Thursday, October 18, 2018

REVIEW: 'Mom' - Bonnie Tries to Help Tammy After She Is Released from Prison in 'Big Sauce and Coconut Water'

CBS' Mom - Episode 6.04 "Big Sauce and Coconut Water"

Christy is certain that Bonnie is in over her head when she invites a freshly paroled Tammy to stay with them.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of CBS' Mom.

"Big Sauce and Coconut Water" was directed by James Widdoes with story by Nick Bakay, Sheldon Bull & Susan McMartin and teleplay by Anne Flett-Giordano, Michael Shipley & Britté Anchor

Kristen Johnston made a memorable guest appearance during the fifth season. It was in a very self-contained story that shed more light on Bonnie's upbringing in the foster care system. It reached way back into her youth to show just how long she has been ruining people's lives. The show didn't have to bring Johnston back as Tammy. In fact, it's always a little surprising to see which guest stars will be contained to one episode and which will have recurring arcs in any given season. Here, Tammy makes parole and comes to live with Bonnie and Christy. It's a massive change to that familiar environment. There have been plenty of people living in that apartment over the years. The place is full once more even when Adam decides he has to return to his apartment in order to get high. But this story highlights how Bonnie may actually be an inspirational figure to some right now. Christy has to laugh at that suggestion because she knows that her mom can still be a difficult person even when she has her life together. She is very demanding and controlling. As such, it's great for her to have a little fun at her mother's expense. She knows that she is going to be too busy with school, work and her two programs to help her mother support Tammy as she assimilates back to life outside of prison. And yes, there are times where it seems like this story is once again going to be wrapped up very neatly at the end of the episode with no lingering issues whatsoever. But that's not the direction the show is choosing to pursue. This hour highlights how Tammy can get on the nerves of everyone around her. Adam leaves mostly because he can't abide by the rules of her parole. Christy can leave because of her busy life and responsibilities. Bonnie is the one trying to help Tammy learn how to function in society once more. She is taking her to meetings and going shopping for new clothes. It's a support system that Tammy really needs right now. Bonnie is the only person giving her life some sense of direction at the moment. She is lost and aimless without the rules of prison. Sure, this episode highlights the absurdity of the situation by making Tammy so annoying and loud to everyone she interacts with. It gets to the point where Bonnie wants to abandon her at the halfway house that was originally going to take her in. But instead, Bonnie simply puts Tammy to work around the apartment complex. She views it as a winning arrangement for her because it gives Tammy something to do while also staying awhile from Bonnie for a little bit. Plus, the work around the place that Bonnie is suppose to be doing is actually getting done. The tenants of these apartments may actually appreciate having Tammy around now because she knows what she is doing. Bonnie has no idea how to fix anything even though she's had this job for a couple of years now. And yet, Bonnie is still abusing Tammy. It's very unlikely that she is paying her for this job even though it would more than likely fulfill her work requirement for parole. Bonnie is taking advantage of a good situation. That may not make her a role model for much longer. Tammy has come to rely on Bonnie. And now, she isn't being honest with her. Perhaps things will get better with time as Tammy learns how to be a part of the world once more. But this new arrangement also threatens her sobriety in a way that Bonnie may not totally realize at the moment.