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'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 7 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted May 10th 2011 12:20PM
Toni Collette['United States of Tara' - 'The Electrifying & Magnanimous Return of Beaverlamp']

Now that we've crossed the halfway point, 'United States of Tara' is kicking the story into high gear, as the dangerous new alter we heard at the end of last week's episode finally made a real appearance.

It seemed as though Tara was making real progress with Dr. Hatteras -- which is probably exactly why the self-harming new personality chose to emerge now, just as Tara was starting to find her footing. It was certainly enough to panic the other alters, as Tara caught Alice and Shoshana talking about her instead of to her, in yet another perfectly executed scene (we've come a long way from the "opposite sides of the screen" tricks that shows used to employ when an actor was portraying two different characters at once -- Phoebe and Ursula from 'Friends' always spring to mind for me).

Tara wasn't the only one having an identity crisis -- poor Jack appeared to be living out of his office following the news that his previous star patient, the man who thought he was a kite, had an unfortunate relapse and took a short leap off a high building. (I loved the quick cut to the meat hitting the pan as he landed, it conveyed the meaning so well without lingering too long on the tragedy.)

It was interesting to see the emergence of upbeat "College Tara," who shared more than a little of T's mischievous enthusiasm without as much mental instability, which only reinforces Jack's assertion that her alters are simply a part of her personality. It seems redundant to praise Toni Collette's excellent work transitioning between characters and moods at this point, but the nuances she brings to her expressions, mannerisms and voice are glorious to behold.

Marshall's expedition into his family's past is unearthing some uncomfortable truths -- he seems to be struggling with his parents' decision to have kids despite Tara's illness, and while he's been the calm and centered rock of Gregson clan for the past couple of seasons, we're finally starting to see the toll that his unorthodox life has taken on him mentally. Luckily, he can channel all of that rage and confusion into his film -- and into rekindling things with Lionel. I was saddened to see Lionel advise him that he had intimacy issues and was afraid of committing because of his parents and their weirdness, only for Marshall to tell his ex that he wanted to have sex instead of talk things out; way to miss the point, Marshmallow.

Max didn't seem to take too kindly to his son's accusations of irresponsibility, however veiled they were, but it was great (and kind of hot, might I shallowly add) to see him reconnecting with his past and rocking out with Beaverlamp. Between 'Tara' and NBC's 'Parenthood,' John Corbett has been doing very well with the retired rocker typecasting, and I loved the 'Lazy' song that ended the episode. It's sweet to see that, despite Max's discontent earlier this season, his love for Tara is enough to sustain him -- I have a feeling that happiness will be short-lived, so I'm glad he got the chance to enjoy his "30th" birthday while things were quiet.

I'm also loving Kate's sweet, awkward flirtation with frequent-flier Evan. In shows that rely on a heightened reality to offset the kookiness of the subject matter, it's often easy to get caught up in the drama of the writing, but all of Kate's scenes with Evan, especially the final one in the car, felt so real, like we were peeping into a conversation that any two people could have at the start of a burgeoning relationship. I loved their shy, tentative kiss and the clumsiness of Kate getting out of the car -- Kate deserves a happy ending, and I hope she finds one with Evan.

What's your impression of Tara's new alter? Do you think Jack will be able to help Tara, or will his previous failure keep him sidelined? Are you as charmed by Kate and Evan as I am? Share your thoughts below.

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

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Kaynwil

I'm not charmed by Kate and Evan. I'm creeped out. Maybe because in my head she's still a teenager. Isn't she just out of high school? This guy just seems too old for her.

May 14 2011 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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