The answer is no.
It’s interesting how, despite the stumbles in Sam’s life, she’s tried to get herself on the right track. Much of that has involved not making the same mistakes of her past. That’s not necessarily progression or improvement, but it is a sign that she’s learning from her past actions.
So after last week’s previous well-done “Eulogy,” we have sort of a simpler tale here that kicks off with a blackout. And we get a very meta joke of the girls watching King of the Hill, specifically a scene with Bobby Hill. Though it does make you think- Pamela Adlon isn’t playing herself on Better Things, her character’s name is Sam. So then who is voicing Bobby on King of the Hill? And does that voice actor remind anyone of Sam?
Anyway, seems all the love from the girls to Sam from last week has gone right out the window with Frankie pointing her phone at her mother while she’s preparing food in the kitchen…and just wearing a towel. I’m not sure why Sam is only wearing a towel and presumably nothing underneath, but hey, it’s her house and she can wear whatever she damn well pleases. And so having had her privacy invaded, Sam does what any well-meaning mother would do: chuck her daughter’s phone into the water.
So of course, when she later apologizes and promises to get Frankie a new phone, she at least quickly realizes that she’s been played and now has to get her daughter an entirely new phone. Through actions that she did. Hell, she could’ve just taken the phone, but ruining it means more money coming out of her own pocket for a new phone.
The power going out, while seemingly a way to get Sam and Jeff out of the house, does provide a nice bit of commentary on the state of how attached we are to our phones. Soon as the electricity goes out, everyone’s flocking to their phones to check and see what’s happening. Social interaction, banding together, not an option. Everyone has to stay connected somehow. That’s the only way to keep in touch with the outside world. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
After being absent for the last episode, we briefly check in on Phil, and while we don’t spend much time with her here, it’s clear that her mind is still going, given how much she repeatedly asks Sam the same questions and even gets mixed up on who Jeff is, calling him Bob. Plus, she’s transfixed on getting a particular lavender suit. With buttons. It’s brief, but it’s nice to at least see her again.
What’s interesting about Sam and Jeff en route to the hardware is both how similar and dissimilar they are. They’ve both walked from their past relationships- more recently for Sam, but we’ll get to that in a moment- but Sam isn’t as willing to talk about Xander as Jeff is about Sunny. It’s not completely out of place for Jeff to wonder how often Xander sees the girls since he, by proxy, sees the girls so often as well. Though while the two are friends, there are some things Sam would just rather not answer.
And when she says she’d rather show her pussy to Jeff than talk about her exes, I have to wonder if that was her first alternative.
I don’t know when and how Sam decided to break things off with Robin, but it was at least a very unceremonious end. And a very one-sided one, too. Not to hurt Robin’s feelings because I do feel that Sam genuinely liked him, but she just realized this wasn’t her thing and ended it on her own terms. Rather than there be some big break-up or even ending it through text, Sam just went back to business and let Robin fade into obscurity. Not out of character for her.
So it’s indeed a small world when she ends up running into him at the hardware store of all places. Seriously, what are the odds of that happening? And when Robin says that he misses her, it feels genuine. It’s like being left at the altar without any explanation as to what you might have done. You’re just left hanging. That’s the situation Robin’s in right now. But it would’ve been too conventional for Sam to have a regular break-up moment, and Sam isn’t what you’d call a conventional person.
Then again, Better Things isn’t what I’d call a conventional show, which is one of its biggest strengths.
Jeff is both in the wrong and right when he talks about Robin. And while I’m glad he acknowledges that he’s an outsider in this and doesn’t have as much perspective on Sam’s situation as she does, it still feels out of place for him to say that Robin saying that he misses Sam was bitchy. After all, Sam acknowledge that she didn’t break up with Robin. She just stopped. She’s not obligated to let Robin know that, but she still feels shitty about it.
However, Jeff is right when he points out that Sam deserves to give herself some of the same understanding and acceptance that she’s given him when, out of all of his friends in the world, Sam is the only one who accepted Jeff despite him not showing up for his marriage. He has to live for the rest of his life receiving the cold shoulder from everyone else, but not Sam. Perhaps the marriage wasn’t for Jeff, just as pursuing a relationship with Robin wasn’t right for Sam.
And Jeff’s right. Sam does deserve to let herself be happy. If not from anyone else, then at least to herself. It’s a well-delivered and straightforward speech that I have to wonder if Jeff had prepared for because I can’t see anyone having all of that right off the cuff.
And then Jeff goes and ruins it by going in for the kiss. To be fair, it did seem like that’s where they were both headed since they both lean in closer, but Sam realizes right at the last second that she can’t let herself go down this path again when she’s just been told to give herself some happiness. Boning with Jeff would create more conflict, and that is a very No…in a moment that will no doubt become a classic for this show. Seriously, Sam’s steady stream of No’s goes on for at least a full minute.
But hey, that’s how you get the point across. Despite there being some truth to Jeff’s statement, Sam won’t allow herself to go down that path or she’d just be adding to the problem.
Then it’s made even worse when Jeff says that he still wants to bone, though leaves that option up to Sam, and wants Sam to taste his dick. And that’s all Sam needs to know that Jeff sucks. They both suck. But Jeff went and ruined what was a good moment.
All in all, a very ‘No’ kind of day for Sam.
The answer is no.