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Splitting Up Together - We Need To Talk About Karen - Review - When the Dark Games Begin



Last week, Martin hurled some major anger Lena's way and said he wanted to sell the house. Lena seems to think it's just a regular phase he's going through. Thank goodness Jenna Fischer continues to be absolutely endearing, or this show wouldn't have leg to stand on.

Everyone has moved on from the brief Martin/Lena reunion, except Lena. It's frustrating to watch her slip right back into old patterns. So much time was spent last season focusing on Lena coming to the realization she had lost sight of herself. It remains unclear if the show has forgotten that or if it just wants us to forget that. But maybe the house will be sold, and everyone will get a fresh start. Even Mae lights up like sunrise at the equator when she hears they might move. Angela Kinsey appears for an extremely disappointingly brief cameo as a realtor. Maybe she'll be back. The discussion Martin and Lena have at the end indicates this story line isn't over yet.

What is over is Maya's relationship with Frank aka Sugar Beard aka Country Music Face. He reveals he knew her friend was imaginary, but his over-enthusiasm for being a dad to her baby (when he barely knows her) was a red flag. She broke up with him. At least Marc Evan Jackson got to return one more time as good listener/waiter Gene.
Lisa Apple is nowhere to be seen, but a couple months have passed since the last episode. It's Halloween. The perfect time for Lena to invite a friend of Mae's from summer camp over for a sleepover. Milly Shapiro guest stars as Emma Rebecca, utterly eccentric and delightful. (And a reminder that the regular kids on this show are given absolutely no material.) Emma Rebecca met Mae when they were both in the camp infirmary. (Emma was a bit by a snake. Often fatal. But...“In my case, it was the snake that died.” Words cannot express how bizarrely wonderful this character is. See also: Shapiro's matter-of-fact pleasant delivery of the "Oh my, what a healthy child" line.)

This episode had more comedy than is usual for the show, but that was almost entirely because of Shapiro's whimsical yet slightly eerie character. Splitting Up Together doesn't know what kind of show it wants to be when it grows up, but most comedies do find their footing at least by their second season. The clock is ticking. Martin and Lena ultimately learn their house's foundation is unstable. (WINK WINK!) It could very well collapse on them, if the pipes don't burst first. And that metaphor can be extended to cover the entire show.


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