Somebody Somewhere S2E6 Recap: “Manhappiness”

Sam rides a bicycle in Somebody Somewhere S2E6, "Manhappiness"
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

The following recap contains spoilers for Somebody Somewhere S2E6, “Manhappiness” (written by Lisa Kron and directed by Lennon Parham)

“Manhappiness” shows us the fallout of the end of last week’s episode of Somebody Somewhere. Sam (Bridget Everett) isn’t talking to Joel (Jeff Hiller), and while it’s not clear exactly how long it’s been in narrative time, it has been long enough for Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) to get a boatload of c*** pillows and for Sam’s jacket to be ready for pickup from the tailor, so I’m guessing about a week.

Fred leans out of the window of a party bus
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

It might feel odd to some that Sam seems to have forgiven Tricia in this time for lying to her about when Holly was diagnosed with a terminal illness, while she’s still so mad at Joel that she skips Fred’s (Murray Hill) bachelor party, but I think this tracks. A certain kind of uneasy, less than fully trusting dynamic is the status quo for Sam and Tricia. And she hasn’t necessarily forgiven her; it’s just like her sister is inescapable because she’s her sister.

Thus, Sam is directing all of the emotions in Joel’s direction. She mentions Tricia (and/or Holly) lying to her as she yells at Joel, even though he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, because it’s all the same thing. But whereas with Tricia it’s a part of a broader issue that cuts all the way back through their relationship (and this actually is a bigger deal than Joel’s offense), Joel was supposed to be her best friend. He was the opening into her trusting anyone at all, basically, and he’s betrayed that.

So it hurts.

Joel looks distraught
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

Of course it’s not helpful for Sam to wallow in her self-pity, and she knows that, but that’s also not the only thing going on here. It’s a repetition of her pattern of cutting the world off because people are so ceaselessly disappointing. And they are that. She’s not wrong about that. The question is whether this means it’s better to just be alone, to never fall in love or even try to, to avoid friendship because your friends are going to let you down, and so on.

But Sam isn’t that far gone. She still wants to be there for Fred, and takes him for ice cream since she missed the bachelor party. And she has an easy rapport with her neighbor Drew (Brian King), who reappears to let her know he definitely isn’t the kind of guy to deal fentanyl, though he was growing weed in his basement.

Maybe they’ll have that beer at some point. He seems certain to be around what with the ankle bracelet and all.

Sam sits at the piano in her living room
Photograph by Sandy Morris/HBO

Towards the end of “Manhappiness,” Joel texts Sam, who has just thrown her ice cream at one of Charity’s (Heidi Johanningmeier) real estate signs and had a chuckle, to let her know that Darlene (Barbara E. Robertson) has died.

So Somebody Somewhere S2E6 ends with Sam putting on the tape of the lesson she cut short (though she turns it off right as it gets to the moment where Darlene compares the feeling to falling in love), and then sitting down at her piano to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” You’ll recall that Darlene praised her performance of that song as a teenager.

But Sam stops as she gets to “through the years, we all will be together” because she feels terribly alone. She’s on the outs with her best friend. She wants to forgive him but can’t. Her sister Holly died, and now Holly’s truck won’t start. And Holly lied to her. And Tricia lied to her. The good parts of MJ (Jane Brody) are gone.

At least Sam and Darlene had a nice moment when Darlene brought her that tape, but now she’s gone too. It all feeds into the same thing. Maybe the fates won’t allow that togetherness.

“Manhappiness” leaves us in a dark place. Literally, since Sam turns out the lights at the end of the episode, but also emotionally. I hope for some joy and catharsis at Fred’s wedding in the season finale.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

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