“The Bachelor Party” is the episode of Grace And Frankie I feel like I’ve been waiting for ever since watching the pilot. Of course, the relationship dynamics that make this penultimate episode of the first season so great wouldn’t have been possible to pull off earlier in the season. Whereas “The Secrets” veers away from some of the cogent and thoughtful character work set up in the episodes that precede it, “The Bachelor Party” snaps back into focus, yielding one of the most fun episodes of the season. And even amid all the whiskey flights and table dances and mechanical penises, the episode doesn’t lose sight of the more serious emotions at play.
All the fun of this episode comes from the blossoming friendship between Grace and Frankie. Even though “The Secrets” caused a bit of a rift between the two women, “The Bachelor Party” brings them together in a way that feels natural and true to both characters. After falling off the wagon last episode, Frankie recommits to moving on from Sol, but the change has her feeling down. Seeing Frankie so sad and low-energy is heartbreaking, because she’s usually swaying around in her flowy dresses, living her best whipped-cream-in-her-coffee life. Grace can’t stand to see her so down and immediately wants to bring her back up, promising Frankie she’ll do anything —“I’ll drink beer! I’ll wear a hat!”—if it’ll make her happy. Frankie proposes a Say Yes Night, a concept introduced in “The Secrets” that consists of, well, saying yes to any and everything for a whole night.
Grace agrees, and the results are beautiful. The women dress each other, Grace putting Frankie in a light pink pantsuit and pulling back her lawless mane in a tasteful bun. Frankie gets Grace into some blue extensions and a wonderful punk outfit, and the two switcheroos head to the bar to get wild. Seeing Grace throw back a whiskey flight and let loose is exciting enough, but the most enjoyable part of all of this is just seeing Grace and Frankie be real gal pals, having fun together. They dance on the bar to “Get Low” in a scene that could have been twice as long without ever losing its steam.
But the writers don’t cast aside these characters’ emotions and complicated relationships for the sake of having some fun. The more serious elements of Grace And Frankie are still there, just under the surface, bursting forth at unexpected times. Grace very casually mentions that Guy told her he’s falling in love with her, and Frankie is, understandably, hurt that Grace hadn’t told her. But it also makes sense that Grace wouldn’t have immediately taken the news to Frankie given the events of “The Secrets.” The two talk it over, and Grace confides in Frankie, telling her she didn’t tell Guy she loves him. The women work through these feelings at the same time as living up their Say Yes Night, and it all reads as very real: two friends just trying to have a good night but who can’t really escape the emotional baggage they bring along.
Meanwhile, Bud and Coyote frantically try to plan Robert and Sol’s bachelor party, calling in Mallory and Brianna as reinforcements. Mallory helps them plan the tasteful party Robert and Sol requested—complete with Robertritas, Soljitos, and lots of fancy finger foods, but the party ends up a bust, with both the lawyer friends and the gay friends yawning and wincing their way through awkward small talk. The Robert and Sol storyline isn’t quite as rich as Grace and Frankie’s, but there are some sweet moments between the two, especially when Robert stands up to his homophobic former mentor. The past few episodes have explored how Robert and Sol are still adjusting to their new lives, and the writers are finally starting to find the right tone and context for these realizations. Robert and Sol’s arc in “The Bachelor Party” feels more grounded than some of their previous relationship work has, and even though their bachelor party doesn’t end up being the episode’s beating heart in the way Say Yes Night does, it manages to make their relationship feel more real than just a plot point.
- Here’s a fun personal anecdote: I love the concept of the Say Yes Night, and in fact, I once lived what I called a Summer Of Yes in Los Angeles, during which I pretty much said yes to everything so long as it wasn’t going to physically or emotionally harm me. So if you think Grace and Frankie got up to some shenanigans on their simple evening of saying yes to everything, just imagine what kind of summer I had. I firmly believe everyone should try it once!
- According to Frankie, corgis are the preferred mode of transportation for woodland fairies.
- Frankie and Grace are so honest and open with one another as they sit on the curb waiting for their cab that I thought for the briefest of moments that Frankie was actually going to kiss Grace.
- Brianna would be the first person I’d call if a party wasn’t going well, too.
- “You talk so slow, sometimes I think you’re dumb.” - Brianna, to Coyote
- Here’s one more photo of Grace and Frankie dancing, because I can’t get enough of these outfits: