Speechless S3E14 Review


While I've noticed the show has long since backed off on poking fun at his cheapness, I did find it odd that the usually thrifty Jimmy would turn out to be such a free spender when it comes to showing Maya how much she means to him (plus, as I recall in s1e14 "V-A-L-- Valentine's D-A-- Day," he referred to V-Day as a "bogus Hallmark holiday"), though I suppose:
1) early on in their marriage (especially after they had JJ), she may have dragged him into her more cynical attitude towards the holiday;
2) it's possible his promotion from baggage-handling supervisor to baggage-service department head at the beginning of s.2 may have come with a pay raise (which might explain his throwaway line about having hired Boyz II Men to sing for Maya a year ago -- something that last year's shortened season didn't get to show);
3) in s1e14, even apparently without much money, he showed he was willing to go above and beyond for Maya (hundreds of little paper hearts with reasons he loves her written on them, a bottle of wine with a note quoting Yeats, the family video he put together, etc.);
4) in s1e20 "R-U-N-- Runaway," Jimmy spared no expense on food and distractions for Dylan and Ray to avoid discussing difficult topics with them, and I wonder whether there might be a similar underlying anxiety and/or insecurity in his grand romantic gestures for their mother.

With her new clothing line, a mortgage and JJ soon heading for college, Maya is all the more adamant that Jimmy not go into debt this year just for her sake. Later at work, however, Jimmy ends up buying a whole shipment of roses off an angry traveler (who had planned to sell them earlier in the day but received them too late), and Maya sees them when she comes to surprise him with dinner; he admits he's a "Valentine's sucker," which inspires her to take advantage of other "suckers" at the airport by selling the roses at a profit. She lets Jimmy set aside a bouquet for her, but later sells it anyway for just a bit more cash; while he's disappointed but understanding, his employees (who have nicknamed him "Jimmy Valentine") and the now less-angry traveler stand up for him; when she accuses them of "conflating spending money with love," they in turn accuse her of taking away the best gift she could've given her husband: a chance for him to give her something extra nice. Upon learning that everyone has their own "love language" and that Jimmy's in particular is "extravagant giving," she calls him to the baggage-claim for a new gift, and he chooses to take her on a helicopter ride, reasoning, "Money comes and money goes, but what we have is forever." Aww...

Meanwhile, JJ wants to take Izzy (Kayla Maisonet) on a date for V-Day (something more special than the school dance) but insists Kenneth (who kept that night open just in case -- and upset his own girlfriend, Melanie) accompany him as his "hands and voice." JJ's garage man-cave is set up for a romantic dinner, but when Izzy arrives, she finds it "kind of weird" that Kenneth will be staying with her and JJ. Sure enough, dinner conversation proves awkward, and it doesn't help that JJ and Kenneth keep pulling each other aside for "sidebars" (private arguments), so Izzy offers to leave and help out at the dance (though she appreciates all the trouble they went to). Funny stuff, though the plot takes a very sweet turn when Kenneth admits he's become so used to his arrangement with JJ, it didn't occur to him how weird it might appear in a dating situation; JJ, on the other hand, was aware but also simply too afraid of being left alone with a girl, especially one who seems to like him as much as he likes her (new territory for him). Realizing that he'll have to figure out some of this "new love stuff" on his own, JJ has Kenneth take him to Izzy; as the couple have a private chat outside the school, Izzy reveals that this had been her first real date, and they both admit their nervousness.

As for Ray and Dylan, a few months earlier Ray had purchased two non-refundable tickets for a Valentine's harbor cruise, as he had counted on finding a girlfriend by now; as he's still trying to find a date, Dylan offers to let him take her instead for some sibling bonding. But after they get on the boat and it sets sail, she reveals she tricked him: She's really only there for Connor, a social-media star who had met her online and invited her to see him in-person. After Connor is "weirded out" by Ray's cringe-y effort to steal Dylan away from him, she traps Ray in a coat-check closet; but before long, she discovers she's not Connor's only date (he had invited four other female fans) and demands he delete the video he filmed with her. When Connor shoves her out of his way, knocking her down (accidentally), the now-free Ray punches him; Dylan sees Connor's phone is still recording and hurls it overboard; and both DiMeos spend the rest of the evening in "boat jail."

According to the numbers on the official press-releases, this episode (#312) supposedly came between "O-- Our M-A-G-- Mageddon" (s3e12, #311) and "F-A-- Fashion 4 A-- All" (s3e13, #313); and all three were probably intended to take place before "R-O-- Roll M-O-- Model" (s3e10, #314). Had they aired in what I'm assuming would've been the proper order, I think Ray and Dylan's relationship in recent weeks would've followed a more clear progression:
#311-- Dylan cited Ray's antics as a large part of why she was so frustrated about having to share a room with her brothers, and she also felt obligated to have a more easygoing bond with their mom (even if it meant being far less open about her wants, needs, and disagreements);
#312 -- In this week's ep, Dylan sees how far Ray's willing to go to defend her, and she appreciates it all the more knowing how hard she makes it for him ("Sometimes I think you got the wrong sister, but I got the right brother");
#313 -- In the previous ep, Dylan realized her academic struggles were rooted in how Ray had long ago found his niche as "the smart one" in the family and she'd had to resign herself to an entirely different role, which I think also may have explained a lot of her resentment towards him over the years;
#314 -- Dylan became the voice of reason when Ray was at his worst, and they both reached some major breakthroughs about their family dynamic (she had always thought her feelings and problems didn't matter because she's the youngest, he found the root of his attention-seeking romantic schemes in his feeling overlooked and under-loved as the middle child, etc.).
As it worked out, though, I think the sweetest stuff was saved for last (since JJ found his own way to be Dylan's protective big brother in s1e13, I'd been hoping Ray would get a chance to do the same); and it'll be interesting to see where their post-breakthrough relationship goes next.

Musical Moments: Kenneth helps JJ get ready for his date to the strains of BJ Thomas' "Hooked on a Feeling"; the Emotions' "Best of My Love" plays as Jimmy joins Maya's rose-reselling scheme.

Fun Fact: Speechless has finally found a UK home -- last week, E4 announced it had acquired the rights to start airing all three seasons.

Next Week: Maya insists on meeting Izzy, but JJ is reluctant in "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT."

Grade: 8.5/10. Lots of laughs and sweetness as Jimya continue to be their adorable selves, the JJ/Kenneth and Ray/Dylan bonds are further explored, and Izzy comes to accept more of JJ's world.

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