This is the first episode in quite some time to peel back another layer of the metaphorical onion that I’ve written about in my previous reviews.
This is the first episode to explore how the DiMeos interact with other special needs families and as a viewer, we are given a glimpse into the lives of special needs families and their social lives. We are given glimpses on almost all fronts through Maya (the mums), Jimmy (the dads), and JJ and Kenneth (the kids).
While I enjoyed seeing Maya interact with the special needs mums, I found her plot of other mums competing with each other and Maya feeling inferior to be cliche. I did enjoy Dylan taking charge and calling the meeting that led to them resolving their differences, as well as Maya and Becca’s accurately described “unsatisfying food fight.” I did enjoy Becca’s speech on motherhood, a speech that I hope every mother watching paid attention to.
I felt the opposite about Jimmy’s interaction with the special needs dads. Speechless mostly focuses on Maya and JJ’s relationship and Maya as a mother, so it was a welcome change to see the focus on Jimmy and where he fits in, in the special needs social circle. As Jimmy is the more passive one between him and Maya, it was nice to see him have some power for once. However, the power didn’t last long as Jimmy is a good guy as are the other dads, which I appreciated—they’re not pushovers or doormats, just loving husbands and fathers doing their best, ultimately just like their wives are doing their best as well, with the difference being the execution in each parent’s methods.
I thoroughly enjoyed JJ and Kenneth’s interactions with both each other and the special needs kids. I personally found Kenneth to be quite sweet in this episode as he genuinely wanted to level the playing field, even if he did have ulterior motives. I loved the diversity of the kids and their disabilities as it was realistic, and my favourite scene of the episode was definitely the “equal opportunity death match” words that I never thought I would hear in the same sentence.
On smaller notes, it was a shame that Dylan and Ray weren’t used more in the episode, that being said it didn’t greatly suffer either, especially as the Ray and Zelda subplot was weak and didn’t add to the episode. I also enjoyed seeing Ray put his talent of finding Maya’s keys to use in his unique way, which begs the question of how he discovered and developed it over the years.
Overall this episode had a lot of heart and the perfect amount of humour, however it wasn’t the best episode I’ve ever seen. It was good but not great.