'The United States of Tara' Hits 'Crunchy Ice' Recap June 13
It’s a new day. Neil and Charmaine share breakfast in bed, Kate and Evan bond with his son, Monty and at Grandma Sandy’s Christmas filled home, Marshall tries to handle his grief over Lionel’s death. At the Gregson home, Bryce has taken over Marshall’s room. In the kitchen, Max discovers Tara alter Buck hiding below the counter. Buck wants a beer and a word. He’s come to say goodbye. He’s convinced he’s alter Bryce’s next victim, and he has instructions for the disposal of his ashes. There doesn’t seem to be anything the alters can do – Bryce is decimating them one by one. And no one knows where Tara has gone.
Max tells Charmaine that he saw Buck leave and Bryce appear, with Bryce describing in gory detail how he killed Buck in Tara’s head. All Max can do is hide Buck’s guns at Charmaine’s. Charmaine wants to know if Max has thought about having Tara committed. Max says the health organizations haven’t done much in the past, he’ll get Tara back on his own. Neil thinks he and Charmaine should sell the house and move to Texas.
Grandma Sandy lives in a house perpetually and overly decorated for Christmas. And she’s got fruitcake to spare. She’s ready to crack open a fruitcake from 1974 - a very good year for fruitcake, apparently. Grandma tells Marshall the highlights of 1974, including the discovery of the Ethiopian skeleton ‘Lucy’, and his Grandfather’s purchase of a suitcase on wheels. Marshall’s struggling with Max’s request that he come home. Max needs help with Tara, but Marshall is not sure he can deal with it anymore. Grandma Sandy gives Marshall the fruitcake to bring home as a gift for Max.
As Max packs up Buck’s arsenal (and pornography) in the basement, Bryce taunts Max, saying, “Geez, who do I have to kill to get some respect around here?” Bryce tells Max that his plan to kill off all the alters should make Max happy, since that will leave just one personality at the end. Trouble is, it looks like that person will be Bryce, and Max only wants Tara. Marshall and Grandma arrive, with Grandma still uncomprehending the presence of Buck’s possessions, followed by Kate, who’s ready to be feisty with randy Bryce. Max still believes he can bring Tara back, so he wants the family to take a trip to the Art Museum, Tara’s favourite place.
At the Museum, Charmaine tries to get Kate onside of her plan to get Tara committed. Bryce wanders the museum malevolently. Grandma thinks Max needs to get help for Tara. And Neil’s not buying Max’s ability to save Tara. When Max tries to shock Bryce back to Tara by kissing him, Bryce reacts violently. As Kate steals a moment outside to call Evan, alter T appears, telling Kate that she was always jealous of her. T tells Kate that she knows Bryce is going to get her as well, so we wants to apologize for punching Kate in the face that time. “Peace out, little sis,” says T, then drops her head and becomes Bryce again. “home girls dead, “ says Bryce, “but why don’t you show a little love, and let me slip inside of those jeans.”
Back home, Max, Marshall and Kate try to come up with another plan. Marshall thinks it’s kind of funny that his mom is offing her imaginary friends. Kate’s beginning to agree with Charmaine that it’s time for Tara to get professional help. As they argue, Grandma Sandy calls for help. She’s busily decorating the Gregson home for Christmas, and has a carful more of decorations to bring in. Bryce drifts down the stairs, wondering if Grandma is retarded. As Grandma defends her decorations with a frenzied recital of the Nativity story, Bryce begins breaking the precious ornaments.
As Neil rocks baby Wheels to sleep, he looks through one of Buck’s porn magazines, and discovers a printout from FindThatGrave.web. Top of the page is the information on Bryce Craine, who died December 25, 2002. It seems he was born December 6, 1962, which means he was 40 when he died.
Marshall and Kate barricade themselves into a bedroom for safety. They remember thinking their mom was just being funny, when they were kids, but now they realize the situation is serious. Marshall wonders what sort of paintings Norman Rockwell would have done if he’d grown up in their household. They recite a kid’s poem, “Lemonade, crunchy ice, kick it once, kick it twice,” as Bryce pounds on their door in passing.
Downstairs, Grandma Sandy admires her pink Christmas tree, all lit up and twinkly. Bryce listens to her tales of Christmas’ past, when they used real candles, then asks her what she’s doing in the house. She says she’s there to be with her son and his children, who live there. And his wife, says Bryce. “So you’re his wife all of a sudden?” asks Grandma. Bryce can’t answer. Grandma admits she missed Max and Tara’s wedding because she was agoraphobic. Grandma then tells Bryce, “Two things before I go to bed. Everything that’s happened to your family, your kids, your husband. Everything they are, everything they could have been and aren’t, is all your fault. And if you touch my tree, I’ll break your f**king fingers. Nighty night.” As Bryce grins, reaching towards the tree, Max springs up behind him and wraps a blanket over his head.
At Bryce Craine’s grave, Neil, Charmaine, and Max confront Bryce/Tara with the paradox that Bryce is both underground, and standing beside them. Suddenly Charmaine loses her temper, throwing a jar at the grave, and screaming curses at the headstone. Bryce doesn’t believe that the grave is really Bryce Craine’s. Max offers to read Bryce the obituary, showing that Bryce Craine killed himself because he couldn’t live with what he’d done to Tara and her family, just like the alter is doing right now. Bryce says Tara deserved it, wanted it, and that’s why she never told.
The next morning, Grandma Sandy brings Max a decoration she’s found, printed with Max’s picture as a boy. He shouldn’t have to go through this, she says. Crazy is crazy. She knows, because she was, and that’s why Max’s father left – he had no choice. And now Max needs to leave Tara. The only thing Max’s father did wrong was leave Max behind, she says. If he keeps Marshall there in this mess, Marshall will waste his entire life trying to fix something he didn’t break. Just like Max is doing.
As Marshall tries to retrieve a box of pictures and letters from Lionel from his room, Bryce confronts him, asking him if he’s ashamed of the relationship. Marshall tells Bryce that Bryce doesn’t know anything about love, and never will. He’s not afraid of Bryce. As Marshall walks away, Bryce becomes alter Alice, and begins to console Marshall over his loss. She tells him the love that he felt will stay in his heart forever. As Alice tells Marshall he’s her favourite boy, she begins to stroke his hair. Suddenly, Bryce returns, and changes the stroke to a slap across the face, saying that had to be his favourite execution by far. Well, one left, says Bryce, and I think you know who that is.
Marshall’s had enough, and he launches himself at Bryce, tackling him, but Bryce/Tara is stronger, and begins to overpower Marshall. Max runs into the room, tearing Bryce off of Marshall, and pinning him against the wall, as Grandma Sandy tries to comfort Marshall. Bryce transitions into Tara, crying and aghast as she realizes what’s going on, and begging forgiveness.
As they drive to the institution, Max and Tara talk about the organic veggies, tennis courts, and around the clock psychiatric care she’ll be enjoying. Tara wonders if it will work this time, while Max assures her it’s not forever. As they cross over a bridge, Tara asks Max to stop the car. She kisses him, tells him she loves him, then runs to the bridge and jumps over.
Next week: the Season and Show finale. Is there any hope for Tara? Will she ever be in control of her own mind? Only one more week until we learn the answer.