The focus is on Letty’s relationships, or lack thereof, with her family and old friends. That and how as much as she may seem like the root of her own problems, that isn’t 100% true.
Review (with Spoilers)
After a whirlwind of information in episode 1, it was nice to have an episode rooted in getting to know Letty’s friends, what the relationship with her mom is really like, as well as see her interact with her son. For while I’ve come to enjoy her time with Javier by her side, at the end of the day this show is riding off of Michelle Dockery and how familiar we are with her. So, with that said, let’s talk about “Your Mama Had A Hard Night.”
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: The Best Friend and The Ex (Tiffany [Collette Wolfe], Kyle [Justin Bruening(?)], and Letty)
It has been 14 years since High School and around as much time since Letty’s wife went to hell. All thanks to, well at least partly thanks to, Tiffany introducing Letty to Sean. A Black meth head and porn star freak. But while Tiffany carries this guilt she also carries some distrust. If only because her husband Kyle and Letty used to have sex and he still has a thing for her.
Though it should be noted, Tiffany and Letty seemingly were friends before Kyle and Letty were a thing. However, with Kyle giving Letty a job so she has something to fight her court-mandated permanent restraining order, then Kyle doing heroin and Letty taking the fall, so begins the beginning of the end. For, to add icing on the cake, as Letty has more and more flashbacks of Javier, she finds herself kissing Kyle and Tiffany walks in on them. Leading to one serious tongue lashing stopped by a surprising person.
I honestly think a flashback is in order. I need, and I think you do too, to see a young Letty before she fell. For with her, and Kyle to a point, noting how good she was in English and how she may have been wild but perhaps had her stuff together, we need to see her fall from grace. On top of that, we need to meet Sean. Not just because that is likely Jacob’s dad, but being that he was the catalyst for all of this, I gotta know what this man had that turned her out and royally screwed up her life?
Topic 2: Me and My Boy (Letty and Jacob)
To some surprise, Letty’s mom Estelle (Lusia Strus) didn’t end up spending all of that $20,000. In fact, she claims she spent $1,000 on clothes for Jacob and then the rest is tucked away for college. Yet don’t think she is a saint yet. She decides, as she goes to have fun with her boyfriend, she’ll let Letty see her son for $1,000 a visit. She doesn’t care where or how she gets the money, just that it is given upon arrival.
With that, Letty and Jacob get to spend the day together – at Estelle’s house. There we learn about how Jacob likes to build things, how he has been lied to about his father being a veteran, and how he has been prepped to be disappointed by his mom.
Actor Nyles Steele, who plays Jacob, works quite well off of Dockery. The mix of familiarity with who she is, with the unfamiliarity of her not often being around, is played on well. Not to the point you wanna cry for the boy, but I think the foundation has been laid for you to see and want Letty to find some way to fight and win her son back. Especially since Jacob, admittedly, is your usual, I’m doing fine without you but would still love to have you are type.
Topic 3: Momma Don’t Fail Me Now (Letty and Estelle)
It wasn’t made clear till this episode what Letty and Estelle’s relationship was like. The first time we met her it seemed like she hated her daughter all her life and is taking care of her child because she doesn’t want him to become like her. Well, that impression is partly true. As we see, be it the tattoo of Letty’s feet and name on her back, them having the ability to have dinner together, albeit one which leads to a verbal confrontation, or her defending her against Tiffany’s tongue lash, it shows there is love for Letty. The only issue is she can’t trust her. She probably stole from her and with that, you can understand why she is perfectly cool with Letty dropping off huge sums of money. Not just in terms of child support but also to pay Estelle back for pain and suffering.
But, unfortunately for Letty, as much as she and her mom get along this episode, and apparently Letty got money to spare for some kind of rent, she isn’t allowed to stay with her. Thus leading her to call Javier and rejoin him. For Tiffany don’t want her in her house, Estelle can’t have her in her house, so she goes to the one person who does want her company. Even if it comes with unfavorable rules.
Once again, we have a relationship ripe for a flashback. For like with Tiffany and Kyle, don’t you wanna see how Estelle and Letty’s relationship went south?
You’re so used to disappointing people, it doesn’t affect you anymore. But disappointing people and being an asshole are two different things.
— “Your Mama Had A Hard Night.” Good Behavior