“If It Doesn’t Spark Joy” is all about learning to let go… until you realize that perhaps you’re not ready to quite yet.
This recap of The Unicorn Season 1, Episode 11, “If It Doesn’t Spark Joy”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The Unicorn has been on a bit of a break, so the latest episode opens with a reminder about where we left things. Wade (Walton Goggins) apologizes to Anna (Sarayu Blue) for how she met Grace (Ruby Jay), and she’s understanding, though Delia’s (Michaela Watkins) hovering presence — Wade meets her at work — is clearly putting some unnecessary strain on their fledgling relationship. Delia insists that the romance has to succeed since she has invested so much in it, which I’m pretty sure isn’t how these things work.
Meanwhile in The Unicorn Episode 11, Michelle (Maya Lynne Robinson) wants to have a yard sale at Wade’s house since she’s not allowed to conduct them at her own home anymore thanks to a neighborhood app full of busybodies. Up for sale is, she hopes, Ben’s (Omar Benson Miller) vinyl collection, although throughout “If It Doesn’t Spark Joy” that becomes a matter of some debate.
In an attempt to get through to Natalie (Makenzie Moss), Wade attempts to bond with her over a video game called Aggravated Assault, but she sees straight through it. Plan B is inviting Anna to dinner with the girls at Delia and Forrest’s (Rob Corddry) house, the night before the yard sale. The girls are preparing for that, but Delia catches them hoarding a bunch of stuff they’ve long since grown out of — all of it, in some way, relates to their late mother, Jill, and with the presence of Anna they’re more determined than ever to hold onto her memory. But as Delia explains, her memory isn’t held in stuff, but in their hearts; this isn’t the way to remember her.
A further revelation of The Unicorn Episode 11 is that Forrest doesn’t have a “thing” to call his own; he spends ages combing his entire house for something to sell at the yard sale, and all he comes up with is an old pair of prescription spectacles. He’s a bit dismayed by this when everyone arrives for dinner, which Delia has predictably ordered. At dinner, Wade introduces the girls to Anna. Natalie is reticent at first but Anna wins her over immediately by revealing she used to play soccer. She and Grace bond over how much of an idiot Wade is — all in all, a success.
With Wade and Anna ready to take their relationship to the next level, he plans with Ben and Michelle to have the girls overnight. The girls, meanwhile, have decided to throw everything out after all, but Delia complicates matters when she spots a memento of her own among the stuff. She struggles as the girls continue to sell items until eventually, she intervenes, declaring that nothing on the table is for sale. She shares the episode’s obligatory touching moment with Wade, but there’s more to come in “If It Doesn’t Spark Joy”.
Wade and Anna get back to the house after their date, where Anna, looking around, plays the piano. Just like Jill used to. Wade subsequently breaks down a little while reminiscing about her, and Anna asks if he’s really ready for this. He admits he isn’t, in tears, and Anna leaves.
The next day, Delia tells Wade that Anna was upset herself, but has now gone to her happy place fighting infectious diseases in Botswana. The Unicorn Season 1, Episode 11 ends with Ben giving Forrest his vinyl collection — he finally has a “thing” of his own. He’s a vinyl guy. Only Ben takes them straight back, so for now, Forrest will have to be content being the guy who drives out of town to buy condoms. It’s as much a thing as any.