‘Fresh Off the Boat” Episode Review: “The Hand That Sits the Cradle”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 5, Episode 2: “The Hand That Sits the Cradle”
Original airdate October 12, 2018.

I’m goin’ out tonight: Jessica volunteers to take care of Honey’s zuo yue zi (“sitting the month,” which I just learned is a thousand-year-old tradition).  Her insistence on Honey’s taking it easy makes Honey suspicious, overheated, and wine-deprived.  She has a feeling Jessica is compensating for something.  Louis takes advantage of Jessica’s being at Honey’s house for a month by trying to bond with Evan, who’s much more interested in doing his own thing until Jessica returns home.  His own thing includes reading Churchill: Lad to Legend.  Eddie and Emery are inspired by Pumping Iron to get into bodybuilding, mostly because they “just want to get stronger than Grandma.”

I’m feelin’ all right: There’s something endearing about Jessica’s not knowing how to deal with (or talk about) the failure of her novel, A Case of a Knife to the Brain.  She seems humbled in a way she’s completely unprepared to understand, and rather than lash out or muscle her will into being, she wanders.  I love this Jessica, and Constance Wu does some wonderful acting in the scene where Honey calls her out.  I also will not complain about any Honey-heavy episode that’s not baby-centric.

Eddie-Emery partnerships are almost always interesting, and Louis going too far while being focused on someone else is one of the best Louises.

Some lines I enjoyed: “I sleep on her failure every night” (Grandma).  “There’s no such thing as quality time.  There’s just time” (Jessica).

Gonna let it all hang out: I have no real complaints about this episode.  Even Marvin is charming (especially when he says he’s hit his pre-baby weight: before Nicole, who’s 18).  But this is the second episode of the season, so it’s apparent that there is no Roseanne joke coming.  Come on, FOtB writers.  The door is wide open for a very funny joke about Roseanne Connor throwing the Huangs under the boat and then finding herself written out of existence.  It doesn’t have to be cruel; it can just be pointed.

FOB moment:  I learned something about sitting the month.  There’s also something cultural in “There’s no such thing as quality time; there’s just time,” right?

Soundtrack flashback:  “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain (1997).

Final grade, this episode: An altogether pleasant episode that doesn’t distinguish itself from the rest of the utterly competent episodes making up most of the corpus. B.

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Author: Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.