Kevin Can F**K Himself’s sixth episode does a great job of establishing a fact I now wish season two had spent more time developing. If Allison changes her identity and escapes Worcester (because she believes it’s the only way to escape Kevin permanently), she won’t just be leaving him behind. After 10 years of loneliness, Allison has formed an unshakable bond with Patty, reconnected with her aunt Diane, and found a friend in her ex, Sam. She hasn’t realized it so far, but she’d be giving them up in her attempt to start over. Is the sacrifice worth it? By the end of “The Machine,” KCFH makes the case that it isn’t.
To believable conclude that Allison wants to stay in her hometown is a daunting challenge. She’s only concocted escape plans until this point, and continually expresses hatred for a place that trapped her forever. She spends season two breaking into funeral homes and city halls to attain Gertrude Fronch’s death certificate and assume her identity. Now that she has it, and therefore the means to go, the sudden shift in her perspective at the end to stay put is jarring but understandable—she’d be giving up the only life she’s ever known. But KCFH has to then pull off an explanation for why she decides not to leave.
The most impactful was the focus on Allison and Diane’s interactions. It was incredibly heartfelt to see Allison finally (finally) find common ground with the only family member she’s still close with. In season one, Diane was barely a side character who, despite knowing Kevin’s flaws, encouraged Allison to stay with him. The justification was along the lines of “It’s just what us women do.” However, Diane starts season two by finding out her own husband of several years is cheating on her. She’s been living the same kind of life her niece is desperate to escape. And when she briefly departs, Chuck pulls Diane back into his world, just as Allison feared Kevin would if she ever left him. It’s no wonder that Diane finds solace in Neil’s arms. What is a pleasant surprise, though, is Allison’s reaction to finding out.
She doesn’t chastise her aunt for hooking up with Neil, who, let’s not forget, did physically assault her in the season one finale (a fact Diane isn’t aware of). He’s also spent years under Kevin’s tutelage, loudly supporting and taking part in his ridiculous actions. It’s only when the rug is pulled out from under him by Allison and Patty that Neil starts to evaluate his toxic friendship, and eventually seeks companionship in Diane. They’re two lost souls who would otherwise find comfort in an alcohol bottle (Neil still does, it looks like). Once Allison spots them making out at the bar, she tries to talk with her aunt about it. They end up having a heart-to-heart wherein Diane explains herself by saying, simply: “He’s been here. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.” She indirectly calls out Allison for only being focused on her issues.
Of course, Allison does her due diligence by warning Diane that Neil is still going through something major, and might not be the right one for her. But she just wants her to be happy. Neil kind of proves Allison’s point by ditching Diane instead of meeting her at their secret motel hideout. This decision, and confronting Neil about it, spurs Diane to lend Allison a whole bunch of money so she can go on her “vacation.” The two women reconcile in a way they haven’t before. I just wonder why more time wasn’t devoted to this fascinating bond.
Allison would also have to let go of Patty, and that’s probably the biggest hurdle for her. Her decision to remain in Worcester comes right after Tammy confronts her about the Vermont footage. (Did Tammy show it to her to test Allison, or out of genuine concern? I think it’s the former). But instead of leaving Patty all alone to deal with the results of Tammy’s investigation, she decides to turn her problem around by making Kevin deal with it instead. She realizes that Kevin’s narcissism might benefit her if she turns the tables on him.
Case in point: He complains about her not being around to clean up after him. When Allison refuses to do the dirty work because she does it during her day job at Bev’s Diner anyway, Kevin does the impossible yet again. He complains to Sam’s wife, Jenn, about how their respective spouses work until midnight. How interesting would it have been to see that conversation? It doesn’t help that Kevin blurts out that he knows about their issues since he knew Sam sleeps at the diner on some nights. Even though we don’t see him do it, the damage is done. Sam and Jenn end their marriage, and while Sam is happy about that at least, his diner is in danger because her parents loaned him the money for it.
Kevin’s interference proves to Allison that she could use his selfish ways to her advantage and get rid of Tammy by somehow throwing her off the case, or the police force overall. Does she know he got the reporter (and her former classmate) who wrote the article on them fired? Clearly, he’s capable of anything. Even so, it’s an extreme step for her, and her warped thought process will justify it as an attempt to save Patty and herself. And if no one’s after them, she could potentially stay in Worcester. But what would she do with Kevin then, or does she hope he’ll be put away for whatever he might do to Tammy? KCFH has only two—two!!—episodes to figure it out.
- Kevin buying an indoor bathtub when they have no money, or no space thanks to his mess, is the most sitcom husband crap.
- Kevin getting a freaking STOP sign removed instead of waking up and reaching work on time is the most egotistical man-child crap. He didn’t consider how many accidents this would cause, let alone his own wife and her boss/lover getting T-boned because of it. And he didn’t notice when she was injured either.
- Kudos to Annie Murphy for a fantastic performance, especially when she enters her house, sees that stolen sign that caused her crash, and laughs out loud.
- I’m loving the slow build of Pete getting deeply frustrated by Kevin’s ineptitude, mostly because he’s found a partner in Doris. If KCFH had a few more outings, I’d have enjoyed a breakdown of their past pre-Allison, and how Kevin was shaped into the asshole that he is right now. Then again, I’m happy to simply heed the show title’s advice too.
- Allison and Patty drinking together as Patty fixes her broken shoulder was my second favorite scene of the episode. It was a great display of the lightness their friendship brings to each of them.
- Or is it just friendship? Let’s just look at this conversation between them about Tammy:
Patty: “She’s just jealous.”
Allison: “Because we’re friends?”
Nah, babes, it’s because she suspects some lingering feelings there. But the show hasn’t confirmed or denied this outright just yet.
- Sam is fully onboard with Allison’s plans now, and I’m glad they didn’t throw in a romantic relationship there. It would’ve been too much.
- Finally, any episode that begins with a journalist being let go from their job? Triggering, I tell you.