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Speechless–Season 3 & Series Finale (U-N-R–Unrealistic)

At the time of writing and production, this episode was only the Season 3 Finale, however when it was announced on May 10 2019 that Speechless had been cancelled by ABC, it also became the Series Finale.

The finale mainly revolves around JJ’s impending graduation and expected acceptance into NYU. The cold open involves Maya telling her story about how many times people told her that many parts of life for JJ would be unrealistic to achieve and live, ending with her telling the man responsible for graduation photo orders that her desire for a special order is unrealistic. It then cuts to a large floor-ceiling cut out of JJ in the living room and Maya agreeing with the man that the cut out was too big.

As mentioned earlier, the A story revolves around JJ’s impending graduation and expected acceptance in NYU. While everyone is excited for JJ, Maya is faking it as she doesn’t want him to move away, something which has been clear all season. When JJ and Izzy FaceTime to find out whether they got accepted together, JJ tells them that neither of them did. He also tells them that as Izzy got into Chapman and he got into Irvine, he decides to go there, which is only in the next town over and pleases Maya.

The episode than moves forward one month to JJ and Izzy checking out an accessible apartment for them to live in. However later on, JJ tells Maya that Izzy broke up with him. Maya goes over to Izzy to scare her into telling her why, and Izzy reveals that JJ actually did get into NYU and he said no to stay with her, and she broke up with him as he can’t plan his life around her. When Maya tells Jimmy this, she tells him that she’s conflicted as she doesn’t want JJ to leave, however she knows Izzy is right and that going to NYU would make him happy. Just before he’s due to make his speech at the graduation ceremony, Maya tells him it’s his choice but encourages him not to stay out of fear as it’s not love, what is love is her letting him go even though she doesn’t want him to. She also reminds him that he’s spent his life defying the odds when others have told him it’s unrealistic. When he goes to do his speech, which he did write after mentally torturing Kenneth by telling him he was going to wing it, Kenneth breaks down. While the family mocks him and goes to take over, they each break down one by one, with the exception of Maya. JJ abandons his written speech and through Maya and then Kenneth, encourages his classmates to be unrealistic like he has been.

The B story revolves around Jimmy and Dylan bonding over work. When Dylan convinces Jimmy to do her homework for her, which he doesn’t realise until Maya points it out to him, he sternly tells her to do the work or face the consequences of not bothering. Dylan finishes her homework and gets a good grade. The tables turn when Dylan finds out Jimmy’s working on an architecture model to get an architecture job, and that he’s growing his moustache until he gets one. He eventually gets an interview with a firm and Dylan tells him she’s proud, which causes him to doubt himself and panic. When Dylan discovers that he hasn’t done any work in a month (after the episode moves forward), she gives him the same speech he gave her. She also encourages him in her own way of tough love by stomping on all of his models until he founds one he hates the least, which he does. Just before he leaves the house to go to the interview, Dylan gives him a graphing pencil he loves, which he told her about earlier. He tells her at JJ’s graduation that he got a job by revealing he shaved off his moustache with art class scissors.

Overall I found this subplot was a strong one as it showed growth in Jimmy and Dylan’s father-daughter relationship, especially with Dylan encouraging him, and Jimmy’s dream of working as an architect has finally come true.

The C story revolved around Ray showing up to a class camping trip to find he is the only boy as the other boys locked up the coach in a cabin with a rogue squirrel which attacked him, and led him to jump out of the window and into a ravine. Ray sees this as the perfect opportunity to get a girlfriend, only to find that all of the girls still despise him even though he’s the only boy there. Ray snaps and asks them all if he is really that bad, this leads to some of the girls telling him some harsh truths and inspires Ray to have a workshop with them to find out what he’s doing wrong. The girls eventually make him realise that he is chasing a feeling and not a person, and he opens up to them, causing the girls to make him their “project” for senior year.

Overall I felt this subplot wasn’t as strong as the Jimmy-Dylan subplot, however it did show character development in Ray as he finally realises why he’s been so unlucky with all the girls and accepts the harsh truths that the girls have delivered and in a strange way, gets his happily ever after, when the girls decide to pursue him in senior year.

The finale and the show ends with JJ getting himself ready in the morning alone in New York and getting himself to the NYU campus, timed by his family and Kenneth. They are getting him to practice being late by just 15 minutes (he’s currently at three hours), which is the DiMeo way. They reset the stopwatch, start again and start walking back to JJ’s dorm together.

I’ve said in other blog posts about season finales, that the job of a season finale is to tie up the season’s story arcs and set up new ones for the following season. The job of a series finale is to tie up the whole show, leaving its viewers satisfied with its close. I’ve also said that you can tell when a show’s future is uncertain as the finale is usually written to both close off the story arcs but also leave certain subplots or story arcs open ended. When this finale was being written and eventually produced, it’s future was uncertain.

Now that we know that Speechless will unfortunately not be renewed, I’ve re-watched it to review it with a different set of eyes. As a series finale, it closed off the chapter of JJ’s high school life perfectly by having him graduate and give a speech, something unimaginable when Lafayette didn’t seem like the right high school in the pilot. It also showed the strength and love in Kenneth and JJ’s relationship when he broke down whilst trying to deliver JJ’s speech. The fact that the finale and show ended with JJ’s graduation when the show started with JJ starting high school at Lafayette was brilliant, as it completed a perfect and positive full circle.

Overall this finale was one of the best season and series finales I’ve ever seen. Speechless was also one of the best and unique shows I’ve ever seen and I’m sad to see it end.

I want to thank Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Micah Fowler, Mason Cook, Kyla Kenedy and Cedric Yarbrough for bringing the DiMeo family, Kenneth and Speechless to life. It has been an absolute pleasure watching and reviewing your performances over the last three years.

Scott Silveri, you and your family should be so proud.

 

Stray Observations:

-Jimmy use to be into model trains.

-According to the girls, Ray is insecure and yet strangely over confident.

-Ray carries around solved Rubik’s cubes in his pocket to appear incredibly intelligent.

-Ray has a doll named Tony that he tells all his problems too.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Ray, word in the girls’ bathroom is that you’re being way more desperate than normal.” (Dylan to Ray)
  • “I wish I could find a woman to read my board like that.” (Kenneth to Maya on Izzy no longer reading out JJ’s sentences out loud)

 

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Speechless–Season 3, Episode 21 (The S-T-A–Staircase)

The penultimate episode of Season 3 and the entire series focuses on next steps.

JJ meets Izzy’s overprotective parents for the first time, when Izzy tells him how overprotective her father, Omar, is and JJ sees him practising his punches on a dummy, he’s scared. However this fear quickly turns to anger when Izzy’s parents discover his disability and find him harmless, leaving JJ and Izzy alone in the house.

JJ and Izzy immediately see this and set out to prove them wrong by planning on having Omar find JJ in her bedroom, however they hit the obvious obstacle, the staircase leading to Izzy’s bedroom. After Izzy tries to help JJ and encourage JJ to get upstairs on his own, without success, they call Joyce for help. Joyce manages to get him upstairs, however Izzy tells them there is another snag, to get up to her bed, they have to use a ladder. Joyce later calls Brad, one of Izzy’s neighbours to help, and he gets JJ on the bed. However JJ feels embarrassed by it all, telling Izzy he feels less like a man, however Izzy doesn’t feel this way. When Omar comes home and finds JJ’s empty wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs, he comes to her bedroom and sees JJ half-naked on the bed due to an accident with his accessible pants. Omar’s struggle to be both an overprotective father but not be offensive towards JJ was sweet and hilarious. The subplot ends with Omar balancing both by expressing his anger, but reassuring JJ he’s holding onto him tight and asking JJ to let him know if he’s hurting him, as he’s carrying JJ downstairs.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it showed progression in JJ and Izzy’s relationship, demonstrated a problem that some people with special needs may encounter in their romantic relationships in a realistic way, and provided some great comedic moments.

Meanwhile, Maya and Melanie are invited to a reception held by the Celebral Palsy Foundation and Ray and Dylan go along with them. Logan is also with them and surprises Melanie and the crowd by singing Ave Maria to Melanie. His performance makes everyone cry and Maya jealous. She orders Dylan and Ray to get JJ to come to the reception, but he can’t, so Dylan forces Ray into a wheelchair and pretend to be JJ, which only ends in disaster. When they all leave together, Maya admits to Melanie she was jealous of Logan’s serenade to her, however Melanie tells her that she should be proud of JJ’s accomplishments.

Overall I felt that this subplot only served as a filler, it didn’t really progress the adaptive clothing line story arc, or have anything to do with anything else going on in the episode.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Kenneth tour Long Beach Technical College, filming a video to convince JJ into accepting their offer to study there. Kenneth excitedly tells Jimmy and JJ about his college days, however when they actually enquire about Kenneth’s college days, they discover he goofed off and eventually flunked out. Earlier Jimmy asked him if he considered coming back to finish his degree and after they come back from Long Beach Tech, Jimmy tells Kenneth he thinks going back will be good for him and convinces him to enrol again.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it’s rare to see Jimmy and Kenneth interacting alone and it was fun to see Jimmy using his parenting skills on Kenneth.

Overall I felt this episode was lacklustre for a penultimate episode to a season.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Maya and Jimmy bring the family laptop to school with the screen filled with Ray’s naked baby pictures to embarrass him.

-Dylan made a Ray-like clay head perfectly in art class and then punched it when Jimmy told her that JJ’s first college decision came.

-Kenneth’s ex’s dad, Marv, keeps inviting Kenneth to go hunting, rock climbing, fishing on a secluded lake early in the morning, and skydiving. In the middle of telling Jimmy this, he questions whether Marv is trying to kill him.

-Izzy’s dad called the police to schedule a domestic disturbance.

-JJ is apparently Jimmy’s favourite son.

-Joyce is apparently not a licensed physical therapist.

-Kenneth once got kicked out of class because he threw a basketball at a professor and told him to “think fast”.

-Kenneth walked out of one final because he saw a cool bird, only it turned out to be a crow.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “I could be a creep! I have a van, I tell girls I’m a director, I have a grabby thing.” “You’d be a great creep!” (JJ-Izzy)
  • “I’m a DiMeo, two things drive me: love and spite.” (JJ to Izzy)
  • “I could do magic.” “Ray, we want them to cry for the right reasons.” (Ray-Maya)

 

Speechless–Season 3, Episode 20 (On the R-O–Road A-G–Again)

This episode is another DiMeo road trip.

Kenneth has found a possible replacement aide for him when JJ goes off to college. His name is Tim and he lives in Seattle, so the family have to drive there to meet him.

As it’s a DiMeo road trip, there’s no way it’s going to go smoothly. Kenneth suggests a shortcut and they end up getting a flat tyre. Jimmy, JJ and Dylan leave to go to a gas station to get the flat tyre and the spare they were supposed to have, replaced while Maya, Kenneth and Ray waiting for them in the van in the woods.

JJ, Jimmy and Dylan have fun, despite Maya’s wishes, at a waffle house, whilst waiting for the tyres. When Jimmy and JJ go for a tractor ride on a nearby farm, and Dylan calls Jimmy out on hiding the fact that the tyres are ready, Jimmy reveals that he needs to spend time with JJ before he leaves, just as much as Maya does. This revelation makes Jimmy and subsequently, JJ and Dylan emotional.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it focused on Jimmy’s parental needs for a change and the emotional moments were balanced out perfectly with the comedic moments of Dylan’s struggle of trying to figure out how to spend a quarter she found. Although I felt the three brothers (the man who likes to warn people of the dangerous shortcut, the mechanic and the man who owns the gas station) was a little silly and didn’t really add anything valuable to the subplot.

Meanwhile, as Maya, Ray and Kenneth are waiting for Jimmy, JJ and Dylan to return, Kenneth reveals that he has his own JJ’s Care Manual 2.0, after Maya’s Manual falls in the river, which she brought with her to give to Tim. Maya is insulted by Kenneth’s version for the manual and throws it in the river. After Maya throws his Manual in the river, Kenneth walks off and finds a cabin, only for Maya to find him and later a bear to find them. When the bear is approaching them, Kenneth tells Maya he wrote his version of the Manual so he could be ready for anything like her, and she admits he is her best friend. The bear is driven away by Ray, who has recently joined the Eagle Scouts to improve his high school resume. After the bear leaves, Kenneth finds pages of both Manuals in the river, and he and Maya put the Manual back together, creating a new one in the process.

Overall I found their subplots to be solid with its character development between Maya and Kenneth, however I felt the execution, especially with the bear and Ray joining the Eagle Scouts to be a little silly.

The episode ends with the family finally making it to Seattle, only for Tim to flee seconds after seeing what the family is like. I felt this was a funny and suitable ending, especially when several references were made by Maya and Kenneth on how Maya and the family are perceived, and how Kenneth has grown in the job over the years.

 

Stray Observations:

-Apparently there is a magazine out there called “Abilities“.

-Apparently Tim was on the list of 30 hottest aides under 30 in Abilities magazine.

-Jimmy broke the waffle house’s record of eating the most amount of waffles in one sitting.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “I said play the trumpet” “And I said five bucks!” (Kenneth-Dylan on the music she’s playing on her keyboard)
  • “Do you know how much it turns me on when you engineer mother-son moments.” (Maya to Jimmy)
  • “Pop, I don’t want to overuse the ‘are we there yet?’ But stuff’s getting weird back here.” (Dylan on Maya and Kenneth’s behaviour)
  • “Getting car sick isn’t a choice but letting the vomit leave your mouth is.” (The family on their car sick rule)
  • “You going for a jealousy badge, scout?” (Dylan to Ray)
  • “My hitchhiking ankle! Who would want you now?” (Maya on her injured ankle)
  • “We need to hurry, the woods are making them weird.” (JJ to Jimmy on Maya and Kenneth)
  • “Tactics for handling Maya…damn it this would actually work!” (Maya on Kenneth’s version of JJ’s Care Manual)
  • “You’re the last person I’d choose to get eaten by a bear with.” “Why would you choose to get eaten by a bear?” (Kenneth-Maya)
  • “Call me Reverse Goldilocks because this is gonna feel just wrong!” (Ray to the bear)
  • “Stop it, you’re making him hungrier or hornier!” (Maya to Ray on his behaviour towards the bear)
  • “I don’t want to die angry, it’s what everyone would expect!” (Maya to Kenneth)
  • “I barely grazed the guy, I hit his wife’s car way harder.” (Maya on why one Seattle guy was particularly aggressive towards them)

 

Speechless–Season 3, Episode 19 (P-R-O-M-P–Promposal)

This episode is all about prom.

The episode kicks off with JJ’s promposal video to Izzy, asking her to go with him. However when he shows Izzy the video, she tells him she doesn’t want to go to prom as her Grease theme for it was rejected. They argue about it, with it ending on Izzy giving JJ permission to go with someone else.

The family try and find a celebrity (which include Beyonce, Emma Watson and Judge Sonia Sotomayor) to go with him and end up with Cassidy Chambers, an actress. When JJ asks why she agreed to go to prom with him, she tells him it’s because she liked the video but also to get an insight into what it’s like to live with a disability, as she is playing the role of a disabled woman in a wheelchair who has been “healed”, and is quite offensive.

Throughout the night, JJ, Ray and Dylan educate Cassidy on why her role is offensive and how to interact with those who are disabled, whilst posting pictures of her and JJ online to make Izzy jealous. They ultimately succeed as Izzy decides to go to the prom, however JJ gives up his power play plan with Izzy, when she sees him and Cassidy dancing together and it upsets her. He makes it up to her by partially reinstating her Grease theme when he wears a letterman jacket, finds her a leather jacket to wear, has the DJ play ‘You’re the One that I want’ and has everyone dancing, including Cassidy’s protestors, with Cassidy on stage attempting to sing the song.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it explored conflict between JJ and Izzy, had the kids educating someone on disabilities without being preachy, and included an element of fun with the prom.

Meanwhile, Maya and Melanie are looking for an investor for their business. This means that Maya has to learn how to take criticism. To teach Maya how to take criticism, Jimmy, Kenneth and Melanie handcuff her to a chair and force her to listen to people criticising her and to control her reaction by saying the word “interesting”. This almost works when Melanie’s rich friend, Blair, comes over to hear their pitch, only for him to insult JJ and Logan as the product models. This causes Maya to lash out him and Blair leaving, only for her to agree that the photo isn’t actually that good. When she tells Jimmy that they’ll be other investors, he asks her if she’s taking her dream seriously because he would like his dreams to come true and admits how unhappy he is. Maya apologises but also encourages him to pursue his architecture dream. They end up getting the investment from Blair, much to Kenneth’s chagrin as Blair and Melanie have obvious chemistry.

Overall while this subplot progresses the adaptive clothing line story arc, I felt that in this episode it was only serving as a filler. However I did enjoy watching Jimmy doing the rare action of putting his foot down with Maya and admitting he has needs.

Overall this was a good episode with the prom providing lots of fun moments, and character development with Jimmy, and between JJ and Izzy.

 

Stray Observations:

-In the promposal video, Maya states that she signed a restraining order barring her from coming within 500 feet of prom.

-Dylan wants a confetti cannon, Maya says no but she somehow gets one anyway.

-Melanie and Kenneth can do the perfect Maya impression.

-JJ and Ray made a gentleman’s agreement not to pursue Emma Watson.

-JJ’s Megagram handle is ‘JJdeman123’.

-One of the celebrities the family ask to go to prom with JJ is Judge Sonia Sotomayor, she responded by sending JJ an autographed picture.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “Firin’ up the no cannon!” (Dylan to Kenneth when Izzy rejects JJ’s promposal)
  • “Almost got you supporting me, you’re getting sloppy!” (Ray to Dylan)
  • “My Ray schemes run through an irresistibly charming person. What wonderful controlled experiment to see whether I suck.” (Ray to Dylan)
  • “When you work in a dead end job like mine you learn a thing or two about licking boots or you die…I’m not sure what category I fall into.” (Jimmy to Maya, Melanie and Kenneth)
  • “Nice that they followed you here, you have such loyal protestors.” (Dylan to Cassidy)
  • “I understand that me being under control leaves an ‘irrational vacuum’ but it’s not yours to fill.” (Maya to Kenneth)
  • “There’s zero chemistry, it’s like watching me talk to mom!” “You wish you and mom had this little chemistry.” (Ray-Dylan on JJ and Cassidy)
  • “Hottie McAbleist” (Dylan describing Cassidy)

 

Speechless–Season 3, Episode 18 (S-E–Seoul B-R–Brothers)

This episode focuses on secrets.

The episode’s cold open focuses on JJ, Dylan and Ray chasing down a woman who put money in JJ’s cup because she pitied him. When they eventually catch her and call her behaviour out, she apologises, but they need her money anyway to get back to Jimmy and Maya’s bank, where they were waiting for them.

This episode’s subplots had a main focus on secrets, with the exception of Ray’s subplot. Maya and Jimmy’s subplot focused on the fact that Jimmy secretly plays in a Korean wedding band when he’s supposed to be working, a secret Kenneth discovers when he’s at a friend’s wedding. When Kenneth brings Maya to another Korean wedding to reveal Jimmy’s secret to her, they both run away and deny being at the wedding, and Kenneth also reveals Maya has drinks with Melanie when they’re supposed to be working.

Jimmy and Maya’s secrets partially revolve around the fact that they are having fun, but they are mainly about the fact that they are spending money when and where they shouldn’t. At the end of the episode, Kenneth goes through their finances, something that the show hasn’t really addressed directly, and tells them that with Jimmy’s income and their behaviour, they are going to bankrupt in two years. While typically, most people would view that as bad news, typically, Jimmy and Maya view this as good news as they’ll still be able to indulge in their luxuries for another two years.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot, however it wasn’t the strongest one I’ve come across. Although I’m glad the writers finally addressed the DiMeo’s financial situation, especially how they manage or rather not manage their money.

JJ’s subplot also addresses money as he receives a pay cheque with a large amount for Social Security benefits and decides to spend it on his family. His spending includes buying a microscope that Ray wanted and told JJ and Dylan about at the beginning of the episode, buying Maya a cashmere scarf, and Dylan a police-like baton. JJ eventually reveals to Dylan that he’s spending so much on everyone as the family does so much for him and for once he can be a giver not a taker.

However his spending eventually gets out of control and to the point where he’s buying the family gifts they don’t like nor need. The family eventually find out what’s going on when Maya calls the Social Security office to ask about JJ’s cheques, and she also reveals that as JJ didn’t declare his grocery store income, he has to pay the money back. To pay the money back, JJ resorts to panhandling, tying back to the beginning of the episode, and Jimmy and Maya tell him that JJ will eventually pay them back when goes to college and later becomes successful.

Overall I enjoyed JJ’s subplot, although I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Meanwhile Ray’s subplot revolved around the Quiz Bowl Tournament he was in. While he and his team are confident on their win, Ray is thrown through a loop when Taylor shows up as she is in the Tournament for her school and will be his opponent. Justin Chang points out that Taylor is still into him and encourages him to use that to steal her notes, which leaves Ray torn between throwing the tournament to get her back or win for Justin as he needs a partial scholarship for college.

Despite a hilarious scene between Ray and Taylor where they try to seduce each other via their study guides and Ray tells her how much he’s missed her highlighting, colour coding and neat handwriting, he chooses Justin over her but they lose anyway as Ray answers the question incorrectly.¬†Overall I felt Ray’s subplot was a bit of a filler, however I enjoyed the library scene between him and Taylor.

Overall this was an entertaining episode but not a strong one.

 

Stray Observations:

-Dylan’s mail call involves throwing Ray’s mail in the trash can.

-According to Kenneth, Dr Miller is domineering but also gets his motor running. Maya is offended at first because Kenneth seems attracted to her, but is further offended when he makes it clear that he wasn’t referring to her.

-Ray knows how to dance like a girl in a rap video.

-JJ uses his social security cheque to pay for an artist to do a custom oil painting of the family. When Kenneth tells him JJ can’t pay him, without saying a word, the artist punches a hole through the painting, throws it on the ground and leaves.

-Maya smashes commemorative plates at a funny little club near the docks.

-Maya apparently wants to see all the Major League Baseball stadiums.

-After Taylor leaves the library, Dylan comes out, gagging. It was apparently the first time she came into the library.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “When is the last time someone didn’t have a blast with a Chaz?” (Dylan to Ray on the name of Jimmy and Maya’s banker)
  • “If I wanted to listen to gibberish, I’d have a conversation with you.” (Maya to Kenneth when he’s practising speaking Korean)
  • “This is the same microscope John Hopkins used when he discovered a new STD!” “There’s a new STD?” (Ray to JJ, and then Kenneth)
  • “Hide me from JJ, I think he wants to give me Elton John tickets!” (Dylan to the family on JJ’s spending)
  • “What is this Tennessee Williams-ass marriage nonsense?” (Kenneth to Jimmy and Maya)
  • “If your gifts are anything like mine they are covered in chilli stains!” (Maya to the family on JJ’s gifts)

 

Speechless–Season 3, Episode 17 (S-P–Special B-Boy T-I–Time)

This episode focused on the changing dynamics within the family.

The episode kicks off with the cold open with Kenneth accidentally telling Izzy on JJ’s behalf that he loves her, only for Kenneth to discover JJ meant “I love your car”. They rush to clear this up with her to both of their relief.

The episode than shifts to Dylan announcing to Maya and Jimmy that a boy will be coming over to study with her. Jimmy is determined to be as intimidating to Kai as possible, in an attempt to be a protective father, but does so in DiMeo style—using a Shop-Vac as they don’t have a shotgun. Although the attempt to be a protective father and intimidate the potential daughter’s boyfriend, only to bond with him, is a cliche, what impressed me about this subplot was the surprise twist that Dylan only wants Kai in an attempt to become more popular. This turns the cliche on it’s head and explores another, unlikeable aspect of Dylan. Kai eventually overhears them talking about Dylan’s plan and he leaves. Dylan and Jimmy go off to find him, where Dylan reveals the extent of her teen angst and why she is behaving the way that she is. Jimmy tells her that while their dynamic is changing, they have to go along with it, but can work it out together.

Overall I enjoyed this subplot as it showed character development in Dylan as a teenager and development in Jimmy and Dylan’s father-daughter relationship.

Meanwhile, Ray is attempting to manipulate Maya over an unfulfilled promise of mother-son time to get what he really wants, a tutor. However this backfires when it’s revealed that Maya actually knows what he’s trying to do. When she calls his bluff, they end up spending most of the episode in a passive-aggressive western standoff. They try to call each other’s bluff right until they are at the waterpark, with Ray finally admitting defeat, however they end up having fun at the waterpark, until Maya takes a call from the bank (Ray had helped her with her loan application earlier in the episode) when he goes on a slide that scares him. When Maya eventually tracks him down after he walks away from her, he admits that he sometimes feels neglected with Maya focusing on JJ and he worries that her new business will become the new JJ. She reassures him it won’t.

I also enjoyed this subplot as it showed how much Maya and Ray are ultimately cut from the same cloth, and the change in their dynamic when Ray makes her aware of how neglected he feels by her, attention-wise. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes and he does get more attention, down the line.

Meanwhile JJ and Kenneth agree to spend a day apart after Kenneth makes one too many mistakes, especially after the accidental “I love you” incident with Izzy. Kenneth tells JJ that he doesn’t know how good he has it with him and JJ soon realises this for himself when he ends up spending the day with Lee’s aide, Randy. Randy has no personality and doesn’t try to bond with JJ. Kenneth and JJ make up at the movies, however on the way home they realise their dependence on each other isn’t really healthy. Kenneth later admits to JJ that as much as he would love to stick with JJ forever, he only signed up to help him through high school and he has, and that it’s time for both of them to move on. However Kenneth says he will help him with easing the transition to a new aide.

I enjoyed this subplot as it further addressed the impending end of their aide relationship and also showed some necessary conflict between them.

Overall this was a solid episode, addressing the changing dynamics in the family in a realistic way.

 

Stray Observations:

-According to Ray’s doctor, Dylan has given Ray long ear for pulling on it so many times.

-JJ is going to college in six months.

-Ray put a photo of himself in Maya and Jimmy’s bedroom in a frame over their wedding day photo.

 

Best one liners and interactions

  • “Already? I always knew this day would come but I figured by that time I’d be more threatening.” (Jimmy to Maya on Dylan bringing a boy home)
  • “Do we have a shotgun?’ “We have a Shop-Vac” (Jimmy-Maya)
  • “Did you talk to my second ex-wife? You sound a lot like her and you don’t have the ass to pull it off.” (Kenneth to JJ)
  • “Randy, reveal yourself!” (Lee to his aide, Randy)
  • “You bring home a bad boy, I’m going to show him my vacuum.” (Jimmy to Dylan on using the Shop-Vac to try and intimidate Kai)
  • “Nerd alert!” (Maya on Ray)
  • “You’re ruining everything again!” “How can I ruin everything twice? Things either stayed ruined or I fixed them and then ruined them again!” (Dylan-Jimmy)
  • “I’ll catch you at my next screw up.” (Jimmy to Dylan)
  • “I don’t think I’ve ever met a soul so deep and I pumped gas next to Jewel.” (Jimmy to Dylan on Kai)
  • “First you weirdly try to protect me and now you’re very weirdly trying to protect Kai. Who are you?” “Who are you? Dad don’t be weird. Dad don’t be his friend. Dad, don’t keep him from being a pawn in my sick social game.” (Dylan-Jimmy)
  • “Don’t ruin it…you will.” “Ah, but we get to find out how.” (Dylan-Jimmy)

 

Speechless–Season 3, Episode 16 (W-H–Wheelchair P-L–Planet)

This episode did the rare thing of picking up right where the previous episode left off.

The family (sans Maya) get together to help JJ make his submission film for NYU. His submission film is “Wheelchair Planet”, which is, according to JJ, a Twilight Zone-like film that is dumb but shows good technique, and is about a world where everyone uses a wheelchair except one outcast that can walk.

The family is sans Maya as she refuses to help and even goes out of her way to sabotage production by vacuuming and having the TV on at a loud volume, whilst JJ is filming. However she does help when JJ realises he needs a bigger space, by breaking into the school, but afterwards she refuses to help again.

When Maya runs into Dr Miller power walking in the school, she confides in her that she finds it hard to let JJ go after struggling and fighting for him for years, and feels it’s unfair that her “reward” is letting JJ go. Dr Miller tells her that it is, as her children leaving and being ready to leave is a sign of her good parenting. This inspires Maya to help JJ finish filming, which he successfully does. However when everyone goes to watch the footage at home, they discover it wasn’t recorded.

Although she denies it, Dylan ends up quickly folding and admitting that she didn’t record the key scene as she doesn’t want JJ to leave either and thought that Maya would end up sabotaging the production to the point that JJ would stop. Maya reassures her that they’ll keep coming back to each other, even when JJ leaves and when she eventually does herself.

Meanwhile when Jimmy tells JJ that they can use a nanny cam bear as an additional camera to film, Ray and Kenneth team up to destroy the bear and its footage as they both have secrets to keep. Some of their attempts to destroy the footage include destroying the bear and deleting the footage whilst at the school library, however Dylan foils them both times. The footage eventually reveals that Ray has been making out with his lab partner, Tia Cassella, who also happens to be the hottest girl in school, and that Kenneth has been rehearsing his tap dancing in the house. Although it was only a small B story, I felt it provided great comedic moments and broke up the A story perfectly.

Although it’s not really a C story, I also enjoyed the moments between Jimmy and Izzy as the former is constantly mistaking the latter for Maya.

After Tia Cassella storms out of the house, JJ comes up with the idea to make his submission film about the family and friends, using the footage he has of “Wheelchair Planet”.

Overall I felt that this episode was a filler as it revolved around JJ’s submission film to get into NYU, which he will most likely get into. Although it continues and progresses the overall story arc of JJ going off to college, the continuation and progress didn’t really go far beyond the production of the film itself.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Jimmy corrects Dylan on her assertion that they have never been to New York when he tells her that her grandparents live there and they have visited them many times. I’m assuming he’s referring to his own parents as Maya’s father is based in England and her mother is constantly travelling for work.

-When Ray is applying for college scholarships for JJ and asks Jimmy about his income, Jimmy is pleased to discover that his income isn’t the lowest box.

-Dr Miller comes to school early to power walk somewhere her neighbour’s dogs can’t chase her.

 

Best one liners and interactions:

  • “The Governor and the Mayor can’t even agree on who runs the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)!” (Dylan to JJ against moving to New York)
  • “Dylan’s selective ignorance than mastery is not the point.” (Maya to JJ)
  • “From now on, you ask a dumb question, you get slapped!” “Where did you get a megaphone?” “What did I just say? Also, Dad you’re lead.” “I forgive the slap.” (Dylan-Jimmy-Dylan when she is starting to boss everyone around, when she slaps Jimmy and then tells him he’s the lead)
  • “Am I crying yet?” “Still looks constipated.” (Jimmy-JJ on Jimmy’s attempt to cry on cue and the face he’s making)
  • “Wasn’t that suspicious? How weird are we normally?” (Kenneth to Ray on Dylan busting in on them having a tea party with the nanny cam bear)
  • “Every year they get less curious.” (Dr Miller to Maya on the students arriving at school and not reacting to the fire sprinklers raining over the cast and crew of JJ’s film)