Bill and Deb revisit the past while Brady struggles to regain control of the present

By Christian Holub
September 13, 2017 at 09:00 PM EDT

Both Bill and Deborah take trips down memory lane this week, while Brady takes steps to ensure no big changes affect his world.

It all begins with Brady’s job interview. Though he scoffs at Frobisher’s admonition to wear clean clothes and a tie to meet their corporate overlords, Brady does attempt to get ready — only to realize, with his tie still undone, that his mother is nowhere to be found. I’m sure Bill would laugh even louder if he knew Brady still needed his mom to tie his tie for him, and even more at the sight of Brady getting onto the bus to get to this job interview (since his mom took the car).

Bill, for his part, is investigating the car mover he believes is also Mr. Mercedes. He doesn’t get very far, though, before he gets a call from Janey that her mom had a stroke. He rushes to the hospital and soon learns that Janey is the most reasonable member of her family. Her aunt Charlotte Gibney (Laila Robins) is insufferable in the extreme, demanding everyone clean their hands constantly. On top of that, Charlotte infuriates her daughter Holly (Justine Lupe) by refusing to give her the right ballpoint pen to finish her journal entry. Even her husband tells her to chill out at that point, but Charlotte insists this is the only way to teach her daughter to behave in public.

While Charlotte and Janey meet with the doctors, Bill goes outside, where he runs into Holly smoking a cigarette. The poor girl is clearly terrified of her mother finding out, but she doesn’t have to worry. Bill’s chill, especially since Holly seems to have some insight into Olivia’s death. For instance, she describes her cousin as having been “killed,” which certainly fits Bill’s hypothesis that she was pressured into suicide.

As they’re hanging out, Bill sees a father walking around with his daughter, which prompts his journey into the past — a night many years ago, when he was still a detective with a red beard, when his daughter was booked for a DUI. The full flashback is parceled out over the course of the episode, but apparently this was far from Ali’s first offense. It was, in fact, her third DUI, after she already overdosed on her birthday. Bill decided that the only way to finally teach Ali a lesson (and stop her from ending up in the morgue) was to actually book her, process her, and send her to county jail. Bill probably had the right idea, but his refusal to sympathize openly with his daughter (only giving her a solitary hand wave as she boarded the bus for county) probably goes a long way to explaining why they don’t talk now. (Recap continues on page 2)

Even though he has to take the bus, Brady does show up for his job interview alongside Frobisher. But fixing computers is one thing for Brady — interacting with other people and convincing them to like him is another entirely. As the corporate suits ask Brady about his “core management philosophy,” all Brady can do is fantasize about killing everyone in the restaurant — including one unlucky chef played by none other than Stephen King himself! Eventually, Brady comes up with an answer about “responsibility.” According to him, people no longer understand the “rules” about how they’re supposed to behave, and “order needs to be restored.”

It actually doesn’t sound too different from one of Bill’s bitter-old-man rants. And much like those rants, it doesn’t go over well with the top brass. After Brady retreats to the bathroom, Frobisher storms in to reprimand him for screwing up both of their chances at promotion. Brady is able to deflect the criticism with some crocodile tears about his missing mother, which leads Frobisher to lend him a company car so he can find her.

Deb, for her part, is trying to get her life back on track. After being rejected by Brady last week, she throws away all her vodka bottles and drives her car for the first time in a while — right to the nearby hair salon, where she’s hoping to ask for her old job back. But on the way in, she runs into an old friend named Chaz, who sidetracks her into grabbing a burger with him.

They have a fun time reminiscing about the old days, and good for Deb — she doesn’t give in to drinking even as Chaz, who now owns a local bar, pounds a few beers in front of her. As they part, she asks him to put in a good word for her with the hair salon owner — at which point the illusion shatters. Chaz reminds her that she drunkenly burned a woman while doing a dye job, and the salon was almost sued out of existence. She’s never getting her old job back. Chaz finishes by telling her to come to his bar if she ever falls off the wagon again. Nice people in this town!

Instead of going into the hair salon, Deb walks into the liquor store next door — though she only buys a bottle of water, as Brady learns when he comes in later trying to track her down. That won’t do, so Brady buys a bottle of premium vodka for his mother. And on his way home, he passes by the hospital and sees Janey embracing Bill. That can’t be good.

When they finally reconnect back home, Brady yells at his mom for taking the car without telling him and screwing up his interview. Deb tells him, “You weren’t born mean,” which seems to be exactly what Brady is afraid of here: lucidity. If his mother isn’t drunk all the time, she might start to see him for who he actually is. Brady changes tactics and gets her to admit that she’ll never get her hair salon job back. He takes the keys and presents her with the vodka, saying she needs to “wean” herself off rather than quit cold turkey. Down in his Batcave, he watches a video feed of her drinking again and celebrates uproariously at regaining control over his world.