Dan gets an injury, Jackie and Becky have business decisions to make, and Harris’ future hangs in the balance in “Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub”.
This recap of The Conners Season 2, Episode 11, “Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
I’m not sure I’d trust Becky (Alicia Goranson) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) to open a tin of beans, but if I had to pick one of them to start a business venture with, it’d be the alcoholic single mother. And “Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub” only served to prove my point, with Jackie easily seduced by Dawn (Cheryl Hines), a sales rep from Cook County Meat and Fish who insists that what the impoverished community of Lanford really need is a signature steak at their affordably-priced comfort food diner.
Becky immediately sees this as hucksterism, and I’d be inclined to agree, especially when Dawn started personally befriending the easily-led Jackie, who was perfectly content to sign wildly over-budget orders without Becky’s knowledge. But Becky handled the situation well, seeing the obvious tragedy in a woman Jackie’s age so desperate to make a friend, and as it turned out in The Conners Season 2, Episode 11, Dawn was quite genuine in her affections.
Equally genuine in “Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub” was Dan’s (John Goodman) back injury, which left him debilitated for the entire episode and at one point genuinely stranded in a bath made glittery by a gay grandson’s therapeutic bomb. Louise (Katey Sagal) to the rescue, then, flirty banter included. The episode toys with the idea of these two taking things further, sitting down to a meal during which Louise confesses that her old band has been invited on a last-chance tour that’ll take her away from Lanford for at least three months. She wants Dan to admit that he’d prefer her to stay, which he does, but she also wants him to admit that he’s ready for a more serious relationship, which he can’t. He just isn’t.
Another question posed by The Conners Season 2, Episode 11 is if Harris (Emma Kenney) is going to college. She receives an acceptance letter from Central Illinois State College, which Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is thrilled about, even if Harris herself is reticent. How are they going to find the money to fund an education?
The answer is, potentially, financial aid, especially since Darlene is now technically unemployed. They’re invited to the campus for a tour and given the whole spiel, but what’s being offered are student loans that would take Harris 20 years to pay off – hardly an attractive deal for someone already in financial strife. Darlene rightly lays into the saleswoman, but the result is that Harris isn’t going to college after all. Luckily she already has a plan to get a job and do an online business degree; it builds to a warm ending to The Conners Season 2, Episode 11, “Mud Turtles, A Good Steak and One Man in a Tub”, during which Darlene and Dan both go to Harris’ workplace to support – and embarrass – her. Who needs college anyway?
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.