Long Lost Lawrence
Margaret gets a shock when her children pile on the news that none of them will be home for Thanksgiving. Except for Todd, of course, whose encouragement does not sway her.
Allison is spending the occasion with Chuck’s family; Lawrence will be working for the Governor; Clem and Chet will be going to Philadelphia. Francey consoles her as Susan walks in with the new case for the episode. Chloe Brown, a bank teller, is suing the bank for worker’s comp for an injury she sustained during a robbery. Allison is the one who treated her in the ER and referred her. Margaret isn’t interested but Todd is as the amount is close to a million dollars. Everyone around and except Margret is going to be with their families on the holiday and it breaks her heart.
She meets with the Brown family, who strike them as odd. Chloe, when asked to testify against the robbers by Margaret, diverts the conversation, signaling something is wrong. Todd has placed a recorder in the room and notifies his mother of the same later. There is something odd with the family and Todd will investigate further. His suspicions are proved right when he gets an Instagram DM from Yvonne’s, Chloe’s mother, account where Chloe confesses to the robbery in the video.
Todd and Margaret then go to the Brown house to talk about it. The Brown parents give them several pieces of information but Chloe is not present as she is sleeping. They tell the Wrights that Chloe has been a depressed and mentally unstable child and has been making heavy medications for that. On the day of the robbery, they lament not being with her as they went to the Blazer’s game and were even on the kiss cam. They celebrated their anniversary that day which made the news of the robbery hit even harder.
Chloe has been surfing Clip Clop, a streaming service, all day since the injury has rendered her unable to work. The Wrights are about to leave when they discover Clancy, Chloe’s brother fixing the lawn mower. And, that Chloe is awake and peeking out of her room. Margaret confides in Todd that she is upset her children do not understand her personal crisis. Ever since Henry left, she has been left alone and no one has come to her aid. Todd is alone that night and suddenly realizes something. He goes to East Sandy and finds that Allison and Lawrence are spending time together but have not invited Todd.
The siblings have an elaborate argument where Lawrence accuses Todd of being Margaret’s favorite and hogging her attention and Todd does the same. Allison then slyly claims she is the favorite one but the trio sleep together in one room, as Margeret dives into nostalgia about her children back home. Allison inquires about the case and Todd reveals the medications but that strikes her oddly. Since she treated her in the ER, she repeatedly asked Chloe if she was on medications and she said no every single time. Lawrence also hears the name “Yvonne” during their conversation. Lawrence goes back to the Governor’s retreat and Allison to Chuck’s parents.
When Allison mentions this to Chuck, he reveals that Todd asked him to check the kiss cam footage from that day. The Brown couple paid almost 200 bucks, while being despondent, to the cam guy to be on screen. They wanted to have a strong alibi in case they came under suspicion. Chet reveals something shocking to Lawrence. There was a robbery in Portland 67 years ago where the specifics were the same as this one. It was carried out by someone who had a daughter named Yvonne. Lawrence’s ears stand up when he hears this. Something is definitely going on!
Chuck tearfully says a few words for Robert, his young brother who died a few years ago and it inspires Allison to be with Margaret on the holiday. Chuck’s father has an eidetic memory and he says that the day the Brown coupe would have got married was a snowstorm. It seems like they’re lying about the anniversary. Todd finds something buried on the Brown compound through Google Earth and gets messages from Chet and Lawrence about their discovery. Allison reports her findings to Margret and Todd, who take it from there.
Margaret expertly deduces that Chloe and Clancy both were thrown into conservatorship and that their accounts are held in the name of a trust. They do not control their own financials and their parents do, confirming the theory that they committed the robbery and shifted the blame to Chloe. The parents are holding the bother sister duo prisoners in their own rooms. Even the doctor who declared them hazards as children was a fraud and later committed suicide. Todd requests Lawrence to give him a way out and he informs him of the legalities involved. If the kids want to get out of conservatorship, they need to openly admit they’re being kept forcefully and sign a form.
Todd smartly uses the Clip Clop service to communicate with Chloe through movie titles in a fun sequence. They are able to get the signatures from the kids and a video confession as well. Yvonne and Dan are arrested and Margaret solves the case with her family’s help. Unbeknownst to her, the Governor gives Lawrence off for the holidays and he surprises Margaret at a family dinner, keeping in line with the traditions.
The Episode Review
What has suddenly changed? So Help Me Todd is suddenly churning out gold and it is almost as if they heard my criticisms from the first few episodes. Episode 7 is a banger of an episode that wonderfully matches the potent mix of drama and comedy episode 1 promised.
There is plenty of nuance in how the writers brought the Wright family together through Margaret here. We also have our first glimpse of Lawrence (played by Matthew Wilkas), the apple of Margret’s eye and the most cherished Wright in the family. The theme for the episode was Margaret’s longing for her family to be close to her during the festive season.
This is perhaps the first episode till now where emotions and feelings were not jargonized and were actually accepted by the characters. That allowed many subtle moments on screen and brought out the best in Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Astin. Even the mystery that the Wright “family” worked on had many layers and certainly kept us guessing.
In some ways, the notion that Margaret prioritized her work over family, ironically becomes reversed here as the family comes together because of the work. That was quite a nice touch.
The premise was of course based on a true story from Milwaukee this year. Quite impressively, there was also a positive comment o the recent law change owing to Britney Spears’ case. Overall, this is the standard the show must aspire to match to make it a multi-season deal. Very impressed with episode 7, the best one in the series yet!