Kevin (Probably) Saves the World recap: 'How to Be Good'
With each new episode of Kevin (Probably) Saves the Word, we continue to flesh out the unique crew of characters that populate the Sunnydale-meets-Stars-Hollow hybrid that is Taylor, Texas. Taylor is a real town just outside of Austin, but in the same way that Amy works at Texas University (and not the other way around), we’ll just assume the real Taylor isn’t quite as intrinsically linked with the salvation of humankind as ABC’s version of Taylor is.
At some point, surely Kevin’s world-saving spiritual journey will have to go international — or at least to the West Coast — but for now, trying to restore balance to the universe means lending a helping hand to the oddballs of Taylor, Texas, courtesy of the very oddest ball in its tiny population: good ol’ Kev.
And until he gets a little better at this whole “putting others before himself” thing, it’s looking like that’s going to mean attempting to help the wrong person for so long that the universe literally has to put a glowing arrow over the right person before he can get the balance-restoring show on the righteous road. As Yvette tells him in Tuesday night’s episode, that might be because Kevin is a touch on the judgy side.
See, on this particular morning — as Kevin openly talks to himself in the most prominent seat in the local diner — when Yvette instructs him to get on with saving the world, he walks out the diner’s front door…only to suddenly find himself walking into the diner’s back door. So he walks out of the back door…only to find himself barging into the kitchen. And out of the kitchen door…only to find himself in the women’s restroom. That Kevin does not have his photo posted on the “do not serve this man” wall of this diner is a wonder all its own, but clearly, his next righteous journey starts right here in his favorite watering hole.
Naturally, Kevin just assumes that means helping out his good pal Tyler, who is currently getting walked all over by his awful boss, Lucille. She’s always barking at Tyler and being unnecessarily rude, and if there’s any time left over, she enjoys calling Kevin things like “perv-stache,” which, coincidentally I also enjoy hearing. So even though Tyler repeatedly tells Kevin that he loves this job because of the customers and the no-car-necessary commute, Kevin decides it’s time to help Tyler get out of there. First step: getting him a car so he can work somewhere — anywhere — else.
And when Kevin locates an expensive car for sale by owner and hops in the passenger seat for Tyler to take it for a test spin, they’re immediately T-boned by a truck on the passenger side. “You don’t make protecting you easy,” Yvette hisses as Kevin looks up after the crash and sees that his seat and door have been projected 20 feet from the rest of the car, leaving him completely unharmed. Yeah, something’s deeeefinitely up with my uncle, say Reese’s eyes as she looks on at the car crash from behind Kevin’s parked truck because she’s recently connected with him on an app that lets her track his erratic and inexplicable movement.
Post-crash, Tyler is still as happy as ever, but he tells Kevin he can’t leave his job at the diner: He likes it there, plus Lucille would be crushed. Kevin tries to get Tyler to at least confront Lucille about the awful way she treats him, but that instead leads to Lucille screaming at Tyler and Kevin, “Someone needs to help me! Are you going to help me?” as an exit sign goes crooked over her head, pointing its neon red arrow directly at her auburn updo.
The universe has spoken.
And so has Lucille. When Kevin bites the bullet and tells her that despite being “an idiot and waste of space and an ass boil,” he’d like to help her, she tells him exactly what he can do: Go to her storage unit and retrieve a valuable heirloom clock that she’s keeping out of the hands of some unsavory family members. Other than an encounter with a dead rat and Yvette’s accompanying grumpiness due to accidentally falling asleep for five minutes the night before — something she’s never experienced — and dreaming of being back home, retrieving the clock is a fairly simple task.
For a moment, with the beloved clock in her hands, Lucille is happy. She tells Kevin how her sister took everything when her father died, and this clock he brought home from his time in the service in Germany is all she has left of him. Tyler says Kevin must be a nice guy like him, choosing to make Lucille so happy. Of course, Lucille has tried to get him to retrieve the clock a dozen times, but he always draws the line at stealing…
Wait, what? Why, yes, that was Lucille’s sister’s storage unit she sent Kevin to, and why, yes, he did commit felony by stealing the clock from it. Kevin immediately returns home for an evening of kitten-fail videos and decidedly not helping Lucille, informing Yvette that Lucille doesn’t deserve his help. Oh, Yvette has been on edge all episode because of her five accidental minutes of sleep (and the dream that Kevin thinks proves she’s homesick for…wherever she came from), and that is it. “You’re very judgmental,” she tells Kevin. “So you only help people who deserve it? And you get to be the judge of who’s most deserving because you’ve been such a good person?” (Recap continues on next page)
I hope you caught the non-angelic sarcasm on that last bit. Cue Kevin trying to get away from Yvette, only to run into a different flashback in every room of the house of his poor behavior throughout the years, from a childhood of getting Amy into trouble to swindling old ladies out of cash as a slick-haired wolf of Wall Street. When Kevin claims he’s better now, Yvette flashes him back to that morning when he absentmindedly ate Reese’s packed lunch and then lied about it. “You’ve made some excellent points,” admits Kevin. Kevin got a second chance, and so should Lucille.
Unfortunately, Lucille sucks in a major way, and as it turns out, her sister Anne is equally frightening, perhaps even more so because she can pretend to be an empathetic sister willing to forgive until she finds out Kevin took her clock and screams, “What kind of scam are you and that twisted goblin whore pulling?!” (Note: I think we just found out why sweet li’l K(P)STW inexplicably airs in the 10 p.m. spot.) She also adds to Kevin’s ever-growing list of local nicknames: “low-rent gigolo” and “dopey-eyed Chihuahua.”
Kevin decides the only solution to bring these two sisters back together is to steal the clock back from Lucille and…well it’s unclear what his post-theft plans are, because once he’s in the house, Reese — still following him, trying to figure out what’s happening with her weird uncle — sticks her head in the window, hissing that the police are coming. Kevin is so startled by Reese’s appearance that he falls on top of the clock, breaking it to pieces, and barely gets out of the house before the police arrive. But he’s so concerned with making sure Reese doesn’t get caught, he tells her to run and that he’ll draw them to him. And draw them he does, just in time to fall into another one of his patented visions.
Suddenly, Kevin is in what appears to be a Chinese marketplace, complete with paper fans and bustling patrons and a woman playing a guzheng…and a police officer pointing something at Kevin, telling him to put his hands in the air. “Wait, are you real?” Kevin asks. The very real police officer answers with a Taser.
Kevin comes to in jail, with Yvette snoozing once more next to him, and Reese in the next room over at Deputy Nate’s desk, despite Kevin’s best efforts to keep her from getting caught. The deputy scolds Reese for adding to her mom’s already full plate, and hands her the phone to call Amy. Instead, Reese calls Tyler at the diner, and tells him as soon as Nate steps away that Kevin is in jail for stealing the clock from Lucille, and he has to find a way to get him out.
So he does. Tyler was right all along: He loves the diner, and the diner loves him, and that means Lucille would be up a river without him. Sweet, do-gooder — some might even say righteous — Tyler leverages his staying on at the diner with Lucille dropping the charges against Kevin. Plus, she adds one more nickname to the list, claiming that Kevin is simply her “errands idiot,” rather than a lousy clock thief.
So Kevin doesn’t go to jail, but the next day at the diner, he wonders to Tyler what this was all for: “Lucille is never going to change, I broke her clock, and I was kind of a huge jerk to you.” Tyler doesn’t think Kevin was a jerk, but I found myself having similar questions. Kevin was seemingly rewarded with a vision as he ran from the cops, but who has he helped? Given that he goes on to tell Tyler, “You look at the worst people have to offer and only see the good — I wish I was more like you,” Kevin might have accidentally helped himself tonight.
And speaking of accidental helping, it turns out those two awful sisters still have a little room for spiritual growth themselves. Anne storms into the diner demanding the clock back from Lucille, so Lucille dumps the decimated pieces of the clock onto the ground in front of her. As the two argue over which one of them “daddy” intended to have the clock, Kevin retrieves a piece from the ground. He asks them why a valuable clock brought back from Germany would have “made in Michigan” stamped on the inside of it. Then the sisters bond over all the times their beloved father lied to them and said awful things to them and pitted them against each other.
Because sometimes time and distance makes us homesick for something that was never that great in the first place. But since Yvette can hardly even describe what the home she left to help Kevin save the world was like, it’s hard to know just what she’s missing. Still, Kevin decides to show some compassion and do for her what would have helped him when he was homesick for Texas soon after he moved to New York. He takes Yvette to his favorite lakeside spot in Taylor and gives her a beef brisket sandwich. And even though it’s the “boundless, enduring peace” that Yvette misses, not beef brisket, and even though she secretly spits the beef brisket out, and even though Kevin isn’t sure Yvette is capable of eating food at all, surely these two growing closer couldn’t be bad for their ultimate righteous goal.
A slightly more ambiguous development? Kevin asking Reese the next time he sees her if she could please stop following him, and her telling him sure, if she can ask him a serious question in return: “Did that meteor give you superpowers?” How much time do ya have before drama practice, kid?