In “Part Two,” Ryan and Molly face the worst villain imaginable… a phone debt collector. And also the blackmailer who is holding their future hostage… who could it be??
Episode 9 of Anytown, USA follows right on the heels of the previous episode’s cliffhanger. Someone has discovered the truth about the Fletchers… and in “Part Two,” they begin to blackmail Ryan and Molly for secrecy. Ryan and Molly must weigh their family’s safety against the outlandish demands the blackmailer makes. What decision will they come to? Who is blackmailing them?
A Mysterious Caller
“Part One” ended with Ryan receiving a video of himself stashing Martin’s body (read last week’s recap to find out more!). “Part Two” picks up with the mysterious blackmailer calling Ryan and Molly to make specific demands. And those demands are weirdly specific… the blackmailer wants $32,000/year for four years. (Is the blackmailer my college treasurer?)
Ryan is vehemently opposed to giving in to the demands. That’s impossible for them to do, there’s no way they could get that money together. However, while Ryan blows his top, Molly is more hesitant. They can’t afford to pay $32,000/year, but they also can’t afford to piss off whoever is blackmailing them. After Ryan loses his cool one too many times, Molly takes over.
She attempts to negotiate with the blackmailer. Could they do a monthly payment plan? They agree to $450/month, to be paid on the fifth of the month. This episode is starting to sound more and more like my bills. Molly and the blackmailer go back and forth, especially when the blackmailer reveals that there will be interest. The blackmailer offers an 8% interest rate, which Ryan calculates will come out to an extra $16,000 over ten years.
The Fletchers contemplate getting a loan instead, and Ryan goes off to see the bank. Unfortunately, he comes home and reveals that the bank gave him a worse interest rate than the blackmailer! When the blackmailer refuses to settle on a lower rate, Ryan blows up again. He threatens to default on their “loan” and hangs up.
The next scene reveals the Fletchers at the dinner table. Ryan is withdrawn and sullen. Jake is playing games on his phone. Lacey seems completely unsure of what’s going on with her family, whereas Molly just wants everyone to be normal. Lacey reveals that Brad has come to pick her up and asks to leave.
Once she leaves, Molly is left with her two isolating manboys. She suggests they watch a movie together, which goes over about as well as you’d expect. Brad enters the house and asks to use the bathroom.
Watching Jake play games on his phone, Molly gets an idea. She asks Jake if he could find out what number the blackmailer is calling from, even though it’s blocked. He manages to do so in no time at all, and Molly and Ryan stare at the number they now know to be the blackmailers. They call it… and the phone rings where they can hear it. Brad walks out, holding his ringing phone. He makes eye contact with Ryan and Molly… and end scene. I knew it!
The Call Is Coming From Inside The House
After last week’s “Part One,” I needed something good from Anytown. “Part Two” did not disappoint. There were a lot of funny moments. After Jake unlocks the blackmailer’s number, Molly and Ryan are impressed. Jake counters that “maybe [they] should put [him] in more episodes next season.”
This is great. Jake has been in very few episodes this season, to the point where sometimes you forget he exists. Lacey has been a plot point, but Jake has often seemed more like set dressing. The kid makes a good point.
The dynamic with the blackmailer as a debt collection agency was fantastic. I’ll admit that I’ve had some unpleasant conversations with debt agencies in the past. So I could feel for Ryan as his frustration peaked. Molly’s calm was more than I could ever manage. “Part Two” sprinkled in moments that are hilarious to anyone who’s been in that place. The beep, followed by “this call is now being monitored and recorded for legal and training purposes” is iconic. (But really, do they train? Ever?)
I also loved when Molly starts getting fed up. When the blackmailer insists that he can’t give a lower interest rate, she asks to speak to his supervisor. At this moment, she’s not a woman on the phone with a blackmailer. It’s even worse than that… she’s on the phone with really bad customer service. The fact that the blackmailer then goes through the hoops of pretending to search for a manager is great.
There were minor funny moments too. When Ryan goes to the bank, Molly stays and chats with the blackmailer. They were fiercely debating a payment plan to purchase his silence only moments before, but now they’re discussing the proper usage of cinnamon. The blackmailer even compliments Molly on her cooking… ironic when she is being blackmailed for being a cannibal.
Also, at one point the blackmailer puts Ryan and Molly on hold. The hold music is “The Girl From Ipanema.” Classic.
Brad = Bad
I don’t have many complaints about this week’s episode. “Part Two” brings back the comedy I expect from Anytown without the discomfort of last week’s trigger warning issue or Episode 7’s after-school special feel. This episode was just plain funny.
I may not be a cannibal (may) but I know exactly how Ryan and Molly feel. I know the pain of a recorded phone conversation where you squabble over payment plans and interest rates. And honestly, if Ryan and Molly are worried about $32,000/year for four years, I hope Lacey doesn’t plan on going to college. That’s a low tuition rate. Maybe there’s a scholarship for young cannibals?
Also, Brad is the worst. And you know what? He was the worst before the reveal. A young, polo shirt wearing, aw shucks kinda guy. He’s supposed to seem clean and ideal. But honestly, who among us hasn’t known a Brad? Someone who asks if “you’re a man of God?” Not necessarily that question, of course. But that attitude. We’ve all been there.
Last week’s episode was so uncomfortable for me that I went with an unprecedented move. I rated it as both an A- and an F. There was just so much in that episode that I couldn’t deal with that I couldn’t enjoy the humor. “Part Two” gives me no such problems. The plot was relatable, the jokes were funny, and I genuinely enjoyed it. “Part Two” might be my favorite episode so far. Can’t wait for “Part Three” — the stunning conclusion.