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'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 5 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted Apr 26th 2011 1:30AM
Toni Collette['United States of Tara' - 'Dr. Hatteras' Miracle Elixir']

This week's 'United States of Tara' saw a make-up, a break-up, and a serious wake-up call for several characters, and despite the speedy pace that always seems to accompany any half-hour series, this week's episode seemed to pack a lot into its running time.

From Tara's agreement with the exuberant Dr. Jack Hatteras to her will they/won't they with Charmaine, not to mention Marshall's confrontation with Lionel and Kate's adventures in flight attendant hell, it seemed like every character was well-served and laying the foundations for larger story lines that hopefully will be paid off later in the season.

It's been breaking my heart to watch Tara's tentative steps toward making peace with Charmaine, and though her sister's worry was entirely justifiable, it's impossible not to root for Tara when she's aching to connect with her newborn niece -- especially since she's been watching Charmaine struggle with the trials of motherhood without the benefit of her experience (and Alice's, apparently). It's true what they say: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, and despite Tara's best efforts to offer assistance, it was far more meaningful for Charmaine to come to her sister in her own time. I even found myself getting a little tearful in the final scene, since Toni Collette can convey so much emotion with such subtle expressions.

In terms of wake-up calls, I'm loving the progression of Eddie Izzard's Dr. Hatteras -- not only is he a fascinating character actor who manages to imbue every line with charisma and wit, he's also been given a plum role here, with Hatteras beginning to wonder if a condition he's spent his whole career discounting is actually more real than he'd care to admit. And while I can understand Tara's hesitance to be Jack's lab rat (especially given how so few of her previous treatments have yielded any serious results) as Max pointed out, she really doesn't have anything to lose at this point.




While Max is spinning his wheels and hating his new job at Orgalawn, at least the Gregson children were making progress this week: Kate seems to have taken to flight attendant training like a duck to water, putting her confidence to good use and embracing a profession that probably requires more than a little good humor.

Marshall, meanwhile, finally saw some character development this week -- after his experimentation with Noah and Lionel last week, it seems he's finally come to his senses and ditched his obnoxious boyfriend in favor of a far more grounded partner. I loved that Noah took Alice in his stride so easily, not even batting an eye when Marshall's mom came in touting a different tone and a crazy outfit. A student film about Tara's life is certain to be a hit (at least judging by how well a TV show on the subject works!).

Though he was mostly relegated to playing peacemaker between Tara and Charmaine, I loved Patton Oswalt's Neil this week -- his cute (if disgusting) interaction with "Wheels" as he changed her was one of the episode's most memorable moments ("a giant is coming to steal my poos!") and his brave decision to ask for Tara's assistance despite Charmaine's stubbornness was clearly the catalyst for their reconciliation. The pair are obviously a perfect match, even if he's not quite the Prince Charming that Charmaine always envisioned herself ending up with (princes are always too flaky, anyway).

'United States of Tara' airs Mondays at 10.30PM ET on Showtime.

Do you think Tara's partnership with Dr. Hatteras will yield positive results with the alters, or will it just make her worse? Share your thoughts below!

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July 26 2011 at 12:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joan

I hope that he can at least help Tara control her little beasties. It is Max that I worry about.

April 26 2011 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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