Paul worries that he’s neglecting his youngest son, but he has another family’s miscommunication and sniping to deal with in this tautly gripping episode. Oliver’s been staying with his dad. He forgot about that homework turtle, and he confides to Paul that he still can’t sleep. He plays that down, but mom Bess finds something else to fight about: Luke’s been letting his girlfriend come over — and it’s Oliver’s old teacher. Oliver still isn’t sure whether the African kid the divorcing couple was going to adopt will show up, so Paul convinces the parents they need to work as team to make things clear to Oliver. This week’s abandoned object: Oliver, asleep in the waiting room.
Walter’s still a dick, and his downfall is delicious. He swaggers in hours late and fields business calls throughout the session. The company’s baby food is contaminated and some whippersnapper wants his job. The real problem: Walter flew to Rwanda to demand that his baby come home. That place is a hellhole and she cut her hair! She called him a neocolonialist pig and told him to fuck himself. Paul explains he’s used to being in charge and worried she doesn’t need him anymore. This capitalist titan never learned how to separate from his own grieving parents, so that “fuck yourself” feels like a death.
Paul’s kids came up with Oliver and Walter and we figured they would frame this episode. Better: he and Tammy prove us wrong by lounging in their bathrobes. But wait, that’s not it either: This episode is all about realizing that Paul’s father wasn’t such a monster. His wife’s bipolar disorder helped drive him to his affairs. Tammy reminded Paul that his father checked in on the family through her mother, and that he’d stopped by the Christmas mom first tried suicide — there was nothing Paul could do. Paul will visit his Parkinson’s-addled dad and talk with his kids. Gina says they’ll talk about Tammy next week.