Somebody Somewhere S2E1 Recap: “NNP” Feels the Absence of Ed

Sam and Joel in a hardware store in Somebody Somewhere S2E1. He holds a can of cleaning product. She holds a basket and a box of garbage bags
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for Somebody Somewhere S2E1, “NNP” (written by Hannah Bos & Paul Thureen & Bridget Everett, and directed by Robert Cohen)

As Somebody Somewhere Season 2 begins, it would seem that about nine months have passed since the end of Season 1. At least, Fred (Murray Hill) indicates that he’s been away on sabbatical in Wisconsin for nine months, so that gives us a rough timeframe.

S2E1 does a nice job of establishing the current state of everything without falling into clunky expository dialogue. We’re trusted to infer things, which is always nice, but all of the necessary information is there.

Joel (Jeff Hiller) is staying with Sam (Bridget Everett) and is renting out his place Airbnb style (the company is not named). The most recent occupants had a dog, which they weren’t allowed to have, and that dog shat all over the place. Plus, they left Joel a negative review because they didn’t like his towels, so he wants to write someone an angry letter, but of course there isn’t really anyone to address such a letter to.

Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) is separated from Rick (Danny McCarthy) and in the midst of divorcing him. We do not see Charity (Heidi Johanningmeier) in this episode, except in real estate sign form, or Rick, so we don’t really know where things stand with either of them. But we do see the store Tricia and Charity used to run together shuttered in the opening montage of “NNP,” so it’s clear that Joel’s little appeal to Colossians didn’t lead them to forgive each other.

Tricia drunkenly tells Sam and Joel that she tried to cheat on Rick with Coop (Josh Bywater) but he turned her down. It’s great to see Tricia open up, even if she is “a lot” as Joel says, and this also resolves the dangling thread from the Season 1 finale, where she went to see Coop but we didn’t get to see what happened.

Sam in a living room, smiling
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

I can’t help but wonder to what extent Somebody Somewhere is following the original plan for Season 2 and to what extent it’s diverged in the wake of Mike Hagerty’s death. We know this made the writers change the story they were going to tell, and it’s clearly the reason Ed is not in S2E1 (because how could he be), but it feels like his absence is meaningfully defining the arc of the show.

Ed has left Kansas to go on a boat trip with his brother, while Sam and Tricia are supposed to clear out the farm so he can move on to whatever comes next in his life. MJ (Jane Brody) has apparently had a stroke and is in assisted living, and while the season premiere does see Sam having an unpleasant visit with her, I’m not sure how much this storyline is going to inform the overall narrative of the season.

Rather, the key scene in “NNP” is clearly when Sam calls Joel from her dad’s barn. She knew it would break his heart to clean it out, but she didn’t know it would break hers. He’s everywhere in that place. He loved that place. And even more than the dedication at the end of the credits, it feels like here Somebody Somewhere takes the time to grieve for Mike Hagerty, and gives us the space to do so within its story.

Ed sits in suspenders, playing a guitar
Photograph by Elizabeth Sisson/HBO

There are, as the title indicates, no new people in Somebody Somewhere S2E1, though we know that there will be some new faces as the season proceeds. Instead, we get a half hour to get reacquainted with the characters we know and up to speed on where their lives are now. Tricia is alone, as Shannon (Kailey Albus) is off to college, so I do expect her to feature more prominently than she did in Season 1. And Fred is back, though our friends are without a place for choir practice again since they’re losing the barn.

Is it weird that I kind of miss Rick? I wonder what that guy’s up to.

Regardless, it’s a joy to have Somebody Somewhere back in our lives. I’ll see you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

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