“TB’s Mom” S3 / E8
- B+ Community Grade
If Delocated can have “filler” episodes, “TB’s Mom” is one. As much as there’s a plot to Delocated, this episode basically services the events of the previous week and sets the stage for what promises to be an all-out gang war between the Mirminskys and the Wang Chos. Plus Jon goes out on a date with his dry cleaner Eun Mi, a Korean woman who pretends to be a Chinese woman who can barely speak English, even though she’s perfectly fluent. Much of what happens to Jon feels ancillary; meanwhile, in the background, war is coming (check out Game Of Thrones on HBO, coming this spring). So what I’m trying to say is this: Next week, shit’s going down, even if Todd Barry has to get smacked around a bit more.
My biggest problem with all the Jon stuff is that when there are real stakes present on Delocated—many people are about to be killed—anything with little payoff is going to seem severely deflated by comparison. The progression of Jon’s courtship of Eun Mi could’ve been split into two different episodes. It starts when she messes up the crease in Jon’s jeans—specifically by giving them one. To pay him back, she offers him a coupon good for a meal at any Chinese restaurant, and she assures him that, yes, every restaurant apparently accepts this coupon. Jon decides, bafflingly, to ask her out and use the coupon on their date. Of course the waiter laughs in his face, as does Eun Mi. Turns out, she’s been faking her accent simply to fuck with Jon. And let me tell you, “I simply wanted to fuck with you” is rarely great motivation for behavior on TV. It’s akin to doing an improv scene and telling your partner that he or she’s crazy; it’s a form of denial that this person would exist in the world and want to do something for a real reason.
I mean, it’s still only Delocated—so I don’t take these developments too seriously—but I did find it odd that after all that gets cleared up, Eun Mi changes what she’s after: Jon shows her a good time on the date, and as long as he can keep topping himself, she’s willing to give him a shot. She gets off on the thrill of the unexpected (again, sort of a weird thing to spring in the middle of an episode, rather than let that impulse grow throughout). Jon plans a romantic evening in his apartment, and when he goes to pick her up, she jokes that she hopes he hasn’t done exactly that. He has to come up with something else on the fly.
Fortunately-ish, the leader of the Wang Cho gang shows up in a car at that very moment, demanding Jon get in; thinking it’s part of the date, Eun Mi joins him. They’re led to a warehouse where Todd Barry is tied up, because the other Wang Cho guys mistook him for Mishka. Jon has to beat Todd Barry up with nunchucks, and Eun Mi gets the thrill of hitting her favorite comedian in the face. (Later, Mishka hits Todd Barry in the face, meaning Jon Glaser himself got to do that take numerous times—okay, that’s funny.) Then, she dies. Wait, what? Seriously. Jon shows up to take her out on a third date, and her mom informs Jon that she died. She has even laid out a candle in her memory. Jon wonders if it’s all an elaborate prank, then accepts the truth and heads out. If this is truly the last we’ve heard of Eun Mi, then what a strange and inconsequential plotline that is.
The stuff with substance, meanwhile, is reserved for the supporting characters this week. TB has been a part of Jon’s life for this entire season, but rarely have we gotten a chance to see him at his weakest. At the same time, season three marks a time when Jon has had two constants in his life: TB and The Glaze. And though the two share many scenes together, there had yet to be any indication as to what their relationship was like. “TB’s Mom” gives us all that in spades. When TB’s mom shows up after her divorce (to stay in Jon’s old apartment it seems like), TB goes through the range of emotions reserved for an angsty teen who might be hearing the news of his parents’ separation. And that includes anger towards his mom’s new lover, who just so happens to be The Glaze. The flip-out isn’t totally unwarranted though. Earlier in the episode, TB kind of loses it hearing The Glaze spew his hippy-dippy nonsense to Jon. TB is a man of practicality and action, so it’s not surprising he and The Glaze wouldn’t get along—though it’s surprising it took this long to come to a head.
In any case, The Glaze taking an interest in TB’s mom wouldn’t be so bad were it not for his desire to move things quickly. As in: They’re banging basically the day after they meet. Plus, according to Susan, The Glaze is a sexual dynamo, who goes in balls first and can do more with one stroke than most men can do in their entire lives. (He even wrote a book called The Fine Art Of The Stroke.) TB gets to hear all these sordid details, then confront The Glaze and his mom about what’s been going on. Watching him regress to a poor little child gives TB depth than just being the guy who stands around Jon saying creepy shit. Both Mike and Rob got to showcase that side of themselves, and it’s nice to allow Ali Farahnakian to let his freak flag fly, too.