It’s getting harder and harder for our mourners to hide the turmoil they’re feeling inside. Like Dee Dee tells her insufferable daughter while trying to talk her out of spending $700 on a sleeping bag for her travels to “go find herself”: Her dad died, and she can’t just run from the grief — she has to face the loss head-on. I mean, that’s rich coming from a lady who still hasn’t filled her daughter in on the precarious situation they’ve been left in and who is currently facing her own grief by repeatedly putting a hammer through her dining-room wall … but Dee Dee is not wrong! Also, putting a hammer through a wall probably feels very cathartic.
Not dealing with your issues is getting many of our people into trouble. Perhaps none more than Steve. Oh, Steve. It turns out that after having sex with his dead brother’s fiancée, he goes and gets incredibly drunk before getting into a bar fight. He wants to get pummeled in the face, and so he does! Dee Dee finds him passed out on the church basement floor ahead of grief group. Now, you might think that rich, entitled Dee Dee would be the last person you’d want tending to your wounds — and deep, deep hangover — but it turns out she’s the best person for the job. She isn’t too precious about it (even when getting thrown up on!), is much less judgmental than you’d think, and knows that maybe all you need at the moment is some concealer, water, and a cupcake.
But a cupcake will not be able to solve what’s going on with Steve. He’s punishing himself for more than cheating on his fiancée — he’s carrying immense guilt for how he treated his brother. It all comes to a head at the dreaded dinner Daphne has set up with Amanda. When Daphne, so woefully in the dark about everything, brings up how much Steve wanted to heal the rift with Brent, Amanda doesn’t hesitate to call bullshit. She informs Daphne that when Brent tried to make amends after being sober for 18 months, Steve apparently told his brother to “go fuck himself.” She says that two weeks later, Brent was using again. Steve’s right to tell Amanda that she can’t put Brent’s actions on him; he’s not to blame for Brent’s addiction. He also reminds her that he was the one who had to pick up the pieces Brent left behind — he spent years trying to hold his mother together after Brent destroyed them. You can understand why he turned his brother away. And yet still, of course, Steve blames himself. Addiction is complicated. Grief is complicated. Family is complicated!
There’s a lot going on here, so it’s no surprise that Steve needs to talk to someone without a stake in the game. He winds up on Dee Dee’s doorstep ostensibly to return her now dry-cleaned, previously puked-upon jacket, but it doesn’t take long for him to begin spewing his emotions at her (you’re welcome). He tells her about Brent and Amanda and how “fucked up” he is about everything. Once again, Dee Dee knows the exact correct thing to say in this situation: “Do you like crêpes? I’m gonna make you a crêpe.” Honestly, what else is there to offer a person suffering this much? Crêpes are the only answer. When Steve walks into the house — no one says no to crêpes, babes — and sees those holes in Dee Dee’s wall, he realizes that she’s just as fucked up about everything, too. Holes in the wall and crêpes — friendships have started over much less.
If only Dee Dee could ship some crêpes over to Nyack; they are in desperate need over there. There’s actually a lot going on between those walls. Edward and Shay officially meet Mahira at the Museum of the Peculiar and Odd. In Mahira’s presence, Edward becomes an entirely different human being — he, as the old biddies might say, goes gaga for her. Poor Shay is completely tossed to the side when this new girl shows up — and she’s not afraid to make sure Edward knows how shitty that feels. Like Steve, in some ways, Edward’s situation is a little more complicated than just making boneheaded decisions. After an afternoon with Mahira and learning about her relationship with Jordan, he realized that Mahira is the only other person alive who really knew his brother, and that’s … well, that’s everything to him. Did he need to add the bit about Mahira being “the most important person in the world” to him right now? Surely not, but he’s twelve and traumatized and missing his brother.
While he knows he messed up with Shay, Edward’s preoccupied with the thought of messing up things with Mahira already: She asked him to tell her about the day of the crash because she can’t stop thinking about it and needs some answers to process it all, but Edward tells her that he can’t remember any of it. This is, of course, a lie. Edward hasn’t been able to talk about the day of the crash to anyone yet — it’s too painful. Now, however, he thinks he’s ruined things with Mahira.
Then Edward meets Linda. Yep, Linda from grief group. Lacey’s invited her over to take as much baby stuff as she needs from Lacey’s unopened stock and then to stay with them for however long she needs. The show doesn’t linger too long on (1) how sad it is that Lacey has basically a “department store” of unopened baby products sitting in her garage or (2) what a huge step forward it is for Lacey to it away to Linda (but I see it, Lacey!). Anyway, Linda and Edward’s first meeting is awkward as hell, but he begins to soften a little around her the more time they spend together. That night, they both wind up in the kitchen, unable to sleep. Linda knows that it’s “unfair” to ask anything of Edward, who has been through enough, but she shows him a picture of Gary and asks if maybe he saw him on the plane. Edward balks, of course, but this time he asks Linda why people keep asking him stuff like this. She explains that in her loss, even the tiniest memory or detail from the last person who saw him would mean so much to her. It turns out that Edward and Gary stood next to each other for a brief time while stretching their legs. Edward remembers how he smiled at him, that he seemed like a nice person. Once he sees the immediate comfort this brings Linda and how grateful she is, Edward decides to call Mahira. He tells her everything he remembers about that day and the details of the crash. He tells her that Jordan told him that they’d get to swim in the Pacific Ocean together, and it made him feel better. “No matter what, he would always be my brother, and he took care of me. He was my hero,” he tells a tearful Mahira. She thanks him — it is exactly what she needed. Maybe it was what Edward needed, too. Now that he’s finally facing his grief, maybe Edward will be able to move forward.
• FINALLY! Adriana and Kojo give in to their obvious feelings for each other and get! it! on! You knew it was coming: Kojo makes more and more speeches about how Becks is growing too attached to Adriana and it will be too hard for her to lose someone else when they leave for Ghana that is so obviously about how attached he is to Adriana. We see you, sir! I mean, it’s still going to be a full-blown tragedy when Kojo and Becks do have to leave New York, but for now, it’s nice and good and we need that! Especially on this show!
• We finally get the deets on Sam because what this show needs six episodes in is yet one more character with a full-blown storyline to juggle! Sam lost Ben, a friend of his from high school, in the crash. We learn, though, that Sam and Ben were much more than friends. Even though they “didn’t do anything” about it, they were deeply in love. Sam went off, stayed closeted, and married a woman, but he ran into Ben three days before the crash, which brought up a lot of old feelings. Then, when Ben died … well, you get it. Sam winds up calling Lacey to talk him out of hooking up with Ben’s friend Vernon and blowing up his entire life. Something tells me he’s going to end up blowing it up anyway! Live your truth, dude!
• John’s still visibly shaken when he returns from Colorado. He calls the experience “profound” and freaks everyone out at dinner. He and Lacey wind up getting into a huge argument about it — and all of their other problems, really — and John winds up walking out. “There’s no space for me here,” he tells her. Quick lil’ Q for ya: Have John and Lacey EVER liked each other? Yikes.
• Book readers might’ve noticed that Linda and Gary have been swapped for the series. In the novel, Linda dies in the crash, having just found out she was pregnant in the plane bathroom, and it’s Gary who seeks Edward out to see if he saw Linda on the plane for just a small bit of comfort.
• Listen, as someone who has recently lost her father, I want to be empathetic toward Zoe, but I just cannot find the strength. Her line about her father being her best friend was very sad, but the girl is so spoiled it makes me want to … well, it makes me want to put a hammer through a wall.
• Why are there not more grief group scenes? Isn’t that, like, the crux of this entire series?