The Big Door Prize S2E9: Un-Selfploration

Last week’s episode ended with Dusty asking Cass if they could end their “self-sploration,” and leaving school with his family while Alice looked on, forlorn. This week opens with the teacher/whistler annoying Cass with his whistling, so at first glance, their marriage is back to normal. They get a few moments in bed just being a cute couple again, until they’re loudly awoken by Giorgio and Nat, who bring in Giorgio’s singing waitstaff to congratulate them on getting back together. As Dusty puts it, “What a delightfully jarring start to a day.”

As their friends grill them on what they did when they were apart and what brought them back together, it’s not clear whether the separation accomplished anything. They’re still each a bit passive-aggressive towards the other. Neither of them did much on their own that they couldn’t have done before, apart from Dusty kissing Alice. And it comes out that he hasn’t actually told her that he’s back with his wife.

Trina and Jacob also wind up in bed together — up until now the show had been coy on whether they’ve had sex or not — and while playfully going through Jacob’s stuff, Trina finds Colton’s Morpho card. Jacob still hasn’t read it, as he doesn’t want to see the potential his dead brother will never get to live up to. They’re also startled from their reverie by Beau, who’s upset that he got fired from the ice rink. (We’re less upset, because as far as we knew, he quit to pursue his potential, but apparently he got his job back at some point.)

It turns out, Beau was fired by Trevor, the pretentious twentysomething who Jacob had a short-lived friendship with. But while Trevor’s irritated that Jacob stopped responding to texts, Beau earned being fired — he’d been breaking into the rink to practice figure skating, a childhood interest he was too embarrassed to tell his own dad about. He puts on some moves for the kids to the tune of Shania Twain’s “My Perogative,” and to his credit, the kids are more charmed than embarrassed, and frankly, Season 2 Beau has become fairly charming, while Season 1 Beau was mostly embarrassing.

But Trina still has a dad of her own, so we get our obligatory “Dusty embarrasses himself” moment, as he tries to break things off with Alice by leaving a greeting card under her windshield wiper. As usual, it transitions into an effective emotional moment, but it’s hard not to wonder if the show wouldn’t be better off just ditching the clunky setups and sticking with the well-executed payoffs. 

And we do get a payoff. We might get more insight into Dusty and Cass’ relationship, and who they fundamentally are as people, than we got during the entire “selfploration,” not to mention Dusty’s flirtation with Alice, and why it did and didn’t work. Not to mention one more mysterious communication from Morpho to lead us into the season finale.

Stray potential:
• Trina starts off yelling at Trevor, but she’s at her best gleefully providing commentary on his conversation with Jacob. “Ooh, look who just learned the word ‘puerile!’”

• Last season built up to Deerfest, a town carnival. This episode sets up Deercoming, a parade that once ushered in deer season. Nowadays there aren’t actual deer around, so Mayor Izzy dresses up like a deer and throws candy from a sleigh like Santa. This makes perfect sense to everyone but Hana, who’s delightfully exasperated by the town’s bottomless well of quirks.