Speechless–Season 1, Episode 11 (R-O–Road T-R–Trip)

Like last week’s episode, ‘R-O–Road T-R–Trip’ didn’t focus on exploring another layer of the DiMeo family and their lives with a special needs family member. Instead this episode focused on the DiMeo family dynamic.

Considering how much planning would be involved in every aspect of their lives due to JJ’s disability, it was nice to see a spontaneous side to the family, especially with Maya. It didn’t surprise me that Ray would be against it, due to his uptight nature. I personally felt that the Dylan and Zoltar subplot with the predictions coming true was weak and cheesy, as well as Jimmy and JJ’s idea to sell their stuff. Not to mention neither of these subplots added anything to the episode.

The twist of Ray planning their spontaneous vacation without the rest of the family realising it, and the eventual reveal of how he did it, was writing genius. Making a plot twist simultaneously clever and subtle isn’t an easy feat and this twist was pulled off perfectly. What added to the perfection was the irony of Ray coming down with appendicitis–Ray’s body spontaneously letting him down caused the vacation to spontaneously end. I enjoyed the bonding between Maya and Ray both before and after his surgery, especially after, as it showed that Maya is not only the best mother for JJ but for Ray as well.

The B story of Kenneth discovering he doesn’t really fit in at the school without JJ was solid and a story that needed to be told. We’ve heard of Kenneth’s life outside of work, however until now, we were yet to see it, not to mention that this is the first time we see Kenneth without JJ. I enjoyed the start of his friendship with Dr Miller, the pair of outsiders that don’t fit in the school’s hierarchy. The Kenneth–Dr Miller subplot hasn’t been addressed or closed, so hopefully the writers haven’t forgotten this and it will continue to be explored.

Overall this episode was solid but not spectacular. The writing was great, however there was a little lack of necessary action. This episode felt more like a filler.

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