The Grinder Recap: How to Ruin Taco Night

The Grinder

Exodus: Part 1
Season 1 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
THE GRINDER: L-R: Rob Lowe and Fred Savage in the

The Grinder

Exodus: Part 1
Season 1 Episode 11
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Rob Lowe as Dean and Fred Savage as Stewart. Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

It’s taken half a season, but Stewart is finally tired of his brother crashing at his place. (Maybe.)

Strike one: A Grinder binge session turns his living room into a wasteland of snacks. Strike two: The next morning, Dean reveals he sold his home in Malibu, and a truck will deliver some of his stuff to his brother’s doorstep. (Four other trucks put the rest in storage.) Strike three: Dean announces that the truck driver, Andre — who was Dean’s Grinder stand-in whenever his face wasn’t needed in a shot, because “we’re identical from behind” — is also moving in. Why? The sale of Dean’s house left him homeless, too.

At least Andre really does look like Dean from behind. When Stewart sees his face, he screams, and — in the first act’s best gag — so does Deb, off-camera, while Stewart talks to Dean about how he can’t just move a semi truck full of stuff into his house. (“I take it Deb just met Andre.”)

Though Stewart and Deb agree they shouldn’t let Dean’s stuff and Dean’s stand-in invade their home, Stewart can’t seem to put his foot down over it because he’s Stewart. It doesn’t help that Dean, being Dean, turns every objection into a guilt trip. (“Is it because Andre’s gay?”) So, nothing really happens. “Congratulations on being a pushover,” Deb cracks in bed.

The next day at work, Stu decides to obliquely ask his brother to move out by saying he should invest in a home for “capital gains reasons.” Dean gets the real message loud and clear, though, summoning the whole office to announce that his brother is kicking him to the curb, making it clear he won’t stay where he’s not wanted.

This backfires for Stu in even greater ways at dinner that night. His kids resent him for kicking Dean out — and on Taco Night, no less! Dean loved Taco Night! (Dean would love Taco Night, the West Coast Chill Bro that he is.) Even Andre thinks Stu has gone cold!

Andre never left, by the way.

That’s fine, though, because Andre is great. He makes a dope breakfast, fixes the dishwasher, and sends Dean’s stuff to storage while encouraging a sick Deb to stay home from work. Dream houseguest, that Andre.

The rift between Dean and Stewart grows in court the next day. Dean, in full Grinder mode, wants Todd to suss out which member of the jury might be a mole in a case that’s described as a “basic property dispute.” When Stewart objects, Dean is further offended, claiming his brother wants to kick him out of his home and out of the courtroom. As with most sibling spats, Stewart can’t win. This, however, leads the rival legal team to offer Dean a job. (“With in-court speaking privileges!”)

Back home, the pleasant surprise that is Andre continues to be the Best. He’s so great, though, that he turns Deb into a supervillain; when a prospective landlord calls asking about Andre, she lies and says he’s a convicted felon so he can’t leave.

That night, Dean summons Stewart to the street in front of the Sanderson home — “Because I didn’t want to trespass. Because I don’t live here anymore” — and tells him about the rival firm’s job offer. Stewart is frustrated by Dean’s lack of maturity, but he’s not actually angry with him. Unfortunately, Dean can’t see past his perceived portrayal, and as per usual, he turns the moment into a dramatic moment:

Dean: We were a great team. Take care of Andre for me.

Stewart: I will not do that.

Dean: Because he’s gay?

Stewart: Because he’s a grown man.

The next day, Stewart does help Andre a little bit. He gets him a place of his own (without telling anyone where it is), which comes as a shock to his children. A bigger shock is waiting in the courtroom, where Dean is late to the proceedings — then dramatically tells Stewart that “I was hoping you’d chase me” after he walked away the night before.

“Where?” Stewart asks.

“Anywhere.” Dean says, and kisses his brother full on the lips, and I’m not quite sure what show I’m watching anymore.

Oh, and then Dean walks off to join the other team. He took the job.

Other Notes:

  • This episode will forever be known as The One Where Rob Lowe and Fred Savage Kiss and It Was Totally Not Weird, I Think? I’m surprised they did it so soon. (Or so late, depending on your taste in Grinder fanfic.)
  • Andre is played by Efren Ramirez, whom you might remember as Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. Helps soothe the sting of an Olyphant-less episode, for sure. But only a bit.
  • Stewart’s kids after Andre moves into his own place: “You kicked him out, just like Uncle Dean! IS ANYONE SAFE?!”
  • Stewart’s kids are super spoiled after one day of Andre’s cooking. Did you see how repulsed they were at the sight of plain, un-omeletted eggs?
  • The lawyers who woo Dean away are well versed in the Grinder ‘verse, citing season four, episode 20: “Grindsight is 20/20.”
  • The Best Line of the Night probably goes to Deb, who defends Stewart to her children after kicking Dean out: “Your father has never been that direct about anything in his life!”
  • Poor Todd. He tells his entire team to screw off in the middle of the courtroom, then follows Dean to the opposite bench … only to learn he’s not wanted, so he settles back into his seat.

The Grinder Recap: How to Ruin Taco Night