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'United States of Tara' Season 3, Episode 9 Recap

by Laura Prudom, posted May 24th 2011 5:30AM
Toni Collette and Eddie Izzard['United States of Tara' - 'Bryce Will Play']

Before we get to the recap portion of tonight's proceedings, I have some terrible news to impart: 'United States of Tara' was officially cancelled on Monday, meaning that this season will be the show's last. Let's have a moment of silence for our quirky dramedy, and savor these last few episodes while we still have them.

If we thought Bryce was scary in the brief glimpses we've caught of him before, this week's episode was an eye-opening demonstration of just how homicidal Tara's new alter truly is, since Chicken was merely the first step in a larger and more ominous plan.

Bryce told Jack that he's only toying with Tara, but actions speak louder than words, and his actions this week skirted dangerously close to actual murder.

'USoT' has always been adept at balancing the absurd with the humorous, and in this week's episode, that absurdist humor was also deftly combined with the sinister, since the sight of Bryce wearing a pumpkin head and brutally stabbing Gimme's poncho was both surrealistically amusing and macabre -- and Jack's poisoning was just plain creepy. If Charmaine and Kate hadn't been in the house, the episode could easily have taken a tragic turn, and it says a lot about the show that even with the characters there, I still had a moment of doubt as to whether the writers would actually follow through with killing Jack.

Happily, he was simply forced to cut ties with Tara instead -- safer for all involved, perhaps, but also fairly irresponsible, considering that Tara is now left without an adequate support system. But Bryce did manage to accomplish one thing that Tara couldn't manage alone: He made a believer out of Dr. Hatteras.

It's great to see that the show isn't afraid to try new things in its third season (although it does make the cancellation even more painful), and I found the introduction of Bryce as an abuser-alter to be a fascinating choice in further developing Tara and delving into her condition. His inclusion, and the systematic "murder" of Tara's other alters raises some interesting questions as to whether the alters exist only because Tara believes they exist, or whether these identities can truly interact with, and exert control over, each other. As usual, Toni Collette did an excellent job of contrasting Tara's growing fear with Bryce's unnerving smugness.

Elsewhere, we finally got to see a little more of Marshall's short movie, and it actually looks like something I'd want to see in full. I loved the use of stop-motion animation, it served the quirkiness of his story well.

Unsurprisingly, Max wasn't quite as enthusiastic about his son's artistic endeavor as I am -- he took offense to his son's apparent judgment of his life choices, but Marshall made a valid point as they fought: "Mom is crazy and we treat her like she's an eccentric ... There's a cost."

As Tara's rapidly unraveling mental state illustrated this week, this is far from just eccentricity, and the fact that nothing sh's tried has cured her condition is justification for Marshall's worry that she'll drag the whole family down with her. Lucky for Tara, Max loves her too much to quit on her, even though any sane man probably would've walked out on her years ago. Maybe craziness is all relative -- the Gregson family has always seemed a little kooky, after all. In some ways, Tara's probably the sanest one.

What do you think of the Bryce alter? Do you think he'll succeed in "killing" the rest of Tara's identities? Are you sad to see him scare Jack away?

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

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does anyone know the song that plays at the closing of the show?

January 08 2012 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So heartbroken over the USoT cancellation. Toni Collette's seamless transformations between Tara and all of her alters is incredible to watch. This season, her interactions with Eddie Izzard made the show even better. It's just a shame that the show didn't have more viewers.

May 26 2011 at 6:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

they cant doo that...
me and my best friend have watched this ever since the first season
they cant just cut it off!
this show is awesome, its exciting and nervous-making
I love love loove it!
they can`t cancel it!
&& poor chicken, and especially shoshona, I really liked them!
if bryce kills t, another of my fave alters, im going to be seriously angry!

May 25 2011 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kiona Jones

That this show is being cancelled while House lives to see another day is very disappointing. I was really looking forward to seeing Tara's character evolve and how that would ripple into everyone else's lives ;-;

May 25 2011 at 7:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tracy King

this really ticks me off! why is it the shows that i truly look forward to viewing are the ones that get the axe? shows with depth, wit and true creativity get sacked while mediocre slapstick and scripted reality (oxymoron btw) clog the airwaves. i'm sick! the networks, and apparently now cable, don't give quality shows a fighting chance to find their audience. toni collette is a force of nature but that just isn't enough. this is why i rarely bother watching new shows. if i start to enjoy them, they will surely be dismembered.

May 25 2011 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a shame! I wait all year for United States of Tara! The cast is amazing, and Toni Colette is in a class of her own! Maybe if enough people write in , Showtime will give it another go or another network with pick it up!

May 24 2011 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


May 24 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm really concerned about how they planned to end this season since it will be the final story. As for the Bryce alter, he worries me! But I doubt they'd kill off the alters first known to us - I think T, Alice, and Buck will be spared.

May 24 2011 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aaarrrggghh! I can't believe they're cancelling this show! I heart Toni Colette so much - and I'm sure she'll soon find another project worthy of her immeasurable talents. Why is it that when Eddie Izzard shows up (and is awesome), the show goes away. I still want to know what became of "The Riches" and now "Tara" is going to leave me hanging. Any hopes Showtime could tie things up enough to satisfy the fan community?

May 24 2011 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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