This week’s episode of BLUNT TALK is certainly the worst episode of the series thus far. After a tepid start to season two I was expecting things to pick up by episode three, and while I’m not punting on the show as a whole just yet, the complete lack of jokes or story movement in “Your Therapist and His P…. Are Here,” has made me wonder whether the ship is sinking rather than just being off course.
For some reason, Jonathan Ames and company have handcuffed themselves to the Cornelia storyline yet refused to move it forward over two full episodes! After introducing her in episode one and leaving us with an ominous cliffhanger, it was safe to assume that much of the early part of this season would revolve around whatever mischief Cornelia was introducing into Walter’s life. But instead, we’ve had her go missing and disengaging from Walter. First, she doesn’t return his calls and then disappears by the end of episode two. Now in episode three, she spends all her time in a hospital bed denying Walter’s offer for help. The end result of all this being we lose Walter for much of the time as he agonizes over Cornelia’s (and by default the Blunt Talk writing staff’s,) questionable decisions and actions.
By the end of this week’s meandering twenty-six minutes, Walter decides to take on the news story Cornelia has been working on, a decision that should have happened almost immediately after her introduction to the show. The only logical explanation for the delay on this story line, is that sadly there isn’t enough story to carry this season for a full ten episodes. I hope I’m wrong about that but it’s not looking good at the moment. We’re now set up now to have Walter and Harry investigate the dangerous world Cornelia has been infiltrating in next week’s segment, but at this point my interest has waned immensely, and I want this plot to wrap up as quickly as possible so as to get Walter back into more comedic set ups.
This episode in particular was devoid of any laugh out loud jokes, which was surprising because in general, even the weaker episodes have had strong humor to make up for thinner character development. I’d say the funniest moments could be attributed to Moby, whose overly gentle onscreen version of himself never hesitates to crack me up.
But while Walter is ruminating on Cornelia and what her rejection of him means, the rest of the cast is unfortunately left with very little to do. The Jim and Celia relationship has reached a sort of TV purgatory, where the creators don’t want to push too hard in any direction leaving its characters and us viewers completely in the mud. It’s unclear at this point whether we want to root for Jim and Celia given how strangely they’ve dealt with everything since episode one of this season. Jim acts objectively like a loon, and so Celia’s sympathy for him seems less sweet and more unhinged than anything else. But what’s strange is we aren’t supposed to see her that way, and Celia has been positioned as a redemptive force to Jim’s misunderstood kindness. I liked how the relationship grew in season one and was all for seeing it through its highs and lows this season. But instead we’ve been given very little progress and at this point I’d be happy with a quick reset just to get things back to the sweet spot of season one.
Rosalie, Martin and Shelly are again wasted and any emotional interactions between them all have been completely dampened in service of Walter’s unending Cornelia plot. This would be a prime moment to develop the Martin and Shelly “frenemy” dynamic and give it some actual weight. Maybe send them on a project together and force them into a scenario where they have to be open and vulnerable with each other. Rosalie has been reduced to a motherly sage whose sadness is rarely touched upon now. There’s a moment that reminds us how potent her character could be when she asks Walter to spoon her for a change because she “needs some tenderness” with her husband away dealing with his Alzheimer’s. It’s such a little line and yet Jacki Weaver has imbued so much warmth into her character that I hoped the scene would play longer and expand on her feelings. If the show has any desire to turn things around it needs to go back to those moments and really give them their due.
It’s unclear to me what the goal is of the show right now. At the very best I could defend it as a sophomore slump that maybe bit off more than it could chew for the moment. We’ll see as the season progresses and Walter includes his team into the story he gets from Cornelia. I’d love to see some more grounding in the characters and the story, it’s still early in the season so here’s hoping to this just being a small mis-step!
Season 2, Episode 3 (S02E03)
Blunt Talk airs Sunday at 830PM on Starz
Greg Brecher | Contributor