“Red Head Redemption” is a reminder that families are about the memories they make — and that Kimberly would be a better protagonist that Duncan.
This recap of Duncanville Season 1, Episode 2, “Red Head Redemption”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The message of Duncanville Episode 2 is a simple one — it’s about family and memories and how the two are intertwined, told through two parallel stories. The first involves Annie (Amy Poehler) trying to convince Jack (Ty Burrell) to clear his decades’-old classic rock memorabilia out of the garage. (Some of the items are good for a laugh, admittedly, including the Confederate flag that Jack justifies keeping solely by wailing “Skynyrdddddddd!”) And the second is Duncan (also Poehler) being thrown out of his gaming clan after Kimberly (Riki Lindhome) heroically qualifies the team for a tournament in his stead.
The conclusions drawn by “Red Head Redemption” aren’t exactly fresh. Annie and Jack resort to various childish toing and froing before eventually realizing that the memories bundled up in the garage are what define their family — naturally, they come to this conclusion when Jack turns the situation around on Annie, asking her throw out her things, and Jing (Joy Osmanski) decides to toss a teddy that they’ve all got some sweet memories bundled up in. This plot excuses an Alice Cooper cameo appearance, which was welcome for me but probably wouldn’t be for the show’s target demographic, though I suppose you never know.
Duncanville Episode 2 devotes much more attention to Duncan being rejected by his own clique in favor of his sister, which builds to roughly the same conclusion but is a bit more fun. Kimberly, who is in love with Duncan’s friend Wolf (Zach Cherry) and has a shrine in her closet attesting to this fact, justifies her inclusion over Duncan in terms of her being a middle school girl, and therefore tougher than he can possibly comprehend. Her participating in the game in the first place was an attempt to impress Wolf, and she’s willing to ride out the opportunity to be near him — and spite her brother — all the way to a tournament victory against a team of stay-at-home dads whom Duncan joins out of protest.
The big moment of “Red Head Redemption” comes during the tournament itself, most of which is rendered in-game in probably the episode’s smartest idea. Duncan has taken a photograph of Kimberly’s Wolf-themed closet and plans to use it to distract her so that he can land the killing blow. But, of course, when the time comes he’s unable to do so, and they both decide that they’ve been embarrassed enough. The photo gets disseminated anyway, but Duncan claims it’s his shrine and he ships his sister and his best friend, which goes more or less unremarked upon. Probably for the best.
Regardless, Duncanville Season 1, Episode 2 makes its point, even if it inadvertently makes the better one that Kimberly is a much more fitting protagonist for this show than Duncan himself is.
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