“No Cure: Part 2” caps off an intense two-part finale and stellar first season, as Breeders proves itself to be one of the most touchingly honest depictions of parenting that we’ve seen in ages.
This recap of Breeders Season 1, Episode 10, “No Cure: Part 2”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
After a moving and unexpectedly dark two-part finale, Breeders Episode 10 finally returns to its funny, relatable status quo – with Paul (Martin Freeman) screaming and swearing at his children.
It probably says a lot about FX’s deft Chris Addison-penned comedy series that foul-mouthed tirades aimed at kids make for a happy ending, but compared to Luke (George Wakeman) potentially dying from his encephalitis, some swearing is a small affair.
Luke’s rapidly-worsening health, which left Paul in a spiral of self-loathing and summoned a frantic Ally (Daisy Haggard) back from Berlin, was the ticking clock of “No Cure: Part 2”, as a smart, well-observed show about parenting became a smart, well-observed one about grief. Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard sold the trauma of Luke’s condition and the terrifying potential of losing him with a credible rawness, and Paul’s parents, Jackie (Joanna Bacon) and Jim (Alun Armstrong), found the right note between supportive and distant – a balance they seem to have always held, and which perhaps explains Paul’s parental anxieties and outbursts.
But Breeders Episode 10, like the rest of the show, was about coming to terms with not being perfect; as a spouse, a parent, a child, or whatever. “No Cure: Part 2” once again deployed flashbacks to Luke’s arrival in Paul and Ally’s lives, how his growing up had helped to shape them; juxtaposed with how the possibility of him no longer being there threatened to tear them apart, it was an effective portrait of parenthood as a full range of diverse emotions, not just the doe-eyed adoration that’s easiest to swallow.
Paul and Ally’s shortcomings have always held Breeders together. But it’s their love for Luke and each other, and their willingness to compromise, to be there, that binds their family in much the same way that how we love, not who or why we love, defines our own daily lives. Throughout its ten-episode first season, Breeders has exemplified the imperfect realities of relationships, and the mundane responsibilities and routines that threaten them all the time. It was always witty, but it was also always true. The final two episodes might have ventured into darker, more emotional territory, but they never lost that essential honesty. Sometimes all we need to hear is that we don’t need to be perfect.
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