“No Can Do” sees problems piling on the family, leading to some poignant scenes and the worry of even worse to come.
This recap of Breeders season 3, episode 5, “No Can Do”, contains spoilers.
Ava’s birthday is approaching. But so is Ally’s potential financial ruin, so that’s a bit of an issue in “No Can Do”. Ava is the rare teenage girl who doesn’t want to be the center of attention, so I know I wouldn’t have pushed her for a party, but given the distance we’ve seen developing between Ava and her mother recently, it’s no surprise that Ally is overcompensating. Or trying to, anyway.
Breeders season 3, episode 5 recap
Ally’s determination to save the business is undermined a bit by the fact the business doesn’t have any money. Her pitch to coked-up bankers doesn’t go well — the episode smartly doesn’t show it, instead cutting directly to Ally and Darren in the pub after, complaining — and attracting venture capitalist types is a no-go given the risks investment represents. Darren, who is comically hopeless but so clearly in love with Ally that he can’t be honest with her about their predicament, needs to somehow secure some capital so that Ally can work whatever magic everyone seems to think she has. But despite Jim and Jackie’s insistence that she’s a “clever sausage”, and Darren claiming to be able to feel her energy like standing next to an electrical substation, no progress seems to be forthcoming.
It seems like Paul is going to rub salt into the wound since he’s up for a promotion at work that he’s virtually guaranteed to get, but instead he’s passed over in favor of an enthusiastic Chicagoan named Brandon whom the board flew halfway across the world specifically for the position. And yet Paul takes this… quite well, actually. This is as much a surprise to him as it is to anyone else, including Luke, whom he shares the not-so-bad news with. But the not-so-bad news keeps piling up. Ava’s friend Grace is pulled away from her party preparations by her parents because her twenty-something cousin has died suddenly in a car crash. She insists Ava go ahead with the party anyway, but the vibes are off, understandably.
Potential salvation comes in the form of Leah and Alex, both of whom are willing to release the equity on their houses to front Ally the capital to save the business, which overwhelms her to such an extent that she’s still in floods of tears when she and Paul make it back home. Of course, she’s crying because the thought of someone actually giving her the capital means that she has to reckon with whether or not she can actually save the business, which of course she can’t. All her bluster before was just pie-in-the-sky twaddle, a way to coach herself into not having to confront the idea that the job she has devoted a decade of her life to isn’t going to be there anymore. With her medication mixup and her worsening relationship with Ava, she didn’t want to confront that reality. But now she has to — and just in time for Ava’s birthday party.
To make matters worse, Paul’s initial revelation that he just isn’t that ambitious and sees his work as simply something he does during the day turns out to be false. When Brandon proposes a new initiative to share details of knife crime on the insides of fast-food packaging in order to raise awareness and “hit the demographic hard”, Paul rightly points out that this is classist and insensitive, and when Brandon patronizes him, Paul calls him a “shithouse”. It’s a minor insult stemming from frustration, and Paul apologizes for it, but Brandon lodges an official complaint with HR about Paul’s workplace bullying and is only willing to keep the matter informal if Paul apologizes to him, which he naturally doesn’t want to do.
Paul’s boss comes to the house to tell him this, right as Ava’s birthday party is about to start. During the festivities he has to tell Leah and Alex that Ally can’t accept the money, float the possibility of losing his job to Ally, and then has to contend with Grace, still in mourning, turning up right in the middle of everyone singing Happy Birthday. Ava, spotting Ally leaving in a hurry, has an internal crisis. Paul finds her in church, having snuck away, and she laments having found herself wanting attention and resenting Grace for inadvertently stealing it from her. She also says outright, perhaps for the first time, that she doesn’t think she likes her mum very much anymore.
Paul, as is becoming his thing, shares all this with Luke. And then he goes into work and apologizes to Brandon, who wants to get started making some changes. Change is definitely something Paul and his family need, but one assumes Brandon’s kind of change isn’t quite what anyone had in mind.