Tiny Beautiful Things – Season 1 Episode 4 “Under the Stars” Recap & Review

Under the Stars

The Past

Frankie, Clare, and Lucas place their mattresses under a night full of stars during our past timeline in Tiny Beautiful Things episode 4. They have no electricity at home and are spending the night on a neighbour’s farm. Frankie asks them to close their eyes and gives them a surprise; a bunch of horses surrounding them. Lady, a white horse, is special to Frankie and the kids hug her.

Frankie calls Clare out of the blue and asks her to come down to the house urgently. She has not told Lucas either and reveals the news to them together. She has stage 4 terminal lung cancer, which cannot be treated. Clare emotionally starts emptying her savings and says they will get more opinions, but Frankie says she cannot get better.

Clare cries in the field, holding Lady for support. She is unhappy with God too and screams out obscenities in her anger. Ned, their neighbour, comforts Clare, but she’s desperate to save Frankie’s life. Ned sends her home and says he will pray for Frankie.

At night, Clare finds Frankie crying alone and embraces her. Clare leaves to head back to college in the morning and sees Ned bringing Lady for Frankie, as Clare had requested. She then sees Frankie riding Lady at full speed.

The Present

After the wild night, a drunk Rae is left by her friends on a surfboard in the front yard. She pukes repeatedly and looks at the night sky. In the morning, Clare receives notice from work that she has to complete sensitivity training to come back. She is appalled when she finds Rae in the front yard. Danny is with her too.

Danny is playing at Sunday church and a hungover Rae is pushed by Clare to attend. However, Clare herself never does. They once again have a fight where tense words are exchanged; they just cannot catch a break. Everything they say to each other turns into a hateful rant.

Clare receives a letter from a grieving mother on Dear Sugar. The mother says her six-month-old daughter is undergoing surgery for a brain tumour with no certainty of survival.

She writes that her belief in God is wavering, reminding Clare of her own reaction when Frankie told them the truth. Clare has lunch with Amy to discuss Rae’s reckless behaviour but while talking, Clare sees a vision of the crying mother who just wrote to her, asking for help.

Clare leaves in a panic, but she goes to the Sunday church anyway and finds Danny’s entire family having a good time. James and Sondra, his parents, welcome Clare but Rae is not happy to see her.

Aunt Felicia taunts Clare about her brother taking money and then Clare confronts Danny in a closet for telling his family. Their fight is very loud, and accusations are thrown by both of them against each other. Rae interrupts them by shouting at Clare. She bluntly asks why Rae is mean to Clare and asks her to make smarter choices. Clare once again sees the mother whom she could not help as Sugar. While this is going on, Sondra walks in and comforts Clare.

Clare expresses her inadequacy at being a good mother and a good wife. She feels cut off emotionally and breaks down. She is fearful she will lose Rae, even more so because she is named after Frankie and how Clare lost her mother. Sondra praises Clare for not taking out her anger at Frankie’s death on Rae. She could have made matters worse but she poured all the love she had into her daughter.

Sondra holds her hands and says a prayer for Rae and Clare to make her comfortable. Clare feels better after it and calms down. Clare finally finds the words to write back to the mother on Dear Sugar. She says that God’s presence should not be felt in the answers to their prayers but in the people, they are praying for. Those are the people who keep you floating in times of suffering.

Rae finally comes back home after another crazy night out. Clare takes care of her and Rae finally accepts her heartbreak over Montana. She sleeps with her daughter under the stars on Rae’s ceiling, like she once did with her own mother.


The Episode Review

The finishes to each episode are arguably their best parts, because that is where the viewers find hope, optimism, and the full length of Clare’s life experiences. She is indeed the perfect person to write as Sugar to help people. Clare is herself in need of help but perhaps finds that difficult to achieve with other people. That is something she inherits from Frankie, who also stood up like a rock for her children when she was struggling.

The story has gradually covered the immediate aftermath and time before Frankie’s death. The person that Clare is in the present day is indicative of her past. It has made her better equipped to be selfless in her love for her family and helping others. Both Hahn and Pidgeon share since performances as Clare. Their contributions are pivotal to the viewer’s experience of absorbing the story, which might not be the easiest of subjects to absorb.

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You can read our full season review for Tiny Beautiful Things here!

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3.5

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