“The Road Trip” opens with Frankie digging through decades-old boxes, uncovering her majorette boots and her yearbook. A trip down memory lane, perhaps?
Grace goes out to Frankie’s studio to scold her about leaving pills in the couch and dishes in the sink. Grace will not be the Sol of this relationship or the Bud, as she finds out. To ask the unanswerable question: What the hell is Frankie doing out there with all those boxes? She’s looking for the lost Frankies. No, that’s not an upcoming YA novel about a plucky heroine who finds out she’s a clone in a dystopian future; it’s Frankie looking for evidence of who she was before Sol. She was a hurricane of vim and vigor with elastic skin. She ate corndogs on the hoods of parked cars. She was adventurous. Adolescent Frankie is the Frankie who elderly Frankie wants to be. Viva la Frances!
Unlike Frankie, a phrase I will type no more than 800 more times this season, Grace isn’t like that at all. Grace is who she was and she’s already who she will be. Nevertheless, Frankie knows someone who might have met a different Grace: Phil. Phiiiilllllll.
At Chez Solbert, Sol brings his blushing new husband home and no one is carrying anyone over the threshold. Robert might sprain his groin. Everyone pay attention to Robert’s groin. It needs our care. Brianna bought her father a lift chair and Robert rejects the thing outright. He refuses to be treated like a patient. He is willing to put his groin at risk to maintain his independence.
Grace is making afternoon Bloody Marys in her tea-time silk scarf when Frankie comes running in with news that will make Grace kiss her somewhere on the head area. I’m hoping for ear. Frankie found Fil—er, Phil. Frankie is an amateur sleuth with poor self-control and an FBI frozen computer. She can’t be stopped! Phil is a contractor these days, and he lives an hour away. When Grace was with Robert, they missed their moment. For only $9.99, Frankie can get Phil’s address and find out if he’s still so passionate about the National Damn System. Grace wants to know if he’s still got his mustache and she puts an entire pitcher of Bloody Marys in her Thermos. Let’s do this, bitches.
Coyote and Bud stop by their dads’ house to check on Robert. He’s very comfortable getting a manicure from Brianna. Bud and Coyote find Robert’s redacted vows and Sol sits down to read them. He gets about three sentences in before he has a full-body sob and folds in half. Robert loves him so much and Sol still hasn’t figured out a way to tell him about his dalliance with Frankie. He needs to tell him so we can move this show forward. While Brianna tries out the lift chair and the rest of the family putters around in silence, a few of Robert’s secrets come to light. He’s been hiding vices all over the house: cigars, pork rinds, vodka. Okay, that last one is a Grace holdover, but still. It’s no surprise the man had a heart attack. He’s been surviving on paella and string cheese. Sol can’t bear to be home alone with Robert after Velma, Fred, and Shaggy (figure out which child is which) try to sneak off. Sol shrieks at Robert about eating string cheese. The kids resign to stay as a buffer.
Grace and Frankie are stuck on the on-ramp of the freeway. Frankie is having a positively Dionne moment and is frozen with fear. Grace is willing to drive drunk, but instead, she slams her foot on the gas and Frankie shoots off into traffic. On the drive, Grace tells Frankie the story or lack thereof about Phil. He was the contractor who redid Grace’s kitchen and they had a moment but he was married so it never really got going. Frankie wants the relationship to rekindle so she can live alone and get a hedgehog. The ladies realize they’re being followed by the police and Frankie politely rejects their offer to pull over. Grace stashes the Bloody Marys, then the cop informs them that their tail light is out and Frankie’s license is expired. But they’re only six blocks from the man whose address they found on the internet and doesn’t know they’re coming, so pleeeeeeeeeease officer. Grace takes over the wheel to get them the last six blocks.
When they pull up to Phil’s house, Frankie reveals her amateur-sleuth tactics to get him to come outside: Throw a rock, ding-dong-ditch, or order a pizza and have him open the door. Grace goes with the strategy that led to her first orgasm many moons ago. Order a pizza. They’re gonna order a pizza.
While Frankie and Grace hide in a filthy Prius, the Scooby Gang tries to sneak out again and Sol stops them again. Did the writers just copy and paste the same plot element over and over for this story line? All four of them argue about the nature of secrets. Brianna tells Sol not to tell her father because it wouldn’t do any good. Some secrets are just meant to fester in your body and become cancer. Coyote thinks secrets are really just lies. Bud knows some secrets are bound to come out. Robert has had enough with all the whispering and wants to know what is going on! Brianna thinks fast and tells him that Coyote has chlamydia. Just a tinge.
Meanwhile, the pizza guy has showed up and no one is answering. Grace goes to pay for the pizza and eat it sadly in the car when SAM FREAKIN’ ELLIOT shows up in a tight tee and mustache. Ooh, this is Phil. I am okay with this. Grace tries to apologize to Phil and he wants to know if she’s apologizing for not showing up 15 years ago or showing up 15 years too late. Damn, Phil. Damn. Grace says she was too scared to show up and too scared to call. Phil isn’t having any of it, so he sends a dejected Grace home.
Sol and Robert are going to bed and Sol is trying to find anything to do to fill the silence. Robert knows something is wrong; everything is fine with his health, he tells Sol, so let’s just get to the big stuff. Sol tells the truth.
He’s scared of losing Robert.
Robert knows exactly what to do to bring them together — they never exchanged rings. Right there, in their pajamas, they put rings on each other’s hands and Robert says, “I’m not going anywhere.”
While Grace drives home, Frankie admits she just hoped her wish would come true. Grace says hope is overrated and runs a red light. Frankie kicks off her majorette boots and they drive home in silence.