Kevin Can F**k Himself Recap: Marriage, Right?

Kevin Can F**k Himself

The Way We Were
Season 2 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

Kevin Can F**k Himself

The Way We Were
Season 2 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Robert Clark/Stalwart Productions/AMC

If you deny that something ever happened, you can, in some timelines, make it go away. It’s not an unfamiliar tactic: Think about the past six years of American politics or, generally, any type of famous abusive person. And in this week’s Kevin Can F**K Himself, denial is driving every character. In the dimly lit hospital of Bleak World, Neil lies asleep in his bed. Allison shoves him awake. He starts to threaten Allison, saying he has leverage over her because he knows about the attempted murder. However, Allison and Patty are a united front. They tell him no, they never tried to kill Kevin. Obviously it was Neil. They’re gaslighting him into silence.

So Patty and Allison solved the Neil problem for now, but Patty is out. Allison’s quest to escape Kevin one way or another continues, though, and her next move is visiting the office of Billy Terrell, who offers private-detective services.

There, Aunt Diane weeps over Chuck’s affair. Allison, meanwhile, is prodding Billy for information on how to disappear. Is it possible to “order off the menu” of suspicious PI services? Diane gets a call from Chuck and excuses herself. “Marriage, right?” Allison says, but Billy knows it’s not about that. He sizes her up as the real person who needs help and tells her to come back with $350 if she wants his time. The only person not in denial: the PI.

So Allison needs money. Chilling in the car with Diane, she asks about working at the liquor store again. It’s not possible because Diane hired a teen who “smells like one of those teen stores at the mall,” an evocative little piece of dialogue; you know that exact scent. Diane suggests pawning stuff, like how she pawned Chuck’s gold necklace. It’s possible, according to Diane, because Kevin’s valuables are now in Chuck’s storage space post-break-in.

Patty, meanwhile, collapses on her bed before she is interrupted by her doorbell. It’s Tammy, asking to stay over with the most convenient of excuses. “People who show up at front doors without calling are intense,” Tammy admits. She’s right, but her electricity is out, her phone is bad, and she needs a place to stay. Patty lets her in with a sexless mwah.

Patty and Tammy, well … I’m not feeling it, folks. Tammy rolls her eyes at every mention of Allison — fair, considering Patty’s thinly veiled crush. Tammy is all-in on Patty, which would be dreamy for the right person. They should be on fire right now! But it’s not like that — and there’s no time to stress because Neil, a stoic man with a freshly shaved head, is standing outside. Patty and Neil glower at each other, and as Allison and Tammy pop outside, it gets awkward. Neil’s anger is palpable. He sneers at Allison about his haircut, and he makes a show of telling Tammy that his giant stapled head wound is a “food poisoning” accident. After awkward exits, Neil goes into Allison’s kitchen, where he’s frozen, lost in memories of his murderous attack.

But Kevin enters the kitchen, an interruption for Neil’s mood, and we’re in Sitcom World finally. Neil practically tackles him in a hug. Kevin makes fun of his haircut. He calls him names. He asks Neil what happened, and Neil repeats his story. Still in Bleak World mode, he tells Kevin, “I’m back, and I’ll always be here for you.” He’s intense. Christian Bale intense. But Kevin remains in his own world “as a newly minted local celebrity,” and he needs an assistant: Neil. Dude is thrilled to get out of his own head.

In Bleak World, Allison and Diane rifle through Chuck’s storage unit. Allison finds a Wade Boggs rookie card. She finds her old pearl necklace. Allison puts it on and smiles at herself. But once Neil rolls up to the unit, looking for Kevin’s lucky Red Sox cap, she has to hide in the corner. Diane distracts Neil with a can opener, a silly runner, and Allison uses his moment of distraction to take the Wade Boggs card and Kevin’s lucky hat.

Later, Allison walks into her Sitcom World kitchen. Kevin is there prepping for his big newspaper interview. (The respect this show has for print media! For local media! We love to see it.) He’s in his tricked-out studded leather jacket and a “wild dude” headband made of T-shirt fabric, and he has his very own vision board. He accuses Allison of always being high and mighty when she wears her pearls. For Kevin, this interview is going to be the difference between whether the Worcester Wild Dude is a flash in the pan or a brand, which is why he’s fretting. Plus his dad says he’s more “aspirational” if he’s not married, so he needs Allison to scram.

Allison, a woman on a mission, heads to Sam’s diner in Bleak World. She pulls a very familiar move, saying they have been longtime friends, and she needs some … money, in this case. Sam interrupts and says she doesn’t have her job back. Allison has no idea that she lost her job — denial! In her misery, Allison is very self-absorbed! She was looking for a contact with Sam’s pawn-shop-owner uncle, but he’s actually dead in this case. Allison apologizes as she leaves the restaurant all flustered. It’s vintage Annie Murphy screwball flutters, and it’s funny. But overall, it’s hard to sympathize much with Allison during this episode. She’s mostly a machination of other people’s misery. Kind of similar to … Kevin???

The O’Connor house is basically Denial City. Neil can’t find Kevin’s lucky hat and he’s freaking out, breathing heavily, on the verge of a panic attack. Patty offers help, and Neil goes dark, yelling “Get out!” at her, his tone menacing and violent. Patty can’t win: Tammy’s leaving, for now, to stay with her brother. Tammy has been trying — paying attention to the little things, like Patty’s dislike of cashews — but Patty is distant. It’s not worth it. Tammy is putting herself first, as she should!

Once again, Aunt Diane saves Allison, taking her to the pawn shop while drinking a jumbo guzzle filled with “Smirnoff and Ice.” Allison is cheerful: “Hello!” she says. “We would like to PAWN an item!” Diane gets her $375 for it and asks if a “weekend in Branson” will fix anything. “Worcester’s a trap, Diane,” is Allison’s rude response. Diane gets snippy, as does Allison. But there’s no time to work it out because the Wade Boggs card actually comes up as a stolen item. Not only can Allison not get the money, but she can’t even get the card back.

In Sitcom World, Kevin is telling the demure interviewer that he was Worcester’s largest baby at birth (14 pounds!) — natural, of course (ow!). Neil comes in with the Buffalo-sauce samples, and Kevin tells him to make some tea. Neil leaves the living room and is now in the Bleak World kitchen, where he puts on water for sad tea and spaces out. The tea whistle rings while Neil has another flashback to his attack on Allison.

But again, when Kevin walks in, it’s a cut to Sitcom World. Neil says he drifted and then tells Kevin, “She’s trying to kill you.” He brought the harsh, cruel truth into the fluorescent lights of Sitcom World, and all Kevin can hear is jokes about women. The reporter’s skirt is awfully short; marriage is a death sentence; women, am I right?

Kevin goes into the living room for his interview. While downing a Buffalo wing, he brags about keeping cool in any situation — cue the high jinks! The hot sauce is too hot! Kevin flails, running into the door and falling. Neil comes out of the kitchen and trips over him. Kevin grabs a carton of milk and pours it all over his eyes.

In the backyard — Bleak World — Allison is shivering, calling Diane about another trip to the storage unit. The reporter pops out onto the porch and recognizes Allison from high school. Turns out Allison was a champion swimmer! She was in the paper every other week. And she bailed on the team. Reporter Kelly says she had a shot at leaving Worcester. She could’ve gone to college (but not, like, BC, i.e., Boston College). Allison corrects her: She didn’t actually have a shot. But do we believe Allison?

Allison is on one this week. Her self-obsessed pity party is doing nobody any favors. Naturally, her next step is talking to Patty on the porch. She asks her for help. “I don’t want to be me anymore,” she says.

But Patty has had some growth, and while she is helping Allison, she also does something for herself. She meets Tammy at a bar, which is actually the site of a wake for Tammy’s former partner. Patty acts like a grown-up and talks with Tammy, explaining why she has been so cold. Patty has to run — but not without kissing Tammy a little bit in public.

In Sitcom World, Kevin’s plot gets a tidy little resolution as he crows on the couch. When he makes a lesbian U-Haul joke about Tammy and Patty, though, Allison and Neil snap “Leave her alone!” in tandem. Allison leaves, but Kevin is unbothered as he and his dad clink beers. Neil looks dead inside — dude is turning into a Worcester wild card.

Allison and Patty meet up for a mysterious meeting in an abandoned parking lot. It’s our old friend Billy PI. His car is trashed because Chuck got revenge; Diane has apparently run off to South Carolina, just leaving a note behind. Allison gives Billy her pearl necklace for leverage. He asks them what they want. Patty and Allison swear that this case is much more complicated. In unison, they say, “We’re a lot of work.” It’s a self-deprecating — but honest — statement to close out an hour that has otherwise been all about denial.

Starbucks?! Over Dunkies!!

• Sensual Dunkin’s (it’s always and forever Dunkin’ Donuts to me) cameo this week when Allison and Diane talk in the car. Diane likes her coffee with a shower of sugar!

• According to my lawyer husband, “If Allison doesn’t have more money than Kevin and they don’t have kids (established last season), getting a divorce isn’t a problem, and it’s cheaper than faking your own death.”

• Kevin’s vision board: It has words like kick-ass, awesome, a picture of Massachusetts, Worcester city seals (a sad, minimalist heart framed by a wreath; no Illuminati code to be found, unlike other cities in this state or even the state seal itself) in various sizes, and very cool drawings of lions in sunglasses.

• Bye, Diane? If she is in South Carolina and off the show, well, Jamie Denbo remains a stealth MVP, hilariously half-sloshed, half-just-crying-with-smudged-eyeliner throughout the episode.

• There sure seems to be a gap between the Allison that we see, scheming and self-pitying, and the Allison in her head. Wonder if that’s going to be rectified in a meta fashion?

Kevin Can F**k Himself Recap: Marriage, Right?