Monday, December 3, 2018

REVIEW: 'F Is For Family' - Bill's Adventures in the City Leave His Family Very Worried in 'Bill Murphy's Night Off'

Netflix's F Is For Family - Episode 3.10 "Bill Murphy's Night Off"

As the Murphys and their neighbors scour the city, Bill bounces from one harrowing ordeal to the next. Rosie's debate turns into a rescue mission.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's F Is For Family.

"Bill Murphy's Night Off" was written by Michael Price and directed by Sylvain Lavoie

It's surprising what this finale decides to feature and which elements are left to a potential fourth season - should Netflix order one at some point. This finale doesn't feature Sue giving birth to the fourth Murphy child or Rosie finding out if he will become the next alderman of his district. That's a slightly strange decision. However, it's also clear that the show had a number of big ideas for this season and couldn't cram them all into the 10 episode run. And so, there is a nice bit of symmetry at the end with the family sitting in the living room watching memories of the summer that was just like the start of the season. Everything ends with the Murphy family together once more. Plus, there is the tease of even more drama coming in the future with the pending arrival of Frank's father. Now, the show only introduced the concept of Frank's dad in the previous episode. It's clear that Frank acts the way that he does because of his upbringing. It's clear that still informs so much of his relationship with his father. He is terrified to know that his dad is coming and the family hasn't prepared at all. It means that things probably won't be changing all that much despite the promises that Frank and Sue make here to their children. Sure, it may allow the children to have a better understanding of their father after seeing what his father is like. But again, that's a concern for the future. Right now in this finale, it's all about the neighborhood coming together to find Bill. He has run away with Bridget. Of course, he doesn't get far. He just winds up on the other side of town. So, he's still interacting with people that the audience has seen before. He just has never been here and doesn't know how to get back home after Bridget leaves him. It means that even more trauma is inflicted upon him. As such, he was bound to explode at some point. That comes when he's stuck in the river with the fire department not wanting to rescue him because of the live wire that is also about to touch the current. It's in that moment where the family realizes the extent to which they have neglected everyone. In fact, this is an eye-opening journey for Frank and Sue. They ask their friends for support. Everyone does pitch in because they always come together as a community. And yet, no one really cares that Vic has started snorting cocaine again. That just motivates Otto to break up with Ginny and Babe to recommit to Marie. It's Vic's fault that Bill is in that final predicament clinging to his life. It's ultimately Kevin and Maureen who are able to rescue him though. It's because of Kevin's friends on this side of town that he knows exactly where Bill has gone. Sure, it's their fault that the train derails in the first place. However, they are helpful when Kevin asks them. And then, Maureen can use her new ring toss skills to reach Bill with a life preserver. That means he can be rescued before this situation takes another tragic turn. Sure, it's still an over-the-top situation that leaves Kevin in a precarious spot as well. But it's ultimately no big deal that he falls in to conquer his fear of drowning. He is carried further down river but still survives. It's in this moment that Frank and Sue realize that they haven't been listening to their family. They promise to do better. But again, circumstances may not allow them to do so. It mostly means the family is okay right now. And yet, that may still be on a moment to moment basis considering all of the crazy things that continue to happen to all of them.