DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Kevin Can F**k Himself episode “The Machine” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, jaded sitcom spouses! Kevin Can F**k Himself‘s sixth episode paints a vivid picture of Kevin McRoberts’ ability to get sh*t done. Is it a metaphor for white patriarchy? It could be interpreted as such. This gift for wielding inexorable, completely unearned power with such ease illustrates the difficulty Allison faces in leaving him. The series has switched gears from killing Kevin to “killing” Allison, but this episode and last week’s are the first examples we have of his inexplicable influence.
Allison uses that to her advantage as we see an amalgam of moments featuring Kevin misusing that power to ruin lives while utilizing it to help Sam inadvertently. But will she become too comfortable in Worcester, failing to follow through with her fake death? Time will tell.
Ready to delve into “The Machine”? Let’s get to it.
The Fall of the Worcester Wild Dude
We open with Kevin (Eric Petersen) lamenting the loss of his local celebrity status as the newspaper dubs someone else the “Worcester Wild Dude.” He shows the offending paper to his father, Pete (Brian Howe), who’s living in the McRoberts’ basement. Emboldened by the need for revenge, Kevin decides to take action against Kelly McDunnaugh. We see the reporter herself (Abbey McBride) leave the Worcester Chronicle with her belongings. Kevin got her fired.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. She finds a decapitated stuffed animal horse head on the hood of her car, complete with fake blood. Why? Because the new Worcester Wild Dude is a horse, and Kevin McRoberts is a petty manbaby.
Meanwhile, Aunt D (Jamie Denbo) and Neil (Alex Bonifer) sit in bed at the hotel post-coitus. Neil proposes they see a movie together, but D clarifies their relationship boundary, asserting they’re a “just-in-this-room sorta thing.” Neil seems to take it in stride, but inside he feels rejected by The D.
Then, we see Allison (Annie Murphy) and Sam (Raymond Lee) chat about how the former will fake her death. Sam isn’t a fan of Allison’s suggestions. They also need to snag an ID, as she’ll change her name to Gertrude Fronch. While Sam’s driving, we see a car crash into them on Allison’s side. Thankfully, both emerge only slightly scathed (and probably rattled).
The Friends Who Get Plastered Together
Allison reunites with Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden) after the accident. Allison left the scene before EMTs arrived, fearing they’d take her to the hospital. However, her shoulder popped out of place, so she asks Patty to return it to its socket valiantly. Both decide that getting wasted is the best course of action. Good call!
After both are substantially sloshed and armed with Google’s wisdom, Patty pops her BFFs shoulder back into place. I adore this scene. I think it epitomizes Allison and Patty’s deep bond. The following day, Kevin remarks that Allison’s been working too much at the diner — that Sam’s “working her to the bone.” Kevin believes Allison has neglected her household duties, i.e., cleaning up after his excessive messes. So, like a maid?
Next, Sam returns home with his busted-up car to find Jenn (Meghan Leathers) waiting for him in the kitchen. Sam has a cast on his arm from the accident. Jenn discloses that Kevin stopped by the house, reporting that he believes Sam is working Allison too hard. He adds that Sam keeps the diner open to avoid his “disastrous home life.” Uh-oh. Kevin needs his comeuppance, and quickly.
Jenn finally pieces together the Allison puzzle. She wanted to believe her husband and Allison only attended AA meetings in tandem, but after digging to the heart of the matter, Jenn realizes there’s something more between them. Sam proposes they talk despite Jenn’s reluctance.
Then, Sam updates Allison on his conversation with Jenn. He mentions he’s inexplicably grateful to Kevin for being the tipping point in his marriage to Jenn. Funnily enough, after offering Sam awful marital advice in last week’s episode, Kevin purposely hammers the final nail in his marriage coffin.
While at the pub, Allison spots D and Neil laughing and canoodling from afar. When she arrives home, Allison rejects Kevin’s offer of hot tub time in favor of hanging out with D. Later, Allison reveals to D she knows about the fling with Neil. Allison cautions D about who Neil is and not to get too attached. D insists she knows what she’s doing.
After the bar visit with Allison, D gets dressed up for Neil’s visit. However, he doesn’t show, even after D sends a few texts.
Meanwhile, Tammy (Candice Coke) lightly scolds Patty for not making headway with packing despite Patty’s insistence that there’s one box in the beginning packing stages. Patty’s still hungover from her night with Allison, so she hurries off quickly to vomit.
Later, D stops by Neil’s place to confront him for missing their date. He brushes her off, claiming he needs to spend more time with Kevin. He’s neglected their friendship. He proceeds to insult D before she storms out, understandably hurt. Neil, you f*cked up big time. D heads to an AA meeting, and it’s heartbreaking watching her reveal that her relationship with Neil kept her sober, and she fears what’ll happen without him.
Then, we see Patty attempting to make a dent in packing her belongings for the move to Tammy’s place. However, she’s distracted when she hears Neil making a commotion upstairs. She finds him plastered, beyond inebriated following his pub crawl with Kevin. Patty attempts to persuade her brother to stay home instead of venturing to find Kevin.
Next, Allison asks Sam if she can acquire extra shifts. In response, Sam reveals Jenn’s parents are trying to claim sole ownership of his establishment. He assumes his soon-to-be-ex-wife informed her parents why they’re splitting. D stops by the diner and pulls Allison aside for a chat. She gives her niece a hefty sum of cash. D thinks of Allison as a daughter and urges her to keep the money.
Allison convinces Sam to lean into the “Kevin can remedy this” plan. She believes her dolt of a husband can prevent Jenn’s parents from seizing ownership of the diner.
Later, Allison and Patty get drunk again; this time, Allison asks Patty to pull out a few teeth, preferably the back ones. They can spread her dental records over the scene of her “death.” Of course, they need liquid courage for the teeth extraction. Allison believes if they sprinkle her teeth in the front seat and set fire to the car, that’ll suffice. Patty counters that that’s not how dental records or fires work. God, I adore these two.
Allison notes how Sam believes she’s stalling, which is essentially what Patty’s doing with moving in with Tammy. But why the rush? Patty gets a phone call about Neil, and we see him sitting behind bars. He makes bail, but D comes through in freeing him, not Patty. He thanks D for bailing him and reveals he’s not okay. Finally, some honesty from this dude.
Meanwhile, Allison plants the bug in Kevin’s ear regarding Sam’s “terrible divorce settlement” in the hopes the latter will find a solution to Sam’s problem. While Allison and Patty chat about their solidified friendship, Tammy enters the fray. She follows Allison out the door for a quick conversation. Tammy reveals she’s worried about Patty and shows Allison the camera footage of Patty entering the gas station in Vermont. Allison shrugs it off, claiming it must be a misunderstanding.
Tammy’s on the Trail
After Tammy departs, we see a compilation of scenes from Allison and Patty’s misadventures together. Sam snaps Allison back into reality with some exciting news. A plaintiff named “Kelvin McLoberts” issued a lawsuit against the diner for a “slip and fall.” Jenn’s parents would’ve been on the hook for the payout, so they relinquished their move to seize ownership of the diner. Huzzah! For once, Kevin wields his powers for good.
Allison, in so many words, claims she’s now getting her life back despite the Tammy of it all. She tells Sam she merely has to introduce the Tammy problem to Kevin to make it disappear. So, she’s not gonna fake her death? With only two episodes left, this seems too lackluster.
“The Machine” boasts nuanced, lived-in performances across the board, but Murphy, Inboden and Denbo shine. I’m glad we’re seeing more of Aunt D this season, as Denbo is an onscreen natural who brings relatability and searing vulnerability to her role. This series is an actor’s dream in that most of the cast get to showcase their versatility, i.e., their dramatic and comedic chops. Well, except for Howe and Petersen, who are both comedy powerhouses. Here’s hoping they break out of the sitcom bubble at some point.
Additionally, the Allison and Patty scenes in this episode are my favorite, especially when they’re drunk. They have such easy chemistry that translates perfectly, and it’s refreshing to watch these usually tense characters unwind and let loose.
“The Machine” is a solid outing, brimming with the show’s signature dark humor, snappy dialogue and fun character work. While the ending worries me slightly, and I think Allison should finish what she set out to do, I’m curious to see how this series concludes its story. I believe Allison and Patty will get a happy ending.
Kevin Can F**k Himself drops new episodes every Monday at 9 pm EST on AMC and AMC Plus.
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