“Undacuva Mutha” proved a slightly better episode by virtue of not focusing on Duncan, even though Jack still feels out of place.
This recap of Duncanville Season 1, Episode 3, “Undacuva Mutha”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It’s that time of the month for Annie (Amy Poehler) in Duncanville Episode 3 — quota day, the last chance to write as many parking tickets as possible. It’s a task she takes seriously enough to don a bulletproof vest and leave Jack (Ty Burrell) in charge of getting the kids to school — “You’ve gotta do it, it’s on the fridge” — despite the latter being a recipe for inevitable disaster.
That disaster is what “Undacuva Mutha” burns for fuel. It only takes Kimberly (Riki Lindhome) and Jing (Joy Osmanski) one car ride to convince him he’s laughably uncool, and just like that he’s rogue, taking the girls to the mall instead. The school, meanwhile, has had its budget slashed and certain programs deemed expendable, but that’s a small affair for Duncan (Poehler) and his friends since a sneaker pop-up is offering them the new Air Jordans — in a relatively funny nod at capitalist culture, Duncan imagines how much better all aspects of his life would be if only he were possessed of such fine footwear.
Blessedly, Duncan doesn’t feature much in Duncanville Episode 3, which is mostly devoted to Annie’s exploits at work and Jack’s ill-advised attempts to be a cool dad, which after letting the kids skip school takes the form of a “cool” dinner of thrown-together expired ingredients which gives everyone food poisoning. Annie discovers a dead body in the trunk of a car she’s ticketing, which she assumes will kick-start her detective career, but she’s immediately shut down by the real cops and instead resolves to bust the fake shoe ring who sold unsuspecting Duncan Air Cordens — as in James.
This leads to some mother and son bonding in “Undacuva Mutha” as Annie and Duncan pursue leads from a strip club to a stakeout at the docks, while everyone else, thoroughly poisoned, fights over the bathrooms. At one point Duncan asks Annie why she never kisses Jack, prompting an awkward and unconvincing explanation about how relationships go through phases which might have proved interesting if it was given time to go anywhere. Alas, one clue leads to another and the case is eventually cracked by Annie, Duncan and the girls, who figured that hunting criminals might be safer than staying at home with Jack.
This is probably correct, but it raises the obvious point that Jack, besides Duncan himself, seems the least interesting character in this show, permanently consigned to a vaguely pathetic arc of trying to buy his kids’ affection. Perhaps he’ll get some better things to do further down the line, but being the weak link in a show that isn’t particularly great even when it’s firing on all cylinders is a worrying position to occupy.
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