I had to listen to my body and take a couple of weeks off here from recapping, but this week I am back and raring to go with a GORGEOUS, poignant, and meaningful Uncle Nicky episode. Did you guys love it as much as I did? Griffin Dunne should get an Emmy if there is any justice in this world.
RECAP, without further ado:
- 2021: Kevin and Madison open the door to find an unexpected guest: Uncle Nicky has flown in with no notice, apparently to attend the baptism of baby Nick and baby Franny. “I came to meet my namesake and … the girl,” he said, in his curmudgeonly way. But that’s why we love him, isn’t it? That it is a Zoom baptism seems to have no meaning whatsoever to our favorite RV dweller.
- 1969: Young adult Nicky is watching the Moon landing with his family, including Jack, who drops in for the evening. “Have you thought about leaving the nest?” Jack inquires later in a private moment. But Nicky is comfortable at home and can keep an eye on their mother.
- 2021: Pre-trip, Nicky is making preparations to meet his great-nephew and niece. He sculpts and paints little models for what we later learn are custom snowglobes (awwww), and calls Cassidy to tell him how to book a flight. (Remember Cassidy? She was the military vet who met Kevin and Uncle Nicky in rehab and she and Kevin had a brief thing. Apparently, she is still a source of support for Uncle Nicky.)
- 1969: Nicky’s got a crush, and it’s a big one. Luminous, hippie Sally is not only pretty, but she loves dogs like him. When she asks him out, he backs away shyly, but when Jack gets involved, Sally tries again and Nicky says yes. Who wouldn’t want to take a drive in Pearl the VW van and chase the moon? It was probably a marvelous night for a Moondance, after all.
- 2021: Uncle Nicky is nervous about flying for the first time since 1971. He may as well be walking on the moon. Our favorite hermit isn’t familiar with all the new TSA security vetting that is a normal part of every flight now. When the airport security agent insists on unwrapping and then opening his present to the twins, it’s bad enough. But when she says he can’t take a snowglobe on an airplane because of the liquid content, he starts unraveling. Ugh! I felt for the guy when he dropped his special gift and then decided to chuck the little figurines inside, too.
- 1969: Sally and Nicky fall for each other fast, and why wouldn’t they? She’s a girl who lives in a van and he will become the kind of man who lives in a trailer. They are vehicular-living soulmates. Sally is even invited over for dinner at the Pearsons and raves about Nicky’s mom’s Salisbury steak. After supper, Sally, a shutterbug, snaps a photo of the two brothers beaming and holding a plate of their mom’s steak.
- Mid-70’s: Jack and Nicky are both invited to a reunion of buddies who served together in Vietnam. Jack goes freely and seeks advice from his old superior. Should he come clean with Rebecca about the reality and horrors of war, when he has already lied and downplayed it? His superior’s advice: Keep war memories separate from your life. WHAT? That’s terrible advice, but probably the best he had in that era. And Nicky hides and watches from the safety of his car in the parking lot. “Hey Jack, I’m better now,” he mutters. “I’m not the monster you think I am.”
- 1969: When Sally invites Nicky to come with her for an adventure in California, Nicky is game, but scared. What if she dumps him on the side of Route 66? Jack encourages him to take this chance to escape, and even smuggles in a nifty hardshell Samsonite suitcase, the same one Nicky tapes with duct tape decades later as he journeys to meet Jack’s grandbabies.
- 2021: In LA, Uncle Nicky is a bit freaked about venturing so far from the safe confines of his trailer, and even more alarmed at the emotional expectations Kevin might have for him. Should the babies call Uncle Nicky Grandpa? Or Pops, which is what Nicky and Kevin called their dad? Yikes! Nicky can’t handle it and calls Cassidy in the middle of the night. “Don’t you think Jack would be proud of you?” she asks. And it’s the perfect thing to say.
- 2021: Uncle Nicky sneaks a peek at the twins before morning, showing them the two John Grisham novels he bought at the airport bookstore for them when the snowglobe presents exploded so sadly. “You’re my big brother’s grandchildren,” he said, the tenderness in his voice making me tear up. When Kevin goes into the babies’ room the next morning, he finds Uncle Nicky curled up sleeping in a chair. I loved the moment when that now faded, dog-eared photo of Nicky and Jack with their mom’s steak fell out of one of the John Grisham novels and Kevin saw it for the first time.
Well, what did you think of the episode? It was definitely one of the gentler, quieter ones with no big bombshell. I relished the chance to know more of Uncle Nicky’s story.
What do you think will happen with Sally? We know they somehow come apart but we don’t know why. Wouldn’t it be superb if Sally was still out there somewhere, driving around in Pearl or Pearl the 10th? She may have never left California, after all. You know, where Uncle Nicky currently is. What was your favorite moment? Favorite line of the night?