Kevin (Probably) Saves the World recap: 'Listen Up'
Stop, collaborate, and LISTEN! Kevin's back with...brand new world-saving hijinks
So, a quick heads-up: We’re on episode 2 and Kevin has yet to save the world.
But! He did save a guy’s life — more or less — introducing us to the procedural component of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. Kevin fumbles his way through doing a good deed each episode, getting him closer and closer to the endgame of…anointing those 35 righteous souls Yvette keeps talking about. And let’s not forget: They will receive that righteous indoctrination via a cuddle from Kev.
Listen, I’m really rooting for K(P)STW, but at the rate we’re moving, I just don’t know if it’s going to get the 18 seasons required for Kevin to get his act together, listen to the universe, and anoint all these souls. But whether we get to see Kevin complete his entire bizarro-Buffy prophecy or not, it’s not the worst time to put out a show that is entirely about being good. Kevin saved a man’s life, helped his twin sister grieve, and strengthened the relationship of a father and a son in Tuesday’s episode, and that’s barely a drop in the bucket of the good he’s setting out to do in the world.
The entire design of this show is to take a man who felt hopeless and make him so full of goodness, so brimming with righteousness, that he literally saves the world. That’s the kind of guaranteed, no take-backs hope audiences could probably get behind right now.
But even though Twitter ads keep telling me to “grab my tissues,” I find the humor in K(P)STW much more compelling than its sweetness, which is also nice, but not overbearing. I found myself letting out more surprised laughter than I do in some straight-up comedies as Kevin got up to his latest world-saving hijinks. For example, when Amy looks out the window to see her brother dancing in the rain, not knowing that he has a newly heightened ability to experience the world’s beauty, she simply sees a man flailing in the rain, screaming, “It’s so wet! Look at it!”
That got an LOL outta me.
The LOLs continue when Kevin ignores Yvette’s counsel that “the universe will guide you to those who are in need of your help,” and instead prints out a bunch of posters that read, “Need help? Call Kevin. I’ll do anything! FREE!” When Amy finds him printing like a madman, she says it’s hard to believe Kevin is really putting in the effort to get better “when you’re up at 4 a.m. printing flyers that make you sound like a prostitute.”
So, naturally, he scribbles “no dirty stuff please” on them and heads on his merry way. I will give Kevin this: He is not at all afraid to seem crazy, but Amy is worried that this may have been the way he acted before he attempted to take his own life. A valid concern.
At the diner, Kevin’s unreasonably kind former schoolmate, Tyler, tells Kevin that he’s throwing him a welcome back party, complete with a karaoke machine, an ice luge, and a backup ice luge. Then Yvette pops up in a booth doing her whole I’m Going to Make You Look Like You’re Talking to Yourself in Public thing. She’s not happy with Kevin’s flyers: “This is not a yard sale — this is something that has never happened in the history of humanity!” Okay, girl, so maybe give the guy a break for not totally knowing how to handle it, then?
But empathy is not Yvette’s specialty; staying on message no matter the circumstances is Yvette’s specialty. She tells Kevin to listen to the universe and it will guide him to those who need his help, building his spiritual power so robustly that eventually he will be strong enough to find the other righteous…
Kevin says, Naw. He’s just going to keep hanging the “no dirty stuff” posters.
But the universe is proving to be kind of a cheeky little rascal, and ignoring her is easier said than done. Every time Kevin tries to pin his poster to the diner’s board, it falls off and is replaced by a flyer for Three Roads Brewery; Kevin has a date with destiny, it seems. At Three Roads Brewery, he meets the friendly father-son duo who run the beer business, Mr. Gilmore and his son, Jake. Kevin and Jake quickly hit it off…until Kevin starts asking him if he needs help with anything, anything at all. “Are you sad?” Kevin asks. “Relationship issues, credit card debt? Gambling addiction? Because even if you’re winning, it’s still addiction!” After about 20 minutes of this…
Deputy Nate escorts Kevin home once more and informs him that he is not, as Kevin seems to think, a taxi service. Kevin says he’ll get his own ride (and stop harassing people? Unclear) once Amy tracks down a carburetor for the truck sitting in her garage that she told him doesn’t work. (Recap continues on page 2)
At home, Kevin informs Yvette they need to work on their team dynamic, and Yvette responds that they are not a team. To which Kevin and I both say, Really?! Seems like kind of a Slayer-Watcher situation to me. Kevin says it might help if he knew a little more about her, and I agree. Who is she? What is she? Why doesn’t she have a better handle on this situation? The one answer she offers Kevin is that she doesn’t know what happened to the other 35 righteous souls: “By the time we arrived, you were the only one left.” Yikes-a.
Kevin finds Amy working on the truck before he heads to his party. She doesn’t think it’s a good idea for him to go hang out with all these people from his past: “They’re going to ask a lot of questions about what you’ve been up to and it could be a stressful situation for someone who’s been through what you’ve bene through.” And while that could be true, it seems like Amy may be projecting a bit here. So Kevin heads to the party and, yeah, having to skirt questions about why he’s back in town isn’t the most fun thing. So Yvette appears to remind him that he recently asked to know more about her: “Why? So you can feel comfortable with me. That’s how you connect with people: You share a little bit of yourself with them, right?” Right. Hypocritical, but right…
When Kevin runs into Jake from Three Roads Brewery again, he settles on a different approach to Jake asking why he left New York: the truth. Kevin says he left because he hated his life. Because he had all these things, but they didn’t matter. “I was miserable,” Kevin says. “And I felt like a jerk for being miserable. I was trapped.” As it turns out, this inspires some of Jake’s own truth bombs: He hates beer (especially hefeweizen, which, same). The brewery is his father’s passion, but he feels trapped there because as an only child, he’s alone in taking over the family business. Kevin encourages Jake to be honest with his father and even offers to come along for moral support.
Elsewhere, Tyler spills beer on the karaoke machine, for what I feel is not the first time in his life. As Kevin tries to fix the machine, Kristen, his adorable former girlfriend, walks over with some questions about his “I’ll do anything! FREE!” business model. And let’s just say…Kristen is interested in anything for FREE.
No, let’s say more, actually: Kristen takes Kevin back to her place and they sleep together. But when he sees he’s missed a bunch of calls from Amy, Kristen tells him he should go — she has early yoga class the next day anyway. It’s not exactly the rekindled romance Kevin had in mind. But he still has a dopey grin on his face when Yvette pops up beside him while he’s walking home.
“Well, somebody’s happy!” she coos. Kevin tells her not to try to guilt him about his night with Kristen, and she cuts him off: “Wow, humans are weird about sex! Millions of years and you have the same hang-ups you’ve always had. If it’s consenting adults, I don’t care!” More of this supportive, free-love Yvette, please. Apparently she just stopped by to give that sage counsel, and she leaves Kevin with, “And you still haven’t figured out the right way to do it!” As Kevin inquires about that tease, Reese pulls up on her bike and yells at her uncle to “stop acting crazy!” Reese is worried about her mom because her mom is so worried about Kevin, and no one seems to be worried about themselves.
A TV show about selflessness — Kevin (Probably) Saves the World just gets weirder and weirder. (Recap continues on page 3)
The next day, while Kevin waits outside the brewery for Jake to finish talking to his dad, he spots Kristen and attempts to ask her out. But she seems very much uninterested: “We’re not doing this again, right?” Kevin says he knows they broke up years ago, but — Kristen cuts him off. According to her, they never broke up. Kevin just went off to college and stopped calling her back. Oh, Kev. It’s still oddly unclear what type of person you were before you became the lovable town weirdo, but that’s a bona fide douche-move.
Surprisingly, Jake’s conversation with his dad seems to have been more successful. He says Kevin helped him realize this is the only life he’s going to get, so he quit, and his dad seemed totally cool with it! Enter his dad in the background of the brewery…collapsing from a heart attack. “This is all your fault!” Jake hisses at Kevin as the paramedics close the ambulance doors.
“The universe can bite me, I’m done!” Kevin yells at Yvette, saying he’s an expert ignorer, and that’s just what he plans to do. But as we’ve already seen, the universe is no Kristen-in-high-school; she will not be ignored. Hospital signs fall in Kevin’s path, ambulance whizz past him constantly, everything on TV is about heart attacks, and back at home, Amy is very angry with him. Apparently Deputy Nate showed up at her university with a new carburetor for the truck. She wants Kevin to just worry about himself and getting better, and not concern himself with her business. But Kevin has a newsflash for her: “I love you, but you are just as messed up as I am! You try to control everyone in your life, but you are out of control!” Amy slams the truck’s hood in anger…
Right on Kevin’s hand. This righteous soul is going to the hospital one way or another, it seems.
Kevin’s hand is just bruised, but it’s at the hospital where Amy tells Kevin what has her so worked up. She’s not talking to herself out by the truck, obviously; she’s talking to her dead husband. “Like the truck is haunted by John?” Kevin asks. Because that would be cool. But no, they worked on the truck together, so it feels like her last conduit to him. Kevin takes the moment to apologize for not being around after John died, saying that he wants to be a part of Amy’s life now, and he wants them to be able to talk to each other. “About anything,” Kevin says. “I can be your haunted truck!” Oh Kev, never change.
Except for the necessary spiritual adjustments you need to make to save the world, of course. Kevin stops by Mr. Gilmore’s room to apologize about the whole heart attack sitch, but Mr. Gilmore tells him it was a false alarm — an early warning sign: “So I should be thanking you — in a way, you saved my life.” It was never Jake that the world was pointing Kevin toward at all.
With the realization of a job well done, Kevin heads to the elevator with another dopey smile on his face…and suddenly the elevator ceiling is made of water. Oh, sure. Kevin touches it and is transported to an ocean where he hears shouting in another language and is promptly knocked out by a boat coming straight at him…
The elevator doors open to reveal Kevin, soaking wet. Yvette is elated when he tells her about the nautical elevator: “A vision! You accomplished your mission, and the universe has rewarded you.” Yvette says the vision is a piece of the puzzle, granted to him because his spiritual power is growing. And now it’s time for Yvette to finally divulge a little personal information: “Before I existed, before anything existed, there was nothing. I was nothing — total emptiness. I’m not going back to that.” Kevin says he gets it — Yvette wants to be his partner in crime, his ride-or-die. Ironically, Amy pulls up at that moment listening to “Closing Time” by Semisonic.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Kevin goes home and calls Kristen, speaking as though he’s in his freshman year of college. He apologizes for not calling more; it’s just his roommate is pledging, which is a drag, and also, he doesn’t think this long-distance thing is working: “But I’ll never forget about you. Ever. Like, I bet every other girl I date, even in my 20s and 30s, I will always compare them to you.” It’s a bold move, and dammit, it’s adorable. Kristen thinks so too.
Outside, Amy has installed the (not-haunted) truck’s carburetor and she’s ready to take a ride. Kevin hops in, and they’re on their way toward a new beginning.