George still hasn’t told Tessa about the plans to combine households with Dallas. He tells her that it’s due to the recent breakup with Ryan, so she offers to help, considering the connection that she and Tessa share. In exchange, he’ll tell Dalia about the move, though when he picks her up from school that day, she already knows everything and thinks that if she lived with Tessa, she could help her get over the breakup “even harder.”
Dallas’ time with Tessa isn’t as productive, as Tessa tries to pump her for information about what makes Dalia tick – fears, allergies, and the likes. She wants to find the Queen Bee’s greatest weakness and exploit it, but nothing gets revealed when the two share a meal at The Ziti Zone. As a result of the uncertainty about how to talk to Tessa, since Dallas didn’t have the courage to mention the move during her time that afternoon, George goes to talk to Sheila, who informs him of the greatest lesson she learned from parenting books. Stop trying to be the child’s friend and start being their parent. George decides to bring it up the next time he sees Tessa, which is when she comes home from school.
She’s excited at first about the prospect of moving away from Chatswin, only to become infuriated about having to share a house with Dalia Royce. Tessa tries to challenge George on the decision, this time to no avail, and informs him that she’s moving out.
The Art of War
Dalia and Tessa have continued to wage war as a result of the Jenna thing and the latter’s breakup with Ryan. While Dalia sends the KKK over to “evict” Tessa from her locker and confiscate Ryan’s letterman’s jacket, Tessa has been racking her brain trying to figure out how to get back at Dalia, even going to Dallas for potential weaknesses to exploit. She decides to use Reggie to hack into the school’s security cameras and spy on Dalia to see if there’s a weakness that she only makes visible when she thinks no one’s looking. There could also be something in her locker that would be a good “in” for a plan of revenge, but Dalia catches on to the plan pretty quickly and Tessa is left scrambling.
Although Lisa suggests that the two become notaries, build up a reputation around town, and exert their revenge when Dalia needs mortgage documentation, Tessa decides to get back to who she was pre-Ryan with the help of her New York boots and army jacket. She had softened up during her time with Ryan and now was the time to bring back the edge that she had when she first entered Chatswin. Along with Lisa, Tessa walks down the halls of Chatswin High with all the confidence in the world, ready to take on Dalia and emerge as the victor in their squabble. They run into her and she throws a piece of trash Tessa’s way, claiming that she thought she was the garbage can, before Tessa takes a leap and lands on top of her.
The two have a very heated physical fight, both landing punches, kicks, and blows with objects (broom, mop, door), before Mr. Wolfe breaks them up. However, while Tessa might have won that battle, she still has to face a future of living with Dalia. Or does she?
Even though Carmen is happily dating Bob, Noah is still obsessed with her and has to be reminded by George that it’d be better if he just moved on. He doesn’t move on, though, as he follows Bob to yoga class…to talk to him about a discount dental appointment. Bob says that he’s scared of dentists, but he ends up going anyway, where he gets a sext from Carmen and talks to Noah about their impending trip to an eco-resort in Costa Rica. Although Noah had been planning on getting revenge by doing something to Bob’s teeth, he can’t bring himself to, instead crying about Carmen not loving him. Bob tells Noah that women like to be listened to and be made to feel heard, which is what initially attracted her to him, and it seems to get through to him, the idea that he has culpability in Carmen’s decision.
However, Noah still gets his revenge. He doesn’t physically harm Bob, but he files each of the psychiatrist’s teeth into pointy nubs, which goes unnoticed. For now.
Tessa’s packing to go stay with her grandmother Helen, which would mean that she’d commute every day from the city long enough to graduate and get the hell out of Chatswin for good. On her way out the door, she tells George that Dalia was only using him to make Steven jealous and storms out, with no place to go.
She ends up at the local playground and calls Helen to see if staying with her was even a possibility. Unfortunately, it’s not; Helen mentions that she’s just not set up to house a second person. With nowhere to stay, Tessa takes refuge in the school bathroom at the same time George and Dallas are continuing their house hunting. She’s fallen in love with one residence with a leather living room (and the idea of a lighting fixture, described as “rustic meets sparkly”), both of which George seems open to; meanwhile, Tessa is serving Lisa crunchy Easy Mac and refusing to stay with the Shays for one reason or another.
It’s then that Steven appears at the door of the Royce home, punching George as soon as he gets inside. Dallas’ ex-husband, who arrives with wife Wan’er, claims that George isn’t even Dalia’s father and wants the architect to stay away from his daughter. After the two exchanges further punches, George is at his home, icing his eye, when Sheila pops up. The place that Dallas loved originally had an offer on it, but since the couple couldn’t get the financials to work, it’s open for the taking. George’s options are to rent an apartment that could turn into a money pit, move into the Royce home and wound his pride, or buy the woman he loves the home of her dreams, complete with massive lot and dogwood trees.
He decides to go for it and surprises her by bringing her to the house, causing her to cry. She thinks that he’s trying to prove that he loves her and forcing a relationship when there really isn’t one; she claims that he learned to love her. He tells her that she’s the one who doesn’t love herself, constantly sabotaging any progress they made and making him jump through hoops at every turn, each time moving the hoop a little further away. She confesses to calling Steven, in hopes of breaking Dalia’s attachment to Daddy Altman, and leaves him at the house alone.
When he tears down the gaudy lighting fixture that she wanted, he goes to the garbage can and sees a stray dog that he takes up with. He spends the night in the house with the dog, only to find out that Dalia is staying in the next room. She’s already attached to him and considers him to be a really good dad, so he decides to let her stay for the night. Her one demand? To sing her to sleep like Carmen would do.
Tessa, meanwhile, ends up at the train station, desperately calling anyone she knew for a place to crash. A train empties and she spies Alex; Helen had told her about Tessa looking for a place to stay and she decided to delay her trip to Berlin to be there for her daughter.
Sheila Shay has organized a chastity campaign in Chatswin and the piece de resistance? A Father-Daughter Purity Ball, meant to be a celebration of all things pure and all remaining virgins in Chatswin High. Her main reason for getting this going is to give Lisa something to win, but Lisa, who’s already worried about Tessa and Ryan both loving her at once, lost her virginity on President’s Day to Malik and has to find a way to break that to her mother.
She decides to tell Fred first, to help soften the blow, but Sheila still has a very big reaction when she finds out that her daughter is “not a lock” and that Lisa and Malik have made (good) love to one another many times over. While the ball doesn’t go as planned, with the young girls that Sheila recruited to take part in the ceremony deciding to dance to Big Sean’s “Dance (Ass)”, Tessa finds herself not alone in the bathroom. Ryan has joined her, telling her that he’s glad that they broke up and that it’d be easier to leave. He doesn’t leave, though; he backs her into the wall and kisses her passionately and the two end up having one final encounter, this time on the bathroom floor while the ball was going on.
The next morning, Tessa leaves without waking Ryan up, as everything that needed to be said was said the night before, and heads to the train station.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-”Sometimes we inflect up at the end of our sentences, but that doesn’t mean we’re asking a question.”
-”Wanna make out?” “Eh, I have gum.”
-”Is it time sensitive? You bet it is.”
-”You just cried down my throat!”
-”No female role model has the last name Minaj.”
-Ryan’s “You don’t know how I leave” to Tessa in the bathroom? Goodness.
-I don’t know why, but Dalia referring to George’s car as “compact” and “fuel-efficient” tickled me. They should let Carly Chaikin do every car commercial ever.
-Lisa offering to make out with Tessa? The best. Lisa meowing the hits of the late 80s and early 90s, which she recorded and play for other people? Also the best.
-Dallas calls Tessa “T-Pain”. What I would have given for them to throw a little vocoder over a piece of Tessa’s dialogue right after.
-Seeing Tessa put back on her jacket and “lesbian boots” made me inordinately happy. Although I think it’s natural for her to soften after being in Chatswin for so long and dating a popular boy, I still miss cynical New Yorker Tessa Altman very much.
-George likes the nickname “Daddy Bear” and between that and his singing the theme song at the end of the second episode (bookending the season, which began with Tessa singing it in the premiere), I needed a moment.
-Dalia’s neckbrace (and eye patch, from Tessa pulling out her recently sewn in eyelashes) decked out in Swarofski crystals was a nice touch.
-The fight between George and Dallas was my favorite scene of the series thus far. Oddly, Suburgatory’s a comedy that does drama really well and that was no exception. Plus, it gave Jeremy Sisto and Cheryl Hines something to do, which I appreciated a lot.
-Well, that’s it. Another season of Suburgatory is officially in the books. At this point, the show isn’t a 100% lock for renewal, but it’s much more likely to make it to next season than it is to be canceled, so we’ll probably be reconvening with one another sometime this fall. Also, thank you guys for reading and sharing everything I’ve written about the show this season. I’d treat you all to a giant dinner at The Ziti Zone if I could.