This episode ends on a big cliffhanger. A make-or-break cliffhanger. “Kevin” can eke out a decent series if they fumble the resolve, just because it’s so well-made and well-acted, but they’re halfway through the show—early for where you’d expect this cliffhanger if it weren’t going to change the show’s trajectory; but if they make it… “Kevin” will wow. And not just for the acting.
But the cliffhanger is really just the epilogue to the already packed, excellent episode. Annie Murphy and Mary Hollis Inboden hit the road in search of oxy and leave the sitcom boys—Murphy’s husband and “Kevin” of the title, Eric Petersen, and his numbskull bestie, Alex Bonifer—alone without any supervision. So of course they decide to run an escape room out of the basement and try to get rich quick.
Doing the sitcom antics without Murphy around is new for “Kevin.” It’s a lot easier to laugh at Petersen’s idiocy when he’s not actively injuring Murphy (or Inboden), with the show well aware it needs people to react to him being a dipshit so the escape room attendee cast is all awesome. Particularly Naheem Garcia, who can’t seem to stop laughing at Petersen’s goofiness, which is the perfect touch. Especially for the escape room plot line, as it showcases male stupidity just right.
Meanwhile, Murphy and Inboden try to navigate the drug dens of rural Vermont. Inboden’s fronting as a chill dealer, Murphy’s giving off major “custy” vibes. Inboden gets the episode’s first scene—copper Candice Coke questioning her about a drug bust and Inboden having to think on her feet (she’s so good)—but it quickly becomes about she and Murphy bonding. It’s initially a reluctant bonding, but once it gets going, it’s exceptionally good….
Making the daring cliffhanger frankly unwelcome. “Kevin” can easily rest on its laurels for a beat and and an episode transition but no, they go all in.
Mel Shimkovitz gets the script credit; excellent script. Anna Dokoza is directing again; she also did last episode. This episode’s better directed, partially because the series opens up—the road trip, the basement (though also just Petersen and company not around their usual victims). But Dokoza does phenomenal work with the actors. For as much as it seems like it’s going to be Inboden’s episode, eventually Murphy gets to take over (not in a crowding out Inboden way but narratively appropriate take over) and it’s spellbinding. Even more spellbinding.
Really hope they don’t fumble the cliffhanger resolve. Really, really hope they don’t.