Kollab Watches: Fresh Off the Boat 2.09 – “We Done Son”
This week’s episode of Fresh Off the Boat is all about relationships. Whether if it’s with a friend, a love interest, or a family member, the relationships you have with people are some of the most valuable things in life. Though sometimes, there are just some relationships that are meant to be let go.
The joint house restoration business between Jessica, Grandma and Honey is off to a rough start. Any suggestion that Honey makes is frugally dismissed by Jessica, even though on her end, Jessica spends $500 monthly to consult Madam Xing, her fortuneteller. When Honey calls out Jessica over taking her fortuneteller’s advice over her “partner’s”, a frustrated but prideful Jessica decides to end their relationship. For a while Jessica seems content with the decision, but after realizing that she doesn’t want to wind up “alone and right”, like Grandma Huang, she attempts to make it right with Honey. Unfortunately, Honey is in no position to forgive. What is Jessica to do?
Meanwhile, Louis is also dealing with a friendship at odds when his former roommate Barry comes to stay for a few days. Barry is nowhere on Jessica’s good side, because he never paid back a loan that Louis gave to him for a vitamin company they attempted to start back in the day. So when Louis finds himself face-to-face with another investment deal, he must decide between loaning over money he’ll likely never see again or save himself a lot of hardship and let go of this guy once and for all.
What I liked about these two storylines for Jessica and Louis was that they really tested their personality traits. Jessica is headstrong, stubborn, almost never admits she’s wrong when she is and rarely ever apologizes. Louis has an open perspective on life and tries to see the good in people. In the episode, they were each challenged with having to do the opposite of what they would normally do. Jessica had to swallow her pride in order to save her friendship with Honey and Louis had to stand up for himself and not let Barry talk him into giving him anymore money. I found these instances to be an interesting path for the writer (Ali Wong, one of the several Asians in FOtB’s writing room) to present.
Similar to the Chinese superstitions examined in the season one episode “Very Superstitious” (which Ali Wong also wrote), it was interesting to see how the practice of Chinese fortune telling was incorporated into this episode. While Jessica didn’t dive too deep into why knowing her fortune was very important to her, fortune telling is a respected practice in Chinese culture used in social and business decisions even to this day. Looking back on the episode, while Honey was in the right for calling out Jessica’s willingness to listen to Madam Xing over her, she could also have been seen as insensitive for not respecting a part of Jessica’s culture. After all, as we see by the end of the episode, Madam Xing was technically right about when they should sell the house.
It wasn’t just the adults who were at odds with the relationships in their lives. Eddie wants to buy a $50 necklace for Allison for her birthday, and in order to raise money to buy it, he takes up a new job at the house of his new neighbor, rapper DMX (or Earl when in the presence of his baby daughter Genesis). Not only is Eddie forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but he’s also given so much work to do that he becomes so tired and grumpy at school, not even Allison wants to be around him. At a loss over being away from her, Eddie’s new boss takes him under his wing (as well as his greenhouse of orchids) and teaches him how “presence triumphs presents.”
Once again, this episode shows how far Eddie has come along since the first season. Before when he wanted to buy something, he was told to get a job to earn the money. This time around, he instantly went looking for work when the price of the necklace was out of his budget. At the same time, Eddie also shows how much Allison really means to him by putting in all this effort to give her something nice for her birthday. It’s a sweet gesture and a trait that’s not always found in middle school boys.
This week’s episode was another score for Fresh Off the Boat!
Featured image courtesy of ABC