Thursday, April 21, 2016

REVIEW: 'Mom' - Christy Struggles to Accept Jodi's Boyfriend When He Shows Up in 'Beast Mode and Old People Kissing'

CBS' Mom - Episode 3.18 "Beast Mode and Old People Kissing"

When Jodi's boyfriend, Travis (Jesse Luken), who was with her when she overdosed, shows up at an A.A. meeting, Christy struggles to show him the compassion he needs. Bonnie's new boyfriend, Adam, feels left out because she spends so much time at A.A.

Jodi's death earlier this season was a devastating moment. It was so tragic and unexpected. It helped refocus the life-and-death stakes of Christy and Bonnie's addiction. This is a very serious disease that they are facing on a daily basis. They have been able to joke about it and move on with their lives. And yet, they weren't able to keep Jodi from relapsing and overdosing. It was a heartbreaking moment that rocked all of their worlds. Over the last few episodes, they've been able to find happiness and structure in their lives again. And then, Jodi's boyfriend at the time of her death, Travis, shows up at a meeting and forces everyone to remember the pain they are still feeling.

All of the emotions are still so raw amongst the main group of woman. They all loved Jodi so much. They still miss her everyday. So, it's a huge shock when they are listening to Travis' story and realize who he is and the role he played in Jodi's death. The show has left it very ambiguous as to whether or not he is directly responsible. The details of that day are fuzzy. But the emotions are not. Christy isn't sure how to react knowing that this guy could become a part of the lives they've created for themselves at A.A. They joke around at these meetings and talk about problems that really aren't important. But this environment has helped them immensely. They've been able to get and stay clean because of the support they've received from these meetings. It has changed their lives. It's still a disease they battle everyday. But they don't succumb to temptation because of the support from this environment. But it's still hard for them to welcome in Travis with open arms knowing how much pain he has caused them.

Christy takes all of this particularly hard because she loved Jodi so much. She was the first to reach out to her and helped get her sober. Christy and Bonnie changed Jodi's life for the better. So, it's not surprising at all that Christy is still very emotional about her death. She doesn't want to help Travis. She just wants him to hurt all of the time because of what he did to Jodi. But she still crosses a line in voicing all of those opinions to him. It's very personal to her and she can't just act like it's not a big deal. Marjorie told Travis that he was welcome to come to this meeting any time. She wants to support him trying to get clean. She's not letting her feelings for Jodi cloud her judgment on someone's sobriety. But that's much more difficult for Christy to accept. She has grown so much over the course of the series. She has done a lot of great work giving back to the program. She's a good friend to the rest of the group. They know they can rely on her when the situation requires it. But Christy still lashes out at Travis - which could keep him from getting the help he desperately needs right now.

So now, Christy once again finds herself having to make an amends. It's an awkward situation because she has voiced how she really feels which has really kicked Travis down. He knows just how devastating Jodi's death was. It didn't keep him from doing drugs. He's only now making another attempt at sobriety. He doesn't even know if he should be alive now too. He wonders if he should be dead as well for what he did. He was forced to coming to A.A. because his dealer thought he had a problem. That's a definite low point. Christy lashing out at him didn't help the situation either. He's in a really vulnerable place and she only made it worse. But she still reaches out to apologize. It's a quick one - plus she has to get her ear pierced. But it's still meaningful. She lets him know she shouldn't have said what she said. Plus, she's really hopeful that he'll stick with the program because it can do wonderful things.

However, it's not completely apparent at all in this episode just how good and healthy the A.A. environment really is. Over the years, it has done wonderful things for Christy and Bonnie. They've come to depend on it and the friends they've made there. In fact, it's more important to Bonnie than her relationship with Adam. So far, that has been a very sweet romance. It's nice to see Bonnie open herself up in this way again. But they still reach their first fight here when she chooses A.A. over him. She leaves him waiting at home for three and a half hours. And then, when she takes him to a meeting to see how life-changing it can be, it's a really bad one where people are just whining about their problems. It's a rather simple story where all Bonnie has to do is show Adam a tape of how messed up she was while on drugs. It gives the show a chance to show drunk and high Bonnie and Christy again without either one of them relapsing. But it's also a rather simple solution to the story.

Plus, the episode ends on a very meaningful and genuine moment with the girls embracing Travis as a part of their group just like they did with Jodi at the start of the season. He then reminds all of them just how meaningful they all were in Jodi's life. He wasn't dating her for very long. And yet, her stories about the group of older women helping her made a lasting impact on him. Now, he sees the people behind the stories. Some are more humorous than others like Wendy's always crying and Bonnie's always getting into outrageous situations. But it's still meaningful when he says how much Christy's love actually meant to Jodi. It's not enough to bring her back to life. But it's still moving to know that the love was real until the very end.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Beast Mode and Old People Kissing" was directed by James Widdoes with story by Chuck Lorre & Nick Bakay and teleplay by Gemma Baker, Adam Chase & Warren Bell.
  • Everyone seems very enamored by Bonnie and Adam's relationship. Christy thinks it's cute when she sees two old people kissing. Plus, Jill wants to know if Adam can get her into contact with Bruce Willis.
  • It also seems like Travis will be a recurring character throughout the final part of the season. He seems to fit in well with the rest of the group during that last scene. But it will also be different since none of them have really helped a guy get sober for a long period of time. They are usually too distracted by how attractive they are.
  • The most noteworthy thing about A.A. to Adam when he first goes is how much the woman enjoy sweets both before and after the meeting. Again, moderation isn't their strong suit but the friendship and camaraderie is.
  • Bonnie has gotten into her fair share of trouble over the three seasons so far. And yet, she still believes cars are much better than fists when it comes to handling emotional situations. She also knows exactly how to get Christy to do whatever she wants.
  • It's interesting that Baxter doesn't show up in the video at all even though it's his and Christy's wedding. It's fun seeing Christy and Bonnie being so messed up. But it's just an odd fact that it's mostly about them. Though that seems to be because he's the one recording all of this.
  • Yeah, Jill really shouldn't consider adopting anyone. If a dog is too high maintenance, she's really not ready for a baby.