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Speechless–Season 2 Finale (N-O–Nominee)

The episode kicks off with JJ finding out his horror film has been nominated for an award at two film festivals—one in Orange County and one in Vancouver. JJ decides to go to Vancouver and take Maya with him. They all hope that his film wins, but JJ feels like he already won as he has been nominated for his work not because of his disability.

When Maya and JJ travel to Vancouver, they realise that JJ was nominated because of his disability, and while other nominees embrace the tokenism due to the prize money, JJ and Maya leave. However JJ is disappointed even further when Maya reveals she sent letters out to the film festivals to demand that they nominate his film for the awards. When they travel to the Orange County festival, they discover Maya’s letter didn’t get to them and JJ was legitimately nominated, and they didn’t accommodate access for his disability, so they scramble to get JJ on stage, just in time for the announcement that he won. Although it was a little predictable, I enjoyed this subplot as it was well written and executed, had throwbacks to the pilot, and went full circle.

Meanwhile Jimmy tries to hide the truth about the eviction from the kids, especially Dylan as she is catching on. He tells her a lie about chasing off a coyote, which he sticks with, until she manages to catch a coyote. He reveals to her later, when he discovers her in the closet crawl space, that he didn’t want her to stopping seeing him as a hero. She tells him that she’s grown up enough to handle things like the eviction and he promises to be more honest with her in the future.

Meanwhile Ray lets himself take falls in basketball so he can call himself an athlete and impress Taylor in an attempt to win her back. However during one of the basketball games, he has an encounter with himself, which makes him realise his insecurities about relationships are holding him back. When Taylor comes to see him after the last game he’s in, he decides to let her go and work on improving himself, and they part on good terms. While I enjoyed the long overdue epiphany and character development with Ray, I felt this subplot was a little silly.

The episode ends with the family’s possessions on the front lawn and them sleeping on their beds under the stars and Kenneth sleeping on the couch. They decide to figure out what they do next tomorrow.

Overall this was a solid season finale with JJ winning a film award, Ray finally letting Taylor go, and the kids discovering the truth about the eviction, which provides a good subplot to kick the third season off with.

 

Stray Observations:

-Dylan apparently has Ray traps.

-How Dylan managed to catch the coyote isn’t revealed, most likely one of her Ray traps.

-Dylan is failing two classes and is running a bookmaking operation out of her locker.

-JJ having to use a garbage ramp to make it on stage at the Orange County awards is a throwback to the pilot when the school expected JJ to use it for access.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Taylor you don’t go to school here, do you have early onset dementia?” (Ray to Taylor when he sees her at school)
  • “Hello bossy, would you like to try that again with a different tone?” (Kenneth to Ray when Ray asks him to teach him about basketball)
  • “I want you to win and not just because we’re both James DiMeo and it’ll make our first Google result no longer that time that Leno interviewed me for jaywalking and I couldn’t name a state president or fruit.” (Jimmy to JJ on his film being nominated for awards)
  • “If someone believed in me, I could be getting invitations to basketball festivals.” “Not going to happen Ray!” (Ray-Kenneth)
  • “I’m sure a lot of my Ray traps will work on a coyote!” (Dylan to Jimmy)
  • “I don’t know who we thought we were; winning awards, living inside.” (Jimmy to the family)
  • “You guys got evicted and we have to steal food from a film festival.” (Kenneth to Ray when he comes to pick up from school)

 

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Speechless–Season 2, Episode 17 (A-C–Action!)

The episode kicks off with the family quickly trying to hide Pepper (a lease violation) as the landlord has arrived for the new lease, although their efforts go to waste when Maya hands him the signed lease, he tells them to enjoy another year and leaves.

The episode cuts to Dylan telling the family she has interview a family member for her journalism project and asks Maya for her grandpa’s number. Jimmy tells Dylan that Maya hasn’t spoken to her father in 20 years, and Maya reveals that this is due to the fact that her father didn’t approve of Jimmy. Although Dylan initially displays a lack of interest in Maya as a subject, she finds what she thinks is Jimmy and Maya’s wedding video and it appears Maya was married to someone else. With the show never shying away from showing the love between Jimmy and Maya, it seems out of character to have had Maya be married before Jimmy, however this appears to be the case when Maya hides the tape and goes to a lot of effort to hide the truth from Dylan. It’s revealed later that the video was of Maya’s father wedding and Maya didn’t approve. Because she didn’t approve, she chose to react immaturely, wearing a wedding dress, getting drunk and embarrassing herself and her father. Maya admits she’s tried to apologise for years and hasn’t heard back.

Overall I found this story to be a little silly, especially when Maya came across as a psycho when trying to hide the truth from Dylan, however I did appreciate the character development with Maya.

Meanwhile JJ has won a contest with his script in his film class and his prize is to make the film. When Mr Powers and the students buy JJ new and accessible equipment so he can make his film, he feels pressure to succeed, even more so when he tries to please everyone by giving into their suggestions. When JJ admits the pressure he feels to succeed, Kenneth gives him a pep talk, and he goes on to direct the film he wants, which everyone loves, and Mr Powers walks out of because it’s too scary. Overall I enjoyed this subplot due to how relatable it is.

Meanwhile there is construction work going on at the DiMeo’s neighbouring property. When Maya asks Jimmy to talk to Eddie to keep it down, Eddie apologises and Jimmy looks over his plans and gives him suggestions. Eddie loves the plans and wants Jimmy to help, however this backfires as Eddie talks to the landlord and the landlord agrees to sell the DiMeo home to Eddie as he finally discovers Pepper in the backyard. I enjoyed the final twist at the end of this subplot, and how the landlord’s discovery of Pepper and the final moments of the episode provide a perfect bookend to the beginning.

Overall this was a mostly enjoyable episode and I’m looking forward to seeing how the DiMeos get themselves out of the eviction situation.

 

Stray Observations:

-Pepper somehow managed to lock Dylan in the bathroom.

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “We covered all the holes with bad art and creative furniture placement.” (Jimmy to Maya on the house)
  • “Mom, what’s grandpa’s number?” “Dylan, your mother hasn’t spoken to her father in 20 years.” “Fine, I’ll just interview the dog then.” (Dylan-Jimmy-Dylan)
  • “People said I was the most unremarkable groom they’ve ever seen.” (Jimmy to Dylan)
  • “I never thought I’d say this but I love you more than Eddie.” (Jimmy to Maya)

 

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 16 (One A-N–Angry M-A–Maya)

Maya is given the “golden ticket” of jury duty.

The episode kicks off with Maya receiving a letter stating that she’s on jury duty, which leads to an odd but well produced musical number about how happy she is to receive the “golden ticket” as it means she has time to herself. She is enjoying herself until she runs into Melanie, who feels the same way about jury duty. After fighting with the judge to throw each other off the jury, they end up bonding by extending jury duty to lengthen their “vacation”. Their bonding comes to an end when Maya tries to put in a good word for Ray to Taylor via Melanie, and Melanie tells him she thinks Taylor’s out of Ray’s league.

Maya then asks the jury to decide whether Ray is in Taylor’s league in exchange for and Melanie giving them the verdict they want. Although we don’t see their arguments in full, the jury ends up siding with Maya, and even Melanie when she admits she liked Ray and agrees to put in a good word for him.

Meanwhile, JJ has decided to set up his own dating profile and has the unfortunate experiences of bad dates as the women are only interested in him because he’s in a wheelchair. JJ crops out the wheelchair in his photos, which Kenneth quickly discovers and tells him he needs to be honest, which leads to JJ calling him out on his own dishonesty online. Kenneth agrees to go with him on his next date with Lauren, and she tells him the same thing Kenneth did. Both Kenneth and JJ agree to be totally honest on their dating profiles and they both get notifications that women are interested in them, but the subplot ends there.

Dylan and Jimmy are spending time together, which leads to Ray getting more and more jealous as the episode progresses. This is until Jimmy and Dylan reveal that Ray is getting a car and they have been spending time together to fix it.

Overall, I enjoyed Melanie and Maya’s subplot, especially seeing them reconcile and form a friendship, however I felt Maya’s musical number was cheesy and unnecessary. I felt Kenneth and JJ’s subplot was simple but well done, as they were learning important life lessons together. I also enjoyed Dylan-Jimmy-Ray subplot as not everything was as it appeared, I initially thought Jimmy was trying to spend more time with Dylan because he felt the need to work on their father-daughter bond, not because they working on the car. Nevertheless I enjoyed this reveal.

Overall this was a good episode.

 

Stray Observations:

-Apparently the judge is able to tell that Melanie and Maya are special needs moms based on their behaviour, so it clearly happens a lot.

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “I’ve neglected the very thing that matters the most to me.” “Over application of Axe body spray?” “Farting in your sleep?” “Making pronouncements about yourself that open you up to ridicule?” (Ray-Dylan-JJ-Ray)
  • “I will give you such a good verdict!” “I will give you a verdict that will blow your mind!” “Are you even a U.S. citizen?” “I think so!” (Melanie-Maya-Melanie-Maya)
  • “Did you sing that song too?” “Yep.” (Maya-Melanie on the musical scene at the beginning of the episode)
  • “Dad, meet me in the bathroom for some long overdue man-on-man time, loose fitting attire recommended.” (Jimmy reading Ray’s text to him)
  • “Does this say single because divorced twice wasn’t an option?” (Dylan to Kenneth on his dating profile)
  • “I cannot discuss the trial, not even the smell!” (Maya to Jimmy)
  • “He’s acting really odd, I think it’s about Taylor. I hope it’s about Taylor, otherwise we’re in for a few weird steamy years.” (Jimmy to Maya on Ray)
  • “How do you know my name?” “Doesn’t matter!” (Lauren-Kenneth)
  • “We wanted it to be a surprise you blubbering dumb dumb!” (Dylan to Ray when her and Jimmy tell him he’s getting a car)
  • “Weren’t you on jury duty?” “Yes and like all things I twisted it to fit my needs!” (Ray-Maya on Maya informing him the jury decided that he is in Taylor’s league)

 

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 15 (U-N–Unforgettable P-A–Pain)

This episode to me was a hit-and-miss.

The episode kicks off with Ray looking and acting like he’s sick as he’s in pain from his break-up with Taylor. After the family get him up and dressed to make sure he looks good for Taylor when she comes to the house for her sweatshirt, Maya offers to take him out on a mother-son day. However he uses it to his advantage when he convinces Maya to go to the mall where Taylor works and he tries to serenade her via a phone attached to his drone (which Maya crashes) and he then walks into her store and confronts her directly. Taylor calls him out on his behaviour and tells him and Maya to leave, which they do.

Meanwhile after complimenting his film in class, Aaron asks JJ to go on a “friend date” with him to the movies. While JJ would like it, the problem is that going on a friend date in the outside world presents problems for JJ as something always goes wrong, and as he describes himself “I go from being a friend to being someone to take care of.” Dylan goes with them to ensure nothing goes wrong, but it does anyway. At the end, Aaron does offer to help JJ but JJ tells him to leave. When he admits this to Dylan, she tells him that she can always help move objects out of his way, but he has to move himself out of his own way. When Aaron returns, he believes that JJ got sick of his constant movie references, not that JJ was a burden. They eventually make it to the movies as Aaron pushes JJ there in a shopping trolley, however they only arrive in time for the end credits.

Kenneth and Jimmy’s subplot revolves around Kenneth teaching Jimmy how to be more of alpha male so Pepper will obey his commands. Throughout Kenneth’s attempts to successfully teach Jimmy how to be an alpha male, Jimmy reveals he’s jealous of Pepper only obeying Kenneth, as well as the fact that JJ’s time is also mostly spent with Kenneth. Kenneth apologises and Pepper finally obeys a command from Jimmy.

Overall I found Ray’s subplot and Aaron, in general, to be cringy and annoying. I also enjoyed the Aaron and JJ subplot as it explored a different challenge that JJ has making friends–interacting in the outside world (outside of the house and school). I also appreciated Jimmy being honest with Kenneth, revealing how he feels about Kenneth spending all his time with JJ, as it shows Jimmy’s love for JJ in another way.

Overall this was a good but not great episode.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Did someone change the light bulb? Maya we’ve talked about large purchases.” (Jimmy to Maya)
  • “Fine, but add salt!” (Jimmy to Maya when she’s slapping him after he insults her food)
  • “Oh my God, Ray’s expressing himself through song.” (Maya to Jimmy)
  • “No matter what Ray’s guitar tells you, I was acting in self defence!” (Dylan to Maya)
  • “What have you got up your bony little sleeve?” (Maya to herself about Ray’s actions)
  • “If I die, tell Ray he’s a dork.” (JJ to Dylan before he tries to wheel himself off a steep curb)
  • “Yeesh, get a screening room you two.” (Dylan to Aaron and JJ)

 

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 14 (E-I–Eighteen)

It’s a happy birthday to JJ when he turns 18 in this episode.

The episode kicks off with the family counting down to midnight so they can wish JJ a happy birthday and also tell Maya that she looks too young to have an adult son. The episode then moves forward to later in the day when the family is planning JJ’s birthday party, where he’ll have Fudgie the Whale cake and his friends around. Kenneth later takes him to the store to buy “grown up stuff”—cigars, lottery tickets, butane, cold medicine, a knife and dry ice.

They are having a good time, until JJ runs into Troy who tells him about his plans to drive up north, find an apartment and prepare for college. This makes JJ realise he’s not as independent and as “18” as his peers. This causes him to lash out at his family, specifically Maya, about the reality of his life and he takes off. Kenneth ends up tracking him down at the tattoo parlour and reprimands him for his treatment of Maya and his immaturity, and that he needs to start acting like an adult if he wants to be treated like one. JJ goes home to apologise, but not before getting a Fudgie the Whale tattoo to mark his 18th birthday. Maya and Jimmy gives JJ the garage as a “man cave” for his birthday present.

Meanwhile, a hot foreign exchange student, Lars, is staying with Taylor’s family, which has Ray’s insecurities flare up even further than usual. Ray asks Jimmy for help and he refuses to give away his secrets to making women jealous, so Ray asks Maya and she gives Jimmy’s game away. Jimmy tries to get Ray to stop playing his games, but he doesn’t let down. His games end up working to well when another girl kisses him, which he later admits to Taylor, and she breaks up with him.

Dylan’s subplot was the most entertaining. When a student throws a spitball that learns on her, and the student is a smartarse towards her, she tackles him. She gets the attention of a teacher who takes her away, however he turns out to be the school’s wrestling coach and tells her to join the team. She is reluctant, until she meets a boy she likes, Rev. When she realises she has to wrestle against him, she tries and succeeds in gaining weight to prevent this from happening, only to discover Rev had the same plan and also succeeded, so they have to wrestle with each other anyway. The two of them negotiating their first date during their match was hilarious, and their first kiss was endearing. I hope there are more episodes of Dylan on the wrestling team.

Overall this was a good episode with character development in JJ, Kenneth and Dylan, and great comedic moments, especially with Kenneth and JJ at the supermarket buying adult stuff and Dylan’s wrestling subplot.

 

Stray Observations:

-According to Jimmy, guacamole has a subconscious effect on women.

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Fifteen seconds. If you want to kill someone and not be tried as an adult, now’s your chance.” (Jimmy to JJ, counting down to midnight)
  • “Alright kids, we all know why we’re here. 3, 2, 1 (everyone in unison) you look way too young to have an adult son.” (Jimmy to the kids and than all to Maya)
  • “Watch the tone, I’ve got five more years to kill you with no consequences.” (Dylan to JJ on being his Fudgie the Whale cake fall guy, echoing the one liner Jimmy delivered to JJ earlier)
  • “Eww make him (Kenneth) read the weird stuff!” (Dylan to JJ when she reads out a creepy statement JJ’s making)
  • “Detention!? Today doesn’t really work for me, let’s make plans for another time.” (Dylan to the wrestling coach)
  • “Ray, I’m thinking of leaving your mother for Lars, I have a bag packed.” (Jimmy to Ray)
  • “Have you ever had to wrestle someone you love because they weigh the same as you?” (Dylan to Maya)
  • “That’s strike number two, Mr ‘my mom was at your birthday party!'” (Kenneth to…)
  • “I’m off to wrestling practice and not humiliate the boy I like.” (Dylan to Jimmy)
  • “I love all wrestling…whether it’s a person or a dilemma” (the wrestling coach to Dylan and Rev)
  • “That was my first kiss!” “That was my first loss!” (Dylan-Rev on the outcome of their wrestling match)

 

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 13 (D-I–DiMeo A-C–Academy)

After three episodes revolving around a theme, this episode returns to the normal day-to-day life of the DiMeos, at least what’s normal for them.

The episode kicks off with Jimmy and Maya breaking the news to JJ that the school won’t let him graduate, mainly due to being absent to deal with his medical issues. Maya goes to the school to try and get her way and manages to make deals with all of JJ’s teachers, however Dr Miller points out to Maya that having JJ graduate early might not be the right decision for him and doesn’t allow him to.

In protest and in typical Maya style, Maya establishes the “DiMeo Academy” where she plans on teaching JJ herself and always being one step ahead of JJ with the materials. Ray and Dylan join the Academy due to embarrassing moments at school, which I’ll get to. Jimmy is a reluctant teacher at the Academy but when Maya tells him it’s a permanent arrangement, he angrily calls Maya out on her decision. I felt this was Bowie’s finest performance in Speechless as he proves to be a formidable opponent (or equal depending on how you look at it) to Maya by standing up to her and calling her out, which is something he rarely does. When Maya says she hates it when they argue, Jimmy admits he holds his tongue a lot, which is an interesting but unsurprising glimpse into their relationship. When Maya sends JJ on a field trip to college, he realises he’s not ready for it yet and quits the Academy, which I felt was the right ending for this subplot. Even though Maya fights for him, Dr Miller and Jimmy were right, it’s not the right decision for JJ to graduate right now, and I appreciated this consistency throughout the subplot.

On smaller notes or rather subplots, Ray farts in front of his classmates hence why he joins the Academy, this minor subplot actually never resolves itself, other than the fact that Jimmy mentions that Ray is returning to the school at the end of the episode. In all honesty, they really shouldn’t have bothered with this Ray subplot at all. After Dylan embarrasses herself by thinking she was voted captain of the track team and finds out she wasn’t, due to her lack of sportsmanshp, she ends up joining the Academy. Dylan ends up running for the DiMeo Academy at the track meet at the end of the episode, only to injure herself and her former track team mates carry her across the finish line. While I enjoyed her subplot, much like Ray’s, it was so minor that I question why the writers even bothered.

Kenneth’s subplot revolved around having to see his ex-wife, Robin, to get his rare baseball card collection so he can sell it to pay off an expensive watch he bought, prior to finding out from Jimmy and Maya that his job security is shaky with JJ having to repeat. While Robin is nice to him and gives him his collection back, she admits that she doesn’t view him as successful. This leads to him trying to impress her by renting an expensive sports car and a new suit, however when he tells her about his current job as JJ’s aide, she’s impressed he’s helping someone and he realises that while he’s not successful in her eyes and not rich, he has found fulfillment, which is enough for him. I enjoyed seeing this character development with Kenneth, which was frankly long overdue.

Overall this was a solid episode with a great amount of character development and a variety of fantastic one liners and interactions.

 

Stray Observations:

-Jimmy doesn’t like Indian food.

-Pepper is now bringing belts instead of bananas to the family and is forming a pile of them.

-Maya and Dr Miller practising for their inevitable confrontation whilst driving to the school was funny, Maya point how funny it was to Dr Miller when they run into each other was hilarious.

-In the short time that Maya was running the DiMeo Academy, she had time to have sweaters with the words “DiMeo Academy Service Animal Dropouts” on them for the whole family.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Should I put on the theme music to Kill Bill or is it already playing in your head?” (Jimmy to Maya)
  • “Hey it’s too funny isn’t it? We’re getting ready for the same fight, I’ll see you there!” (Maya to Dr Miller when the latter drives up next to her at an intersection and sees her rehearsing the impending conversation between them)
  • “As the guy at the watch store said ‘are you sure you can afford this?'” (Kenneth to the family on his new watch)
  • “The ex-wife who burned all your stuff?” “No, the mean one.” (Jimmy-Kenneth when the latter mentions having to see his ex-wife)
  • “It really makes you wonder where the phrase ‘as rich as a public school aide’ comes from.” (Jimmy to Kenneth on the latter’s lack of savings)
  • “Why did you losers vote for me?” “The answer’s in your question.” “No riddles, Barry!” (Dylan-Coach Barry-Dylan on her not being voted the track team captain)
  • “Kenneth do not be beautiful…you just don’t listen, you sexy devil!” (Kenneth to himself and his reflection in his rear view mirror)
  • “It turns out my ex is a gold digger and my ex doesn’t want to dig me.” (Kenneth on his ex-wife)
  • “I’m standing in a principal’s office full of underwear!” (Jimmy to Maya)
  • “Why is your nickname salt?” “Because salt kills slugs!” (Coach Barry-Dylan)
  • “I’m going to share it with all of my social media followers” “Mom’s already seen it Ray!” (Ray-Dylan on the video of Dylan being helped across the line by her [temporarily former] track teammates)

Speechless–Season 2, Episode 12 (The H-U-S–Hustle)

This episode revolved around another theme (although not a holiday)—a 70’s fundraiser.

The episode kicks off with Ray trying to become the president of the astronomy club only to be surprised by Maya and Jimmy coming to the school and announcing via a parody of Born to Be Wild that it’s time for the annual DiMeo road trip.

The family is just to about to go when Dr Miller reminds Maya about the fundraiser to help upgrade the school elevator. Maya and Jimmy go into the school to attend the ’70s themed fundraiser, where Kenneth is DJing. Both Jimmy and Maya make new friends. Maya makes a new friend in one of the mothers, Sarah, who turns out to be against the elevator upgrade as it takes money away from the school’s fencing team, which her own son is on. Jimmy makes new friends after he puts on a pair of platform shoes and discovers the power of being tall.

Meanwhile, after the school’s security guard tells the kids that the van is in a loading zone and has to be moved, Ray gets in the driver’s seat and drives away. He then becomes “bad Ray”, mouthing off to a teenager in another car who throws soda at the van, running over objects in the car (at Dylan’s insistence) and then throwing eggs at the teenager’s car. He goes back to being regular Ray when the last egg he throws breaks the sign at the pizza place. Ray gives the owner his telescope to make up for it and they drive back to the school.

Meanwhile Maya confronts Sarah in the elevator, which then gets stuck because it needs upgrading. I thought the elevator getting stuck was too much of a cliche, however I liked that it lead to the reveal that Sarah is against only to make Jake happy, which leads to Maya realising that she does similar things to make JJ happy. When Jimmy has to take the platforms off to rescue Sarah and Maya, the truth about his height is revealed to his new friends and they abandon him.

Maya reveals to the parents that the reason why she succeeds in getting what she wants for JJ is because of her drive, and agrees to auction herself off to help get the other parents what they want for their kids. Meanwhile Jimmy admits his insecurity about his height to his new friends and they in turn admits their own insecurities. When Maya takes the parents’ “demands” to Dr Miller, she reveals to her and Jimmy (when he comes over to dance with Maya) that she’s spoken with JJ’s teachers and he won’t be graduating this year.

Overall I found this episode to be a little disjointed. There was no seamless transition between the A and B stories, the A story was a little silly, and there were continuity errors. However there was some solid character development with Maya and Dylan, and the twist reveal at the end of the episode was pulled off perfectly.

 

Stray Observations:

-There were a few noticeable continuity errors. Ray threw the last egg, which broke the pizza place sign, yet Dylan had an egg to throw at the soda throwing teenager’s car when Ray went back to being himself. Also, Dr Miller was in her regular clothes and Kenneth was driving the van when Jimmy and Maya were singing to Ray, yet they had time to change and attend the fundraiser inside the school. Also, as Kenneth was driving the car, he should have made Maya and Jimmy aware of the fundraiser beforehand.

 

Best one liners:

  • “If we get trapped in a conversation and we need help, the code word is winnebago” (Jimmy to Maya at the fundraiser)
  • “Why do you have to find larger themes in everything?” (Dylan to Ray)
  • “This is the best, weirdest, first fundraiser I’ve ever been to!” (Jimmy on his new friends kneeling down to praise him)
  • “No single ladies screamed, which means there are no single ladies or they are here but they’re shy.” (Kenneth to the crowd at the fundraiser)
  • “Foiled again by my excellent hustling!” (Maya)
  • “The trio needs a weenie…fine I’ll do it, JJ never will, he wants to see the world burn.” (Dylan begging Ray to go back to being the responsible one, then later accepting she’ll now have to be the responsible one)