There are three big swings in this episode. Two are significant but subtle; one is not subtle at all. The first involves Annie Murphy and Candice Coke. They’re teaming up for the day to put together a party for Mary Hollis Inboden’s birthday, which no one knew about until the day before. Murphy and Coke are running errands and having a miserable time together, but then they get around to talking about Murphy’s husband, Eric Petersen, and how much it sucks being around shitty dudes. Inobden’s got a soft echo of that experience, hanging out with drunken brother Alex Bonifer for her birthday tradition at the ice skating rink.
Before “Kevin” started, the advertising played up the “sitcom wife realizes her husband’s a jackass,” but the show doesn’t treat the sitcom universe in that way. The show’s a fascinating examination of characters through various television trope lenses. This episode is the first time there’s really been something outside Murphy’s sphere, and it’s Coke’s, and it shares space with Murphy. It’s excellent, gentle but barbed because bickering sequence. Grace Edwards has the writing credit for this episode, and it’s awesome.
The second subtle swing involves Bonifer and Jamie Denbo. The reason Petersen helps Murphy with the party is because he wants to set Denbo up with his dad, Brian Howe. Howe’s new girlfriend (Lauren Weedman) has a terrible laugh. Petersen thinks Denbo’s available because she’s separated from her shitty husband; the plan goes terribly, particularly for the ambushed Denbo. Later on, she confronts Bonifer about it, and we get to see Bonifer’s character development start to pay off.
They’re outstanding. They’re not Murphy or Inboden, but they’re outstanding. Bonifer’s arc this season is incredibly difficult, and he’s nailing it every time. Then Denbo’s scaled up nicely.
Of course, the third swing is for Murphy alone. She’s seeing Robin Lord Taylor around town, stalking her, even though he’s comatose. The show’s letting Murphy’s character development boil unattended while giving Inboden the dramatic interactions. Very cool.
I can’t wait to see where they take this season; there’s going to be so much great acting.