Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fresh off the Boat 4.05: "Four Funerals and a Wedding"

“I’m sorry. I’m still worked up over the layover in Atlanta. How can you have three Cinnabons, and all of them are closed!”

This episode provided an interesting look at the extended Huang family (well, Jessica’s side of it, at least), and it also used Jessica’s family troubles to take a deeper dive into the relationships between the three Huang brothers. I enjoyed learning more about Jessica’s family, even if some of it was very sad (her relationship with her father is incredibly distant and robotic), and I also enjoyed the boys finding some new respect for each other. They really act like brothers in this episode, and it was nice to see. I found Jessica’s distant relationship with her father interesting, and I thought it explained a lot. The Huang parents grappling with how their relationship with their kids is different from their own relationships with their parents was an interesting direction for the story to take. All in all, there was a lot of good character building stuff in this episode, and I just hope that some of it sticks going forward.

The episode opens with the Huangs in Houston for the funeral of a distant relative of Jessica’s. The relative was named Trina, and she was a triplet. At the funeral, Emery discovers he has a stain on his tie. Grandma Huang tells him to spit out the bad luck of his bad luck year, and Trina will take it with her to the afterlife. Emery was supposed to spit in a handkerchief, but instead he spits in the casket. Grandma is appropriately appalled. Even though this is a funer in Jessica’s family, Jessica’s sister and brother-in-law Connie and Steve aren’t there. Jessica’s father is there, though. Jessica and her father have a very formal, inquiring-about-the-weather type conversation. Neither Eddie nor Evan recognize him and are shocked to learn that they just met their grandfather. Jessica’s father is a diplomat, so he’s always been globetrotting and not around much.

Back home in Orlando, Emery realizes he has lost the stained tie (the tie becomes relevant later, I promise!). Evan, thoughtful from the funeral, decides he wants to change his will because he hasn’t changed it since they moved to Orlando. Honey is currently his executor, and after seeing how she reacted to Princess Di’s death (we get to see a flashback), he thinks she’s too emotional for the job. Out in the kitchen, Louis hears Jessica talking to her psychic on the phone. She says that “maybe there’s another way,” and Louis immediately assumes she’s talking about wanting a closer relationship with her father. Louis talks this over with Marvin, and he tells Marvin that there might be a way to help Jessica. The second of the triplets has now also died, so Louis and Jessica will be making another trip to Houston. Louis wants to use the occasion to encourage Jessica to talk with her dad.

At the funeral, Louis keeps deliberately trying to bring Jessica and her dad together, but it doesn’t work. They either avoid each other or have really surface level exchanges. He can’t even get them to agree to spend Christmas together. Jessica confronts Louis about how weird he’s being, and Louis is forced to reveal that he heard the phone conversation. Jessica clarifies that she was actually talking to the psychic about the possibility of trying barbecue chicken while in Houston. Louis always gets to excited when she tries a new food that she wasn’t sure if it was worth the fuss. Meanwhile back at home, Evan asks Eddie to be the executor of his will. Grandma is offended she wasn’t chosen! Deirdre notarizes Evan’s new will, and she spreads word around the HOA that Evan must be terminally ill. He starts receiving and endless parade of casseroles, which seems cool at first, but then gets annoying. Emery, for his part, is a bit offended he wasn’t chosen as executory. Evan says it’s just because of Emery’s bad luck year. Eddie is just a temporary executor, and when the bad luck year is over, Evan intends to switch over to Emery. Emery, for his part, thinks things are looking up. He has found the missing tie.

Louis is still upset about the distant relationship between Jessica and her dad. He tells Marvin that he thinks Jessica is in denial about the type of relationship she’d really like with her dad. I think Louis needs to back off. The pair go back to Houston, though, this time for a wedding. The remaining triplet is getting married. Louis thinks it would be a genius idea, at the reception, to tell Jessica that her dad is dying. Jessica does make an effort to reach out to her dad, but they are just as awkward as ever. Louis ends up blowing up and revealing his whole plan. Jessica and her dad do have a heart to heart, and Jessica tries inviting him for Christmas. They quickly realize that a close relationship isn’t going to work for them, though, and they back off. Jessica’s dad does make a point of saying, though, that his affairs are in order and he won’t be a burden to Jessica when he dies. Jessica and Louis end up having a deeper conversation, too, and Louis admits that he’s still working through his feelings about his own father’s death. He has regrets about not being closer with his father. Jessica encourages Louis to talk to her psychic about it, of course.

Eddie’s being his usual self and giving an Emery a bit of a hard time, and when it finally gets to be too much, Emery tells Eddie the truth about Evan’s plans for will executor. Eddie doesn’t take this well, naturally, since it implies he’s only good enough to be a temporary solution. Emery asks Grandma if spitting in the casket made his bad luck worse. Grandma reveals that it was actually Eddie who replaced Evan’s missing tie (granted, he did so with an IOU to grandma, but still). Eddie and Emery end up having their own heart to heart. Eddie tells Evan that what he’s experiencing isn’t really a bad luck year. It’s puberty, and it’s going to last more than a year, but at least they’re going through it together. It was really refreshing to see Eddie be such a supportive big brother to Emery. Evan, for his part, is just sick of receiving tuna casseroles because the neighborhood still thinks he’s dying.

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