DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Kevin Can F Himself episode “New Tricks” is rife with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, jaded sitcom characters! Kevin Can F Himself premiered its second episode on AMC Plus. “New Tricks” dives deeper into Allison’s unraveling world and her quest to escape her mundane life. Once again, Annie Murphy is the driving force of this show, delving further into Allison’s psyche and imbuing her with vulnerability. While Kevin Can F Himself doesn’t answer my questions from the previous episode i.e. whether the sitcom aspect is a metaphor for Allison’s convoluted mental state, it does propel the plot forward.
Ready to delve into “New Tricks”? Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Allison (Murphy) sitting on a pier at a restaurant, enveloped in a book. The environment is peaceful and serene. Allison herself appears to be content. A waitress opens a dialogue with her. Allison broaches the subject of her happiness. She nonchalantly mentions that she murdered her husband. The waitress asks her how she did it.
However, Allison wakes up to Kevin (Eric Petersen) ecstatically jumping on their bed. Apparently, he’s gearing up to receive a Bill Belichick hoodie, one that he purchased with a considerable amount of money. Much to Allison’s annoyance. Once he leaves, the sitcom colors fade to Allison’s bleak reality. She proceeds to clean up after her husband.
Later, Kevin, Neil (Alex Bonifer) and Pete (Brian Howe) are eagerly chatting about Kevin’s impending Belichick hoodie. Kevin laments that said legendary hoodie hasn’t arrived yet. They notice that new neighbors are moving in next door.
Next, Allison is standing in an alley. She procures the prized hoodie from a box. It’s encased in glass. She proceeds to smash the glass and removes the article of clothing. We see her strolling down the sidewalk with a pep in her step — she’s currently donning her husband’s hoodie.
Then, Allison waltzes into the local library. She wants to look up various methods of murder. You know … it’s research for a book. Unfortunately, she’s encumbered with firewall after firewall when she uses a search engine. Allison overhears one library patron listening to porn. She tries to ask him how he circumvented the firewall when the man collapses to the ground. He’s dead.
Later, Allison learns from the EMT on the scene that the dearly departed soul died from a drug overdose. Oxycodone, to be exact. It’s an epidemic that’s sweeping small-town New England. Suddenly, Allison is struck with an idea. She can feed Kevin an overabundance of oxy!
Meanwhile, Allison is at the doctor’s office. She fibs to the doc that she’s suffering from lower back pain. Of course, we know she’s hoping the good doctor will prescribe her oxycodone. However, he urges her to talk to someone first. He doesn’t just dole out oxy unless a patient’s in an immense amount of pain.
Prior to leaving, the nurse on staff discreetly hands her a business card for a mysterious person that can eradicate Allison’s pain. Allison is under the impression that said nurse is suggesting she see a therapist. Allison doesn’t do therapy.
Then, while at work at the liquor store, Allison asks her aunt how her uncle is faring with his pain. Perhaps she can surreptitiously swipe his oxy. Her aunt urges her to not let herself go. Allison must keep her appearance up to code for the sake of her husband. Nice. The sexism and double standards are visible even from here. But it’s a sitcom wife’s sacred duty to look presentable for her husband!
Now, Sam (Raymond Lee) spots Allison from outside. He jovially waves at her. Allison turns away from him in abject embarrassment. Later, Allison arrives at home to her sitcom-infused living room to find Kevin in a tizzy. He believes that someone stole his Belichick hoodie.
According to Alexa, it was delivered. He shoves the blame on the new neighbors, who happen to be British. He, along with Neil, decides to retaliate against them. Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden) joins in on the shenanigans. Next, Allison confronts Patty for revealing that savings bombshell in the last episode. Allison checked for confirmation — the money she saved with Kevin is indeed gone. So, why did Patty disclose that information if they’re not friends?
Allison notes that Patty makes fun of her for wanting more out of life, yet Patty’s perfectly fine living a mediocre existence. This scene is subtle but powerful. Allison turns the tables on Patty and pities her.
Later, Allison bakes apology cookies for the ogling mechanic. She apologizes for punching him in the last episode. Naturally, his toxic masculinity kicks in and he emphatically insists that she didn’t deck him. Allison inquires as to whether or not he has oxy on hand. He informs her that he doesn’t carry that stuff. However, he knows someone who does. The ogling mechanic orders her to meet his connection under a bridge at midnight.
Then, the flames of rivalry between Kevin and the English neighbors have been properly stoked. Kevin tells Allison that he installed a bevy of security equipment around the house to ensure that his enemies don’t try to steal anything. Neil brings in a canine to act as a guard dog. Allison is over the moon — she can have a fluffy companion!
Next, Allison sports an inconspicuous outfit and tries to sneak out of the house. Prior to crawling out of the window, she has a heart-to-heart with the resident guard dog. Allison arrives at the meeting place per the ogling mechanic’s instructions. A van pulls up. A guy who looks like a Midwestern dad urges her to get in the van. Something seems amiss here. His language is too vague, and methinks they’re not on the same page.
Sure enough, the dude thinks Allison is a prostitute and she’s going to blow him. The ogling mechanic got his revenge! Oh, and Midwestern Dad doesn’t have any oxy. She inadvertently elbows him in the nose and subsequently breaks it. Allison flees the scene.
Later, Allison wanders over to Bev’s Diner to find Sam cleaning up after hours. He makes her an Irish coffee. She just wants someone to talk to. It’s becoming more clear that the two have a romantic history. Allison divulges that she’s spent the last decade living in a fog. Now, she has something to say, but no one will listen. She confesses that she wishes Sam had been around during that period in her life.
However, Sam reveals that she was the one who withdrew prior to his marriage. Allison, offended, storms out. Now, she heads home to find that all of her furniture is missing. Apparently, Kevin got rid of it in the name of insurance fraud. He’s going to report it all as stolen, and pin the act on the British neighbors.
Oh, and he disposed of the dog. He noticed on the security cameras that someone (Allison) was outside their house, but the dog failed to do anything about it.
Then, Allison decides to put that business card from the doctor’s office to good use. She arrives at the “Salon.” It’s obviously a cover for a drug ring. Allison enters the establishment and finds none other than Patty at the helm of the Salon’s shady business dealings. So, Patty’s life isn’t that boring after all. Time to get that oxy and murder your husband!
“New Tricks” is a step up from the first episode. The stakes are raised, and Allison’s objective is set in stone. However, I still hope that we eventually learn more about the mechanics of Allison’s sitcom surroundings. I’m starting to believe that it represents the entrapped, isolated life that Allison lives. The plight of the sitcom wife.
Now, one thing that sticks out to me is the librarian’s simple query: Why doesn’t Allison simply divorce Kevin? Well, firstly, there wouldn’t be a viable story for Kevin Can F Himself. Secondly, Allison feels so imprisoned that she can’t be free until he’s really gone. But you do wonder what spurs a housewife to murder her husband, especially one that doesn’t enact bodily harm against her.
Regardless, I’m ready to see this through and find out what happens. At the very least, Murphy and Inboden are interesting enough to arrest my attention.
The first two episodes of Kevin Can F Himself are now available on AMC Plus. They’ll also air for a broader audience on AMC on Sunday, July 20.
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