Somebody Somewhere S2E2 Recap: “#2” — Keep Dancing

Sam and Joel do a cheers with pieces of St. Louis sushi in Somebody Somewhere S2E2, "#2"
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for Somebody Somewhere S2E2, “#2” (written by Lisa Kron and directed by Robert Cohen)

In Somebody Somewhere S2E2, we’re introduced to Fred’s (Murray Hill) secret fiance Susan (Jennifer Mudge) when she crashes the gang’s poker night. Of course, maybe she isn’t so secret—apparently she and Fred have known each other for 25 years—but neither Sam (Bridget Everett) nor Joel (Jeff Hiller) nor we the audience previously knew she existed.

I’m a bit with Sam in my reaction to Susan. She seems nice enough, and it’s clear she makes Fred happy, but I don’t really want her involved in the card game all of the time. “No new people,” as Sam said in S2E1. The group dynamic was already perfect as it was, though I can’t help but note that this sentiment goes against the prevailing spirit of choir practice that brought Sam into this circle of friends in the first place, which was certainly defined by an openness. Even Rick (Danny McCarthy) would have been welcome if he’d made it past the door.

Fred wants Joel to officiate the wedding, and for Sam to sing a song—not “Rock You Like a Hurricane” (though that would have been a great choice), but something Susan has picked out. We don’t know what the song is yet, just that it makes Joel tear up and Sam is worried about her ability to hit the notes. And given the conceit of how this plays in “#2”—with the pair listening to the tune on headphones so we can’t hear—I now expect Season 2 to end with Sam singing this song at the wedding, and that it will make me bawl by tying together the themes of the series to that point. Looking forward to it.

Fred sits in a chair, arms spread wide and smiling
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

So, this leads Sam to seek out her old voice teacher Darlene (Barbara Robertson), though really I suppose she was just looking for a vocal coach in general and was surprised to learn Darlene was still at it. Regardless, Sam and Joel make their way to a recital at Manhattan High School, which is kind of like going to the Met except they’re in Manhattan, Kansas and everyone else there seems to be a blood relative of a performer.

Still, this leads Sam to reconnect with Darlene and set up an appointment to pick up where they left off back when Sam was 17 years old, setting up what I can only presume will be a major story arc this season. I love to be watching a series where the main character resuming voice lessons she quit as a teenager is likely to be central to the plot. The stakes of Somebody Somewhere may seem to be small in relation to some apocalyptic narrative or something, but they’re not small. Life isn’t small.

Anyway, also at the recital is Brad Schrader (Tim Bagley), and boy does he go for it! While his stirring performance of Franceso Durante‘s “Danza, danza fanciulla” makes Sam and Joel giggle, it is also actually really sweet when you think about it. Brad is really their kind of person, pursuing his passion without regard for the possible negative judgments of others, and I think Sam and Joel know that. They may be laughing at him, but it’s not in a judgmental way. They are also laughing with him, if that makes any sense.

Unfortunately, the “St. Louis Sushi” he brought to the event—ham wrapped around a pickle with cream cheese, which he insists “all makes sense in your mouth”—does not make sense in our friends’ bowels. “#2” ends with, well, Sam and Joel going “number two” pretty uncontrollably. All I can say is that I think it may be the most wholesome potty humor I’ve ever witnessed.

Sam and Tricia stand at a receptionist's desk. Sam is holding a laundry basket
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

In other news, since their mother has apparently put Sam on her “No Visitors” list, Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison)—who very much did not want to go in at all—has to make the visit on her own. We don’t get to see what happens, but I’m sure MJ (Jane Brody) was a pleasure as always.

Then a woman recognizes Tricia as she’s stocking shelves at Ballards (because she works at a grocery store now), and gushes about how much she misses Tender Moments. That’s fine, until she both confuses Tricia and Charity (Heidi Johanningmeier) and goes on about how well the latter is doing out there selling houses. It’s a subtle slap in the face, and clearly not an intentional one (see the half-hearted remarks about how Tricia is doing great, too), but it’s easy enough to understand why it pushes Tricia’s buttons.

We don’t even know, for the record, whether Charity is doing great in her new real estate job, but it doesn’t matter. People think she is. So Tricia takes some frustration out on social media, which seems likely to come back to bite her in some way, but maybe felt good for a moment.

Tricia was set up as something of an antagonist at the beginning of Season 1, but she’s gotten more and more depth as Somebody Somewhere has gone along. She believed she was following the life path she was supposed to follow (read, that a woman is supposed to follow, thus her tendency to judge Sam), but now that life has almost completely fallen apart.

It’s through no fault of her own. She can’t forgive Rick, or Charity, because even if she could find it within herself emotionally to do so, she doesn’t believe she’s allowed to. Her husband cheated on her with her best friend! She’s not wrong to not forgive them, and yet…

Tricia and Charity stand outside their Tender Moments store
Photograph by Lori Allen/HBO

Before she has to run to the toilet, Sam puts on a cassette tape of herself singing as a child with her sisters: Tricia and Holly. Sam is still mourning Holly, of course, but I found myself thinking about Tricia. I can hardly imagine her taking a stage like our friend Brad did. She’s too worried about the judgment of others, and even judges herself through the eyes of imagined others preemptively.

It’s a bit sad. I can only hope that she finds what I can only call redemption.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *