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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

United States Of Tara: Torando!

Illustration for article titled United States Of Tara: Torando!

One thing I'm especially loving about this season of Tara is that every episode feels so tightly packed, not in that the writers try to force too much into each installment, but that so few words feel wasted: there seems to be meaning in each line. 

We picked up from last episode, with Max talking to Shoshana, who is taking notes (which seemed like it could compromise her promise of confidentiality to Max).  Max confesses that after Tara lied about Buck's affair with Pammy and about finding a therapist, he has questions about the strength of their marriage.  Shoshana advises Max that if he's not willing to separate from Tara, to contemplate letting "her go: a little."  After they finish their appointment with a handshake, Tara is once again in the same room as Shoshana, and they discuss the positivity of their relationship. "You're the only alter I've been so continuously co-conscious with," Tara says, which Shoshana promises means she's closer to "integrating" (I'm not entirely sure what she means by this.) "I have a very good feeling about you and me," Shoshana says, and then Tara transitions back into herself.  This is where I started to get the feeling that while Shoshana might be good for Tara in some ways, there was something a little off about how up IN everything Shoshana is with both Max and Tara. Is it healthy for both of them to be taking advice from one of her alternate personalities?

Back at the house, Marshall and Kate are both struggling to break free: Max of Courtney, who is fine with being a "celibate power couple" and doesn't want to break up, and Kate, from Max, who has grounded her despite her intention to go make some money with Lynda while doing a Princess Valhalla Hawkwind appearance.  Everyone's on lockdown however as there's a tornado (or, as the news inaccurately spells it to Max's consternation, "torando") warning. 

The sirens go off and the family heads to the Hubbard house's basement, which Charmaine, who is for some reason afraid of basements, is reluctant to head into.  The gaybors also hole up with them. As the storm approaches, Tara transitions into Buck, who wants to go board up Pammy's windows. Alice makes a brief appearance, uttering the odd line, "I know why we're down here Max, what do you think I am, a whore?" Finally Shoshana appears and declares that it's time for group therapy, which neither Charmaine nor Kate seem psyched about.  I love it when Tara's alters call out Kate's bitchy behavior.  "Kate, your anger is a very pretty costume," says Shoshana. "Sort of like how your costume is a costume," as Kate's in her Valhalla outfit (I can't believe she didn't take off those boots).  Kate stalks off and Ted notes that Tara's remarkable like the real Shoshana, minus one "killer lisp."  Meanwhile his partner Hany gets to know Marshall, praising him for his intellect: it seems like the first normal conversation Marshall's had all season.

Kate, once again desperate for Lynda to rescue her from her life at home and family, leaves her new friend several voicemails, and to kill time the crew dances to the radio.  Shoshana tries to get Charmaine to join in and when Charmaine resists, Shoshana reveals to everyone (including Max) that Charmaine is carrying Neil's, not Nick's baby (here's where Shoshana starts messing things up and also where we see that the alters are talking to each other).  The storm breaks a window as Shoshana starts getting to the meat of the matter, talking about a habit of lying that started early with Charmaine and Tara, and alludes to a "pact" they made a long time ago.  Shoshana passes out and suddenly we see a flashback to Tara talking to Shoshana in the office, Shoshana advising Tara that the business of "protecting her sister" needs to stop, and that it's time to get out of the basement (this might be a good time to read up again on the Valhalla Hawkwind story). 

Tara comes back to consciousness, this time as herself, and announces that the storm's over; the pressure's changed. "There is a light at the end of the tunnel, Max," she tells her husband, using his terminology from his appointment with Shoshana (once again, discussions between Tara/Max/Shoshana becoming more sloshy) and Tara heads outside, walking down the ruined street and shedding some of her clothes as she heads off.

So what do we think? Could Shoshana possibly be pulling an Alice-like power play?  Will Marshall ever figure out how to break up with Courtney?  And when do we get to see T.?

—I liked the dancing scene because anybody who has ever been trapped in a basement during a tornado knows you get bored very quickly, which is how I came to learn how to play ping pong.

—"I don't want to put my boner into—"