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Speechless - U-N-- UNFORGETTABLE P-A-- PAIN - Review

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‘U-N– UNFORGETTABLE P-A– PAIN’ was another mighty fine episode of Speechless, that threw together some interesting pairings that we’re not really used to seeing and the result was a heart-warming and laugh out loud half hour.

Three storylines all took centre stage in their own way this week. Ray was in a rut, struggling to deal with his heartbreak after being dumped by Taylor. Jimmy was unhappy that the dog seemed to favor Kenneth over him. JJ made a new friend at school who wanted to go to the movies with him & Dylan tagged along for support.

Breaking down the Ray storyline first because it was beyond hilarious and our cold open. Ray’s hardly slept and hardly eaten since Taylor broke up with him. He can’t even bring himself to eat Maya chicken soup. Dylan then walks in with JJ, revealing that Taylor is on her way over to pick up her sweat shirt and Ray goes into a panic over her seeing him in the state he’s in.

So the DiMeo’s band together to get Ray all spruced up, even feeling him a mouthful of cereal to try and stop him looking so pale. When Ray greets Taylor at the door he’s looking like a new man, but unfortunately everything is still the same. She’s extremely cold and leaves as soon as she can.
After Dylan reaches her limit and destroys Ray’s guitar so he can’t sing anymore horrific romantic ballads, Maya decides to take him out shopping. She offers to get Ray a drone, which he can get a few days of fun out of before returning it, and Ray’s mood seems to be piqued as he asks whether they can go to a different shopping mall.

Maya finds his enthusiasm, asking her to wait in the car, and items in his hand as he skips off to be quite suspicions. It’s soon revealed that Taylor works at the mall and Ray wants to use the drone to deliver a song that he’s recorded to her. Trying to save her son from himself, Maya manages to hit the drone down and tries to persuade Ray to give Taylor a bit of space. He refuses to and instead asks Maya to just let him do what he’s got to do. She begrudgingly does and Ray walks into the store Taylor works at to apologize, and also sing to her. She reacts as well to the song as you might expect, lambasting Ray for his wrong doings before spotting Maya hiding in the bush. Having been caught, Maya frogmarches Ray out of the shop.

Where one might think he’s sad over Taylor’s reaction to him, he’s actually over the moon. Her hating him so much means that she still has feelings for him, and that’s all that he really wanted to know.

All of the storylines in this episode worked so well due to the casts chemistry with each other, but none more so than here. The show doesn’t tend to pair Ray & Maya together often, due to the fact she’s usually involved in JJ’s storyline or something to do with the school. When it does give these two scenes though it is simply brilliant. I love the show exploring all the different relationships between the family members and Kenneth, but Ray & Maya is so interesting because they’re complete opposites and yet so alike each other.

Kenneth and Jimmy was another interesting combination, and one we really don’t see often enough. Kenneth takes the dog out to the park and reveals that he’s managed to teach it some tricks. Jimmy’s impressed until the dog refuses to listen to him and he realizes that Kenneth’s taken his place in the dogs eyes.

What we’re then treated to is a series of scene in which Kenneth and Jimmy try and badly fail to make the dog see Jimmy as the alpha. This ranges from Jimmy ‘humiliating’ Kenneth, telling him when he can and can’t eat, and of course ordering him to get the mail which is interrupted by the actual mail man. Kenneth then instructs him to put the mail into his mouth and not ask any questions, and the mail man is as bemused as the rest of us.

With all of this failing to work, Kenneth tells Jimmy to say really nasty things to him in order to demean him. This starts out quite playful but then gets serious as Jimmy says that Kenneth has stolen his dog the same way he’s stolen his son.

If Jimmy wants to know how JJ is, he has to ask Kenneth and he really doesn’t like that. Cedric Yarbrough and John Ross Bowie are fine actors, and take the opportunity to show their depths of their range in their strides. Kenneth apologizes to Jimmy for the way he’s unintentionally made him feel, says that he’ll always be JJ’s father and if Jimmy wants Kenneth to back off a little, he will. The two men come to a silent understanding, and following this exchange the dog once again recognizes Jimmy as the alpha.

The final storyline this episode and probably the most heartwarming revolves around JJ. He makes friends with a guy at school who is as big as a movie buff as him, and the guy asks if JJ wants to go see a movie. He’s apprehensive since he’s tried to have friends before, but people tend to get tired fast of having to wheel him around everywhere and bail.

Dylan offers to lend a helping hand by going to the movies with them, and making sure that nothing at all goes wrong. This includes turning up at the movies and getting all the complaints they could possibly make out of the way so there are no surprises. Unfortunately JJ’s friend Aaron arrives and reveals that a different cinema is showing a different movie, and he wants to see that instead. Dylan tries to convince him to stay at that cinema but he doesn’t want to, and JJ relents fearful of losing his friend.

With no parents around, they’re left to call a taxi for a ride, but unfortunately no accessible ones are in the area. When they walk along the pavement, a garbage bin is soon blocking them and Dylan has to use all of her strength to move it. They then have to cross a road which involves JJ going 5 inches down onto the road in his chair. And of course it rains, which short circuits his chair.

As Dylan goes off to find some bags for cover, Aaron is more than willing to wheel JJ to the cinema manually. But JJ’s defeated and orders Aaron to leave him. Neither of them are really happy with this but Aaron abides by JJ’s wishes and goes. When Dylan returns she thinks Aaron’s abandoned JJ and JJ reveals that he’s the one who pushed Aaron away. He claims he did it to save Aaron from doing it, but Dylan thinks her brother has maybe given up on Aaron a little too quickly.

He eventually returns and it transpires that he and JJ are in the same boat; they both think that eventually people are only humouring them and will eventually get tired and leave. JJ’s happy to realize he and Aaron have more in common than first though as is Dylan.

With JJ still unable to go anywhere, Aaron decides to wheel him to the cinema in a trolley and then tries to pick JJ up to take him inside. It’s a really sweet moment and Aaron is already my favorite new character introduced this season.

There’s only 3 episodes left until we reach the end of this season, with next week bringing us a double helping of Speechless. Make sure you tune in next Wednesday from 8pm on ABC

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