“Turkeys and Traditions” finds a great balance between comedy and drama in a holiday-themed episode.
This recap of The Unicorn Season 1, Episode 8, “Turkeys and Traditions”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The obligatory Thanksgiving episode makes slightly more sense than usual in “Turkeys and Traditions” thanks to how significant the holidays are in dealing with loss. As far as Wade (Walton Goggins) is concerned, Thanksgiving was always “a Jill thing”. Last year they stayed in and ate frozen sympathy meals alone since the holiday arrived so soon after Jill’s death, but this year he wants to do it properly, surrounded by all the loved ones he has left — including Ben (Omar Benson Miller), who sees it as a perfect opportunity to rustle up one of his famous deep-fried turkeys.
While Wade’s friends are, as ever, eager to let him know how loved he is, the presence of Jill’s sister Allison (Annie Mumolo) is a problem for Delia (Michaela Watkins), who has always been convinced that they have an issue. Allison’s husband Jim (Sean O’Bryan) is a lout who only cares about the football and drinking Wade’s beer, and their son Layne (Pappy Faulkner) is a moody metalhead who won’t talk to anyone.
Natalie (Makenzie Moss) and Grace (Ruby Jay), though, are determined to find their mother’s missing recipe book and make the most of the occasion. The most moving moment of The Unicorn Episode 8 is when Wade finds it and experiences a rush of memories of his late wife; the conclusion to “Turkeys and Traditions” is a competitor, though, as old resentments rise to the surface and the purity of the kids convinces everyone to consider what they really are thankful for.
This episode was funny — Ben’s turkey woes being a particular highlight in that regard — but slightly more dramatic than usual, especially in how Delia confronts Allison over her presumed dislike and comes to realize it stems from jealousy over her relationship with Jill. What makes The Unicorn a superior sitcom is how well it balances its comedy and drama without either feeling contrived, and The Unicorn Season 1, Episode 8 found that balance even more affectingly than usual.