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.
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The Troubles Of Not Feeling Appreciated: Tressa, Mer, Sam
Tressa has long warned Sam of Mer, and with them working together for decades, she figures that Sam would heed her warnings. However, with Mer guiding Sam toward a production heading to Broadway, Sam may privately wonder why Tressa didn’t find such work for her, but she keeps it to herself. But with Sam being about transparency, she brings up Mer in conversation, and that leads to Tressa thinking the writing is on the wall and ending things.
Leading to Sam losing one relationship which, at this point, might be one of her longest. Which is a swift blow since Sam is still dealing with the issues of aging or, specifically, feeling desirable. She gets that when she goes to a Friars event for her father, and see a man older than her dating a 20-year-old. And then comes Mer.
Now, while Sam is strictly dickly, it is hard not to be a bit seduced even if it is someone of the same sex. I mean, have you seen Mer, heard her voice, caught on to her game? Sam is very tempted to give into Mer but keeps her wits about her and instead contacts the doctor. The one who dumped her as a patient since he’d rather Sam be his girlfriend.
The Singing At The End & Featured Cast
With hearing Norm Lewis’ solo and seeing Holland Taylor, you’re reminded one of the best things about Better Things is that it only really features young people in the form of Sam’s kids and their friends. Otherwise, it brings on adults, people with quite a bit of experience, and gives them a chance to shine and further push the fact Sam is a legend in her business. Yeah, maybe without a Tony, Oscar, and what have you, but she has been working since she was a child and picked up many friends and a decent reputation in the process.
The Mer Temptation
I don’t know if we’ve seen the last of Mer, but I was definitely hoping Mer would have gotten what she wanted. For while I can understand Sam, and Adlon in extension, may not want to put out the idea women like her must be gay, closeted, or anything like that, it’s hard to deny Sam and Mer’s chemistry. Making her decision to call Dr. Miller seem like her taking the easy way out rather than something which would challenge her identity.
Is That The End of Murray Fox?
Sam’s dad appearing has been a weird part of this season. Mostly because it has been barely a sub-plot and between Duke seeing his ghost and Sam meeting with his friends, it just seemed out of place. Not that Murray hasn’t been mentioned in previous seasons but with how consistent his name has come up this one, it made it seem something notable would happen and that has yet to occur. Making you wonder, with him being honored, is that it or will he continue to haunt the show?
On The Fence
This Feels Like A Self-Contained Episode
One of the things you have to constantly wrestler with yourself with as a Better Things fan is knowing a good portion of what you see either will just exist in that episode or won’t be revisited for a while. Sam heading to Broadway with this play? Likely the play may only exist in this episode, or the finale may have Sam tell the kids she has to move to New York. However, there is also a chance, like the movie she was shooting, it just sort of meanders in and out and doesn’t really go any way.
Same goes with the Mer situation. On the one hand, it could be how Tressa’s absence gets a long term explanation. Yet, with Mer and Sam finding themselves coming into the same circle, there is the need to question if this is the last we’ve seen of her.
Presenting the best and worst of Better Things: A lot of it is inherently random. What work will Sam’s agent get her that day, who may she see, and how people may react to anything she says or does is always up in the air. Yet, Adlon and her writers find a way to root the random within the realm of plausibility.