Somebody Somewhere S1E4: “Feast of St. Francis”

Joel stands in a parking lot, arms to his sides
Photograph by Elizabeth Sisson/HBO

The following contains spoilers for Somebody Somewhere S1E4, “Feast of St. Francis” (written by Patricia Breen and directed by Robert Cohen)

I guess I was off-base in my predictions of how Tricia and Charity would react to the graffiti on their storefront window we saw at the end of Somebody Somewhere S1E3, as in S1E4 it is barely a plot point and not mentioned until Sam makes a crack about the window display (which has been cleaned up). She infers that it is the rainbow design that was taken to be for Pride and thus inspired the vandalism, which may well be right, but the funny thing is how Tricia and Charity insist it is just a rainbow to celebrate Kansas as though they hadn’t even thought about it. Perhaps they had not.

Regardless, they throw some Wizard of Oz into the mix and that seems to go over fine when they have their party, but what’s striking is how Somebody Somewhere plays this all out virtually in the background of other events. I had thought that it would become a big deal and lead Tricia on some kind of cultural rampage, but that has more to do with my expectations as a TV viewer than anything to do with reality. In the real world, it is much more likely to go like this. Someone defaced the window. You get it cleaned up and move on.

Tricia in general is striking me as a more sympathetic character as Somebody Somewhere progresses, but I don’t think it means she has changed. Rather, it’s that she feels like a real person, and indeed the kind of person you might meet in Manhattan, Kansas. Though I’ve never been there, the overall presentation of the Midwest feels in line with the experiences I have had. The way that Ed insists on the privacy of himself and MJ gets to it well. She may be in rehab, but that isn’t anyone else’s business.

Tricia and Charity lie on a couch together in Somebody Somewhere S1E4
Photograph by Elizabeth Sisson/HBO

Sam confronts Rick early on in “Feast of St. Francis” and he seems to fess up to selling drugs. I didn’t think that was going to be the real story, though, and the end of S1E4 suggests that it isn’t. He’s been cheating on Tricia with Charity, which is far worse than selling drugs, so he was more than willing to let Sam think it was that. Or I suppose he may have sold drugs also since the affair with Charity wouldn’t explain the cash in his pocket…perhaps we’ll find out.

Either way, what remains unexplained is what Rick was doing at choir practice. It’s true that he shouldn’t have to provide any justification for being there, and maybe he was just inclined to check it out for some reason, but given that this is where Sam’s suspicion of him began, I can’t help but hope for some kind of resolution to the plotline, even if this just amounts to the two, you know, talking about it (which does seem unlikely, cf. the Midwestern privacy ethos mentioned above).

Sam holds a beer while talking to Joel and Michael at a bar
Photograph by Elizabeth Sisson/HBO

Joel meanwhile freaks out because Pastor Deb wants to see him in her office, and though it turns out that she is just hoping he will become more active in lay ministry for the church (after having seen him deal so well with the children who brought their pets to be blessed, which is a common practice to mark the Feast of St. Francis), this leads Joel to confess about choir practice.

We don’t see this happen, however, so we don’t get a sense of Deb’s reaction to the whole thing. What we do see is first Joel handing over his keys, and then moping around the mall before taking solace in a massage chair with a puppy.

It feels possible to me that Pastor Deb would just be fine with choir practice. What is the harm in it, after all? And Michael seemed to think there was a good chance this would be how things would go when he offered to go along with Joel to talk to her. Joel is definitely the kind of guy to overreact, so I think there is a decent chance he is overreacting. I hope so, since if choir practice is no more that would be very sad.

As for Michael, he starts to tell Joel how much he is looking forward to having a date night together without Sam before Sam arrives and invites herself along. But then when she tries to leave the bar, Michael insists that she stay. It seems pretty clear that he was angling to hook her up with Craig, which does seem to have worked. Sam seems pretty turned off by his pantless coffee making, though, so I don’t exactly have high hopes for their relationship.

Sam smiles as she sits at a table at the bar
Photograph by Elizabeth Sisson/HBO

We’re past the halfway mark on Somebody Somewhere, and it continues to be a breath of fresh air each week. I don’t know about you, but I am strangely bored with big stories where the fate of the world is at play. It’s nice to enjoy a small one for a change, where the stakes are existential, or interpersonal, but just as meaningful anyway, if not more so.

See you next week. Hopefully there will be choir practice.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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