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October 26, 2014

'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 3 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted Apr 12th 2011 8:00AM
Frances Conroy in United States of Tara['United States of Tara' - 'The Full F*ck You Finger']

We've witnessed Tara traversing the trials and tribulations of the academic world for the last two weeks, but the third episode of the season sticks much closer to home, far more concerned with the drama inherent in domesticity than that derived from external forces.

First, we had Kate's ill-conceived attempt to fly the nest for Japan, then we met Max's kooky mother, Sandy (Frances Conroy), who clearly needs to be featured on TLC's 'Hoarding,' stat. One of them is desperate to leave home, the other is terrified of ever stepping outside her front door -- and Tara, the only person who actually has any justification for curling up in a ball in the corner and never leaving the house, is having her body hijacked and dragged all over the country by Buck, who is currently on the hunt for the mysterious Bryce Crane.
We're used to seeing the alters step in when it seems as though Tara can't handle the pressure, but this may be the first time that Tara's other personalities are joining forces to intervene for her. As Alice explained to Charmaine, she's allowed the body whenever "mommy" needs help, while Buck seems set in his quest to track down Tara's abusive brother, and T ... well, she seems like she's pretty much around to cause chaos, just like always.

Still, Charmaine's unlikely to take too kindly to that in the future, seeing as T's antics forced her into early labor in a grocery store parking lot.


Kate, meanwhile, embarked upon her journey towards Japan -- and freedom -- but fell at the first hurdle after an act of God delayed her escape. Aside from the unfortunate timing of a storyline involving an earthquake in Japan (and it's worth noting that the episode was written and shot back in 2010, so it really is just an unlucky coincidence, not a social comment), it's no surprise that our indecisive teen had second thoughts about her adventure. Tara and Max were obviously right to be dubious about Kate's resolve, since one offhand comment from a flight attendant was enough to derail her completely.

I'm firmly on Team Tara in regards to Kate's goodbye letter, too; while parting is such sweet sorrow, and lord knows how difficult it was for both me and my mom to say goodbye when I left for college, it was incredibly selfish of her to deny her family the right to that farewell -- a sassy letter is no match for a tearful hug.

Speaking of mothers, it was great to see 'Six Feet Under' star Frances Conroy as Max's nutty mom (she also recently popped up on 'How I Met Your Mother' as Barney's equally weird mother, fact fans!) and if I were Marshall or Kate, I'd be a little afraid for my future mental health, considering the weirdness that's apparently lurking in their gene pool.

Not only is Sandy a hoarding queen (what's with the ducks?), she's also obsessed with Christmas, with a whole, festive room dedicated to the holiday. She probably didn't do Marshall any favors by pointing out his dad's seeming propensity for surrounding himself with crazy women, but it's a question I've often wondered about Max: Is he just a masochist, or is there something in him that's drawn to damaged women that he wants to fix and refuses to abandon, perhaps in an effort to make up for the way his father left his mom?

On a related note, I couldn't help but chuckle at Sandy's admirably blunt question, "are you a gay?" after feeling how soft Marshall's hands were. It was excellent delivery, with an equally excellent response. The kid really deserves to have his life feel like Christmas every day, so I hope he gets there, even if I'm not certain that he is just yet.

Do you think Charmaine will forgive Tara for shocking her into labor? Do you think John Corbett has some unresolved rock-star fantasies after Max's Beaverlamp revelation here and his washed-up singer appearance on 'Parenthood'? Share your thoughts below!

'United States of Tara' airs Mondays, 10:30PM ET on Showtime.

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA.

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