On the surface, the theme of tonight’s episode is repaying debts, but really we’re in for a lesson on the importance of open communication. Ready to talk through all the thoughts and feelings about the thoughts and feelings? Let’s dive right in.
As per Xavier’s live-life-to-the-fullest approach, he’s happily spending money on hideous vases and garden gnomes so he and Evie can check “lawn bowling” and “break stuff” off their apocalists. With that accomplished, Evie stops by her parents’ home and is surprised to find them packing up their belongings. They’ve decide to rent out their house for a few months until her dad’s acting career really takes off — you may remember a few episodes back, when Xavier inadvertently inspired Evie’s dad to quit his sales job.
Evie feels badly for her parents and decides the perfect solution is to let them stay with her — after all, “repay parents” is on her list. Xavier’s too busy burning unwanted letters from his father to pay much attention, despite the fact “talk to dad” is on his list. Evie reminds him of this and promptly snatches the letter away to stop him from setting it ablaze before hiding it from him. We’ll be seeing that letter later…
Down at the Cybermart, Evie shares with Kareema her excitement at having her parents move in with her, but Kareema points out how sad that is and asks Evie to come to dinner at her mom’s house (where she appears to live.) Kareema’s brother is bringing his new fiancée to meet the family and she needs Evie there as a buffer. Evie is delighted, believing the invitation means at a new rung of their friendship. Kareema has a less sentimental view, which is pretty much that Hank was busy and she needed a replacement.
Speaking of Hank, he and Xavier go on a cute coffee bro-date where Xavier’s credit card is declined and he spots a van with tinted windows apparently following him. Hank inaccurately lip-reads Xavier’s warning that’s “There’s a black van with tinted windows” following them as “There’s a black man with scented Mentos,” and runs off believing he’s in danger. He loves a conspiracy, that one.
But Hank’s in luck. We later discover the men in black are actually after Xavier, when they emerge from the van to chase him in the pouring rain — finally, a reason for Xavier to be wearing a beanie! Well, either these dudes aren’t FBI or they didn’t train at Quantico with Alex Parish, because Xavier loses them easily and heads home to cover his webcam with tape and his windows with newspapers. Then there’s a knock at the door and he whips it open to tell his pursuers he’s not going to hide anymore. Only, he really should have kept hiding.
Turns out the government isn’t after Xavier for spreading his apocalypse theory with the world, but debt collectors are: Xavier’s maxed out 15 credit cards and owes $93,000. The repo guys set about repossessing all of his belongings. There’s a lesson here, kids: Don’t answer the door when you’re trying to hide from people… Oh, and pay your bills on time.
It seems avoidance is a bit of a habit for Xavier, who hasn’t spoken to his dad in a decade and decides he doesn’t need to tell Evie about his financial situation because he wants to be “a force of light in her life.” Besides, he has a plan anyway — he’ll just liquidate his remaining assets. Only his remaining assets turn out to be the broken items from the earlier lawn-bowling fun. Key word: broken. No refunds for Xavier.
NEXT: Pirate ships and steam rooms
Over at Kareema’s mom’s house, Evie is introduced to the family as “Kareema’s second-best work friend” and Kareema is surprised to find herself really liking her brother’s fiancée, Sofia (she normally can’t stand his basic girlfriends). Indeed, she seems to like her a little too much, with Evie pointing out Kareema glows when Sofia gets close to her. For once, Evie gets to be the one giving Kareema advice on her love life — not entirely reassuring, since Evie’s seen reading Couples Therapy for Total Morons in the same scene. But it does appear Kareema’s in love with her brother’s fiancée and needs help. As a result, she can’t stop eating sour cream and onion ripple-cut chips and just wants the feelings gone.
Evie suggests aversion therapy. She used it once to get over a boy named Mason for whom she had unrequited feelings. She gives Kareema a highlighter that smells of “hot-dog water” and tells her to sniff it every time she thinks of Sofia. Soon, she’ll only associate repulsive things with her crush. It’s sure to work.
Back in the company of her own parents, Evie realizes their main problem is they’ve forgotten how to communicate with one another. She needs to get away from them, so she heads over to Xavier’s to curl up on his couch — only to discover he has zero furniture left in his house. X-man passes it off as “minimalism” and proves to her they can still have fun… But pull your mind out of the gutter! They dance in their socks, play badminton, Frisbee and charades, and drink wine by candlelight, which gives Evie a great idea. To get her parents to open up, all she has to do is ply them with wine. She vows to book a sunset wine cruise for them first thing in the morning.
All aboard! Xavier, Evie, and her parents gather on the deck of a pirate ship the next day — the wine cruise was double-booked — which is hosted by a Captain Hook character. At least there’s plenty of rum. A little too much, it turns out. While Evie’s dad, Greg, is quite taken by the whole situation and impressed by the captain’s commitment to his character (cough, future job, cough), Evie’s mom, Gloria, isn’t having as much fun. In fact, when Greg orders Gloria’s meal for her, she’s finally had enough with being denied input in any decisions and rebels by drunkenly walking the plank. She falls into the water, unsurprisingly, and puts a watery end to the cruise in more ways than one — there’s a lot of tears, too.
It’s a day for overbooking. Kareema and Sofia are off to the spa together for some “sisterly” bonding, but it turns out the treatment is double-booked — so they have to share a couple’s massage. It’s all too much for Kareema, but she isn’t the only one feeling the heat later in the steam room. Sofia admits she and Kareema’s brother aren’t in love; it’s just a green-card marriage for Sofia since she isn’t a citizen. The girls share a kiss and all seems well…until Kareema gets home and discovers that while Sofia is only in it for the papers, her brother is in love. He admits he’s never felt this way before and Kareema tells him she gets it, but stops short of admitting what transpired at the spa. What a fun love triangle they’re in for!
The next day at work, Evie advises Kareema to end the relationship before it begins. Kareema agrees but sends a text to Sofia agreeing to meet her later that night.
NEXT: Everyone learns the power of open communication
With no furniture or anything else in Xavier’s house, it doesn’t take Evie long to find a letter from the collection agency and confront Xavier about it. He confesses all his belongings have been repossessed and Evie reprimands him for not being honest about it. She doesn’t want to be like her parents and not talk to one another about their problems. She pushes him to open up to her about his father, too, while they’re at it, but he tells her it’s complicated and hard to talk about. Evie reassures him they’ll face it all together and deal with one thing at a time. First up: Xavier’s finances. It just so happens Evie’s great with spreadsheets. I know, shocking, right?
But before they sit down to an exciting evening with Excel, Evie and Xavier buy a bunch of New Year’s decorations to recreate the first time her parents spent the holiday together back in 1979. They supply baked beans, hot-dog buns, and even fake snow in a bid to have Greg and Gloria reconcile and remember how they used to be. They reminisce and realize as long as they act as a team, they’ll be okay…before retreating to their air mattress with a promise to Evie to try not to pop it. (Ew for Evie.)
All the happy family shenanigans have Xavier feeling a little wistful. Luckily, Evie kept that letter from his dad after all. He agrees to think about reading it and opens up to Evie, telling her that while his dad had his good moments, he also drank a lot and was hardly ever around. Things got really dark when Xavier’s mom died, so he decided he had to break free of him if he was going to survive. Last time father and son spoke, it sent Xavier on a downward spiral for six months — something he can’t risk happening again with only seven months left to live.
Evie convinces him he’s risking not having closure and catharsis by avoiding his father. Xavier reads the letter, in which his dad claims he’s not the same man anymore and would like to find out who his son has become. Xavier’s not in a rush to meet with him, though: He’s all “one step at a time, it’s a process.” Evie’s proud of him regardless, and has a reward for furniture-less Xavier: patio chairs her dad made. They break as soon as they sit on them — so it’s just as well he got that job as a pirate on the cruise ship.
Other couples to catch up with:
Hank transfers to another department so he and Deirdre can “develop a different dynamic in their relationship” over dinner. After an uncomfortable first date, Hank worries they have little in common and googles Deirdre — only to discover she’s secretly self-published erotic office fiction. At Cybermart, Hank uses this newly found knowledge to act out a corporate fantasy with white corrective fluid. They get it on in a supply closet.
Sweat Tea is up to date no. 3 with Fernberger (Evie’s old high-school pal) and feels a great connection with her. Indeed, he shares with Hank that this “could be the beginning of something not awful.” Yay?