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So Help me Todd - Second Second Chance - Review

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The third episode of the pilot season was definitely the strongest so far, continuing to showcase a clever and creative writing team and dynamic chemistry shared by all of the leads, but especially between mother and son duo Margaret and Todd (Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin). The episode begins with Todd and his ex-fiancĂ© turned colleague, Susan, running into each other as they are arriving for a party. In a classic Todd move, he didn’t read the details of the e-vite and showed up with beer to what turned out to be a baby shower for childhood friends. As the guests catch up over adulthood and stock profiles, Todd quickly realizes he is out of place amongst this group of married, successful professionals. He is relieved to run into his childhood best friend, Ryan, who is also an outcast with an arrest warrant to boot. When Ryan shares that he is going to court for a trespassing charge, Todd immediately offers the services of his mother, which viewers know isn’t going to go over well. 

Meanwhile, Margaret is moving into her new home with the help of her daughter, Allison. Allison questions Margaret about why she isn’t attending an upcoming gala that is dear to her heart, and Margaret unwillingly reveals that she hasn’t yet shared the news that Harry has left her, with her high society friends. We haven’t seen Margaret deal with her husband's abrupt departure at all since the pilot, so it was good to see her work through her feelings about it in this episode. Margaret insists to Allison that she will not attend a gala alone, and Allison suggests she bring Todd as her date. Margaret scoffs at the idea of bringing her unrefined son to such a high profile event. 

As expected, Margaret is none too happy with having to represent Todd’s friend, who she remembers as being a juvenile delinquent and refers to as a hoodlum. Todd asserts that Ryan is trying to change his life around, just like he did, and Margaret softens. She even charms the prosecutor into dismissing the trespassing charges, joking that it’s not like Ryan is going to go out and rob a bank. After that remark it’s not surprising that in the next scene, Margaret sees on the news that a pawn shop has been robbed and Ryan has been arrested for the crime. Not only that, but he has proudly touted her name as his legal representation. Margaret immediately comes down on Todd for putting her in this mess, which sends Todd on a mission to investigate the robbery and clear his friend. He talks Susan into coming to the pawn shop with him, posing as his fiancĂ© in an attempt to get information out of the store owner. Susan is under the impression that Margaret has provided her consent for this, which of course is not the case. The scene ends up being a cute moment between Todd and Susan, and it’s clear that there are unresolved feelings between them. Todd finds out from the owner of the pawn shop that his former security guard was fired, and Todd immediately decides he’s a suspect. Todd’s investigation leads him to a series of comedic discoveries, including the fact that the neighbouring store owner has a foot fetish and there is a camera on the sidewalk capturing people's feet as they walk by. Todd and Lyle have a comedic exchange as they view the tapes together. After he recognizes a pair of shoes, Todd comes to the realization that the actual suspect may be Ryan’s uncle. I also assumed it was the uncle all along as there were many small innuendos placed in the episode to draw the viewers into thinking he could be guilty. Todd goes to his mother with his new findings and she is skeptical, but joins him to question the uncle. When they arrive at the uncle’s home, the police are there because Ryan cut off his ankle bracelet and fled. Todd immediately decides to go and find his friend, while Margaret goes to question the uncle, after a tip from his son leads her to a strip club, where she discovers that he moonlights as a stripper. In an awkward yet comedic scene, Harden does a terrific job of portraying Margaret’s uncomfortableness in a witty way. Ryan’s uncle shares that Ryan’s father has been released from jail for quite some time and is working as an HVAC repairman. Margaret immediately believes that he could be responsible for the robbery, as the robber likely entered the pawn shop through the HVAC system. Todd and his mother come back together to take a look at the store's HVAC tunnel and realize that an adult could not fit in the entrance. In a clever tie back to a previous scene where the uncle's son, Danny, was eating Cheetos, they find Cheeto dust in the entrance and come to a sad conclusion- Ryan’s dad committed the robbery and used Danny to help him. Cruze McKinnon, the child actor who portrayed Danny, was absolutely phenomenal. He was articulate and clever and tugged at the viewers heart strings for his innocent naivety. 

The final scene was Margaret and Todd preparing to attend the gala. She finally confronted her socialite friends about her husband leaving and you could immediately feel her become unburdened. This episode was well written and the show continues to get better and better each week. It’s been a while since a show left me excited and eager for the next episode and this one is definitely in that category. What did you think of the episode? Are you hooked? Comment below with your thoughts or engage with me on Twitter @ms_c_almeida.

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