Breeders season 1, episode 5 recap – “No Dad”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 30, 2020 (Last updated: February 7, 2024)
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Breeders season 1, episode 5 recap - "No Dad"


Paul, Ally, and the kids are forced to confront life and death in “No Dad”, as a shocking development throws everyone for a loop.

This recap of Breeders Season 1, Episode 5, “No Dad”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Breeders Episode 5, the best episode of the season thus far, begins with death — that of Sprout, the family gerbil. Paul (Martin Freeman) has the responsibility of telling the kids, who take it poorly; Luke (George Wakeman) especially is devastated, but luckily Michael (Michael McKean) is still on-hand to dispense his unusual wisdom, insisting that when people die they live inside us, so nobody ever really dies.

Paul and Ally (Daisy Haggard) both decide not to replace Sprout, but Michael takes it upon himself to buy a replacement gerbil. The only problem is that on his way out of the pet shop he’s hit by a car and killed.

This is a shocking development in “No Dad”, and hit me with about the same amount of force as the car hit Michael. For a knockabout, very funny show about parenting, even one that tackles some relatable and at times quite serious issues, this was genuinely unexpected. When a police officer arrives to break the news to Ally, Daisy Haggard’s reaction, which veers from resigned to tearful to slightly delirious, is perfect.

The responsibility of breaking the news to the kids once again falls to Paul, but they take it well thanks to what Michael said about Sprout. Paul naively presses the issue, obviously concerned that they’re not really grasping the finality of the matter, and Luke becomes distraught at the prospect of his own mortality. You just can’t win with that kid.

Paul’s next job is to identify the body. Ally’s mother, who hated Michael, thinks she should also be present since she’s technically his widow, but Paul chastises her for speaking ill of the dead and makes her apologize to Ally. For some reason this whole affair has made Ally incredibly horny, which she informs Paul of, leading to an awkward encounter with Carl (Tim Steed) outside, who sees Paul’s erection as he’s explaining that he’s going to identify his father-in-law’s dead body. Grief is indeed a complex thing.

When Paul visits the hospital he has flashbacks to his first meeting with Michael — a few drinks that Ally left him to deal with alone. They’re fond, even warm memories, and he assures Michael that he’ll look after Ally, thanking him for having such an amazing daughter.

Ally is still very turned on by all this.

Eventually, Luke gets upset about Sprout, so the whole family goes out to bury him. Ally says a few words about the gerbil, which are really all the words she wanted and needed to say about her father. Their relationship was complicated and distant, but also loving, in its way. She eulogizes Sprout and Michael both in a touching scene, finally processing her grief.

“No Dad” was a fine, fine episode of television.

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