Stop me if you’ve heard this description of Kevin Can F**K Himself’s eponymous character before: “He’s awful, it might seem like he’s an idiot…but he’s also manipulative, and an asshole.” Allison says it at the top of the hour in episode six, communicating to Nick her reasons for wanting her husband dead. Over its first five outings, the AMC drama has built on this integral postulation about Kevin so much that hearing Allison say it yet again might feel repetitive. Well, fret not. “The Grand Victorian” takes the opportunity to display that we’ve just scratched the surface of Kevin’s ego and hypocrisy. With Patty in the loop, both women offer $7000 to Nick to kill Kevin, along with a prescription bottle of Oxy as down payment. He readily accepts but not without yelling at Allison to “shut up!” a few times, a moment that comes full circle by the end.
Allison and Patty go from putting a bounty on Kevin’s head to straight-up shopping for his birthday gift. If you thought he was conceited in general, Birthday Kevin is a real piece of work. He juggles two dinners every year—a simple, seemingly classy one for Allison at The Grand Victorian, and a fun one with video games and chicken wings at the next-door Tricky Ricky’s for Neil and Pete. You see, he’d rather play mind games with his wife and his best friend to make each one think they’re a priority instead of simply acting like a responsible 36-year-old man. At least Allison is smart enough to know she’s being played. She looks forward to this dinner just so she can get some alone time to read and drink wine. Yes, the bar really is set that low for her.
The most hard-hitting scenes of these dual dinners come in two parts. The first is when Allison is about to order fancy red wine to celebrate, but Kevin stops her to order the cheapest Pinot Noir instead. “It’s my birthday and I’m the most important one,” he reminds her, before essentially calling her a sucker. But hey, there’s a laugh track when he says it, so it must be funny, right? He then meets up with Neil and Pete, and is extraordinarily sweet to the former. “Today belongs to Neil,” he proclaims, and goes along with calling Allison a “giant wetted blanket.” It’s an instant reminder that Allison is a second class citizen in their little boys world. There is no shred of respect for her in their eyes, no matter how much she takes care of Kevin, their cult supreme. If he can’t stand up for her when she’s not around, there’s no way he will do it in her presence.
Patty doesn’t attend Kevin’s Tricky Ricky’s dinner out of loyalty to Allison, but mainly because she has to go meet Detective Tammy. She thinks its for an interrogation (is that why you dressed up so nicely in a beautiful blouse, Patty?), but it turns out to be date; one with several police officers just swarming around the bar. This bar, by the way, is adjacent to The Grand Victorian, where hired assassin Nick coincidentally works as a busboy. Just how small is this Worcester neighborhood? Allison discovers Patty’s lies about her whereabouts and the two duke it out in the bar bathroom about it. Patty then yells at Allison that “you’re inviting messy, you’re begging for it.” She’s technically not wrong, because now Allison is freaking out about not knowing when or where Nick will strike.
However, the two nearby locations allows Kevin Can F**K Himself to push its striking visual components harder. Since all scenes happen in such close proximity, the back and forth between multi-cam sitcom and single-cam drama is more jarring than normal, but the unpredictability is also very exciting, especially once Sam (Raymond Lee) and his wife Jenn (Meghan Leathers) fold into the mix. Allison and Sam are having a full-blown affair now (“I feel like I’m 17 again,” she tells him as they make out), so its awkward when Jenn invites her to join them for a drink as they wait for Kevin to return. Commentators, you were correct. Jenn is certainly extremely passive aggressive towards Allison this time. But the show keeps us guessing on what will happen when Kevin does come back. Will he step into her dark world?
Unfortunately, no. Instead of transporting Petersen’s Kevin to single-cam, Lee and Leathers enter the sitcom world as they stop by to wish Kevin at the end of the night. Kevin ends up choking when he hears Jenn “hearts NY. Allison diverts everyone’s attention so her husband can choke to death. It’s the first time Allison has committed to letting him die immediately, as opposed to some drawn out plan. But this takes place in the multi-cam story, so it obviously ends well when Sam saves Kevin. After the incident, Allison and Sam fight about lying to each other in regards to their respective spouses. He angrily tells her she has all the control. Look, in the big scheme of things, sure, she does have the power to leave Kevin. But Sam has no insights into the nuances of her marriage, so it’s unfair for him to make that claim and walk out. Their heated debate fuels Allison so she drives up to Nick, yells at him to “shut up,” and orders they do things her way now. Murphy is great at playing up Allison’s voice and behavior whenever she has to be assertive, so let’s hope the last two episodes have a lot more of it.
- In case you were wondering, Allison buys Kevin a brown leather massage chair (he prefers black leather, but we already know Allison loves going on mini-rebellions) and an ice cream cake he demanded despite being lactose intolerant. Meanwhile, he gave her a rubber band ball on Valentine’s Day. Ah, romance.
- Related: Kevin does ask Allison to return the brown chair and get a black one instead. Maybe the massage chair could electrocute him to death somehow?
- Patty putting on fake eyelashes while smoking a cigarette and with towel wrapped around her head, as well as sipping on vodka sodas while playing darts at a bar is absolutely a vibe. Mary Hollis Inboden is a natural.
- Allison being served wine and reading a book, “The Pearl” in this case, is reminiscent of episode two’s opener when she’s peacefully doing the same in her dream.
- Annie Murphy’s stretchy facial expressions when she drinks the horrible tasting wine is incredibly genuine and relatable.
- Patty coming in with a hot take on massage chairs: “This is out of a horror movie. It feels like ants are reaching through the chair to squeeze my neck.” Okay, I’m a Patty stan, but on this we’ll just agree to disagree.
- Who had cameos from athletes Sean Avery and Brian Scalabrine on their Kevin Can F**K Himself bingo cards?