Frankie Fox. The spirited middle child who always seems to have something to say or wants to challenge authority. Of Sam’s three daughters, Frankie might be the most interesting. She’s smack dab in the middle between Duke and Max, and while she’s not as impressionable as Duke, she’s not as mature as Max. As mature as you can say Max is, anyway. But of the three, Frankie is definitely the most rebellious. At least with Sam. So is Max, but she’s more mellow when it comes to her confrontations with Sam.
Not the case with Frankie, but what’s interesting is that this vitriol only seems to be directed at Sam. Unlike Duke and Max, we rarely, if ever see Frankie interact with anyone outside of her family. Whereas with Sam, it’s as if she waits for Sam to say something, anything, just to tell her to stop. So in that regard, Frankie is a pain in the ass. Not altogether, though, as she did ask Sam before about her father. It doesn’t happen often, but there are glimmers where Frankie calms down and acts like a decent person.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Picking up where we left off last week, Duke is still convinced that there’s some sort of spirit in her room. I’m going to assume that Sam didn’t mention the bear. But the family has decided to bring in a medium- or, as Phil refers to him, a gypsy- to help. This medium indeed senses a presence. Frankie believes it’s a pig, which sends her off on another brief rant, while the medium brings up a mouse. That would at least line up with Duke’s mouse dying in the last episode.
Then we get a bit serious when the medium talks about moving past toxic people in your life. More to the point, how can the family move past Xander? Sam thought she’d put him behind her, but he’s still popping up every now and then, even in this very scene. As the medium tells the family, think of that toxic person as a friend who let you down. A fair proposition, I’m sure.
The medium also takes a moment to address Frankie, saying that while he finds her smart, she should at least lay off of her mother. Or at least bring it down a notch in regards to the people in her life- her mother in particular. This will factor in later.
Max is back at home for a minute. Despite her dropping out, she hasn’t been hanging around the house as often as one might think. Whether that’s because she’s off doing something else or the scenes we’ve had at home don’t call for her is anyone’s guess, but it is nice to see her pop in every once in awhile. Not necessarily for Sam, though.
Back to the plot, though. Sam happens upon a pipe left by one of Max’s friends. Like most parents, she’s pissed. Though I imagine she’s more pissed about finding the pipe than Max and her friends lighting up at all. After all, Max has a fake ID for getting drinks. Lighting up seems like the next natural thing for her to try. Either way, Sam isn’t with that shit, and she lays into Max and her friends. Thing is, while Max isn’t as defiant as Frankie, she’s still defiant and tells her mother that she can’t scold her.
Oh, but again, Sam isn’t with that shit and she rightly chews out Max and the others. It feels very cathartic, this moment, because while Sam is very caring to her daughters, she still does need to lay down the law and remind them who is in charge. Max may be grown, but she’s not in a position to boss her mother around. Considering the role Sam has played in the lives of Sam’s friends, neither are they, so it’s nice for Sam to bite back instead of just being passive.
But let’s move onto the meat of this episode. By the time we got here, I was surprised how quickly the rest of the episode flew by, but that’s a constant for a lot of half-hour FX shows.
After all that talk earlier about Frankie, let’s actually talk about Frankie. For all the time not spent with her outside of the Fox home, the second half of the episode does just that. See, we find out that Frankie is a very smart individual to the point where she skipped a grade and started high school early. It’s noteworthy, but Frankie doesn’t seem like one to boast. Neither does Sam, who is one of the parents accompanying Frankie and the rest of the students on this little field trip.
Where are they going? Well…it’s sort of a slam poetry thing? Beat poetry? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s an opportunity for the students to get up and speak their minds in some admittedly fascinating stories. Frankly, I’m just glad this was poetry instead of singing, because then I would’ve thought we’d walked into an episode of Glee. Nobody needs that.
What we could use a dose of, however, is Frankie mellowing out. It’s here where she feels the most natural and calm. You know, not biting off Sam’s head or trying to be the smartest one in a room. Rather, she consoles one of her nervous friends backstage and doesn’t attempt to talk down to her at all. It’s a very different sort of Frankie, but doesn’t feel like a completely different character. As we saw when Duke got her period, Frankie is capable of being caring. It just doesn’t happen a lot.
When she and two other friends take the stage for their performance, you can tell right away that Frankie’s bit in particular is aimed at Sam. It’s all about the little lies that parents tell and the hard truths that kids have to face. A lot of what Frankie specifically says echoes a lot of the conversations that Sam has had. If this is the outlet that Frankie uses to express herself, then that’s great. It shows us a creative side to her personality unlike anything I’ve seen from her before.
It makes me wonder where this person is when she isn’t being an overall prat to her mother.
But when the performance ends and Sam attempts to congratulate her daughter, things go back to normal. Some things never change.
Then in a reverse of fate, Max has to be the responsible one. Phil happens upon Max’s friends lighting up and decides to join them. When Max sees this, she flips her shit. But then, she’s in even less of a position to tell Phil what to do than she was with Sam. Phil just wants her to keep an eye out in case Sam comes back. So we’ve come full circle from Max being defiant to now having to be the one who is responsible. But then, Phil can do whatever she wants, so not like Max has any room to stand on.
Also, Sam gets a delivery of Hemingway, cigarettes, and Plan B. Probably not for her, I’m guessing. See you all next week for the season finale!