Speechless–Season 1, Episode 2 (N-E–New A-I–Aide)

Now that the pilot is done, the show can now focus on character exploration. This episode focused on the major choices made by the characters in the pilot–moving house and Kenneth being hired as JJ’s aide.

The A story of Kenneth’s first day as JJ’s aide was absolutely spectacular. From the beginning where we see Kenneth making a rather big mistake and Maya feeling simultaneously threatened and distrusting, to the middle where the hilarious bonding of Kenneth and JJ takes place, to the ultimate but cliche outcome of Maya changing her mind, was written incredibly well.

Kenneth’s idea of “going shopping” in the school’s lost and found was writing gold and I appreciated another glimpse of JJ as a typical teenage boy by his unique way of showing Kenneth his interest in girls. The whole structure of the plot with Maya distrusting Kenneth, given the proper opportunity to fire him, only to end up changing her mind was cliche and predictable, but due to how moving the reason for her change of heart was, I’ll give it a pass. JJ summed up this plot and Kenneth’s purpose best by pointing out to Maya that he “gives him stuff you can’t”. While JJ clearly loves Maya and she is the right mother for him, at the end of the day boys need men for certain things, and for JJ his aide is definitely one of them.

I felt that the B story of Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) and Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) “announcing their family” to the neighbours by acting like idiots was weak. It was humorous enough and it was nice to see the two of them bonding, especially as Ray and Maya’s relationship was the focus in the pilot, and it ended well enough with the whole family eventually getting in on the act, I felt this story would have been stronger if there was more time devoted to it.

Minor hilarious highlights of the episode for me included Kenneth’s questions for JJ and Maya teaching Dr Miller how to argue.

Overall this episode was solid, but not as strong as the pilot.

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