Thursday, April 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'Better Things' - Sam Has a Procedure Done and Gets a New Toilet Installed in 'Toilet'

FX's Better Things - Episode 3.07 "Toilet"

Sam preps.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FX's Better Things.

"Toilet" was written by Pamela Adlon & Joe Hortua and directed by Pamela Adlon

Was therapy ever going to be successful for Sam? She was ordered to do it by her doctor before being prescribed medication to deal with her problems. That seemed like a very rational response. There was the hope that she wouldn't need to take a pill in order to understand the anxiety and stress of her entire life. She could instead just unpack it with a trained therapist who is willing to listen and give her the tools to cope with her ever-changing life. Instead, she is still dealing with a family who don't ultimately care what's going on with her. She is trying to be kind to Frankie by buying the concert tickets she was begging for. Instead, she only gets a rude and sully teenager who doesn't wish to acknowledge that her mother is putting a genuine effort into being a loving person. Plus, she slams the door so hard that it won't open and the fire department has to be called to the house. That's embarrassing but seemingly commonplace for Sam. Meanwhile, Sam spends the bulk of this episode dealing with a colonoscopy. She is prepping for the procedure and worrying that the special drink isn't working on her. Then, she immediately has to rush to the bathroom which devolves into such a hilarious sequence of her keep having to go while also having to plunge it several times. Even then, her life doesn't stop moving. It's in that moment that she gets a sexually suggestive text to see what might be going on. This is the worst time for that. At least she has Duke though. She is the only daughter who is making sure that her mother has what she needs in the bathroom. Of course, it's still scary to her as well because she doesn't understand the full scope of what might be happening behind that closed door. Sam is nervous about this procedure. And yet, the first words she hears upon waking up are learning that Max needs her to co-sign on an apartment she has just found. Sam is in no position to go do that. She just wants the news from the doctor about how her results were. Even then, it's terrifying because she has two polyps as well as something that could be malignant. Everything eventually comes back clean. That is cause for a celebration. But it's also worth pointing out that Sunny is the only person who is there to help Sam through this. She is the friend by her side even though Sam finds herself being a mother to her as well when the time comes out to start the IV. There is so much responsibility that Sam has to deal with in her every day life. It's a routine that she has grown accustomed to over time. And yet, it also runs the risk of her shutting down too much to the point where it's impossible for her to open up about everything that is happening without it being incredibly triggering and destructive for her. Dr. Miller can absolutely sense that he's not going to get anywhere with her and that these issues are too profound to be fully unpacked in just a couple of sessions. So instead, he lingers on the idea of what life could be like between them. It's entirely inappropriate. He even says he has to fire her as his patient before any move can happen. He never presented as a stalker who long held this crush on her. She just stumbled back into his life. But she's also not willing to indulge in anything more with him because it's just too weird and awkward. That's how she feels about so much of her life. She would rather make a joke than deal with what's actually going on. That is so complex and insanely relatable. She could spend an entire therapy session trying to understand the dream she had during her colonoscopy. That's a tripy sequence filled with her entire family wearing fox masks except for her father who is forcing them all to drink and jump over a fire. That's strange and could signal so much about the chaos and destruction he has long caused. But again, Sam isn't willing to deal with that even though it has been creeping further and further into her life as of late. Instead, she just wants to focus on getting a toilet that will never clog again. That's an easy mission for her to do that also eliminates one task out of her life completely. As such, it's a minor victory that feels so transformational for her life at this moment in time.