To Moscow, and Quickly

Episode Report Card
admin: A+ | 1 USERS: A+
So Many Vibes

It's a valid question. Much more valid than Denmark. Nancy's like, "Um, yes, as stated previously, you are. Right now. We'll figure it out. When we need to." Andy translates this, not incorrectly but not correctly either, as: "When I find Husband #4 and I don't need you anymore." That one slices, because it's like the one concession she's ever given him: She does need him, she does want him in the family. It wasn't her that put him out in the yard during the Esteban time, that was Esteban and that was Andy and that was a bunch of boy bullshit and anyway, that was not too long before the Audra time either.

"I'm not a substitute teacher," he says. "I'm invested, I need to be a part of this conversation," he says. "Because I'm already a part of this kid's life," he says. He's not an understudy penguin, he's an actual goddamn penguin. But she stopped listening a couple miles back. Not because he's freaking her out or talking circles around her, but because there she is, in her awful wedding dress, on the TV, with a kidnapping alert. He's so high on the truth of this, and she's not hearing him at all, and she has to physically turn his head, finally, shivering and talking so nightmare-whispery that you can barely hear her, and then he whispers back: "Grab Stevie. We can get to the door in less than ten seconds." Which is when the nurse appears, calling for Nathalie Newman. She heads for the door and they stare at each other; she bears her teeth and jerks the TV cord out of the wall as she sleepwalks past.

Onstage the opening band is like, "Ba-ba-ba-ba-banana! Ki-ki-ki-kiwi!" The penguin -- who has been joined by a headless bunny rabbit -- is an understudy of the headliners, whose lead singer is taking a "personal week" to deal with his hepatitis. Doug points out that the openers suck ba-ba-ba-balls and the understudy penguin gets wonderfully righteous: "Tell me about it! A song about fruit salad? Eff that stuff sideways. Eat a papaya does not rhyme with join the choir, okay?" Doug asks what the ZW's sing about, by way of contrast, and he's awesome some more: "Animals! Morality!"

(Niiice. Imagine Steve from Blue's Clues wearing a penguin suit and yelling at you about teaching children morals. Chills. I cannot believe I'm alone on this. Ultimate fantasy. That is my Denmark.)

"My Grandpop used to sing songs about this lamb," Doug relates, "Who offed his dad and shtupped his mom. And in the end, the lamb throws himself from an overpass to escape his sins." (Beat.) "Kind of like my Grandpop." Underpenguin is like, "Your backstory and Nancy's could be completely switched and it would make no difference, down to the jumping off overpasses. How come we now know more about you, Doug who barely qualifies as a person much less a series lead, than we do about the most beautiful woman in Puppetland?" Also: "The fuck kind of song is that."

Just kidding, the underpenguin says that this tale of Oedipal sheep is exactly the kind of morality he's talking about, and offers Doug a tiny pretzel. They are very stoned at this point, and very adorable in their stonedness, which is rare: "I like to lick the salt off a pretzel then I put them back in the bag and people eat them, they don't know I licked the salt off," Doug mutters and giggles, and the underpenguin is like, "People are stupid!" Like that's the cutest thing he ever heard. And somehow, given Nealon's otherworldly talents at making Doug somehow slightly more than the Masuka of this show, it kind of was.

Nancy waits for the doctor and calls Andy to process the WTF of everything. An old lady turns the TV back on and he tries to calm her down with his tone of voice, telling her the coast is clear without telling her: "Yeah, it's all good out here. Jovial atmosphere. I've made three friends, all bitten by the same spider. They're convinced they're gonna turn into superheroes. I haven't had the heart to tell them about sepsis." Inside, Nancy worries, but notes how small the picture was and hopes that it wasn't a national program.

In a brilliant show of multitasking capabilities, Andy hands the remote to a nosepicker kid and tells him to find some cartoons, while simultaneously ganking the kid's drawing so he can write down the Missing Persons number on it: A bizarre child figure with no hands and kaleidoscope eyes and the amazing, best-thing-of-the-episode caption, "RIDDELIN MAKES SPRINKLES IN MY BRANE." (Possibly there's also a word coming out of the figure's mouth that says "DISFUNKTION" or something similar, also.) This show could be like this all the time.

Anyway, Nancy is as usual freaked out by doctor's offices, and the doctor finally comes into the room; meanwhile Silas is getting beer with his fake ID and Shane offers to buy him some peanuts too, since he's buying, since he's in charge. Altogether it's $20, which of course Shane doesn't have because Silas stole it, and then there's an ugly scene of shame and where's the money and every teenage feeling you can have and finally the beardy running the cart goes, "Look, little dude. Pay for the popcorn, or I will blow this rape whistle. And then punch you." Silas pays the guy, so now Shane owes Silas $20 and Nancy $400, making for a grand total of $420.

If you ever find yourself dealing with Stevie's diapers, the medical professional is here to tell you that "your danger colors" are red and white (yikes and double-yikes), but green's not so terribly bad. Nancy breathes a sigh of relief. However, Stevie's weight isn't so great. Nancy points out he was tiny when he was born under the radar and without a birth certificate, but the doctor says that no, the problem is that his mother is a drug dealer and a terrible mother and that he goes to bed generally sometime between 7 and 10 at night, which is how you make a baby shit green apparently.

The doctor is sympathetic to Nancy's carnivalesque lifestyle -- "I skydive myself, once a year on my birthday" -- and she's like, "What? Yeah, right. Good for you, old man." She's not breastfeeding, check, and as for his mood, well, she would characterize it as vaguely positive. "He's generally alert, responding to your face, smiling?" She tries to remember, gets nothing, more vagueness. Finally the doctor just says they're going to catch Stevie up on his vaccines -- which, how would they know where he falls, for that? -- and prescribe a high-calorie formula so that he won't just wither and die.

Her heart is broken. Just terrible to watch her fall apart during this scene, the camera doesn't move off her face and you can barely hear his voice echoing as he goes on and on and she stares at her son and realizes she is literally killing her child. It's not that she's a bad parent, it's that she's a bad drug dealer, which makes her a bad parent. It's maybe the saddest I've ever felt for her, trying to figure out how to seduce gravity and still knowing that gravity is finally winning, for once. That Clark Kent can't actually fly at all.

The doctor further recommends more regular hours for bedtime and feeding, regularity and routine being "essential," and at some point it stops being medical advice and starts being a total indictment of Nancy as a person, a drug dealer, a mother, a woman, and an adult: "The key is eliminating anything that can be stressful for the baby right now. Loud noises, or instability, or domestic issues. Babies can sense these things. And, of course, there's the larger lifestyle choices..."

Ugly, We don't need to hear this. But it's so key to how this whole show works, like, Celia was always the banner carrier for this idea that the right thing is one of a number of suggestions, but once people start saying you have to do the right thing, suddenly that's just being Mean. Total addict mindset: The psychiatrist is the same thing as the cops, because they're coming for you. Like it's gravity's fault the ground is rushing up toward your face, like that's down to the patriarchy that it does that. And

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