Cherish the moments of levity of in this recap, folks, because they are few and far between. Lay in some Visine.
Judith's at Joan's house, juggling some colourful balls. Judith: "See? How cool is this? When you're in the zone, all's right with the world." Joan's on the couch in full-on bored teenager mode: "Yeah. Great. Cirque de Judith. Listen, where is Adam taking me for dinner?" Judith juggles on: "Sworn to secrecy. I already told Lischak you'd do the project with me. Try it again." She tosses the balls to Joan, who protests, "I would like to obsess over me now, okay, and not these stupid balls." She says it's her first real date with Adam. Judith counters that this is the only way to salvage her physics grade. Have we ever actually seen Judith in a class, since the beginning of the season? Judith pleads with Joan, asking, "Do you want me to get shipped off to boarding school?" Joan sighs forcefully and begins to juggle badly. Judith tries to be encouraging. As the doorbell rings, Joan asks, "Can't we just see if Styrofoam floats?" Judith promises that if Joan will learn to juggle, she'll spill about where Adam's taking Joan for dinner.
The doorbell rings again as Helen comes down the stairs to answer it, crabbing, "Deaf, are we?" Judith demonstrates as Helen greets someone named Fran. It's Judith's mother, played by Jayne Atkinson, who comes in saying, "Hi, honey." She's sort of a Poor Man's Helen Mirren (tm Gustave). Judith, clearly thrilled: "Hi, Fran." Her mother doesn't seem as monstrously indifferent as Judith's implied, but then, parents rarely do when they're on display. She's brought Judith some clothes. Judith, still juggling: "Joan's fit." Her mother replies in a pleasant yet pointed way, "You're welcome." Fran turns to Helen and asks if it's really okay that Judith spends the night again: "Bill's out of town and I have a lecture " Helen insists it's all right: "She's like one of us now." Fran: "I'm just so grateful that she's spending time here. She hasn't always made the best choices in the past." I'm guessing you haven't either, lady, parenting-wise. Just saying. There's a mild crash behind her and Fran turns, reprimanding, "Judith." But it's klutzy Joan who's knocked the lamp over. Helen: "Joan. Take it outside." The girls shuffle out. Judith doesn't bother to protest her mother's assumption, giving the impression that it's happened too often for her to bother. Helen generously commiserates: "Teenagers are hard. Even when it's going well." Fran: "I guess being shrinks, we thought we could work it all out, but they have to rebel, and be independent " Helen: "While we do their laundry yeah."