In “The Test,” Grace and Frankie attempt to get their lives back on track and distract themselves from the men (or lack thereof) in their lives. The lack of romantic subplots isn’t such a bad thing, but the lack of big revelations from either Grace or Frankie makes this episode a little lackluster. On the other hand, it does give us the mental image of a young Frankie falling for a Black Panther.
The ladies return from an all-day shopping excursion to Whole Foods and the transcendental foot store, which sounds like an absolute nightmare. Grace certainly thought so, and she finally puts her foot down — no more driving Frankie around. It’s time for Frankie to get her license.
Frankie thinks Grace is projecting her Phil-induced disappointment on her, but Grace insists it’s because her entire life now revolves around Frankie. When she lies down, all she sees is Frankie’s hair; she used to see other friends and their hair. (Based on Grace, I correctly assumed that her other friends had sensible bobs.) Grace is afraid of trying to mend old friendships or create new ones as a single woman among couples. PREACH, GRACE. Grace tells Frankie to write it down in her “air diary,” which is a practice I’m going to steal, then heads to bed after Frankie promises to buckle down and study for her driver’s test. Smiley face, winky face, heart, prayer hands.
The next day, Frankie is dressed like white Stella trying to get her groove back. Let’s get this out of the way: When white people use marijuana on TV shows, we’re supposed to think it’s cute and fun and a sign of a carefree lifestyle. It’s not the same for people of color. I’m saying this one time, so I don’t have to say it every time casual drug use is shown onscreen. Moving on. Frankie asks her breasts for guidance and they are just NO HELP THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Meanwhile, Grace gets off the phone with Janet (played by the fabulous Swoosie Kurtz). She’s successfully made lunch plans with Janet, Mary, and Arlene. Frankie doesn’t like Janet too much. She allegedly breeds Pomeranians. Grace reminds her that she just owns one. Can you really own a Pomeranian, though? Colors of the wind and all.
Frankie has made her appointment to take her test at the DMV, but it’s the same day as Grace’s lunch. Oh, these two and their hijinks! At the DMV, Frankie predictably fails her test and tries to appeal the decision. Unfortunately, there are no Supreme Court justices present at the DMV and Grace’s attempts to bribe the municipal employee are unsuccessful. Frankie has failed three times and she has to take the test again next week. Grace’s social life can’t take a hit like this. The ladies rush home to set the table for lunch in seven minutes, which any good host will tell you is just a paltry amount of time. Grace forces Frankie to act as server and limits the topics of conversation — there will be no discussion of manifestos or oil spills.
Janet, Arlene, and Mary show up with a new dog, a new hip, and an infectious laugh, respectively. They simply must know what it’s been like for Frankie and Grace. Lunch is awkward. Everyone is picking at the crab salad and Grace asks everyone if they had trouble finding the place. She decides to apologize for falling off the Earth in the midst of her divorce. J.A.M. calmly reassure her that it’s water under the bridge and she looks great. Grace then drops my favorite line of the episode: She says she’s keeping it together because of her “two Italian nurtitionists, Martini and Rossi.” Bless that drunk bitch. After lunch, they all reminisce about group vacations. Man, I can’t wait to be an adult and go on vacay with my friends and their husbands and accidentally buy a sock full of cocaine. J.A.M. invites Grace to join their bowling league. Turns out they play Wii Bowling and Grace stole Mason’s Wii to practice.
Frankie isn’t pleased about Grace’s new friends, but she needs Grace to drive her to the DMV one more time … ON THE SAME DAY AS BOWLING. I’m beginning to think she’s doing this on purpose. Grace suggests she ask Bud or Coyote help her. Frankie invites her sons over to help her study and to be a scrimmage team for Grace to bowl against. Grace’s smack talk is impeccable; she tells Bud, “You bowl like an Amish kid.” Coyote isn’t doing much better trying to help Frankie study. Coyote is concerned that Frankie’s memory is slipping and it’s not just typical “Frankie-driving-into-the-hedges” stuff. Bud and Coyote sit her down and try to explain their concerns. Maybe she could just take Uber and get everything delivered. Frankie does not react well and acts like they’re trying to put her in a home. She’s kicking those ingrates out … after some lasagna.
Frankie realizes that they may be on to something, though. A few hours after studying, she couldn’t remember a thing. Guess this calls for a little thing called state-dependent learning — she’s gotta be high to take her test. White folks. She was studying high, so she can’t remember anything unless she’s in the same state. Also, she’s taking an Uber to the DMV. Take that, Grace.
Grace heads off to the bowling party in a form-fitting bowling shirt. Some of the husbands get a little too friendly when they try to congratulate her. Grace quickly realizes that this whole bowling thing is ploy to set her up with a (very handsome) divorcé. Grace turns him down, but then very handsome Jerry walks in! J.A.M. aren’t too fond of Frankie and her mani-pedi protesting ways and her hair. They don’t understand how Grace can stand to be around her. Grace defends Frankie, pointing out how she was there for her. In a real actual way. Not in this fake bitchy way. Arlene suggests that they all just pretend this whole misunderstanding never happened. Grace says that’s problem. She doesn’t need fair-weather friends, so she she flits out there.
At the DMV, Frankie is as high as someone on their first trip to a Colorado dispensary but she passes her test! Sort of! She won’t be allowed to drive at night or on freeways. Grace meets her to celebrate her half-a-license. Guess Frankie isn’t totally independent yet, but who needs bowling when a trip to the DMV can feel so rewarding?