The Machine is the best episode of the season so far, which is no small feat, and one of the three best “Kevin” episodes overall. It’s phenomenal; Kate Loveless and Jasmyne Peck have the writing credit; Anna Dokoza, of course, directs. The episode runs long, around forty-five minutes, and saves most of lead Annie Murphy’s story for the end. Until then, she’s around, but almost as an extension of Mary Hollis Inboden’s “moving out” story arc with girlfriend Candice Coke.
Of course, Inboden doesn’t know Coke’s living together invitation has to do with Coke getting video of Inboden seemingly about to commit felony assault (for Murphy). But Inboden’s taking too long with the move, her first time leaving the house, and her estranged brother Alex Bonifer. Inboden’s incredibly conscious of the momentous changes in store, while Murphy seems oblivious. Murphy’s back working at Raymond Lee’s diner, though their on-again-off-again affair will get them in trouble when they collide with some of Eric Petersen’s sitcom antics. Add Coke finally acting on the video, Bonifer and Jamie Denbo having a messier than expected (and mutually undesired) breakup over Petersen, and it’s another packed episode.
Petersen’s antics—usually with dad Brian Howe checking in on the subplot—happen from the living room couch, starting with terrorizing a local newspaper reporter. Throughout the episode, he’ll use his misfortune-causing powers, tying in for the ominous cliffhanger. It’s an outstanding work, complete with Murphy’s character arc picking up in the second act as she reacts to the people around her being more than names in the end titles of Petersen’s sitcom life.
Great acting from Inboden, Murphy, Petersen, Bonifer, and Denbo. Coke and Lee get more challenging material than usual and do well with it; Coke and Murphy’s antagonistic relationship seems ready to go off. “Kevin”’s heading into its final two episodes; this one kicks off the last act, showcasing everything exceptional about the show, whether the performances, the sublime commentary on television tropes, or just the writing in general. Bonifer and Denbo’s romance continues to be a season two high point. It’s such good work.
“Kevin”’s almost done, but it’s sure not slowing down as it approaches that finish.