BETTER THINGS paints Phil as a bit of a nut case, or a lot of a nut case. Let me try that again.
Better Things paints Phil as someone that you don’t want to be around for too long. She always says or does something that offends or annoys you. Can she help it? The jury is out on that one, but she does have a brother who is the complete opposite – cool, calm and collected Uncle Lester. He lives in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada with his wife.
I am not sure why Sam decides to visit him. It all seems kind of random, but I’m glad that she did because I felt like I went with them.
Uncle Lester and his wife live in a quaint and peaceful water community where they can fish (with no restrictions), and they can sit under the clouded sun and get half a tan with no other residents bothering them.
The kids have met them before because they rekindle their relationships as if not much time had passed at all.
Frankie and Uncle Lester bond over fishing and making stuff. Max bonds with his wife about her snogging antics with The Beatles. And Duke. Well, Duke makes friends with an apparition who may or may not be her Aunt Marion.
Aunt Marion is someone Sam and the kids never knew. Uncle Lester tells a story about her, and before he really gets into it, Sam stops him and asks, “Who are you talking about?” Well, Phil the pill, never told her about Aunt Marion. Turns out she died in 1983 in a mental institution.
While the story wants you to blame Phil for not telling Sam about Marion, I would like to blame Lester and their whole family dynamic for that.
Who just leaves their Aunt in a mental institution without checking up on her? Who doesn’t know that their sister died 34 years ago? How can the only memory of that year be that Uncle Lester and his wife moved into the White Rock house?
Phil may have had her reasons for not telling Sam about Marion, but she isn’t the only bad guy here. Family is family no matter what, although I don’t know what kind of mental illness that woman had. That could make a difference.
Despite the Aunt Marion drama, Sam and the kids have an amazing time. Everyone is being cool. Max doesn’t have a meltdown (well, she approaches that ledge a little with her mother — but doesn’t jump off). Frankie isn’t being mean. And Duke is being her regularly weird self. All is well with them when they are in White Rock, and it’s nice to see.
As they prepare to leave, Duke says goodbye to her imaginary friend, who as I’ve stated, may or may not be her Aunt Marion. Max kind of has a meltdown, but she melts into her Aunt’s bosom. Sam is grateful. And Frankie really wants to return for the summer. I’m sure that Sam wants to be adopted, but that just can’t happen right now. Maybe she can get Uncle Lester to adopt her after all of the kids leave the nest. We’ll see. Heck, I want to be adopted by them!
Phil meets Sam and the kids are home, and the first thing she asks, of course, is “Where have you all been?” Dryly, Sam responds, “White Rock.” Phil is puzzled. She wonders why Sam didn’t tell her.
See, the thing about aging parents is that they can age and get crazy all they want, but they need to be aware of their crazy. Sam should have used this moment to tell her mother about herself, but instead, she tends to the trash bins, which may have been discernment saving her from Phil’s mouth.
Season 2, Episode 9 (S02E09)
Better Things airs Thursday at 10PM on FX
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor