“No Comfort” puts Paul out of action while Ally begins to fulfill his usual role in ways she doesn’t necessarily enjoy.
This recap of Breeders season 3, episode 3, “No Comfort”, contains spoilers.
“It’s going to be a good day.” Ha! Someone like Paul should know better than to say anything like that. At the beginning of “No Comfort”, he’s still tiptoeing around Luke as the whole family head to greet Leah and Alex as they return from their honeymoon, and within five minutes he has completely thrown his back out getting luggage from the car and ends up laying on the living room floor in agony, being fed a cocktail of pills by, as Ally calls her, “Dr. Trainspotting.”
Breeders season 3, episode 3 recap
This is a problem for a few reasons. For one thing, Paul’s irritable at the best of times, and even more so when he’s in excruciating pain (I’ve been there — when you have to sit down for a living, one of the first things you realize is that your lower spine is turning into a pack of digestive biscuits.) For another, if he can’t move, he needs looking after, and since Ally has things to do, that means he needs to be looked after by Luke.
Oh, and the cocktail of over-the-counter pain medications gets him deliriously high.
Paul’s quite chill when he’s high. He pushes Luke to grab a beer out of the fridge and tells him terrible dad jokes. They play Metroid Dread together and they forget all about emptying the dishwasher. They’re finally making progress, but only as a consequence of Paul being so out of it that he’s basically a different person.
Meanwhile, Ava’s vicar friend Susi accidentally lets slip to Ally that Ava started her first period, which Ava still hasn’t said anything about, so Ally suddenly feels as if she has been neglecting her daughter without even realizing it. So, when she returns home to find the boys lounging around playing video games, she’s furious. She berates Luke about the beer and the dishwasher. She reminds Paul he’s becoming a drug addict and needs to see a doctor. She shouts. She screams.
You see the theme coming together, don’t you?
At the dinner table, which now includes Leah and Jackie and Jim, Paul is still high. Ava is still mortified about her period, details of which she believes Ally has given to everyone present (she hasn’t.) Leah is still complaining about Alex — “I’ve married Jesus, and now I know why they crucified him.” — which causes Ally to lash out at her. Before long, everyone has left the table in horror.
Paul’s state of mind allows him to be more honest with Luke than he usually is. And while he confesses that he knows why their relationship broke down, and knows he’ll probably do the exact same thing again, he tells Luke that the love always supersedes everything else. That sinks in, or at least it seems to. The next day, when Paul wakes up without any medication and flies off the handle at Luke, Luke says that he’s just in pain, and he doesn’t mean it. And he’s right, though it’s still somewhat unclear whether or not he really understands that or is just trying to convince himself.
Nobody is making excuses for Ally. She spies Ava’s phone light up with Susi’s name and scrolls through their messages exchanging private and personal information. Ally hates the idea of Ava having a confidante who isn’t one of her parents, but when she goes to confront Susi, she’s disarmed by her forthrightness and kindness. She feels stupid. And as she confesses to Susi over wine (the good stuff, not the Eucharist kind), she feels like she’s losing everyone around her. When she returns home, an offer of £50 for a hug isn’t even taken. She’s left standing there alone.
Admittedly, that’s at least partly because Paul is laid flat on the floor upstairs, unable to move. Having finally accepted he needs to see a doctor, he’s told that he has been fast-tracked for an MRI scan so they can determine what’s wrong with him. The episode closes with his realization that this isn’t entirely typical: “Oh, sh*t.”