With Pucks officially off the schedule, Episodes gets back on its game with an episode that feels more like the show’s lighter, sharper self. It’s also the first time since his character’s been introduced that we don’t see any of Castor, and it’s a glaring case of addition by subtraction. By focusing on the main trio of Matt, Sean and Beverly, the show regrounds itself and reminds us what made Episodes so appealing to begin with.
Ever the earnest one, Sean is the last person holding out hope for Pucks, still sweating every joke and hanging on to any shred of artistic integrity in his grasp until he finally collapses under the futility. He and Bev seem ready to head back home, their heads hung in shame, until they’re approached by an agent who loved the original UK version of Lyman’s Boys before it was butchered into Pucks here in the States. She inquires about one of their old scripts, which suddenly has the potential to be their next project. And frankly, when you consider the logistics of a transatlantic move, writing a new TV series is probably the easier option.
The Pucks hiatus comes a day late for Matt, who loses the coveted part on Andrew Lesley’s pilot. The lack of urgency on the Pucks set gives a depressed Matt plenty of time to flirt with Morning’s sister, Dawn, played with fangirl glee by Revolution’s Tracy Spiridakos. (It turns out she does have another expression.) Her 19th birthday present to herself is a quickie with Matt, which she can’t believe is happening since she used to watch Friends when she was seven, and that means she wasn’t even born when the show premiered, and excuse me I’ll be right back after this brief midlife crisis.
As if Dawn doesn’t mortify Matt enough by making him yell “How you doin’?” while they’re having sex, she later lets it slip that Morning is actually her mother. This leads to a hilarious string of realizations that Matt has slept with Morning’s daughter, Bev with Morning’s brother and Sean with Morning herself. As Matt sums it up: “Man, we are just plowing through that family.”
Morning is understandably furious at Matt, but she’s no match for Jamie, who may be blind but can literally sniff out the truth of what’s happened. Matt broke one of her two simple rules: be nice and don’t cheat. (Though to be fair, he has been very nice.) She enforces her zero-tolerance policy and heads out the door, which is probably for the best. A free Matt is a funnier Matt.
Generally, “Episode 6” is treading water until the fate of Pucks is finally decided, but in a very funny pool. Despite next week’s return of humor albatross Castor, I have Sean-like faith Episodes will keep this season afloat as we set sail toward the finale.
Christine Moore is a freelance writer and pop culture geek based in Atlanta. She blogs about television and comedy at TV Kitchen. Follow her on Twitter.