"My kids are safe. Maybe you should have spent more time looking after yours." -Max"Transition" reminded me, oddly, of certain issues of the Incredible Hulk comic, where Bruce Banner desperately needed to not turn into the Hulk, and tried one method after another (meditation, tranquilizers, booze) to remain calm enough to stay human. It would always fail in the end -- a Hulk issue without the big green (or grey) guy isn't quite as much fun -- but dammit, he tried.
Tara's DID in many ways feels like Banner's situation. It's not quite a super-power, but the alters do give her abilities she doesn't ordinarily display, and they in theory provide protection for her in moments when her brain thinks she needs it. But as with Banner's temper, the bar for summoning one of Tara's alters feels uncomfortably low, making the whole situation far more curse than blessing.
And when Tara's judgmental, passive-aggressive parents (played by the always-reliable Fred Ward and Pamela Reed) show up, hoping to take Kate and Marshall away from their parents, Max realizes that he has to pull out all the stops to keep Tara as Tara. The scene where he pulls her around the backyard in a frantic circle, making her too tired/amused/distracted to transition, may be my favorite of this young series. It was so filled with sweetness and comedy but also the awareness that the Gregsons got a raw deal with this situation.
And we find out near the end of the episode that Max wasn't as successful as he thought -- that one of the alters has been peeing on Grandma and Grandpa's sofa bed in the middle of the night. But which one? Ever since Tiffany's condo got vandalized, there's been some speculation that there might be a fourth major alter (and Diablo Cody said in our interview that we'd be meeting other alters down the line. This particular move seems too vulgar for Alice, and too stealthy for Buck or T, who'd want everyone to know what they had done, and so I have to assume the bed-wetting (possibly inspired by Marshall?) and the vandalism were the efforts of this still-to-be-revealed entity.
"Transition" also gives us more clues about the trauma that created the DID. Last week when Charmaine and Max talked about boarding school, I had assumed that their parents sent Tara there to get her away from the person who hurt her (or to separate themselves from the guilty feelings about not protecting her), but Charmaine makes it sound here as if the rape (or whatever it was) happened at boarding school.
And that, in turn, really changes my view of Charmaine. She admits at the end of the episode that she wishes she had Tara's life, and her desire to have gone to the same boarding school where Tara was assaulted suggests that she even envies the DID a little. And from her perspective, why not? It makes Tara seem more interesting, and gives her a license to get away with all kinds of things that Charmaine can't.
(We also find out, in a hilarious bit involving either great makeup or an unfortunate body double -- or both -- that Charmaine's ex-husband made her get a lopsided boob job, and that in turn leads to the incredibly funny, incredibly mean moment when Max makes Tara laugh by miming being a guy playing with those breasts.)
There was one part of the episode I didn't like, and that was the business with Kate and Gene. I was relieved last week that Kate apparently saw through all of Gene's sad attempts to be the cool older guy and was able to stay in charge of their interactions, but in this episode he withholds from her just a little and she's putty in his hands? Bleh. In particular, I find it hard to believe that she'd be so desperate to make out with him after his unplugged performance of Cheap Trick's "Dream Police." I'll never complain about an opportunity to hear the real thing (which also popped up a few weeks ago on "Lost"), but this story seems all over the map. (It's also starting to come uncomfortably close to Juno and Jason Bateman's friendship in "Juno.")
What did everybody else think?