There will always be growing pains when you try to go forward and move on, and many of our grievers are feeling them this week. Take Dee Dee, for example. She knows — and even says aloud — that in order for her to move forward from Charles’s death and the financial chaos he left her in, she needs to be honest about it with Zoe. Nothing will change unless she comes clean to her daughter, she tells Steve, who is still kindly acting as her financial adviser. And yet she’s still terrified to do it, because she knows it’s going to be painful. That’s why she agrees to put her house up for sale but won’t leave while potential buyers are touring and proceeds to freak them the hell out with details about her husband’s death. It’s why she looks at apartments but barely considers them, instead providing this type of feedback to her real-estate agent: “Oh, I would wrench my heart from my body and bleed out before I would live there, but thank you.” And it’s why she strongarms Steve into being there when she breaks the news to Zoe, even though this is objectively the worst idea in the history of ideas. Dee Dee knows exactly what she needs to do to begin living again, but she is still fighting against it in any way she can.
But the discussion with Zoe is like ripping off a Band-Aid. It goes about as poorly as you’d expect with this mother-daughter duo. It starts out awkwardly, mostly thanks to Steve’s presence, and goes downhill from there. Once Zoe decides to blame her mother for all of their issues and declare her father a saint (oh, how Dee Dee laughs), it turns into a real screaming match and Steve winds up taking an elbow to the nose. That’s right — Dee Dee and Zoe’s hard-truth conversation winds up in bloodshed. That feels right, doesn’t it? The whole thing is at once hilarious and full of heartbreak. While it ends with Zoe storming off in tears (to be fair to this twit, Dee Dee had been smashing walls with a hammer weeks after learning the truth, so Zoe deserves a little time to process), for Dee Dee, it seems almost freeing. She has done the hardest part now. When her real-estate agent calls with an offer on the house, she might tearfully look around and take a moment to remember a holiday dinner with her family, but a memory isn’t real life (Dee Dee might know this better than anyone), and whatever life she had in that house doesn’t exist anymore. She accepts the offer — she needs the money, and it’s time to move forward.
Edward is probably the least ready of our ensemble to move forward in any way — he has barely begun processing what happened to him — but he is surrounded by people attempting to make those strides. The most gutting at the moment is, obviously, Mahira. Hallucination Jordan was right when he told Edward that “we need to talk” is never good. When Edward and Mahira meet at the museum, she tells him that she doesn’t want to see him anymore and that he can’t text her. She’s glad she met Edward, but she needs to “leave this behind now.” It’s too hard. Mahira’s only a kid herself and probably has to deal with most of her grief on her own, so you can’t blame her for wanting to cut him out of her life, and yet that shot of Edward crying on the floor of the Museum of the Odd and Peculiar? That one is going to leave a mark.
The kid is just collecting postcrash losses at this point. Mahira, his uncle John, Shay. He has had to wrap his head around so many incomprehensible things, and all these people leaving him behind, looking to move on without him, is breaking him. When he runs into Amanda, who is at the house to fix the piano (Told ya!), he opens up to her in a way he can’t to his aunt. Oddly, they’re in startlingly similar situations — what with dead brothers and girlfriends and feelings getting all mixed up. When Edward asks Amanda what she will do about her feelings for her fiancé’s brother, her response is just to ignore them and move on. This, the same move Mahira pulled, sends Edward. He snaps at her to remember that the guy lost his brother and maybe she should “cut him some slack.” Is it weird that this 12-year-old is talking to an adult he’s never met before this way? Sure! But there’s a truth to what he’s saying. It wasn’t Mahira’s job to manage Edward’s feelings, but it was a rough way to cut out under these circumstances.
Edward is clinging on to whatever he can these days. He misses Shay, and he tries to mend fences by going out and building her a putting green, since she has picked up golf per her dad’s request. Later at school, like Mahira, she tells Edward that they can’t be friends like they used to be. She’s different now. Shay isn’t grieving or dealing with the trauma of the crash like Edward, but she is going through a lot — she tells him she got her first period — and she still very much has her dad in her ear. Something tells me that these pals will work things out in the end, but for now, all Edward sees is yet another person looking to move forward with their life without him. He is totally and utterly alone. He takes all the pain, anger, and abandonment he’s been feeling and marches to the music room at school. Earlier in the episode, he made the same walk, because he felt compelled to finally play the piano again, but faced with the instrument — and an entire roomful of confused kids in rehearsal — he ran off and cut school. This time, alone in the room, he walks over to the piano, slams on the keys, then wheels it out into the hallway, where he sends it crashing down the stairs. He stands above the wreckage, tears pouring down his face. Again, I’d like to point out that this kid is not in therapy yet, and that is absolutely wild. Someone help Edward, please! This is how he’s processing his trauma, and it is not working!!
• It’s a week before the election, and Adriana gets ambushed twice: first while giving an interview, she’s told that her grandmother paid her more than any other aide in her office, then again when pictures of Adriana and Eric go viral and they’re dubbed “the king and queen of New York.” She gives a rousing speech to the press about what actually matters and says, “If you don’t like what I stand for, don’t vote for me.” They didn’t show her chief of staff’s head exploding on the spot, but we can all assume.
• Adriana and Kojo finally have the conversation they were always headed toward. They have to face the hard truth that neither is going to give up their life for their relationship: “It’s sad, but that’s what it is.” I knew this relationship would break me!!
• Sam starts flirting via text with Vernon and, after much hesitation, starts sending shirtless pictures. It’s barely a day before his wife finds the texts. It’s definitely going to hurt, but it’s time Sam was honest with both Sienna and himself.
• Lacey doesn’t get a ton of airtime this week, but her “moving forward” moment was one of my favorites. After John swings by to “pick up his paddleboard” (I’m sorry, I almost laughed myself off my chair at that point) and tells Lacey how he isn’t giving up on them, she’s livid. “You left me,” she reminds him and his sad puppy-dog face. She’s hurting, so when she finds that paddleboard in the garage and takes it out on the water, it’s such a well-earned moment of peace for Lacey.
• Amanda takes what Edward tells her about cutting Steve some slack to heart, and she winds up calling him just to talk. Their relationship isn’t healthy — and Steve’s still picturing Amanda while having sex with his fiancée — but maybe it’s what both of them need at this moment in order to begin healing.
• That story Edward tells Amanda about learning to play the piano by putting his tiny hands over his dad’s hands while he played Chopin? Still crying about it, but it’s fine.