The Big Door Prize S1E6: Beau

We ended last week with Jacob and Trina’s secret relationship in trouble, as his dad, Beau, discovered that Trina had cheated on his dead son Kolton, but not that it was with his other son. All we really know about Beau is that he wasn’t a terribly involved father even before Kolton’s death, and that his efforts to overcompensate for that have been largely embarrassing.

But now we’re introduced to him on his own, at the ice rink where he worked prior to this season’s events. Beau’s angry and not terribly bright, and has an inflated sense of his importance as a zamboni driver. All of which make him a good match for law enforcement, as his Morpho card (“sheriff”) convinces him that, while zamboni drivers are, in some small but important way, holding society together, he could do so in a way that grants him marginally more respect.

We also find out why Beau inexplicably cut the dining room table in half with a chainsaw at the end of last episode. He needed the wood to make a saloon in his garage, which brings him closer to “sheriff,” just not in a way any sane person would imagine it.

Jacob seems to be used to ignoring his dad’s antics, but Beau’s indoor chainsaw usage makes him nervous enough to keep lying about who Trina was cheating with, like “probably someone on the basketball team.” And he’s been avoiding Trina, who tracks him down in front of a tacky mural the school painted of Kolton as an angel, and Jacob holding him up so he can dunk a basketball. He starts to suggest maybe their secret relationship isn’t working, but she charmingly undercuts him and it’s easy to see why they keep sneaking around for each other.

Dusty is set for more shenanigans, as he’s been appointed the new coach of the basketball team. But Giorgio immediately shows up to undermine Dusty and relive his own high school glory days. He in turn invites his old teammate Beau, who’s more interested in figuring out which kid stole his son’s girlfriend than anything happening on the court. He shows an inappropriate interest in the team’s dating lives, and even more inappropriately, invites them to his garage-saloon, with Dusty reluctantly in tow, “so they’ll be at least one adult there.”

Trina’s friend Savannah, who blew her off last week because she didn’t know how to talk to her about Kolton, warms up to her… but only because she wants to know if Jacob is looking for a girlfriend. Not wanting to give away her secret to a friend she doesn’t particularly like or trust, Trina finds herself encouraging her to date Jacob, and you can see the regret on her face even as she says it.

And while the dueling basketball coaches are trying to one-up each other in the saloon (and Beau is putting the screws to Tucker, the team’s best-looking player, not by asking him any questions, but just by generally being a dick to him), most of the team hides out in the kitchen with Jacob, and have the kind of actual honest conversation this show’s adults spend so much time avoiding. (The show makes some big swings between wacky comedy and deeply philosophical drama, and last week’s episode felt a bit disjointed as a result, but this week made a nice contrast between how well the adults and the teenagers are handling things.)

Jacob doesn’t have much in common with the basketball players apart from Kolton, but it turns out they’ve all come around to a similar outlook. Knowing your future can be a prison. It robs you of being able to make your own choices. And seeing how miserable and screwed-up Morpho has revealed all of their parents to be, the kids all agree they’d rather forget all about potential and just do what makes them happy. 

But that’s easier said than done. As Jacob observes, “We’re in high school. Things shouldn’t be that hard.” Trina feels like Jacob would be happier with someone he could date in public. He just wants to be with her and out from under his chainsaw-wielding dad. Beau, abrasive and lunkheaded as he is, is just trying to figure out how to keep going after losing his wife and his son. And Georgio still carries a torch for Cass, though repeatedly showing up Dusty doesn’t get him any closer to winning her over. But we suspect he’ll keep trying, as he’s the focus of next week’s episode.

Stray potential:
• We don’t revisit the blue spots on Dusty’s ass this week, but why doesn’t he just see a doctor? He handwaves the idea away in the first episode, as the town’s doctor is his mother. But surely he could go a town or two over and get someone to take a look.

• We complained about not seeing enough of Trina in her episode, but while Beau doesn’t dominate this week either, a little of him goes a long way.

• Jacob quietly sitting around the space where the dining room table used to be is a surprisingly poignant image, capturing how lost he feels at home, and how much of that home he’s lost, without a word of dialogue.