with Duke and Marion.


Network
FX
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Sarah Gubbins, Robin Ruzan
Air Date 4/18/2019
Introduced This Episode
Esther Margaret Avery
Olivier Shak Ghacha
Walter Harrison Page

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Max’s Photoshoot: Sam, Olivier, Max

Max smiling as she preps for her photoshoot.

With Max dropping out of college, Sam isn’t happy, but at the very least Max has plans. She got an apartment and now is trying to do some photo shoots with her friend and boyfriend. One which is planned out and yeah, entirely sponsored by Sam’s money, but from the equipment to the lighting, and choosing the location, it seems Max knows what she is doing. So that’s a small win, right?

Well, outside of Olivier sending flowers after it was done. Which would have seemed sweet if Sam didn’t take that thank you as him also thanking Sam for a room to have sex in.

Phil Is Shameless: Walter, Esther, Phil, Duke, Marion

Despite being Jewish, Phil loves Easter. Mostly due to the candy and with Duke by her side, she tries to get every last egg at Walter’s family event. One in which she pushes kids into the pool, doesn’t make friends with a single adult there, and even when Duke gets hurt, she doesn’t stop at all.

Then again, this is Phil. She is the kind of woman who tells Duke that Sam didn’t love her father and didn’t want to marry her. Much less that, when Sam got pregnant with Max, she brought up the idea of aborting her. You know, stuff you tell an impressionable and sensitive child.

Luckily, for Duke anyway, Marion shows up and puts an end to that. However, then he gets put in her crosshairs, and this leads to a huge scene being made. One in which Marion comes to the point of demanding an apology, which isn’t given what so ever. Instead, maybe to be bold, possibly due to curiosity, or it could be to atone, Phil goes to visit Walter’s wife, Esther. A woman dressed up for the occasion yet seemingly was never brought down to be with her family. Likely being part of the reason Phil was side-eyed, alongside Walter, during the day.

However, Phil spends time with Esther, talks to her about her seeing ghost and what not, and they watch Judy Garland sing together. In fact, the nearly catatonic Esther rises to sing because of Judy.

The Truth About Your Mother & Father: Marion, Duke

With Marion and Sam screwed up by Phil’s tasteless comments, Marion does some damage control with Duke. First and foremost by noting that Sam’s hesitation with marrying and issues with loving Xavier was/is because he is an ass. He then follows that up with a reminder that Xavier’s ways, personality, him being a loser, is not inherited. Duke is different, and on top of that, she is deeply loved. By Sam especially but also him.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. I know Duke doesn’t communicate about her identity and orientation but, even with that said, I wonder if Sam has any reservations about her guy friends?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Marion is 53.

Highlights

Marion & Duke’s Conversation

Marion reassuring Duke after Phil said some hurtful things.

Marion has mostly been presented as someone who, to retaliate a bit for how Phil has treated him, as someone who always would push for Phil to be in a home. I’d even say that has been the sum of his character so far. Which is understandable, since how she came at him was TRASH, yet it also pushes you to understand why Sam feels the need to protect her.

But, when he had his conversation with Duke, it helped you realize that he is human. That he isn’t all numbers and revenge against his mom but, like Sam, he has a soft side. One we may not see often, but with how he talked to Duke, reassured her, rather than flipped out about his mom, we saw a nurturing side to him. Something I don’t think we’ve seen outside of Max’s high school graduation when it comes to him. After all, there was a time he rarely came around.

Phil Is Trash

I love to hate Phil sometimes. What she said to Duke, Marion, and her actions during the Easter Egg hunt, infuriating. Yet, like with Marion, we got to see this rare softness. For a part of me wants to believe she was looking for Esther since it was strange she didn’t see or was introduced. So to find this woman in a glorified closet, it was likely a bit of a shock. One which led to her sitting down and spending time with her since she knows what it is like, since she has to daily, to want company yet no one seems to be asking for it. Thus giving us a level of empathy we see in spurts, like when she saved Sam from Frankie’s question about her dad, but usually not for such an extended period.

Even if she kept things about herself during the whole interaction.

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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 3, Episode 8 “Easter”It’s Easter and while Max does a photo shoot, and Sam cooks up a storm, Phil causes a bigger scene than usual with Duke and Marion.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Sarah Gubbins, Robin Ruzan
Air Date 4/18/2019
Introduced This Episode
Esther Margaret Avery
Olivier Shak Ghacha
Walter Harrison Page
  • Max’s Photoshoot: Sam, Olivier, Max
  • Phil Is Shameless: Walter, Esther, Phil, Duke, Marion
  • The Truth About Your Mother & Father: Marion, Duke
Season 3, Episode 9 “The Unknown”It’s a slice of life episode which largely seems to be self-contained until we realized how integral Mer was for everything that happens.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Sarah Gubbins
Air Date 4/25/2019
  • The Troubles Of Not Feeling Appreciated: Tressa, Mer, Sam
Season 3, Episode 10 “Show Me the Magic”With Sam complaining about not being seen, you may think it is due to lack of intimacy but could it be just wishing she could talk to her dad?
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Ira Parker
Air Date 5/2/2019
Introduced This Episode
Murray Adam Kulbersh
Pascal Rachel True
Lenny Cree Summer
  • A Ladies Night Ruined By Men: Lala, Lenny, Pascal, Tressa, Sam
  • I See Grandpa: David, Sam, Duke, Frankie, Murray
  • Daddy Isn’t Here: Sam, Murray, Duke
Season 3, Episode 7 “Toilet”Sam's colonoscopy packet.

It’s Mother’s Day and the eve of Sam’s colonoscopy, and it seems she needs to let some s*** go.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Joe Hortua
Air Date 4/11/2019
  • My Middle Child: Frankie, Sam
  • The Only One Who Cares: Duke, Max, Sam
  • Physically Fine, Mentally/Emotionally Worn Down: Sam, Dr. Miller
Season 3, Episode 6 “What is Jeopardy”Dr. Miller (Matthew Broderick) saying Hi to Sam.

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.
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
  • The Doctor Who Used To Make Out With You: Dr. Miller, Sam
  • One Last Time: Xander, Sam
Season 3, Episode 3 “Nesting”What begins as a nice family dinner becomes what all do – a bit of bickering, regret, and then a thankful calm.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Joe Hortua, Sarah Gubbins
Air Date 3/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Murray Adam Kulbersh
Reiki Sharon Stone
Mer Marsha Thomason
  • Exes and New Beaus: Sam, Jeff, Sunny, Reiki
  • We Need To Talk About Phil: Marion, Sam, Phil
  • Papa Can You Hear Me: Murray, Sam
Season 3, Episode 4 “Monsters in the Moonlight”At this point in her life, Sam wishes things would get easier and it wasn’t always on her. Yet, who does she know willing to step up?
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Sarah Gubbins
Air Date 3/21/2019
  • The Kids: Sam, Duke, Max, Frankie
  • Work: Sam
  • The Seduction: Mer, Sam
Season 3, Episode 5 “No Limit”After a trying few days, Sam has a bit of a breakdown that drinking with friends won’t fix.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Joe Hortua
Air Date 3/28/2019
Introduced This Episode
Lala Judy Reyes
Ida Rose Abdoo
Dr. Babu Usman Ally
  • Irrelevance: Sam, Lala, Ida
  • So Much For A Childhood: Sam, Frankie, Duke
  • The Doctor Is Here To F***ing See You: Sam, Dr. Babu
Season 3, Episode 2 “Holding”Between dealing with ass****s on set, and then at Duke’s school, Sam tries to pick her battles and one leads to someone getting smacked.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Ira Parker
Air Date 3/7/2019
Introduced This Episode
Sylvester Charlie Robinson
  • All This Money & Nothing But Hot Air: Sam
  • A Push To Move On: Duke, Xander, Sam
Season 1/ Episode 1 "Sam/Pilot"In a way, the show is like a female version of Louie with the exception that Pamela Adlon is less socially awkward and she has three daughters instead of two.
Season 2/ Episode 1 “September”Better Things returns and Sam’s house is in a bit of disarray. Though, as I’m sure Sam would say, “What else is new?”
  • Duke
  • Frankie: Frankie, Jason, Sam
  • Max: Max, Arturo, Sam
Season 2/ Episode 2 “Rising”In this episode of Better Things, it seems the idea is: Sam is only a mean person if you give her reason to be a mean person.
  • Rodney: Sam, Rodney
  • You Made Your Bed: Jeff, Sam, Duke
  • Mom-Cation: Sam, Frankie, Sunny
Season 2/ Episode 3 “Robin”Could Sam have really found love? May the title of this show, Better Things, no longer be wishful thinking but actually here?
  • Robin: Robin (Henry Thomas), Sam
  • Get Me Away From These Children: Sam, Max, Frankie, Robin
  • Sometimes It’s Not Just The Thought But Effort That Counts: Robin, Sam
Season 2/ Episode 4 “Sick”As Sam is trying to talk herself into breaking up with Robin, Xander shows up and reminds her why she fears love.
  • Two For One Special: Phyllis, Sam
  • Too Good To Be True: Sam, Rich (Diedrich Bader)
  • Xander: Max, Sam, Frankie, Duke, Xander (Matthew Glave)
Season 2/ Episode 5 “Phil”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.
  • It’s Not as Glamorous as It Seems: Phyllis
  • Prepping For End Game: Phyllis, Sam, Marion (Kevin Pollak)
  • The Girls Meet Robin: Robin, Duke, Sam, Max, Frankie
Season 2/ Episode 6 “Eulogy”In a change of pace episode, we’re shown what it is like to be in acting alongside a reminder of how much Sam means to her kids. Sam and Frankie anyway.
Season 2/ Episode 7 “Blackout”After a blackout, Jeff and Sam head on down to the store to buy a generator. Which leads to her running into Robin.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K.
Introduced Characters
Mia Bunnyann Riley-Holmes
Season 2/ Episode 8 “Arnold Hall”Pray for Sam everybody. For between Xander’s dad Arnold and Frankie, she may actually lose her mind – if she didn’t already lose it.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon, Louis C.K.
Characters Introduced
Arnold Rade Serbedzija
  • Crazy Grandpa Arnold: Sam
  • You Made Me Wear A Dress: Frankie, Sam
Season 2/ Episode 9 “White Rock”During a trip to Canada with her kids, a family secret is learned about from Sam’s uncle Lester.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K.
Characters Introduced
Jarita Jane Carr
Lester Nigel Havers
Sad Lady Megs Calleja
First Nations Man Ray Thunderchild
  • Those Ghost of White Rock: Duke
  • Aunt Marion: Max, Duke, Sam, Frankie
Season 2/ Episode 10 “Graduation”It’s Max’s graduation and perhaps the parting lesson Sam gives her is about consistency and a reminder of what love is.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon & Louis C.K.
  • Daddy Wasn’t There: Max, Sam
  • Yet, You Are Worthy: Sam, Max
Season 3, Episode 1 “Chicago”It has been more than a year since we were gifted with a new episode of Better Things, and this feels like an appetizer for what’s to come.
Director(s) Pamela Adlon
Writer(s) Pamela Adlon
Air Date 2/28/2019
  • It’s Hard To Say Goodbye My Love: Max, Sam
  • Mom, What You Do?: Phyllis, Sam
  • One Down, Two To Go: Frankie, Sam, Duke

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