Grace and Frankie Recap: The Party to End All Parties

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Lily Tomlin as Frankie, Jane Fonda as Grace. Photo: Karen Ballard/Netflix
Grace and Frankie
Episode Title
The Party
Season
2
Episode
12
Editor’s Rating
2/5

"The Party" takes us on a very emotional journey, though I'm not exactly sure how it relates to the characters and what's happening in their lives. Yes, it's a resonant and touching story, but why is it plopped down in our tale of Grace and Frankie?

The episode begins as Frankie helps Babe setup her last party. Babe explains the timeline of the evening: She plans on being dead by sunrise, so go ahead and make brunch plans. She's still working on her gallows humor. Frankie just can't imagine why someone so happy and so vibrant would want to die. Babe lets her know that her cancer has come back and it's spread. She's refusing treatment and doesn't want to go through the hell that is radiation and/or surgery. She'll miss those awesome wigs, though. Babe tells Frankie that she'll have to come up with a new joke for the occasion, in addition to helping her shuffle off this mortal coil. Frankie wants to be supportive, but let's be honest: Babe is asking a lot of her. It's not every day you're asked to help a friend kill herself. Such is life.

Meanwhile, Grace is talking to a police officer about her stolen car while tracking her cell phone on her iPad. The phone has made it somewhere near Tijuana by now. It's probably been sold, but the police will do their best to find the car. Frankie returns and thinks the officer is there to arrest her in some sort of Minority Report–style bust. Grace lays into Frankie for not being there to pick her up, so Frankie responds in kind, laying out all the ways Grace has been shitty to her in the last 36 hours. Frankie asks the officer if she would pick up someone "drunk and emotionally assaultive" who just told her boyfriend that she won't have sex in the vagina. The officer says probably not. Frankie leaves, telling Grace she's no longer speaking to her.

Mallory drops off Madison and her kiddy iPad to have an afternoon with the grandpas while she goes off to the OB/GYN to make sure her unborn twins don't hate her. That can happen, y'know. While Robert and Sol are helping little Madison wash her hands after looking at condos, Madison mutters, "This fucking guy." Umm … what?

Frankie is setting up the piñata for Babe's party when Grace comes in, bearing a little wind chime to make things all better. Nuh-uh, Frankie will not be bought. She demands an apology from Grace. Unfortunately, Grace doesn't know what an apology is and merely offers a bunch of sorry excuses. According to her, vodka and Frankie are to blame for her emotional state. She even explained how she didn't break up with Phil right away, but had a romantic night with him before they broke up. Frankie reminds her that she said not to get further involved with Phil so this is all Grace's fault.

In the middle of dealing with her credit-card company, Babe stops by the beach house to borrow Grace's samovar. Well, it's her samovar, really. The samovar's history is complicated. After showing off her new perfume made by Danny Day Lewis — it's made of gardenia and pretension — she lets Grace know that maybe she should stop blaming the alcohol for what she said to Frankie. Right on cue, Frankie shows up and starts bickering with Grace. Babe breaks them up and tells them to put their shit on a shelf and come to her party because it's going to be her last. After they explain what will be happen when the clock strikes, Grace flips out and can't understand why Babe would want to do this. God will be mad at her! Okay, Grace. While defending Babe's decision, Frankie finds herself agreeing to help. Babe says she will stop by later to say good-bye: "You gotta remind me 'cause if I forget, I'll fuckin' kill myself!" Hey, she's getting the hang of this gallows humor!

When Mallory picks up Madison, Robert and Sol tell her what she said and Mallory can't believe it. Her daughter must have said something different, she's sure of it. After questioning her and finding out the worst word she knows is "fallopian tube," they get ready to go. When Sol offers a hug, Madison goes, "This fucking guy." Ruh-roh. Turns out Mallory may have said that about Sol when she found out he cheated with Frankie. Is that all that men do? Turn around and cheat on their wives and each other and wait, do all men just cheat? "Does every fucking guy just cheat all the fucking time?" Mallory asks. And then she breaks down crying. Double ruh-roh.

Mallory reveals that she thinks her husband might be cheating. She asks if Sol or Robert can reveal some of the things they said to cover their tracks. "Is he less amorous? Has he been attending more conventions lately?" Mallory is going through a stressful time, so Sol and Robert advise her not to jump to conclusions.

Grace is sitting at home alone as Frankie gets ready to leave. They spar again, so Frankie tells Grace that she's incapable of loving unconditionally and storms out. Grace calls Brianna and asks if she felt loved unconditionally as a child. Brianna says no — and she always figured that was because Grace never loved herself like that. Grace steels herself and goes over to Babe's party to support Frankie. Frankie isn't going this alone, though; Babe's lover, Skipper, a surfer dude with long hair, is going to help.

Grace talks Frankie into picking up the pudding out of the fridge — the pudding with drugs tucked inside — and sits outside Babe's room while Frankie walks in. As the camera drifts away from Babe's house, the light in her bedroom turns off.

What a party.