Max would really get along with the Peaches for a whole host of reasons, but one major commonality gets showcased in episode three: These women will do whatever it takes to see their baseball dreams come true.
Max gets that job at the tool-and-screw factory — the guy sees her and is like, Big whoop. We need bodies; she can stay (it really pisses off those recruitment ladies, and it is excellent) — and she’s pumped that she is given the night shift so that she can continue working at her mom’s salon and not have to tell her what she’s up to just yet. Does that mean she might never sleep again? Sure! But who cares? Our comics queen Clance compares her to Plastic Man and tells her to be careful about being stretched too thin. Her focus, however, is using her shift at the factory to butter up the baseball team’s pitcher in hopes that he’ll put in a good word for her with the coach. The guy is an arrogant ass, but Max grits her teeth and pushes through it. There is a much bigger picture here, and that picture has Max on a pitcher’s mound.
Unfortunately, there is always a sacrifice on the way to getting what you want, and for Max, that sacrifice might be her entire relationship with her mother. Toni has been beyond thrilled with how Max has been turning things around: She is taking her job at the salon seriously, she is helping Toni out at their church’s revival week, and she is getting her act together. She’s so proud, in fact, that she renames the salon Maxine and Toni Chapman Salon and buys a fancy neon light for the window display (“the first Black-owned business in Rockford to have one”). But it’s not until she hears her mother give her testimony at the revival that Max finally breaks. Her mother talks about how she believes God pushed her on her path to her true calling — it resonates so much with Max that she runs off in tears. Toni runs after her, wanting to comfort her daughter, but then Max lays the truth on her: that she believes her path, her calling, her gift is baseball, and that’s why she had to take a job at the factory. Toni is so mad she can’t even speak. Silence is the scariest level of angry!
Like Max, the Peaches are burning the candle at both ends to keep their baseball dreams alive. The Peaches have the worst record in the league, in both games won and attendance, and they’re all terrified that the whole team will just be disbanded. The biggest obstacle they face at the moment is undoubtedly that their coach, Dove Porter, is the absolute worst. Aside from Lupe, he doesn’t take any of them seriously, and even his interest in Lupe is more about him than her. He teaches her his patented forkball pitch and calls her Li’l Dove before giving her the horrendous nickname the Spanish Striker (she is Mexican; she hates this name). It’s heartbreaking to see how much Lupe needs this kind of attention — someone actually sees her; someone is looking out for her, she thinks. Everyone else sees Dove for the ass he is.
They attempt to talk to him. Carson timidly offers a “conversation pie” in hopes that they could talk out some of the issues, but that plan crumbles immediately. Jo speaks to him more directly about pushing the team harder, and he screams, “I played in the bigs! You wanna tell me how to coach a team of ladies in skirts?” You know, in case you were wondering what that guy’s deal was.
So they decide they don’t need him. The team members — minus Lupe, whom they can’t trust not to rat them out to Dove — start holding their own night practices. It works! The next game, Lupe is struggling with the forkball and has most certainly injured her arm, but Dove won’t rest her and keeps pushing the forkball. It’s a disaster, and Carson asks to have her taken out, but Dove refuses. Thankfully, all those night practices pay off and the rest of the team gets it done. Shirley, who has been taught to hit “like a French prostitute” (hips first) gets the game-winning RBI. The Peaches get their first win.
But the celebrations don’t last too long: Eventually, Lupe and Carson have that confrontation they were always headed for. Lupe (who is pissed about being excluded from the practices) thinks Dove is the only one who cares about her. Like I said, it’s sad to see. Carson begs her to ask him to let her rest — she’ll hurt herself, and they need her healthy for the entire season. Oh baby, when Dove finds out about that, he’s not happy. He puts Lupe in and benches Carson. It’s even worse than the previous game, and eventually she’s hurting enough that he has to pull her. This whole situation pisses Carson off enough that she can finally ream this guy out in the way he needs to be — she throws a baseball at his car and tells him that if he doesn’t want to be their coach (he says what they’re doing isn’t baseball), then at the very least, he needs to get out of their way.
Carson is gaining some confidence in other areas of her life, too. At the beginning of the episode, she is spiraling about her feelings for Greta and her allegiance to her husband, Charlie, whom she still has not heard from. She has quite the steamy sex dream about them all having a three-way, and that only confuses her more.
During the night practices, Carson and Greta get even closer, sharing some intimate moments. Carson opens up to her about how her mom left when she was 10, how it destroyed her dad, and how she’s worried that that’s exactly what she’s doing to her husband now. Perhaps it was too much intimacy for Carson: Back at the house when the Peaches are celebrating their first win, Carson and Greta find themselves alone in the kitchen. Greta goes in for a kiss, but Carson pushes her away. “I’m not like you — stop. I’m normal,” she tells her before walking off. It is gutting!
Greta gets her back when she forces Carson (and Shirley) to chaperone a date she has with a Peaches fan after Sarge becomes “indisposed … menstrually.” Greta lays the flirting on thick at dinner, and they end up having another private blowup in which Carson insists she is nothing like Greta.
After the confrontation with Dove, Carson is amped up. It’s then, of all times, that Charlie finally calls her. The connection is bad, and the call is a little mysterious. He says he “asked for a little leave before going home” and that he’s in Dublin. He says being there has finally helped him see things more clearly, and he wants to live life to the fullest when he’s back. “I feel like I’m awake,” he tells her before going on about wanting more for them. He wants adventure. When he hangs up (he has not received her letter, he says, by the way), he walks back to a gurney in the middle of a military hospital. What’s up with Charlie? The mystery will have to wait, though, because Carson is energized by that call. She completely understands what Charlie meant about finally being awake — it’s how she felt when Greta kissed her that first time. And so Carson has Greta sneak off with her, and the two start smashing faces again. It looks like Carson is ready for a new adventure, too.
Dirt in the Skirt
• Clance is acting strange — she doesn’t feel well; she even faints at the revival — and Guy assumes she’s pregnant and worried about telling him because she doesn’t think he’s ready to be a father. When he confronts her about it, she confesses: She isn’t pregnant. She found his draft letter in the mail and has been hiding it, because to tell him about it would make it real. He reports for his physical in two days. If they Betty Spaghetty this woman, I’m throwing myself into the sea!!
• Max lets the stress of her current situation get to her, and she takes it out on Mrs. Turner. It looks like that little affair might be over … for now.
• Jo can see what’s going on between Greta and Carson and more than once has tried to stop it. Is she jealous, or just worried about them being so obvious with their feelings?
• “Every time I’m on a sinking boat, the first thing I do is drop the weight.” “How many sinking boats have you been on? Tell me about each one.” Jess and Lupe have a delightful friendship!
• Sarge suggests that Shirley help Carson chaperone Greta’s date because “she’ll be sure to keep the date appropriately nonsexual.” Shirley’s response to the request? “It would be my profound honor.” Never change, Shirl!