To Moscow, and Quickly

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

Andy is troubled by going on the grid, especially considering the pediatrician isn't even Jewish or Asian, but Nancy lets him whine. She's more weirded out by the fact that she's back in a pediatrician's office after all these years. (In Mexicali it was so easy: You paid the doctor to come to you, in your locked up Rosemary's Baby Suite.) Point is, they let you pay cash.

Filling out the forms with lies takes a sudden turn into weird conversational gambits. Andy immediately criticizes her choices, changing "Avi" to the much more interesting "Clovis Ludwig McKenzie-Newman," and when she clucks he makes fun of her for losing her mischievous streak. Nancy used to be, he says, "Like a minx." Well, my kid's sick. And having just realized I have a baby, I'm all about that today.

Luckily, the next question is all about Nancy, which is her favorite topic, so she puts down "Skydiver" as her occupation. It's not wrong, exactly. Andy jokes about putting down "Homewrecker" instead, and she blows it off. For dad's occupation, Andy gets very wiggly and excited. "Scrappy do-gooder. Or hunky alpha male. Roving sex god!" Nancy writes down "Dead," because that's how she feels and how she will always feel, but her explanation is that it's easier to do it that way.

Why that is, is because he called her out for not being fun, and so she did something fun to get his approval back, so now he has to eat twice as much shit and she has to demonstrate that he still doesn't have any power or anything separate from her: Okay, yes, we can have fun on this form, but not so very much fun that you think we're teammates. This is a sidekicks-only gig. Daredevil Girl works alone.

"Easier than what, saying I'm alive?" Well, point being this isn't about Andy, who is not the dad. Andy's confused by that, because he thought it was already established that he was the dad in their made-up wonderful wonderful, and she's like, "Sure, you're the dad for now," but this is playtime anyway. He yells and she changes it to "Randy Newman, Diplomat/Cultural Attaché," but he goes back to whining.

About what? About his place in Nancy's life, where are they going, who is he to her, etc. The difference is that this time, it's allowing for the trap she's got him in, the assumption of no sex they've agreed to keep hypothetical forever, his sorta jealousy about Mark-Paul last week, and the fact that they've switched it up again: Now he's asking for commitment and she's the one telling him everything is temporary. Same argument, different vector, because instead of wanting to hear she'll never fuck him, now Andy wants to hear that he'll never be irrelevant.

Because sex or not, all men are disposable, and being the fake husband -- in every sense -- still guarantees him nothing. Maybe less. But mostly it's the Gosselaar thing: Once you get a look at that magic you could really start to question your fundamentals. She was willing to put down temporary roots for that, which means she opened the door to putting down roots at all, and Andy knows he needs in on the groundfloor of that possibly giant change. The possible sea change.

Nancy's always chosen security on a faulty foundation (dealing in Agrestic, killing her mother-in-law for the house in Ren-Mar, the gunmen in the baby store, Mexico under Pilar's watch) because it's the mix of crazy and safe -- the flux of both at once -- that started this show in the first place. She's declared she's sick of the RV and the deep outlaw shit, but she's also been pretty clear about permanently running from Esteban. And the idea of kink with Jack, in a shantytown that was only ever a pretend world for somebody else's dreams, was the perfect fantasy of stasis/isolation and mobility.

If Nancy's about to drag them all down into some new quasi-permanent situation, that's either very good for Andy or very bad for Andy. Because at the same time, Audra was his Mark-Paul Gosselaar, in that she made Andy think about home as a place you can actually be, which is why he's been trying to grow up even harder than Shane or Silas all season. Stasis is Nancy's preferred state, mobility is the spice that makes it workable. For Andy, it's the opposite: He's a man-child who loves running, and off-the-grid, but the fantasy of home, heimlich hygge coziness, is just as mesmerizing for him. She's Daredevil Girl, the skydiver, but he's Grownup Guy.

The question is always: Is Clark Kent the costume that Superman puts on, or is Superman just a costume that Clark Kent puts on? Is Minivan Andy the thing he's turning into, or the thing he's stuck reaching for? Is Daredevil Girl a mask Nancy needs to cover up her cowardice, or is Nancy Botwin just the cage she lives in? Who knows. The answer is usually "All of the above." A face for all the faces that you meet.

But look at the boys: Silas already is the man that Andy is becoming/trying to become. Shane already is the beast that Nancy is avoiding/trying to avoid. And they are both doing really well, this season. Maybe in part because they're not trying to be anything. They are at peace in a way their grownups can't be, because their grownups are so stuck on how they think their lives should work. Silas and Shane, though, have no experience of what that could possibly be like. They are formed by their experiences, where Nancy and Andy are formed by their fantasies. (And then you've got the third pair, Doug/Stevie: Is that a Tao-of-Pooh peace? Or are you just shitting your diaper?)

So either the boys are telling us the truth about their grownups, or are diametrically opposed to their grownups: Either way, they're embodying one half of their respective dynamics. If anything, I would say the balance will shift back the other way: Andy will try more than ever to be like Silas, and Nancy will end up more like Shane than ever. And then it'll shift back the other way, because the answer is still and will always be "All of the above," because that's what being a grownup is actually like.

Chilling in a tent with a huge hookah, as the band starts up onstage, Doug introduces the hookah, Medusa, to a giant penguin. Awkwardly, the penguin shoves a gardenhose into his beak and gets to it.

Now Andy wants to know what they're going to tell Clovis Ludwig. Is he the uncle? What is he? Nancy's like, "See above re: we'll get there when we get there. Isolation and mobility." But he's onto her: In this yet-to-be-determined "there," will he get to have a wife? What will it look like? Will he get to have a Danish lover named Famke, living with them in a polyamorous free-love situation? Will it be joint custody, with Andy taking the kid on weekends and the Sabbath and major US holidays?

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