In “The Anchor,” Grace and Frankie both face big opportunities to open new chapters in their lives. Unfortunately, this is a sitcom, so things don’t go great.
Grace is up bright and early, setting up a game of chess for the ladies. Way to start your day with a little intellectual competition. Grace isn’t truly awake until she defeats her enemies, so chess it is. Frankie flies in with a package in the mail and like all of us, she hopes its cheese. It’s not. It’s even better. It’s the prototype for the yam-lube bottles. Frankie proclaims this day a big moment in the history of the vagina! This is going to put her on the cover of Lube Magazine!
Before Frankie takes one small step for vaginas everywhere, Grace gets a text. It’s from Phil! Grace gets as excited by a text from her Phil as I do getting a text from my Phil. Grace and I are more similar than I’d like to admit.
Phil invites her to lunch the next day at the bar where … they both knew they felt the same thing. Wow. That’s a lot of emotional baggage for a bar to hold. Grace used to have a drink at the Anchor Bar a few times a week, and one time, after Phil finished a project on the house, he was at the bar “by chance” and they talked, laughed, and drank together. At the end of the night, he put his hand on her back and she finally felt something. Something she never felt with Robert. Daaaang. So Grace and Phil started meeting for drinks when Robert was away on gay sex trips and also when Robert wasn’t away. Frankie says she never knew Grace was stuck-up and interesting as shit.
Frankie goes out to the studio to test the pumpability of the lube bottles when she smells and tastes a little, realizing that something is amiss. She storms off to Brianna because this isn’t her lube. Brianna tries to talk her down, but Frankie won’t be sweet-talked by Miss Peed Her Pants at Her Tenth Birthday Party. Brianna calmly explains that they had to add a few ingredients for mass production, including the dreaded palm oil. Frankie can’t imagine anything worse than palm oil. It destroys the rain forest. Our sweet primate cousins, the orangutans, live in the rain forest. Brianna, ever the realist, explains that yams go bad and asks if Frankie read the packet. Has Frankie ever read a packet in her life? The answer to both questions is obviously no. Brianna tells her that’s the way it’s been since before she started working there. Frankie only hears, “BLAME GRACE.” She storms off to find justice.
Bud and Coyote are hosting Sol for a sleepover to give him some reprieve from his hotel room. Sol doesn’t exactly have a plan yet for getting Robert back. Okay, he claims his plan is to “give him some time,” which Bud explains isn’t a plan at all. Bud knows that Robert can’t be talked to when he’s angry. Coyote and Bud agree that Sol has to show Robert that he still cares and that he wants him back. Instead, Sol decides to leave 12 messages on Robert’s answer machine, reading various bits of poetry and their zodiac charts. I don’t think it’s working. Sol ends his last message by telling Robert that he needs him and his heart hurts without him. That might be working.
Frankie is not going to let Grace get away with introducing palm oil into products at Say Grace. J’accuse, Grace! J’accuse! Grace says that she had to use palm oil because the alternative was parabens — and Frankie knows all about those. Just look at her one-woman show, “Para-Been to Hell and Back.” I’ll take a Netflix-only special of that show, please. When they made the change years ago, Grace just didn’t know how terrible palm oil would be for the environment. Frankie has to take a stand, so we all know this will end. (It will end horribly.) I wish she could just settle down for a minute and maybe just send a heated email instead.
Grace gets ready for her date with Phil by cracking pistachios, I guess? Grace is worried that Phil might not like who she is. Don’t tell anyone, but she has flaws. She spent 40 years with a man who loved someone else. Maybe she’s unlovable. And, at that moment, every woman’s heart broke because she has had that exact thought. Frankie gives her a pep talk and Grace heads to the restaurant. She wants it to look like she just got there when Phil arrives … a half-hour later. For old time’s sake, they order each other’s drinks from memory and I died from cuteness. I guess this is how the over-70 crowd flirts. Phil reveals that maybe he thought about Grace more than he let on and maybe he didn’t run into her by chance that first night. Grace admits that maybe she hates skylights and maybe she asked Phil to install one just to see him. She puts her hand on his hand, but he pulls away! No! He’s still married! Double no!
Meanwhile, Frankie is at a meeting with the people from Good Life and she decides that this moment is the right moment to take a stand against palm oil. Her method of protest? She replaced her hand lotion with straight-up blood and smears her hands with it and starts to touch everybody. Triple fucking no! Let’s just say the meeting goes south. Brianna tells Frankie that no one will take her seriously — the thing she most desperately wants — if she doesn’t act seriously. Brianna tried to help her, but Frankie is out.
Sol is at Chez Solbert getting a few things when Robert comes downstairs wielding a plunger — he thinks Sol is an attacker. Robert tries to throw him out, but Sol needs his things! They share a moment and Sol asks if Robert can ever get past what happened. “I don’t know.” Does Robert want to get past it? “I don’t know.” Ouch.
Grace is licking her wounds at home as Frankie sits around with blood up to her elbows when Phil knocks on the door. Grace didn’t let him finish, so he wants to lay it all out on the line. His wife has advanced Alzheimer’s and she doesn’t know who he is anymore. He told his wife about Grace the night before they were supposed to have their lovers’ meeting, but then she got sick. Phil thought seeing Grace again for a drink would be enough and he could move on. It’s not enough. And now the ball is in her court.