Will & Grace recap: 'The Beefcake and the Cake Beef'
Once-gone lovers are typically once-gone for a reason, ya know? But on this week’s Will & Grace, Will dives back into something that got left behind. Karen and Grace dive into some pretty messy baking politics. And the true star of the show? Sean Hayes. Not Jack McFarland…Sean Hayes, who shows up and acts harder in one scene than anyone else does all episode. Let’s talk about how Jack turned an otherwise “meh” episode into something wonderful.
Will is back with Michael and no one is loving it, except for, you know…Will. Michael is the old fling Will kept debating getting ahold of, and at the end of the last episode, he made the plunge. He followed the breadcrumbs, y’all! But that’s not a particularly good thing, because Grace and Jack find him annoying. Grace encourages Jack to speak up about it, but if he does that, then what good is the rest of the episode?
While that’s happening, Karen makes her way to a bakery where Vanessa Bayer is behind the counter! Hey, girl. When Vanessa tries to make friends with Karen, Karen says, “Oh, we don’t care about the problems of the white working class. We just said that to win the election.” Lord. Turns out Karen went to that bakery to get a cake for Donald Trump’s birthday, and when Vanessa takes a stand and says no, Karen is pissed. She calls Grace at the office, where that super cute assistant is back to work! He takes the message and tries to tell Grace about Karen’s situation, and Grace hops into action and says she’s going down there. As Tony calls out that the cake was supposed to say, “Make America Great Again!” Grace changes her tune. But Tony makes a point: Free speech is free speech.
Back at the apartment, Jack finally decides to broach the topic of Michael, but before Jack can get a word in, he bails on the conversation. Will pushes him to voice his opinion, and Jack finally admits that Will should consider how quickly he’s moving with Michael. But you know, when we see Michael again, it kind of makes sense why Will is moving so quickly because he’s gorgeous. Yes, he says “vis a vis” and does annoying stuff, but I mean, look at him. The big issue comes up when Will tries to discuss Jack’s concern about Will and Michael’s relationship. That’s when Michael says the real issue is that Jack is in love with Will… and always has been.
Meanwhile, Grace heads down to the bakery to chat with Vanessa and make a point about free speech. She makes sense until Karen says, “First they came for the filthy rich, and I said nothing.” Karen is a mess. But then again, so is Vanessa (whose actually named Amy, but I’m absolutely not going to call her that). If there’s any discrepancy between the two though, it’s settled when Karen mocks a Latina woman, a transgender man, and a disabled man, which is specifically rough when she says, “Thanks for the wide bathroom, but that’s enough out of you.” But at the end of the day, Grace maintains that the bakery should make the cake (even if she wore a pantsuit to vote!).
As hate speech is getting thrown around the bakery like small handfuls of flour in a Nancy Meyers movie, Will heads back to his apartment to talk to Jack. He takes Michael’s theory back to Jack and says that he might actually believe Michael’s idea that Jack loves him. But Jack immediately shuts it down, and I want to say something VERY important: This episode is a C+. The heavy-handed, non-nuanced politics of the episode are annoying. Not because I hate politics, but because I like it when there’s craft behind it. But Sean Hayes is an A+. As he turns to a serious tone, he blasts Will for falling for Michael’s using ways again. Something about Sean Hayes now versus Sean Hayes back then is a BIG shift. And it all comes to a head when Jack overhears Michael ask Will to invest in his gym, proving Jack to be right all along.
At the bakery, Vanessa presents the cake box to Grace and Karen, but when they try to open it, Vanessa tries to stop them. Why? Oh, well, she’s added an I and a Y to the beginning and the end, spelling “IMAGAY.” And she’s not willing to fix it, either. So Grace chimes in to do it herself, grabbing a frosting bag. As they battle back and forth for it, Grace slams her own face into the IMAGAY cake, meaning that both free speech and acceptance won today. And speaking of good endings, Jack and Will end up on the couch together, where Will explains that he never wanted to ruin the bond he and Jack had because it’s too important, even though he did consider being in love with Jack once. When he asks Jack if he thought about it, Jack immediately says, “Nope, not once.”
But with that, they make a pact: If they get old and they’re still alone, they’ll meet in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and…have someone push them off.