Grace and Frankie
The season premiere was a prologue of sorts. In season one, Grace and Frankie set the table, and season two began by serving us the meal. Now, we’re facing what happens when you have to clean up and move on.
While the grown children all sleep tenderly in the hospital waiting room, Grace is wide awake, clutching a cup of coffee like her life depends on it. Frankie is using a balloon as a pillow. Don’t sleep on Frankie’s sense of whimsy. Sol comes out and tells the whole family — well, Grace — that Robert is okay and he’s sleeping in her room. Brianna shocks the family with some uncharacteristic affection. Frankie, Grace, and Sol head into the hospital room to watch Robert as he gently dozes. Sol thinks when Robert wakes up is the best time to confess about his and Frankie’s tryst. You know what would be the best time to do that? Never. Literally never. My mom has two rules about cheating: Don’t cheat, and if you do cheat, don’t tell anyone. It just makes you feel better. Listen to my actual mother, fictional character.
Frankie and Grace (it looks weird written in that order, doesn’t it?) head out for vending-machine snacks because Frankie needs gluten to deal with the fact that Sol and Robert are really married. After her vending-machine-snack-summoning powers fail, she’s trapped into going to Sol and Robert’s house with Grace to pick up a few things and deal with the arrival of wedding gifts. Sol enters with devastating news that their insurance won’t cover Robert’s surgery — and they forgot to cancel the entire wedding, including the nightmarish identical twin bagpipers. (Did Robert want to have his wedding be a scene from The Conjuring 2 because that sounds hellish.) Brianna and Mallory are going to cancel the wedding and inform the guests. Coyote is given the job with the lowest stakes: Be around when Robert wakes up. He’s two steps up from a Tamagotchi. Frankie snatches the bag of Cheez-Its she paid for from a little girl, tells her “nothing’s free,” and the ladies are off!
After Grace proves to Frankie that she “knows stuff” by doing a silly little hand gesture, they head over to Chez Solbert and find the foyer littered with expensive blenders. A neighbor from across the street pokes her head in and tells Frankie and Grace that she’s been worried about Solbert because she saw an ambulance. Grace was always so busy and avoids human interaction.
Frankie and Grace venture further into the house and see that Sol has made his presence known via chairs from the Tang dynasty … and hella ethnic blankets … and an ottoman. Grace has a Restoration Hardware–related meltdown and Frankie makes herself useful by finding hidden reading glasses all over the living room. Frankie’s brain is still filled with remnants of her marriage to Sol and the care she paid him. She knows where his Xanax is (in the kitchen) and where he keeps his favorite brown sweater (in a chest so that it always smells like the cabin where he read Catcher in the Rye). Frankie speaks a language no one speaks anymore. She speaks “Frankie’s 40-Year Marriage to Sol.”
Meanwhile at the hospital, Brianna and Mallory argue about the best tactic to get money out of wedding vendors. Can you believe these two opposites come from the same family? We get it. They’re different. We’ve used up all the water in the well. Robert wakes up, periodically asking Coyote if he’s read Robert’s play, which I can only assume is about a lawyer who discovers he can talk to birds and it’s called “Eagle-Eyed Lawyer.” I’ll be playing the role of Vera in the off-Broadway production this fall.
Frankie decides she’s going to deal with this crisis of identity the only way she knows how: She’s gonna rob those two dummies blind. Napkin rings, tiny spoons, a set of cheerful corn-cob salt-and-pepper shakers — she’s taking all of it. When Grace stops her, Frankie says, “They’re getting all this stuff for their wedding and we get nothing.” She means being paid for officiating but we all get subtext, do we not?
Sol has a delightful insurance subplot where he discovers they owe an absurd amount of money to the hospital because the doctors made a last-minute decision to save Robert’s life. Sol knows that if the hospital didn’t make this decision, Robert would have died on the table and they wouldn’t be able to process some important stuff. Shit is going down. The hospital threatens to sue.
Meanwhile, Frankie lies on the fellows’ inversion table to protest the task at hand. Grace accuses her of being a petulant teenager and Frankie snaps back that Grace has gotten them wound up in a useless obligation with no endgame. What does this get her? Grace can’t answer. “You couldn’t even come up with one wish,” Frankie replies. Grace storms out and Frankie finds herself stuck on the inversion table. It’s a delightful bit of physical comedy from Lily Tomlin — and also, she calls her feet “fat flightless penguins,” which is how most women feel about their feet.
Brianna is pestering Bud to hurry up on the “No Mo’ Wedding” calls and Bud lashes out that Brianna is heartless and dictates an email mocking her style about the wedding: “SOL FUCKED FRANKIE AND ROBERT HAD A HEART ATTACK BECAUSE HE EATS SAUSAGE FOR EVERY MEAL WEDDING CANCELLED SEND GIFTS FUCK YOU.” And because this is a sitcom, the email gets sent. In a lucid-seeming moment, Robert asks Coyote why he used drugs and Coyote takes the opportunity to make amends with Robert. Thankfully, the email was autocorrected to say that Vin Diesel fucked Frankie and Robert had a yard attack. And because this is a sitcom, the crisis is averted.
Sol confronts the billing department because he remembers he’s a hot-shot lawyer. He knows the hospital has been making billing errors and that they’re acting in violation of the Affordable Care Act and Sol is gonna sue everybody for everything.
Back at Casa Solbert, Frankie has freed herself and wishes she could free herself from all her memories and knowledge about Sol. When Grace goes to move the terrible ottoman, she finally sees the room for what it is. The ottoman is there so Solbert can put their feet up. It’s a house for people who love each other — they don’t care if things match. Grace didn’t fill her home with warmth. It’s a rustic-shabby-global-chic metaphor for love.
Sol kisses Robert after the surgery and Mallory reveals that she’s pregnant with twins. All is well in the hospital. Grace and Frankie send the nosy neighbor to the hospital with a bag of cedar scented sweaters and Xanax. On her way out, Grace finally gets something she always wished for: the Vitamix gifted to Solbert. She takes one last look at the house she built and Frankie checks her email.
She fucked Vin Diesel and she ain’t mad about it.