In this episode of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” the answer is: Dan! And he overstays his welcome, just as he did in life. Some people just can’t change, no matter what life, or death, throws at them.
Joel and Sheila are working hard to adapt, though. Their quick thinking skills are coming along nicely. After killing Dan with a shovel at the end of episode 6, Joel throws his body over the back garden wall into his own yard. Unfortunately, Sheila is having coffee and conversation with Alondra in the kitchen at that moment, in full view of the yard and wall. Fortunately, Alondra’s back is to the wall, so Sheila is able to cover for her surprise with some passionate sharing about kites and canning, then get Alondra out of the house. It really is a b*tch when the peaches go bad before you get to them.
Sheila runs outside to help Joel move the body. She vacillates between being proud of him for protecting her, and pointing out the irony of him killing Dan impulsively, when he’s lectured her multiple times about the trouble they could get in if she gives in to her killing impulses again. Every successful kill has been impulsive, right? The planned ones never work out for them. Maybe they just need to always have their supplies ready and learn to work with that. Go with your strengths. (I know I just told them to plan meticulously in the last recap, but I am a flexible thinker, okay?)
They get Dan’s body inside the house, making sure that their hardwood floors are protected. They are realtors, and protecting resale value is always somewhere in their thoughts. Dan gets a little distracted by the smell of the coffee Sheila and Alondra were drinking, and rhapsodizes about its miracle properties. Maybe his inner crisis isn’t over quite yet. Then they bring up another one of those never-ending marital arguments, the garage that was turned into a home office. Always a tough call, I agree. Alas, it’s already done, and they need to find another way to move the body besides pulling the car into the garage. Maybe turning the office back into a garage can be a long-term plan. Or adding a partially enclosed car port. Think creatively, guys!
Joel goes to the storage unit to get the trunk and the dolly. As they’re loading Dan in, Joel criticizes Sheila for being able to eat something so gross. She rightly points out that he eats meat, too. Dead bodies are gross, and involve killing living animals, whether human or not. At least Sheila’s willing to face the reality of her diet. Most real life meat eaters hide away from the atrocities of the meat industry, so they never have to think about the horrible conditions faced by the animals they are eating or the humans who work to bring them the meat.*
The bottom of the trunk collapses when they put Dan in it to move him, then Rick comes to the door before they can figure out what else to do with him. Dan gets stashed on the other side of a door frame. Rick has come to gossip about Dan disappearing. The LA Sheriffs are in the neighborhood looking for their missing coworker. Rick has also gotten the phone number of Anton, the mysterious guy who might have the zombie cure book. Dan is a rude guest throughout the conversation, refusing to stay hidden, or quiet.
More quick thinking and a new plan for getting Dan out of the house are required now that there are cops looking around the neighborhood. Dan is moved to the master bath tub, and put on ice. Joel is distracted by the rainbow colors reflected on the bathroom wall. He’s either stoned again, or losing it.
Anne Garcia, Dan’s partner, shows up to question Joel and Sheila about Dan’s disappearance. She suggests that they visit Lisa, who’s a beautiful woman, then prays with them for Dan’s safe return. She’s very sincere.
Against all odds, Abby finds Dan in the bathtub. She demands a family meeting and truth-telling session. She was promised that life would return to some semblance of normal, they would be honest with each other, and there’d be a family trip to the beach. Instead, she’s stumbling over dead bodies at every turn, clearly being lied to, and at this rate, her parents will be in jail and unable to go to the beach. They need to get their acts together. She has a point. Finding Dan in the bathtub, and going through the thought process of wondering if he’s hiding there because he’s having an affair with one of her parents, or both of her parents, then realizing he’s dead, then trying to figure out which one of those alternatives was worse, had to be very difficult for Abby.
Eric has geared himself up to confront Dan after the flashbang prank, and is nearly panicking when Dan is nowhere to be found. Abby tells him that Dan is dead and in her bathtub. He wants to see the body.
Joel and Sheila arrive at Dan and Lisa’s house for the required supportive visit, but, as Anne immediately points out, they don’t bring any food to help feed the gaggle of sheriffs hanging around “helping” search for Dan. Anne and Lisa appear to be very close, very flirty friends. Very, very close. Anne is also better husband material than Dan ever was, so maybe Lisa will strike gold with spouse number four, once Dan is declared dead.
Eric says everything to Dan’s body that he wanted to say to live Dan, then helps Abby with her plan to protect her parents from the cops. First up: Find a working flashlight, which, as we all know, is usually the hardest part of any plan.
Joel becomes teary-eyed as he talks to Anne about her vacation with Dan’s family to Hawaii. (See, Dan was grooming her to be his replacement.) He’s either having a lot of drug flashbacks, or he’s really, really starting to lose it. Sheila’s concerned about his mental state by the time they get back home. She convinces him to let her take care of the body alone, without leaving the house, since the police are bringing search dogs in the morning. Specifically, she’s going on a binge and eating all of Dan in one night.
Sheila warms up her eating muscles, and dives in, while Joel settles in on the bed with a good book and some relaxing music. Dan’s excessive body hair slows Sheila down, and is unappetizing, so Joel, ever the supportive husband, shaves it off for her, while she works on Dan’s internal organs.
Sheila makes a valiant effort to finish the big guy, but she has to give up by sunset, leaving Dan’s head, neck and upper torso. Joel goes in to have a heart to heart with what’s left of Dan, apologizing for shortening his life, and realizing that you never know when your time will be up, so you should live life to the fullest. Which reminds him that they’d planned a trip to the beach, and have a giant, Dan’s-head-and-torso-sized cooler. So, it was a good talk for everyone involved.
The family lugs the beach supplies to the car, with a little help from Anne, who is then called back over to Dan’s garage. They’ve found the false wall and his contraband stash, thanks to Abby and Eric putting a turned-on flashlight inside. Gary’s finger is also inside, tying Dan to that murder. The police assume one of Dan’s enemies kidnapped and killed him.
Rick tells Joel all about it the next day, and that Loki, who has also disappeared, was blackmailing Dan, too. It would appear that all of Joel and Sheila’s problems have been wrapped up with a neat little bow.
Except, then Sheila loses a toe in the bathtub. One of her own toes. That bathtub is bad luck.
We are played out by Big Data’s Get Some Freedom.
Joel’s mental high and sense of satisfaction from killing Dan didn’t last long. The difficulties with disposing of the body, and the ramifications of killing someone who was so integrated into their lives, brought him crashing down again. It’s not about his self-worth any more, though. It’s about facing the reality that he’s taken the life of another human being, and he and his wife could go to jail for it. The reality has always been more to the forefront for him, but now it’s crushing him. He’s gotten a temporary reprieve at the end of the episode, but I doubt it will last.
Sheila’s personality being centered in her id now is helping her avoid stressing out about long-term consequences. She feels very strongly about what’s important for her and her family, and controls herself to protect them. But she also feels fiercely selfish about their needs coming first, in the end, so the murders just aren’t going to weigh on her as much. She’s a predator now, and she accepts that, and its consequences.
Technically, coffee is the seed of the berry of a small tree, not a bean, which would be a legume. Totally different thing.
* Yes, I am a long time vegetarian. If you want to do something simple to change the world for the better, eat less meat, or cut it out altogether. Meat production contributes to climate change, rainforest destruction, water shortages, and much more.
Joel: Negotiations broke down, so I hit him in the head with a shovel.
Anne: Dan’s been my partner for five years and I find that most people just think he’s unbelievably repellent.
Anne: Something like this can be very stressful for the family, and Lisa’s such a beautiful woman. It would be great if you just came by.
Eric: You were right about one thing, Dan. I won’t be having sex in your lifetime.