Photo: Chris Haston (NBC)

The strength of Will & Grace is the strength of Will and Grace. Now having spent decades together, the two are like an old married couple, and straight-up life partners. It’s nice when an episode like “Who’s Sorry Now?” plays to that strength. Will & Grace really doesn’t need stunt guest stars, or slapstick comedy, or ridiculous period pieces. It does need to remember that it was one of the very first shows on TV to feature a gay lead, and is still one of the few shows on network TV to do so. Why not delve deeper into this all-important subject matter?

Will’s coming out, as the series showed all the way back in season three, was the crux of Will and Grace’s relationship. Grace was in love with Will, and it wasn’t until they tried to have sex as college kids that he came out for the first time. It’s interesting and sad, watching that scene again, how much it really was all about Grace’s hurt and pain, with no support for Will.

Grace has always been insufferable (why yes, she’s my least favorite of the four, how could you tell?) but “Who’s Sorry Now?” goes a long way toward explaining the lengthy history of her sense of entitlement in her relationship with Will. (I’m still not over that episode where she shoved Will aside multiple times in favor of Harry Connick Jr. to go see The Nutcracker in season five.) He shattered her college-age heart all those years ago, and has been paying for it ever since. But Will’s stress and trauma was just as much, if not greater, than Grace’s at the time—she was saying goodbye to one relationship; he was stepping into an entirely new way of life. Imagine the difficulty of coming out in 1985—not that it’s a cakewalk now, but some perceptions have fortunately shifted for the better. Young Will’s letter that says how he wishes he was “normal” and not gay, and talking about hurting himself, rings only too true. As new smart Grace points out, all he was really doing was being himself, which unfortunately was accompanied by a lot of pain.

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It’s to Will & Grace’s credit that the show still has the capability to be that moving and, as I’ve said many times in this space, that couch conversation wouldn’t work at all without the audience’s knowledge of Grace and Will’s impenetrable bond. It’s not the first time the series has choked me up since its return, but it is the first time I made my children sit down and watch that final Will and Grace scene, as it underlines how vitally important it is to be true to yourself, whatever that may be.

As usual in the teeter-totter world of Will & Grace, Jack and Karen’s own haunted storyline just seems silly in comparison to the A-plot, although Jack’s Rosario impression was spot-on, and his ability to predict everyone’s dismissal of his psychic gifts was funny. At least the lame ghostly scare secures the future of Karen dating again, which should be fun.

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But in the end, this episode belongs to the title characters. So many years later, Grace now knows that Will acknowledging the fact that he’s gay, and acknowledging it to her, is the best thing that could have happened in that scenario. Ultimately, it made both of their lives better. And, just as teenage Grace hoped, they wound up spending their lives together anyway, still loving each other 30 years later.

Stray observations

  • Would I hate Grace’s outfit as much as Karen would?: Eh, floppy red blouse with birds. It’s not the worst thing she’s ever worn, unlike that tiger blouse a few weeks ago.
  • Antidote episodes: Once again, not really necessary, but season three’s “Lows In The Mid-80s” parts one and two feature that fateful college breakup. Added bonus of the amazing Debbie Reynolds as the unsinkable Bobbi Adler.
  • Please, please just let this Grace election thing end. The lobby of the design union? What does that mean, that the design union has a building? And Grace can just put a cutout of herself there, and that will inspire votes? What?
  • Anybody else think that the rain thing was a bit heavy-handed? It’s raining, we get it, that’s why nobody’s going outside. I didn’t even get the Halloween tie-in until I saw the episode promos.
  • Only Jack could rock a shiny silver turban that well.
  • Sorry for no review last week: No screener meant my schedule got all jacked up. Can’t believe I missed the David Schwimmer return! Honestly, I’m not sure how often I’ll be checking in this space going forward—maybe mid-season, or at the season finale—but no longer every week. But this tearjerking episode seems like an excellent week to wind up with. Thanks for reading.

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