It’s a new day in Rutherford Falls and things have changed a bit. In the season two premiere, “White Man in the Cupboard,” Reagan (Jana Schmieding) struggles to keep up with her workload at the new Minishonka cultural center. Terry’s (Michael Greyeyes) plans aren’t going as expected, as his birthday approaches. And everyone … mainly Miss Fish (Beth Stelling) … is still wondering where Nathan (Ed Helms) is.
At the end of last season, Nathan left Rutherford Falls after learning he’s not a Rutherford. And also learning that Terry wanted him to be the Mickey Mouse of Ye Olde Rutherford Falls Village. Josh Carter (Dustin Milligan) decided to publish Nathan’s story, causing Reagan to break up with him for exploiting her best friend. That story turned into a podcast.
Nathan has been gone for a few months. Miss Fish asks about him every time she visits the Rutherford Museum … wait … the Minishonka Cultural Center. Reagan turned the Rutherford Museum into her cultural center until her new building is complete. That should be in about a year. Until then, she and Bobby (Jesse Leigh) give daily tours, following the same format that Nathan used, including the story about the possum infestation.
Life goes on. Renee Thomas (Kimberly Guerrero) is planning a surprise party for Terry’s birthday, even though he hates surprise parties. She’s counting on Reagan to do a lot of the work, despite her demanding schedule. Her schedule is demanding because of Terry, who thinks she needs to drink more water. Reagan says she just needs more help, but it’s not in the budget.
Bobby is convinced the cultural center is haunted. They call on Wayne (Bobby Wilson) and Sally (Julia Jones) to help them cleanse the house. Sally thinks it’s white ghosts who are mad that Natives are occupying the house. They bring lots of ghost hunting equipment and sacred items including a Cheers DVD, a bottle of Chardonnay and books by someone named Malcolm Gladwell. Bobby even left out a plate of unseasoned chicken as bait for the ghost. And it worked! The chicken is gone!
Terry and Reagan walk through Ye Olde Rutherford Falls and run into some of the business owners led by one proud Minishonka woman, Feather Day (Kaniehtiio Horn). Feather says the old timey colonizer crap is infringing on their business and their freedom. Feather owns a gym called Sweat. Terry says they will be swimming in a lot of money so she shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Feather gets annoyed and says can sweat what and where and who she chooses.
The ghost hunt continues. Wayne and Sally get startled when they hear a creaking noise. Bobby goes to the room where the noise came from and sees a man with long hair and a long beard. Bobby punches the guy, knocking him to the floor. Wayne and Sally jump in ready to beat the guy up. Reagan stops them because that man is actually Nathan.
Reagan explains to Bobby that Nathan has been hiding in the house for a couple of months. He’s embarrassed about how he acted and about the podcast. Nathan says he’s been working on himself since then, reading books on white fragility. He’s almost ready to rejoin society but first he has to apologize and show people that he’s changed. He’s also been helping Reagan set up the cultural center, for which she took full credit for.
Bobby isn’t upset about any of that, but is mad that Nathan ghosted them. Nathan knows Bobby deserves a huge apology. He plans to apologize to the entire town all at once, but Reagan tells him to apologize to Bobby now. Nathan stands up to give a formal apology. He says two words and Bobby jumps into his arms. They forgive Nathan for everything.
Terry gets bad news that the rebranded shops aren’t doing well. This wasn’t the best time to promote the American brand. Terry is optimistic though. He just knows Mark Wahlberg will release a patriotic movie with a dog soon and everything will be okay. His accountant isn’t so sure.
Reagan and Nathan settle in for P. F. Changs and a movie. After Bobby forgave Nathan so easily, he wonders if he should go ahead and apologize to the rest of the own. As much as Reagan hates to lose her white man in the cupboard, she thinks it’s a good idea. She picks up her phone to call in the food and has 140 new text messages. Nathan tells her to forget about work and order the food. He starts to ask her for help with his apology but withdrawals. That’s his responsibility. That and adding more photos to Terry’s birthday slideshow.
Nathan gets a haircut and shave. He goes to Bobby to help with his big apology. He wants to have an event where he can show everyone how much he’s changed. That he’s not self-centered anymore. But coming up with an idea to do that is hard. Nathan just wants the apology to be easy, the way it was with Bobby. They both feel a moment coming on so Bobby pulls out his phone to video the process.
Renee invited who’s who in Rutherford Falls to Terry’s surprise party. She still has a few tasks to complete and asks Reagan to decorate the cake. Renee didn’t want to pay $100 to have it professionally done. Of course Reagan says okay and heads to the kitchen.
Nathan and Bobby show up with a plan for Nathan’s reentry. Bobby will go in to set up a video that they made and give instructions to the DJ of when to play it.
Terry arrives at the restaurant, thinking he’s just having dinner with Renee. When he walks in he’s greeted by a large crowd shouting “Surprise!” Everyone is even more excited when Renee reveals an even bigger surprise. The DJ plays “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Renee and Terry start dancing and not just any dance. They do the routine from Dirty Dancing! It’s amazing!
Reagan accidentally spills water on the cake. Wayne just happens to walk in at that moment. He says Renee asked him to decorate the cake and he said no. Reagan didn’t know that was an option. It’s all about setting boundaries.
Everyone is enjoying Terry and Renee’s dance. Nathan realizes he’s doing exactly everything he said he wouldn’t do in the video. He tells Bobby to call it off. Bobby tries to get the DJ’s attention, but the DJ mistakes it for the signal.
Terry and Renee are about to recreate the big move where Baby jumps into Patrick Swayze’s arms when the music stops and Nathan’s video starts playing. Nathan apologizes in the video. He says he will own every choice he makes. That was old Nathan, this is Nathan 2.0. He’s no longer that guy that centers himself in the situation, sucking up all the air in the room.
Nathan 3.0 jumps in front of the screen to tell everyone to ignore the video. That was old Nathan, this is the new, new Nathan. He knows not to center himself in this way. He yells at Bobby to stop the video, but the kid doesn’t know how to use keys on a computer. They’re used to using apps on a phone.
The video stops and Terry reminds Nathan that it’s his birthday party. Nathan feels bad for crashing the party, but then Terry says he wants to watch the video. Bobby hits play again and it just turns bad for Nathan. Reagan is on the side watching and also blames Nathan for ruining the birthday cake.
The party goes on. Nathan apologizes to Terry. Terry says he’s been stressed out all week and it was hilarious watching Nathan drown. He accepts Nathan’s apology. Nathan feels better and tries to give Terry the same uplifting words that Terry once gave him. All this stuff is going to work itself out. It didn’t for Nathan though.
Reagan sits at the bar when Renee and Terry join her. Renee asks Reagan to ask people to take a photo and put it in Terry’s guest book. Reagan says ‘nah man’ and tells Terry that she’s hiring an Assistant. Renee is in shock that Reagan said no.
Reagan joins Nathan outside, reflecting on the night. Nathan says he just wanted people to know he changed. It came off wrong. He’s not a good guy, just some guy. Reagan says he’s an a**hole. She is too. She learned that all of her efforts are pointless. She’s not superhuman. They just need to accept that they are a couple of a**holes, hurdling through space, on a big dumb rock, crawling with other a**holes. If they accept that, then maybe they could actually feel good about themselves.
Mayor Deirdre Chisenhall (Dana L. Wilson) arrives at Terry’s party. He approaches her, wanting to talk about branding the Ye Olde village. She stops him before he gets started to tell him that she has been named the interim state controller. Terry realizes that the town will have to elect a new mayor. Deirdre thinks he wants to be mayor.
Terry turns into a robot, analyzing the situation. He says this is a critical time. The next mayor will have a major influence on the future of the town. It is of the utmost importance that Terry secures a candidate who bolsters his plans. He sets out to find the next mayor of Rutherford Falls.
You can stream episodes of Rutherford Falls on Peacock.
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