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October 7, 2015

'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 6 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted May 3rd 2011 5:50AM
Toni Collette['United States of Tara' - 'The Road to Hell is Paved with Breast Intentions']

We're at the halfway point of Season 3, and 'United States of Tara' is gleefully picking up momentum as we roll into the latter half of the year, a fact reflected in the fleet-footed script courtesy of David Iserson.

Tara's ongoing therapy sessions with a skeptical Dr. Hattaras lent plenty of levity to the proceedings ("when the kittens eat the bacon, this bit will come over and stroke its back, and they will live forever!") while the return of Tara's mom offered a new source of conflict, culminating in an ominous final scene that will doubtless stay with us all until next week's episode.

Could Tara's groundbreaking contract with her existing alters somehow be the cause of the emergence of a new one? She seemed to gain equilibrium with Alice, T. and Buck this week, since all three made brief but pointed appearances to help Tara out with problems at home before relinquishing control back to her. I was especially fond of Alice, who did what Tara has never had the guts to do and put overbearing mom Beverly in her place.

The dressing-down from Alice obviously worked, since that -- along with Dr. Hattaras's advice to take the hard route instead of the easy one and stop hiding behind the alters -- prompted Tara to have her first honest conversation with her mom in years. She agreed to listen to what Beverly (Pamela Reed) said, if not welcome her with open arms, and that was undoubtedly huge progress, given their fractured relationship.

Her relationship with Max, however, didn't benefit from Dr. Hattaras's wisdom. Max was clearly still feeling resentful of his new job with OrgaLawn, and matters weren't helped when he ended up having sex (with T.) on the kitchen table rather than discussing his issues with Tara. Still, as both Tara and Max pointed out to Marshall over the course of his film-making, they're still together because they love each other, regardless of how crazy life is, and has always been, in the Gregson household.

We're now beginning to see the driving plot-lines for the second half of the season taking root, and Marshall and Noah's project looks set to not only give us deeper insight into Marshall, but also into his parents, especially the long-suffering Max.

Even Kate got in on the action in this well-balanced episode; as a newly promoted flight attendant, she seems to have found her niche being both charming and snarky to passengers while getting her flirt on with frequent flier Evan (Keir O'Donnell). O'Donnell plays quirky well, and there's something undeniably charming about him, even if, as Kate observed, she's kind of lowering her standards for Evan. If only he wasn't playing hard to get! He obviously likes her, so by the laws of television, he must be harboring a deep, dark secret to explain his reticence.

Between Eddie Izzard and Patton Oswalt, it was somewhat impossible not to be entertained; I always find myself wondering how many of their genius lines are improvised and how many are actually written. Now that Neil has taken a job, he'll sadly be AWOL for a while, and I'll miss his colorful descriptions of Wheels's feces.

What is your reaction to Tara's mysterious new alter? Do you think Dr. Hattaras is making progress or making things worse? Share your thoughts below.

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

Follow Laura on Twitter: @LauinLA

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