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United States Of Tara: "To Have and to Hold"

Illustration for article titled iUnited States Of Tara/i: To Have and to Hold
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After finishing American Idol, it's a weird for me to think, "The season's ending soon?" as opposed to "Oh my God, when will this end?!?" But Season 2 of USoT will be history after next week and while I'm bummed that it'll be over after having enjoyed this season so much I can't wait to see what happens, since hardly an episode has passed this season without something major happening. Like tonight's!

Picking up right after last week, Tara and Max wake up, Max revealing that Buck beat him up overnight.  The two of them (Tara and Max, that is), seem to have recovered almost completely from their issues stemming from her art show and friendship with Lynda P. Frazier.  Max asks Tara whatever happened to the alters becoming more co-conscious which isn't something we've seen for a few episodes so I wonder if that will be picked back up next week.

Elsewhere in the house, Marshall hangs out with Kate as she tries to find something to wear on a date with Zach, who decided that he can't live without her and wants her back. "So I win," Kate says.  Marshall reveals that things are awkward between Lionel and him after their little sojourn to the park.  Kate asks Tara for some money for a little black dress and Tara, who seems somewhat remarkably chill about her daughter's love life (even for a mom who doesn't really have a big right to pry) says "Don't forget to be yourself." "Ha, ha and ha, Mom," Kate retorts.

In lieu of a bachelorette party, Tara and Charmaine drive to Lawrence, Kansas to track down Mimi, Charmaine expressing a touch of ambivalence still about the whole Nick/Neil scenario. On the way to Lawrence, Charmaine fills Tara in on a few things Shoshana had revealed during the tornado, IE that they had made a pact to protect each other as kids and that it had to end.  They simultaneously remembered the words of the pact, "You and me, me and you, sister's keeper through and through." 

While the girls are out Neil comes by to say goodbye to Max—in order to get away from Charmaine he's decided to take a job on an oil rig (funny timing) in Odessa, TX.  He's proud of the work he and Max did on the house next door, thinking of it as a home for his daughter.  The show's writers really did an impressive job of gracefully taking Neil's character to a new level and I have to say Oswalt did a good job of selling it. I think that character could have possibly been a little bit of an annoying martyr but to me it worked out. Afterward, Max and Nick work on the huppa for the wedding ceremony and Nick thanks Max for welcoming him into the family especially knowing that he's so close with Neil.  Nick reveals that Charmaine's told him Neil wants nothing to do with the baby (and I'm glad Max didn't say anything to set him straight).

Speaking of solid secondary characters I'm still waiting for my instincts about Zach to pay off. There is something weird and wrong about him and I want to see how that unfolds.  Yes, maybe Kate should move out of her parents' house but it's not exactly a sign of independence to have your new boyfriend buy you your condo. Meanwhile Zach seems to believe that Tara's a much more dangerous and unstable mother than Kate thinks, asking whether Kate's ever had to take out a restraining order against her "schizophrenic" mom. 

In a sweeter scenario, Lionel and Marshall are working out their issues.  Lionel reveals that while he had told Marshall the guy he went home with from the park had sweetly seduced him, it was all a big lonely lie.  One of the details he had made up was that the man had kissed his eyelids, so Marshall decides to make that a reality, and soon the two are actually kissing, a well-done little scene that revealed their simultaneous hesitation and desire.

Charmaine and Tara pull up to Mimi's house and Tara realizes it's the house she made for her art project.  Mimi appears and she looks like real life Alice.  It takes a little bit of prodding but Mimi finally remembers who Charmaine and Tara are but reveals that she wasn't their babysitter but their foster mother.  She starts to recall a bit more when her husband Duane appears, which causes Tara to transition into T. (who we haven't seen that much of this season), who accuses Duane of some some vaguely unsavory things, although it turns out that T. either is lying or misinformed as Duane hadn't been in the picture yet.  Max shows up just in case Charmaine needs some help and when Mimi starts recalling the bicentennial parade, Tara transitions into another new alter, this one called Chicken, her 5-year-old self. I thought it was funny and interesting that for the first time Charmaine seemed to welcome, or at least recognize this alter.  Max packs Chicken off in the car and Mimi reveals to Charmaine that she took in fosters from "especially abusive homes."  Chicken seems like a sweet little kid and is happy coloring at the restaurant Charmaine and Max stop at after their trip to Mimi's.  Chicken catches herself in the mirror and then transitions back to Tara, who is shocked but seems to know what Charmaine means when she tells her sister that Chicken showed up.

Next week is Charmaine and Nick's wedding, and the teaser for the episode says "Tara is close to figuring out the past and gets even closer when her father absentmindedly reveals a family secret. When she confronts both parents, the truth is finally revealed."  Of course I'm curious to know what is revealed but I also can't wait to see what we get to leave us hanging on for Season 3.

—The foster home sort of explains my theory from the Princess Valhalla Hawkwind story that there were other "sisters" in Tara and Charmaine's life.

—It was nice seeing Melanie Hutsell, from SNL days of yore, as the kindly waitress at the restaurant.  Not to mention Ed O'Ross as Duane, who should be featured in the Character Actor Hall of Fame.

—I just realized during tonight's episode how much Keir Gilchrist has sprouted since this show began.

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