The following contains spoilers for Somebody Somewhere S1E3, “Egg Shells” (written by Patricia Breen and directed by Robert Cohen)
I have to grant Sam that it is a bit weird that Rick (Danny McCarthy) was at choir practice. Over the first few episodes of Somebody Somewhere, we’ve mostly seen him play video games, and get the sense that’s mostly what he does. He brought home some pizza at one point, and Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) preemptively chastised him about the possibility of getting grease on the invitations she was preparing, but that’s about it. Rick is kind of a boring guy.
Whether this warrants Sam recruiting Joel (Jeff Hiller) to “stalk” the man is another question, and I’m not sure of the answer. All they see him do in S1E3 is go to a park, watch Bill Baker make chainsaw art, buy a hot dog…and that’s about it.
Joel’s attitude towards the whole thing seems like the right one. Who doesn’t love chainsaw art? And everyone is welcome at choir practice.
There is the question of the wad of cash Sam saw in Rick’s pocket, but maybe a customer just paid him in cash that day and he’d yet to deposit the money. It seems all too likely that Sam has jumped to the conclusion that he’s selling drugs because she’s discovered that her neighbor Drew (Brian King) was doing so. That’s sort of shocking, but maybe it shouldn’t be. There’s no reason a drug dealer can’t be a nice enough fellow.
Regardless, I hope that we’ll come to discover that Rick was at choir practice out of curiosity and a hidden depth of character. Maybe he isn’t so boring, after all, on the inside. Maybe he longs for the freedom to be something beyond what he feels able to be in his day today. Maybe by the end of Somebody Somewhere he’ll be belting out Air Supply to the adulation of the room.
I hope so.
As it stands I have to admit I felt a certain tension in the choir practice scene in “Egg Shells,” which is perhaps befitting of the episode’s title. Sam’s performance of “Piece of My Heart” filled me with such joy that I found tears appearing in my eyes, and that welling flood of catharsis at the back of my skull. Perhaps my relative isolation over the past two years fed into this, as I can hardly remember being in such a space and feeling such a sense of belonging, but it was a powerful scene (and a wonderful performance of the song from Bridget Everett).
The fear was that someone would ruin it, be it Rick somehow or Pastor Deb, who seemed to become a little suspicious when Joel didn’t want to join for margaritas. Or maybe it’s just in the precarity of such a feeling, almost definitionally—acceptance and joy are fundamentally fragile and easily ruined by the gaze of another.
But for the moment we just get the joy.
And Sam seems to be doing better in other parts of her life as well. The situation with her mother, MJ (Jane Brody), is difficult, and not just because it’s hard to pick eggshells out of salad, but Sam can get through to her father Ed (Mike Hagerty) about it. Something has to be done, and it has to be him who does it. Because from anyone else it will just seem like an external judgment to be bucked against. She needs the other half of this four-legged being they’ve become to point out that things are becoming problematic, and dangerous.
I hope that goes well.
Sam’s interactions with Tricia seem a little less confrontational in S1E3 as well, though we can’t expect them to be stably so. The difficulty is in managing to deal with those who, like Tricia, hold to repressive values. It’s not the easiest thing to love them anyway.
And “Egg Shells” ends with the reveal of something sure to get Tricia on fire—someone has vandalized the window of her Tender Moments store, after she and Charity (Heidi Johanningmeier) worked so hard on the display.
The graffiti is hilarious, and somehow also kind of touching. At least I find there to be something almost poignant in this embrace of penises on a window that says Tender Moments on it.
It’s easy enough to predict Tricia will not be amused, and her reaction will likely take on a scope far beyond what’s rational.
But for the moment we just get the joy.