Episode Report Card
Al Lowe: A | 1 USERS: A+
Water, Water, Everywhere
y. "Do you remember what a great swimmer I was?" she asks. Yes, he says, even remembering she was All-CIF. "I was! Thank you!" she says. She's mad, she says, because she doesn't get a say in how her daughter learns to swim. "Me!" she reiterates. "All-CIF!" Adam: "Because you have to work." Exactly, Julia says. But Adam puts the nix on that excuse. She doesn't have to choose between being a mom and having to work. "You may not be there all the time," he says, "but the time that you do have, you can make it count. She's your daughter. Teach her how to swim. She'll remember that for the rest of her life." Julia is thrilled -- this is just what she wanted to hear. With hugs and kisses, she prepares to head out, but remembers the Tibetan prayer stone from Raquel. She passes it on to Adam, and though they laugh about it, she does relay that it is for comfort and good luck, with Max.

Later, Adam and Kristina walk the halls of the lauded Footpath Elementary. To protect themselves, they do the thing where you find negatives about the thing you really, really want. I did this just yesterday on a car lot. I mean, I can't really buy a car right now, but I need (mostly want) to, so I was like, "yes, well, it's nice but aren't these wheels a little round?" They are doing the same, noting every speck of dirt and spot of peeling paint. They seem to be fooling themselves until they pass an open classroom. Inside, kids work at tables together pretty peacefully while attentive teachers cruise around helping them. There is a boy at one table in a sailor costume. A look of true poignancy passes over Kristina's face. "We probably can't afford this place, anyway," Adam says, hoping for the opposite, and Kristina says she knows, knowing exactly what he means. They meet with the school director and jabber so much and so crazily in her face that I feel like she is probably wanting to suggest they attend her school, themselves. Calm down. Initially, she does not want to meet with Max yet, because she is pretty sure they won't have a place for him until the next school year. But they jabber her into submission. "You look a little like Oprah!" Kristina says, as she nervously jabbers herself out the door, and I can see the director of the school making a mental note that Max could not possibly be as weird and annoying as his own parents.

But, look, pushing your way through something is obviously the Braverman Way. Proof: over at the swim class, Julia is making a big splash. Oh, come on. Give that one to me. Girlfriend rolls up poolside in full-on racewear. A real racing style swimsuit, cap, goggles, the whole nine. Mama looks fine, too. She struts confidently to a starting block, shakes out a little warm-up, sets herself, and launches into the lane, swimming masterfully across the pool, kick-turning and swimming straight up to the amazed Joel and Sydney. "Mommy!" Sydney says. "You look like a fish!" Julia whips off her cap. "Want me to teach you how to swim like a fish?" Julia asks, and Sydney says yes. Aw, yay, I think. Julia is winning! But, not so fast. Carrying Sydney to the edge of the pool, she chats about how Grandpa Zeek taught her to swim, dropping her in the deep end of the pool when she was two. Oh, I just love people like that -- parenting by fear! Ha ha... wait, no I really do not. Anyway, Julia's not doing that. She tells Sydney to trust her, and has her hold on to the side of the pool while she edges a few feet away. Sydney is scared, and says she doesn't know how to swim. "I saw you kicking," Julia says, soothingly. "That's all you need to know how to do." She tells her to kick off the wall and swim to her. All the other parents and kids watch nervously, along with Joel, who is hanging back from the scene. Finally, when Sydney says she can't do it, he joins Team Julia. "Yeah, you can, honey," he says. "We know you can." They promise she will be okay, and she says she'll do it. The thing is, she doesn't kick off from the wall at all, she merely lets go of it and immediately sinks. Joel gets nervous. "She's gonna kick," Julia says as they watch Sydney kind of flail around under water. "She's sinking, is what she's doing," Joel says, but Julia says to give her a second. Raquel looks mortified. After a few more seconds, Sydney kicks to the surface. "Help, Daddy!" she screams, but to Julia this is a success. "You swam!" she cries, as Joel rushes to Sydney's side, but Syd ain't having it. "You DROWNDED ME!" she screams at her mother, who looks shocked that her child would be upset about swallowing about a gallon of pool water. "She... swam..." she mutters to the judging crowd as Joel carries away the hacking Sydney (who, frankly, could tone it down about 93 notches).

Sarah and Zeek are at the junkyard, looking for pieces of junk to use on her own piece of junk. They're walking around banging on hunks of metal when Sarah asks what Zeek would think about her moving into his office for a while. "Why the hell would you want to do that?" he asks, dismissively. "It's all moldy." She says she knows, but the small room she's sharing with Amber is a little tight. He tries again to deflect, mumbling that he uses his office to work. "Right..." she says. Finally, she gets up the nerve to quietly ask the real question. "Dad," she says. "Why do you have condoms in the office?" Zeek doesn't look at her. "I don't want to talk to you about that," he says and walks away.

Back at the pool, Sydney must be in the locker room changing while Julia talks to Joel. "I just thought..." she says, kind of shrugging it all off. He interrupts. "You just thought you could pop in, have your way, and pop back out again?" Dude, harsh. And, yet, apt. Julia is surprised at his serious reaction. "You're mad," she says. He says she should have told him she was coming. "She did swim," she says, smiling in that way that people do when they are wrong and don't want to apologize. "You saw that." Joel won't play, though. "See you at home," he says, sighing. Finally, as he walks away, Julia does what needs to be done. "Joel," she says. "Sorry." It's not much, but I was impressed she apologized, especially as she sees Sydney come out of the locker room escorted by none other than Raquel. Ugh.

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