Oh, no. No, no, no. It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a TV or film character goes to a funeral, someone’s horny. I don’t know why the entertainment industry at large has decided funerals are for fucking 75 percent of the time or why we as a society have accepted it, but it’s true. So as soon as this Ben character calls up Jessie — interrupting her phone sex with Tom no less, even if said phone sex was tragic as hell — and tells her that his nan passed away and she says yes, sure, she’ll come to the funeral, you know nothing good can come from this. Just let funerals be for grieving, TV shows!
We don’t know a ton about Ben. Jessie mentions that she probably sent one of her regrettable good-bye forever letters to him and that it most likely contained sentiments such as “you ruined my life” and “I hate you.” Kate is certainly not a fan, and it seems like Jessie mostly wishes him death. So like, these aren’t great first impressions. Knowing even this small amount of information certainly makes it hard to watch Jessie immediately say yes to him when he calls. Even if Jessie thinks she’s being a good person who is there for someone who was seemingly a big part of her life, it’s obvious to everyone else that she’s just being manipulated back into whatever bullshit he was pulling back when they were dating. All the red flags are at full mast, you know? Unfortunately, not even Kate’s stern talking-to about how Ben is a “ghost from the past” and they are supposed to visit you, not the other way around — don’t go seeking out ghosts from your past, guys!! — nor her vehement “Fuck that guy” will stop Jessie from attending this funeral. At least Kate convinces her that no, she does not need a beret for her outfit. Could you imagine? So with a “have a good day, kind of” from Kate, Jessie heads out to her ex’s nan’s funeral.
Jessie is shocked to find out that the dead nan in question isn’t the one she actually liked, it’s the one who Jessie believed “had it out for [her],” and she doesn’t hesitate to tell Ben that at the funeral reception. He apologizes for the confusion. Honestly, awkward Jessie at a funeral is the gift that keeps on giving, and I could watch two full episodes of this. Not surprisingly, Jessie stays the entire time, helps Ben clean up, and accepts his invitation to come back to his family’s house because “everyone” would really love to spend time with her. She ditches Steve and Sarah without hesitation to stay with Ben. This is bad news, people, and we all know it.
Back at Ben’s, the two have ended up drinking beers in his childhood bedroom and are playing a game Jessie apparently invented in which you walk into a room and pretend to faint — most realistic faint wins, or something. The rules are, per usual, unclear, but the vibe is fun. You can see them easily slide back into what must have been their usual repartee. You can feel a history. It doesn’t take long for Ben to bring up the letter. Jessie tries to claim identity fraud — someone stole both her identity and her personalized stationery, it seems — but Ben doesn’t let her get away with it. He thanks her for sending it because they never really talked about what happened between them and he needed to hear it from her. It’s important to note that he doesn’t really apologize, but he does tell Jessie that he’s missed her and then leans in for a kiss. This is very much not cool, Benjamin.
Jessie slips away before anything can actually happen, but there is a moment, you know? Instead of giving in to it, she takes another turn at the fainting game. This time, all amped up, she gets a running head start and then actually falls. She winds up breaking her arm. While this is bad because surely it hurts a lot, it also means she’s going to have to explain some things when Tom gets a look at her.
While Jessie didn’t technically do anything wrong, you just want to yell at her to stop with all this nonsense, especially because she knows what she’s doing. After all, she’s the one who exclaims, “He’s catfished me with a dead grandmother!” So she knows. Think of Tom! Her nice, official boyfriend, who is definitely thinking of her. He’s off on his indie-movie shoot and is trying to be cool about her going to this funeral, but you can tell it is nagging at him. Also, it’s a little heartbreaking to see Jessie just all in on spending time with Ben, juxtaposed with Tom having a tough day on set — his director is a bit unhinged — and all he wants is to talk to Jessie about it. He leaves her multiple voicemails that day in which he both questions his acting skills and makes “jokes” about Jessie getting back together with Ben. It’s also not an accident that Starstruck throws in a little thread in which a PA on set, who seems great and fun, hits on Tom. Now, he doesn’t even have to think about it before turning her down for a drink. He has a girlfriend, he tells her. Tom being so committed, especially after all his doubts in season one, makes the whole situation with Ben even more annoying. Jessie has something so good here.
When Jessie and Tom do finally get on the phone, she assures him that there’s nothing to worry about with Ben. He’s “nothing but trouble,” and she’s not going to see him again. While I wholeheartedly believe the former, I do not for one second believe the latter. We’ve learned throughout the entirety of Starstruck that Jessie is a self-sabotager, and Ben here presents the perfect opportunity to do just that.
• Last season, the best episode opening was far and away the “Return of the Mack” one-night-stand celebration. However, the opening in this episode might be coming for that title. Jessie is in the bathroom when a timer goes off and we see her look at a pregnancy test. She starts sobbing. It’s positive, she’s pregnant, and you can see she is devastated. Still crying, she picks up the box and starts to look closer at the instructions and slowly, you can see it dawn on her that she read the test wrong and she isn’t pregnant. The tears stop and she tosses that test in the trash with a peppy “Jordan!” and goes about her day. A perfect scene.
• In an attempt to make their phone sex better, Jessie and Tom head to Thesarus.com to spice it up, but I think it just makes it worse. An unveiled bosom? A hardened monument? No, thank you very much.
• It looks like Sarah said yes to Steve’s big proposal, although she doesn’t seem that enthused about it. In fairness, she is not enthused about literally anything.
• Life is too short, Tom, just eat the salad dressing.
• Tom addresses his castmates: “Hope we have a really fun time … telling this violent, violent story.”
• Jessie knows all about the order of seating at a funeral: “The front is for family and mistresses.”