Better Things (S04E3) “Escape Drill”

Escape Drill Lenny Sam and LaLa see a specialist - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

Despite the first two episodes of this season not feeling all that connected, we start to get into that serialized feeling with the third episode, “Escape Drill.” Sam, Lenny, and LaLa visit a person who I am assuming is a divorce specialist? Lenny is still feeling blue over the fallout between her and Richard. She still loves him, and while this show makes a point of saying that the women don’t need a man to stand on their own two feet, it at least acknowledges that hey, divorces and break-ups suck.

Sam would rather Lenny get out of her funk as soon as possible and live in the moment, yes, but she’s not rushing her into it, which is wise. It’d be out of character and unlike Better Things for Sam to just disregard a friend’s feelings for the sake of pushing them to have a good time.

Escape Drill Duke does makeup with a friend - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

Duke’s not in this episode a ton, but we get a good, brief scene with her and a friend as they do makeup. Once again, it has to be pointed out how fast Olivia Edward is growing up right before our eyes. It’s nothing new to watch a child actor suddenly bloom into an adolescent and eventually adult.

We see it happen all the time on TV shows and films, but Duke being the youngest makes it all the more sudden that she’s aged as fast as she has. There’s not a lot to the scene beyond highlighting how much mature Duke is becoming, but it’s a sad say here because it turns out that her friend is moving away.

Honestly, I don’t remember if this is a character that we’ve met before, though that’s not really important. What’s important is how this affects Duke, who admits that she’s jealous of how beautiful her sisters are and how she wants to be like them. Admirable, but not exactly idea, Duke. Have you seen Frankie and Max?

Escape Drill Jeff puts together the chinchillas cage - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

Anyway, talking about continuity, Priscilla the chinchilla, Sam has purchased a cage for it. She doesn’t put it together, mind you. That’s what Jeff is for, and he puts it together no problem, but the awkwardness- the other awkwardness- comes when Sunny arrives and the two have their own form of therapy.

Escape Drill Sunny and Jeff talk about their lives - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

Well, I say “therapy,” but it’s more Jeff just apologizing to Sunny for a laundry list of things he’s done. Is all self-help therapy like this? It’s not as awkward as when Jeff tried to kiss Sam, which became a very “No” situation, but it’s just as bad.

Escape Drill Max talks about her future - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

Following this, Max and Sam have some mother-daughter bonding time as they get pedicures. It’s another nice moment between the two, following their fun in the rain at the end of “She’s Fifty,” and we get some insight into Max as she plots her future. For all the guff we give Sam’s girls, there are sparks of inspiration and genuine thought in regards to their lives.

In this instance, we learn that Max is doing quite well at her new job as a hostess. She’s been saving money and puts away 10 percent of her paycheck towards an IRA. Now that is forward-thinking if I’ve ever heard it. How many of you had a Roth IRA during your college years? Okay, probably a few of you, but considering this is Max of all people, it’s admirable that she’s really thinking about her future.

She’s thought of having kids and, to the point, she wants to be everything her mother isn’t. There’s a lot to unpack there in that you have a child who wants to be better than or just accomplish what their parents could not. But in this instance, I break with Max here. Sure, Sam isn’t the perfect parent- what parent is?- but she is doing her damnedest. She gives all that she can and more, even when her daughters don’t give her the smallest bit of gratitude in return.

If there’s one thing to admire about Sam’s ability as a parent, it’s her endurance. Hell, Max just used Sam’s credit card to purchase a chinchilla and yet, one episode later, they’re getting pedicures together. Much as Sam would probably like to snap the girls in two, she still would do anything for them.

Escape Drill Sam and Max look for a missing Dave - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

After the ladies get their nethers waxed, as well as Sam getting some good news about an upcoming gig, she and Max engage in more bonding. Sort of. They go shopping and, while in line, see a mother who is frantically searching for her son, Dave. No, not that Dave, but a child.

Without even thinking about it, and not even caring that they could lose their spots in line, Max and Sam spring into action in search of Dave. Still some good people in this world, you know. While it’s the mother who ultimately finds her son, that Sam and Max decided to help, of their own accord, is admirable. Most people would just ignore this and focus on what they’re doing because hey, it’s not their problem. Someone is in help and we could lend a hand, but we don’t.

Escape Drill Max and Sam in line at a store - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

But in this instance, not Max and Sam. Because of their selflessness? Because they’re good people? How about all of the above. Either way, when the two head back to the line, Sam not so subtly rips on the others in line for not even attempting to lift a hand to help. Max also takes an opportunity to rip into the clerk for picking her to come up next, even though there are a few women in front of her.

However, not only do the women not seem to mind or care, Max says that they could be very old women, when one of them points out that they’re just 42. Smooth move, Max.

Escape Drill Sam accidentally walks in on Frankie - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

A heartwarming moment between mother and daughter that is immediately followed by an awkward moment when Sam accidentally walks in on Frankie in bed with a boy. Well, doesn’t get more awkward than that. I can’t speak for parents, but I imagine that many of them would have a similar reaction to Sam: silent shock. Adlon is great in this moment as she’s just coming to terms with what happened.

Escape Drill Sam and Max talk about Frankie - Better Things (S04E3) "Escape Drill"

She’s at a loss for words and can only find solace when she talks to Max. At least Max is older and a bit more mature- a bit, I said- and this wouldn’t be as awkward of a conversation with her mother. Besides, Max is pretty nonchalant about her sister being in bed with someone who is apparently not her boyfriend. It was pretty dark in her room and not like Sam was sticking around to get a good view, but I wonder how she’d be able to tell that quickly.

Sam says that Max one said that Frankie is a boy, but Max denies that. My Better Things knowledge isn’t that great, but I think Max did in fact say that at one point.

Still, an awkward as hell point to leave Sam on an otherwise great episode. Some great bonding moments with plenty of heart and humor that we’ve come to expect from this show. How, if at all, will Sam and Frankie talk after what Sam has just seen? Who knows? See you all next time.