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Saturday, 17 of April of 2021

Life Unexpected – “Homecoming Crashed”

“I mean — he was moving, right?”

Tash holds a shovel after striking a man.

What is happening here?!

Troubled kid, meet actual trouble.

For most of tonight’s episode, I felt pretty much the same as I do every week of watching this show. “Ew. Don’t do tha– ew. Lux, you’re a jackass. Tash, please don’t let her — ew. Adults don’t leave them in a room alone togeth– ew.” And, despite because extra crispy gross tonight, Eric “Minnesota” Daniels wasn’t the weirdest part of the evening. No, that easily goes to what Lux did with a car, what Tash did with a shovel, and what the new guy Sam put together all by himself.

Seriously, this is an episode that makes me almost sad that the show is almost certainly doomed. I really want to see where this is going, especially now that they’ve dug deep down into the WB archives for characters this season. Especially since they decided to bring in some of the stuff they plastered over earlier this season (quick! Get Tash away from Valerie! Wait — you called her mom? And don’t mention it again) and weave it into the new stuff they have going on here.

I’ll warn you now, I have no real important thoughts on this episode. I offer no real insight. All I can tell you is what I saw, how I saw it, and hope you watch the episode just to enjoy the spectacle with me. It’s a glorifying hour of witness.

Let’s just get this out of the way: Eric is gross. Everything he does, looks at, touches, is made disgusting. Ever since he consciously decided to pursue this thing with a minor, everything around him in a ten-foot radius is befouled. He is instrumental in finding a reason for Lux’s learning disability. Ew. He shakes Baze’s hand. Ew ew. He offers to throw Lux a Homecoming party for two at Tash’s apartment where there will be “spiked punch.” EWWWW. There is seriously no way this man can do right anymore. Even the little things he does (looking at her, helping her at school, breathing heavily) is tainted by the fact that he wants to touch one of his students. You can tell they want to build the relationship between Lux and Eric (even beyond the romantic) as almost heartwarming, like he’s the calm in her storm, the solace in her chaos. Except, instead, he’s the King Midas of Making Everything around Him Remind Us that He’s Creepy and Gross. A long title but well-deserved.

What Gross Eric discovers is that Lux might have dysgraphia, which would explain how she can be the sage teenager (well, sage previous to running around with her teacher) and can’t swing the grades. With Cate’s personality, I’m unsure as to why this would be the first time she’s seen her writing. Obviously there should’ve been a disconnect earlier but — we’re going to go with it. They take her for an MRI to find out that she had a stroke in the 7th Grade. Hoping against hope that we would reveal that Lux is actually 74 years old (and automatically a turn-off for Eric), it actually stems from her heart condition. Remember that? How she had a heart condition and that’s why no one would love her? Apparently something traumatic had to have happened to her in the chest in order for one to cause the other. They ask her. She denies it but in that way that we know that she’s straight up lying. And we automatically think back to Valerie.

Valerie was the woman that fostered Tash earlier this season, the one Lux freaked out about and underhandedly found a way to rescue her best friend from. She’s also comfortable calling herself “mom” to Lux in letters and makes her cry. Obviously, trauma extends from this mystery but, as if Lux is Don Draper, the whole thing was forgotten until now. Tash ends up giving Cate the address for Valerie so she can go Scooby around for clues.

Before we get too far ahead, let’s talk about Sam. Last week, Sam was introduced as Emma’s conveniently-aged son. And while he panders too much to that “I’m a pill-popping teenager from a broken home” schtick in the middle of this episode, I kind of like the kid. He reminds me of someone. Wait a minute: kid with a bad reputation who looks dark and brooding, widely-regarded as a screw-up, new to town, and introduced in the middle of season 2? Where have I seen that before? Oh, right. It’s Jess Mariano except updated from punk rock to kind of suburban emo. His first scene of the episode with Baze is good, the whole middle with him is garbage since they oversell his propensity for drug use, and then the end scene was good. Too bad they don’t really have the time to let him flourish. Or crash the car Lux’s boyfriend built for her. Just as well, though, since Eric would probably just build her a conversion van (get it? It’s a child molester joke!).

So with Homecoming in this episode, it’s completely predictable that Baze and Emma would find a way for Sam to go to the dance with Lux, totally raining on her statutory rape parade. He scores weed at the dance, they get busted even though she doesn’t really care for the stuff, and Cate has to come down and pick them up. Cate, however, can’t bring herself to care all that much about the drug bust since she’s far more interested in the information she got from Valerie: how she loved Lux, how Lux called her mom, and how Lux turned out to to be The Bad Seed and knocked her husband out. Confronted with this information, Lux storms out of the dance, collecting Tash and Sam in her wake, and STEALS CATE’S CAR.

Let me take a breather here to point out that Tash is in an abusive relationship with Lux. She totally enables the Gross Coupling by letting them almost do it in her apartment, takes the blame when Lux commits credit card fraud, and still comes back for more. The girl has every right to not speak to her towhead manipulator and, yet, is warm to her rather quickly as Lux promises to trick Cate into allowing them both to go to the dance since Lux is responsible.

So here they are, Tash sitting shotgun to the “responsible” one driving a stolen hybrid, no license between them. Suddenly, Sam “the bad kid,” the troubled one that no one can control, realizes he’s met his match. Sure, he might act out in extreme ways but he knows crazy when he sees it. Sorry, kid. You’ve stumbled into the territory of Lux, daughter of Cate, and her all-consuming whirlwind of chaos and insanity turns out to be hereditary. Enjoy the ride, son.

When they arrive at Valerie’s to confront her, Lux tells him to stay in the car like a really angry Sarah Walker, and he plays audience to a heated one-sided argument. Lux tells Valerie off for possibly sabotaging the one good relationship she has and finally confirms to us the the home was abusive. Her husband, the alleged abuser, comes from nowhere, announces that she can’t talk that way to his wife. He grabs her by the hair, yanks her down the stairs so Tash HITS HIM WITH A FREAKING SHOVEL. Knocks him clean out. They bolt.

Lux ends up crashing the car like you knew she would. She swears Tash to secrecy about what happened and Sam decides to keep it to himself, too, even going so far as to taking the blame for stealing Cate’s car and wrecking it himself. Heck of a thing to stick your neck out for a girl who’s clearly insane. The episode ends with Sam starting school with Lux and Tash (convenient since I thought that school was hard to get into) and immediately figuring out that her teacher is trying to dig up into them lady parts. I’m not sure where I pulled that phrase from. Maybe Eric is befouling me through the screen.

We are way far from the family drama we started with last season. I’m not even sure what to really call this right now. It’s a show that just a torrent of drama from every angle, some of it having to do with the family unit. The only couple right now not dealing with a whole lot of drama is Baze and Emma. Their disagreement this episode seemed pretty pedestrian by comparison to everything else going on (she’s jealous that everything comes easy to him). Emma was mad at him the entire episode but that might just be a side-effect of the Dexatrim she admitted to taking this episode (did I mention that Emma is new to our time as she hails from 1991?). They’re boring for now, especially on a show that has gone over the deep end. I mean, SHE HIT HIM WITH A SHOVEL. This show may have started off as Everwood but it’s is on the other side of the spectrum now, rubbing elbows with One Tree Hill. The weird thing is that I asked for it. Last season, when all the treacly episodes got my eyes rolling, I wanted some nuttiness from a maladjusted kid out of the foster care system. Be careful what you wish for. You might get HIT WITH A SHOVEL.

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