There’s nothing better than a spontaneous DiMeo road trip than one with an actual destination.
The DiMeos and Kenneth head out on a mission this week on Speechless. They succeed, but just not the way they had in mind originally.
Kenneth thinks he has identified the perfect aide for JJ for college. His name is Tim and he is currently in Seattle. The gang piles into the van and heads north. Maya is armed with materials on how to care for Jimmy. Ray is armed with a Scout manual hoping to earn badges that will look good on his college resume.
The trip gets a little bumpy both literally and figuratively. There are squabbles, flat tires, a bear on the prowl, but also heartfelt moments that make this episode loved by so many.
This week’s “Top 5” is brought to you by the letter “B”. Let’s go!
I would guess that every special needs parent is familiar with “the binder”. At my house, we have several! Maya’s binder has all the details about caring for JJ. As you might imagine, the instructions are specifically written from Maya’s perspective.
Everyone is standing outside the van after the tires go flat on the bumpy road. When Maya trips, the binder goes flying into the creek. Maya panics and insists that Kenneth stay behind and help her rewrite the contents of the manual while the rest of the family heads to town for new tires.
Before long, Kenneth admits that he created a second copy of the binder, which he also brought on the trip. At first, Maya is overjoyed and relieved. Then she sees that Kenneth made some modifications to the contents. How dare he, she thinks. The pair begin arguing and Maya locks Kenneth out of the van.
— Speechless (@Speechless_ABC) March 31, 2019
Kenneth comes charging at the van begging to be let in because a bear is chasing him. Maya refuses while Ray surmises that the bear is indeed a brown bear based on its color and his trusty scouting manual.
Kenneth runs to a nearby cabin, but Maya is close behind and breaks down the door in dramatic fashion. She is still angry with Kenneth all while a bear, excuse me, a brown bear, is nipping at their heels.
Kenneth and Maya clear the air about the binder, but the bear is still a threat. Ray tries to use his newfound wilderness knowledge to scare the bear away with loud clanging cans. Unfortunately, he is actually luring the bear to him with the scent leftover from the beef jerky he used to bookmark the manual.
Ray tosses the manual and the bear chases after. They all escape the bear and Kenneth even discovers some of the original binder pages washing up from the creek. Not only did they survive the bear, Maya and Kenneth salvaged their friendship. They are pretty much besties now.
Did I mention that our travelers had been warned about that bumpy road that led to the bear? Indeed, a noticeably bald gentleman surprised Jimmy at the driver’s side window warning them before they made the fateful turn.
Who knew that this bald man would appear again in town at the gas station? Actually, it was his brother. Then the same looking bald man turns up as the town mechanic claiming to be the third brother. It makes for some good laughs and no one is quite sure if it is really all the same person.
A quick reveal at the end of the episode shows the three identical brothers sitting at the breakfast counter. It’s a fun twist on a common trope used in storytelling about small towns.
Who knew that Dylan could get so excited about a bouncy ball from a prize machine? There are several funny moments as Dylan decides how to use her precious quarter she found on the ground.
Particularly amusing is her mistaking the coin’s image of George Washington for J.K. Rowling’s “Dumbledore” character. Then we see her struggle to choose which prize machine will be the recipient of the coin.
She settles on the bouncy ball machine and is delighted with her prize. She makes a celebratory bounce and the ball flies through the window. All that effort and the ball is gone!
The absolute best part of the episode revolves around Jimmy, JJ and Dylan eating breakfast at the town’s diner. It looks dumpy on the outside but delightful on the inside. And the waffles are spectacular, but that’s not the best part.
The best part revolves around Jimmy and JJ enjoying some exclusive father son time. Remember, Dylan is busy with her prize selection. Jimmy and JJ play pinball, choose music from the jukebox and have a heart to heart over the amazing waffles.
Jimmy is having such a great time that he stalls on picking up the van, which has been ready to go for some time. JJ asks, “Dad, are you crying?”
Jimmy shares that he needs time with JJ before he goes away to college just like Maya does. The DiMeo dad tells JJ and Dylan “the best part of my day” is “being with you guys, being with you alone”. He is envious of all the professors and classmates that will take over this time with JJ. And, yes, Jimmy is crying. So are most of the viewers at this point!
JJ assures his dad that he will make sure there is bonding time with both Maya and Jimmy before he leaves for college.
— Speechless (@Speechless_ABC) March 30, 2019
So, wait. What about meeting Tim? Tim bails on the meeting after seeing the DiMeos at the coffee shop. I guess Tim cannot handle the awesomeness that is the DiMeo family. That’s okay. The trip was a big success.
Ray has renewed confidence in his college prospects. Maya and Kenneth became better (maybe best?) friends. Then Jimmy has his special moments with JJ. All good! Well, except for maybe Dylan losing her bouncy ball. Somehow I think she will recover nicely.
Be sure to tune in for a new episode of the Speechless podcast with Zach Anner this week. He interviews Sarah Chalke of Melanie Hetzel fame.
Please spread the word about fans wanting more Speechless by using the hashtag #RenewSpeechless on social media. Here’s to hoping for a season 4 announcement!