Kevin (Probably) Saves the World recap: 'Sweet Little Lies'
The lies will (probably) set Kevin free
This week, as Kevin attempts to save the world (while not looking a complete lunatic), he’s telling lies, telling sweet little lies. But I’m looking for a little of the truth, the tough, ugly truth.
You see, Kevin may have a spiritual guide and — maybe, possibly — a righteous soul, but he is attempting to save the world with little to no information. That righteous soul hasn’t led him to a very moral life thus far, and that spiritual guide has far more fashionable ankle boots than answers. I came into the third episode of K(P)STW wanting to get down to the truth about Yvette.
Kevin and Amy? Thoroughly charming and complex. The small town of Tyler, Texas? A rich tapestry of hijinks and buttery light. Its residents? Dynamically quirky and available for episodic helpin’. But Yvette, Kevin’s purported Jiminy Cricket, has remained a big question mark. The main thing we know about her is that she’s definitely not an angel, and if you made a word cloud of everything she says, “righteous” would be so big you couldn’t fit anything else on the poster board. But other than that, she’s been a little inconsistently characterized: at times seeming to have all the answers, and at others literally shrugging; conducting the world around Kevin like a symphony orchestra, and then advising him to simply let the universe guide him.
Tuesday night’s episode, though, made moves toward establishing that Yvette has her own mission and her own world-saving stakes outside of Kevin. There’s still much to be learned about how that mission might be accomplished and exactly what kind of spiritual leadership hierarchy we’re dealing with in the world of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, but for now we at least know that Yvette Can (Probably) Help Kevin (Probably) Save the World.
And that is proving no small task. The episode opens with Kevin sleepwalking across town, to the college campus where Amy is a professor, and walking up six flights of stairs, all in pursuit of heart-shaped Mylar balloon that reads “Marry Me, Pookie.” When Kevin wakes up, he’s next to Yvette…standing on the edge of the tall building’s roof with a crowd of people staring back up at him, including Amy. Not a great look for a man that recently attempted suicide whose sister is worried sick about him.
Kevin swears that he was just sleepwalking so he doesn’t have to be taken to a hospital, but Amy does book him an immediate appointment with a therapist at the university. But Kevin gets mildly distracted when the receptionist at the therapist’s office informs him that she is the “Pookie” of heart-shaped balloon fame. And how exactly did he end up with her marriage proposal balloon? Kevin explains to Deb — Pookie’s real name — that it found him, and suddenly they’re engaging in conversation about how she married her husband in a quickie wedding because she was dying of cancer, but now that she’s unexpectedly gone into remission, her husband wants to have a traditional big wedding. And when Yvette starts spouting off wedding-planning wisdom, and Kevin starts repeating it, it becomes clear that the universe has led Kevin to Deb for some nuptial assistance.
So Kevin sets off to the floral shop to meet Deb’s husband, Ben, who is quickly on board with Kevin/Yvette’s wisdom about peonies: “They’ll buy you all the wow factor you’re looking for, while being a sturdy flower that looks flawless.” Sure! In return, Ben gives some backstory: He and Deb were childhood best friends, and it took him finding out about the cancer to admit that he’d loved her all along. We’re distracted from all the romance, though, by a woman waving from outside at…
Yvette! She can see Yvette! It seems that Ava is another Spiritual Warrior Guide™ who came to check in on her fellow SWG™ pal. She also seems a little salty (in an endlessly perky way) that Yvette ended up with a real, live righteous soul. As we know, the other 35 disappeared. But Yvette reminds Ava that her mission isn’t over: “There’s something or someone out there working against us.” She suggests that Ava round up the troops to come to Tyler and talk strategy, as she seems to be feeling a little less than confident that Kevin is up to the task of doing this all on his own. (Recap continues on page 2)
And she’s not the only one worried about Kevin. Amy spotted him in town at the floral shop instead of at the therapist’s office, so she called in emergency help: Kevin’s therapist from New York, Dr. Sloan, who just so happened to be in Texas. He also happens to be the sage-like voice of calming reason that I keep finding myself wishing Yvette was. (The braided ponytail, however, was an unexpected surprise.) Kevin has little time to hear that advice though, uncontrollably shouting one of his now signature truth bombs — “I tasted your birth control when I was 15!” — and informing them that he has to go help some new friends plan their signature cocktails.
But first, there’s a quick pit stop in the yard, where Yvette threatens Kevin with being struck by lightning until he learns to lie because he still can’t tell anyone what he’s up to. That’s a pretty frustrating aspect of Kevin’s righteousness, but it’s made slightly less frustrating by knowing that Yvette doesn’t seem to really understand why he can’t tell either; he just can’t. So he has to lie, which doesn’t sound like something an angel would say, but is starting to sound like something Yvette would say.
Once Kevin nails the lie — he’s helping Deb and Ben because he’s seen every episode of Say Yes to the Dress while he folds his laundry! — it’s on to signature cocktails…which goes a little differently than expected. After chugging a “Happily Elder After,” Deb confesses that she doesn’t want a happily ever after with Ben at all. When she married him, it was because he was her best friend and he loved her and she thought forever meant 6 to 12 months. But now that it really is forever, she has to face the truth that she doesn’t love him. And Kevin has to face the truth that the universe doesn’t want him to help make this wedding happen…it wants him to end it.
Kevin mulls over the seating chart for a doomed wedding at the diner, where he’s joined by his two new/old pals, Tyler and Kristen, and explains that he’s dealing with “two lovely people who should be lovely apart.” Tyler suggests a crippling gambling addiction as a surefire way to break up a marriage; Kristen suggests adult communication, and then jokes that Kevin probably ghosted his last girlfriend and then moved back in with his sister so he’d never have to see her again. That certainly stings Kevin more than Kristen intended, but he’s laughing it off and out the door before she can apologize.
He has a marriage to break up after all, and since he can’t explain to Dr. Sloan what he’s up to, he just takes him with him to his cake meeting with Deb and Ben. Amy and Reese are also hovering around the cake shop to spy on Kevin, and Deputy Nate stops by with some spy tips, so it’s a nice, big crowd when Kevin corners Deb into confessing the truth to Ben. But rather than telling Ben she doesn’t love him…she tells him she’s cheating on him with Kevin. So Ben, a jacked fireman, punches Kevin in the face.
He hits the ground and wakes up in the middle of a field with a bunch of tribal masks dancing over him. It’s another vision, but given that it happened while his therapist, sister, niece, and universal charges looked on, it didn’t come at the most opportune time. Dr. Sloan, however, seems to trust that Kevin will come to him when he’s ready and simply tells him before he goes that he has a great sister in Amy.
Amy seems to disagree. While they’re running, Deputy Nate attempts to assure her that she’s a good sister to Kevin and she snaps at him that “it’s not true!” It seems that part of Amy’s feeling of responsibility over Kevin comes from the night of his suicide attempt: He called her and she didn’t answer. “I was mad at him,” she says. “Kevin only ever called if he needed something. And he did need something—me.” (Recap continues on page 3)
So when Kevin tries to tell Amy that she’s a great sister, she freaks: “I swear, if you say I’m a good sister, I will start screaming and I may never stop.” Kevin says that obviously he was going to say she’s a good s…oftball player, but then he gives her the real truth treatment. He knows that she knows there’s something he’s not telling her, and she’s right: Just before things went south for him in New York, he proposed to his girlfriend and she said no. It made him feel like an idiot, “but helping these people is kind of helping me process what happened.” It’s a sweet moment for brother and sister, and for the audience, it’s helpful to think that Kevin isn’t just doing the universe’s bidding, but that the universe is helping him in return…
Of course it’s all a wash, because as he tells Yvette on the way out, her lightning trick worked — it was all a lie. But he certainly doesn’t sound happy about his successful performance. And even though Yvette tells him that since he successfully did what the universe wanted in breaking up Deb and Ben, he can move on, he doesn’t seems happy with that either. “The universe doesn’t care about happy endings,” Yvette tells him. “Well, I do,” he fires back. Go, Kev!
Kevin finds Deb on the roof Ben told him he proposed to her on, the place she goes to clear her head. She apologizes for getting him punched, but she knew that if she simply told Ben she didn’t love him, he’d never accept it; he needed to hate her guts. But Kevin wasn’t the only one who went to the roof looking for Deb, and Ben overhears the truth. They agree that it wasn’t very believable that she’d cheat on him with Kevin — “It’s not like you’re out of shape, but you’re not exactly in shape” — and that they can figure out a way to be best friends again. Kevin gets all emotional at the happy ending he helped bring about, and as he tries to give them some space…
He falls off the roof. What is with this dude and roofs?! Luckily, he has a guardian angel — “not an angel” — looking out for him, and though it appears to Deb and Ben that he grabbed onto the side of the building, we know that Yvette is holding onto him through a window.
But Amy isn’t the only one in this family with secret spy aspirations. Reese has been keeping a close eye on her uncle all episode, and as she looks on from the ground while Kevin gets pulled into the building by an invisible force, there’s no question that she knows something is up. Whether there’s a “yes/no to guessing” loophole in the Don’t Tell Anyone You’re a Righteous Soul Charged with Saving the World Rule is yet to be seen.
We are finding out more about that slowly but surely, though. Ava has arrived back in Tyler for the meeting of all the Spiritual Warrior Guides™…but it’s just her. The others, it seems, aren’t “really feeling the mission anymore,” nor is Ava, who says that they have to face the fact that they failed. Yvette insists, “We still have hope; we still have Kevin,” but when she looks back up, Ava is gone.
Yvette truly does only have Kevin and an invisible handful of hope, and even if she’s not 100 percent sure he’s up for the task, she tells Kevin she’s proud of him for how far he went for two strangers. But Kevin’s not feeling as joyous; he doesn’t like that he’s looking toward a life full of lying to Amy, “and there isn’t really anything you can say to change that.” No there’s not, but Yvette can call the mere idea that Kevin cares about helping others and lying to his loved ones “growth.”
So in the spirit of growth, when Kevin meets up with Tyler and Kristen again, he tells them the dark truth about why he left New York. In return, Tyler tells them that he has a vestigial tail because he thought they were making confessions; Kristen says she sneaks food into movie theaters, and Kevin offers up that he sometimes internally refers to himself as “Li’l Kevvie.” Kevin might have to tell a few lies to save the world, but he also gets to choose to tell the truth, and there’s certainly righteousness in that.