Sunday, November 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Atypical' - Sam Adjusts to His College Schedule While Casey Wants More from Evan in 'Cocaine Pills and Pony Meat'

Netflix's Atypical - Episode 3.03 "Cocaine Pills and Pony Meat"

An ethics professor pushes Sam to his limits. Elsa keeps an eye on Doug... and Megan. Casey considers her future and encourages Evan to do the same.

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 Netflix's Atypical.

"Cocaine Pills and Pony Meat" was written by Bob Smiley and directed by Victor Nelli Jr.

Life may simply be a near-constant exploration. People are continually figuring out what they want and how to deal with the obstacles standing in their way. Sam fundamentally understands that every expedition goes awry in some way. It's up to the captain to decide have to adjust to those unforeseen circumstances. He talks about cocaine pills almost as if they are a good thing that helped the ship's crew better navigate the world. Instead, the audience understands just how toxic that dependency probably was and how the same mentality may doom Sam now. However, it's simply overwhelming to any student making the transition to college life. Sam isn't living in the dooms just yet. He is still living at home with Casey and his parents. However, he feels thrown by this new learning environment. He has grown accustomed to how school operates because it's been the same rhythm for his entire life. And now, it's ultimately up to him to be more independent. He needs to be responsible for keeping track of his time. It's an individual journey now. It is no longer the same schedule that applies to everyone even though they all have vastly different interests. Time management needs to be a skill Sam knows how to utilize in his life. He can't simply rely on his mother's white board either. That's the way she has managed to cope with all of this. Having that rigid schedule provides her with a sense of control and the reassurance that she can handle whatever may come up with her family. Sure, she can't carefully plan every single moment of their lives. In trying to do so, she has caused a lot of friction within this family. Everyone wants to help Sam succeed. He is resilient though. That's all that he truly needs to hear. Plus, it's perfectly fine for him to reach out and accept the resources available to him on campus. It's not an admission that he is different and should thus be seen as the weird freak. Accepting it fully is what will allow him to succeed in this world knowing that there are plenty of people who want him to do well. It took him awhile to come to this conclusion. He panics over having to take notes and the professor talking too fast for him to catch everything. It's a major struggle for him. But he knows how to rise above. It shouldn't be seen as a defeat that he has to drop a class. It's simply an admission that right now his schedule is stretched too thin for him to handle this caseload. Accepting that is also vital when it comes to figuring out one's life. Sam understands where his boundaries and limitations are. And now, he'll get the help to traverse through this environment with optimism and strength in his spirit. Of course, not every struggle can be as easily solved as that. Casey realizes that she may be turning into her mother because she wants to plot out the future of what Evan can do with his life. She sees him as a guy continually searching for what he wants to do. He is happy with his current job. She wants to push him to do more because she sees so much potential within him. She needs him to fulfill some of that potential now. It causes a huge rift though because it's basically her saying he is no longer good enough. It's simply embarrassing that she has a plan for college and can just take him along with her knowing that he has nothing better to do. His ambitions may be smaller but that doesn't invalidate them or his concerns about the world. Again, people have to be willing to accept that others have their own agency over their lives. It's not healthy to force someone into doing something. It needs to be their decision driving the relationship forward. Elsa struggles taking a step back and giving Doug space. She fears that is simply giving him room to have an affair with Megan. And yet, she can see Megan as a kindred spirit if she is actually willing to see the wider perspective of the world. That sense of empathy is vital because it shows how everything is much more complex than the individual planning of one person. And yet, the world has so much to offer that can uplift and reward those who trust it as well. That is a strong message throughout this episode.