Better Things Season 2 Premiere Review

Better Things was one of my favorite new shows of the 2016-17 season, and I loved it so much that I wrote a whole post about just why you needed to watch it, if you hadn't already. The performances of all of its actresses were great, and I'm so excited to finally have it back. This season looks great, and I'm anxious to see what Adlon & Co. have in store for us this time around.

The episode begins with Sam coming out of the bathroom and joining her guests at a party she's having. She doesn't know where Max (aka "Frankie's $#*!!y sister") is, but she really doesn't seem too concerned. Phyllis is explaining to one of the guests about how "breathtakingly ugly" Sam's dad is, so that's why Sam looks "strange." Max finally arrives, and Max isn't pleased, likely due to the presence of Max's much-older boyfriend Arturo. Duke is playing Truth or Dare with some of her friends and explains how Max kisses Arturo and how gross it is. She dares Sorrow to put four Monopoly houses (or a hotel) up her, um, lady place, and Sorrow's reaction to it is hilarious. Tressa asks how Sam is managing Max and Arturo's relationship, and she explains how she has to have Arturo at the house if she wants Max to be there. She's really not okay with this, but it's necessary. We now get to see a flashback scene that shows just how Arturo and Max fell for each other. She was super amazed that Max had directed a play, and he just "collapses" onto the stage. Back at the party, Phyllis questions Jeff and Sunny about being married. Sunny replies that they're now divorced, and it's all super uncomfortable.

In the kitchen, Max requests some port for Arturo, which visibly (and understandably) annoys Sam. She tells him where the alcohol is, but she doesn't want him giving any to Max. Duke's friend Pepper is refusing to do her dare, but Sorrow and Duke finally pressure her into doing it. Pepper loudly screams the word "Penis" to the crowded room of adults, and Jeff and Sam's reactions to this are hilarious. Pepper starts crying uncontrollably, and as Sam points out, it's Duke's problem. Duke is not pleased by this. Frankie is singing while her friend Jason plays piano, and Phyllis is impressed not by the singing, but by the piano playing. She is so pleased to discover that Jason can play classical music, and responds that its great when 'underprivileged' children learn the classics. The causes a hilarious response from Sam, who states that Jason definitely isn't underprivileged- he lives in Bel Air and his grandfather is Harry Belafonte.

Pedro (who has been acting strangely around Sam all day) asks Sam if she is open, and Sam's super confused by this. After he explains it, she still doesn't have enough information to answer the question. Pedro then pretty much asks Sam if she wants to have sex with him, and Sam asking him if that's what he means is just hilarious. While Pedro gives Sam the "specifics" of what he'd like to do,  Max comes in and asks Sam to talk. Sam agrees, and they go into her "office" (aka the laundry room).   Max asks what's going on with her and Pedro, and Max is grossed out by her response. In Sam's words "everything a big old mess, so who cares" what happens with Pedro. Max doesn't want Sam to date Pedro, but Sam is getting really annoyed by this. Max then admits that she's in over her head, and that he's too much for her. She doesn't know what to do, and Sam tells her to go up to her room.

Sam goes out to Arturo and Pedro and asks to speak. Arturo asks where Max is, and Sam tells her she's gone to bed. Arturo asks to go tell her goodnight, but Sam declines. Sam wants him to go home,  and she doesn't want him contacting Max again. She wants him to stay away. He tells her that she won't be able to control Max, and Sam responds perfectly. She tells him that she's protecting her, and that Max doesn't want to see him anymore. Arturo wants to hear it from Max, but Sam doesn't care what he wants. Then, after Arturo walks away, Sam declines Pedro's offer. When Sam goes back into her house, she says that while she loves "all of them so, so much", they need to get out of her house. Frankie asks if her and Jason can clean up the party mess, and Sam accepts (obviously). Then, Sam embraces Jason and calls him her 'black son' and says she loves him, which is lovely. He then responds that he loves her too, which is sweet, too. She then goes up to tell Duke to go to bed.

That was a great way to kick off the season! Pamela Adlon was fantastic in the premiere, and I loved when Sam told Arturo off. Adlon's acting is this premiere continued to be top-notch. She was so funny this episode, while also having great moments that weren't very funny (nor were they supposed to be). It's great that the Arturo-Max relationship is already over, because that would have been super uncomfortable to watch any longer. Heck, it was super uncomfortable to watch during one half-hour. I loved the little bit of Phyllis that we got to see in this episode, and the scene in which she explained how ugly Max's father was was just hysterical. Duke was also great in this episode, and though her storyline was virtually nonexistent, it was still a fun one. Did I mention how excited I am that this show is back? Because I'm  really excited.

My Score: 10/10
Grade: A+

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