The Hecks are back, and it’s time to say goodbye to one of their own. Kind of. They’re dropping Sue off at college. Of course if Axl’s school experience is any indication, Sue will be home more often than she isn’t, so it’s not like we’re actually losing a character. Seriously, why even go away to college if you’re going to be home so much?
It’s a big change, and every family member is dealing in their own way. Sue is super excited (kind of her default setting), and assuming her parents are sad to see her go. Frankie is pretending to be sad, but really not feeling much of anything. Mike does the fatherly thing by burying his emotions far, far down. He copes by going through the long list of things Sue will need to learn to live on her own, if she doesn’t want to die. Side note, I didn’t know how to do like, any of those. Axl’s dreading having his kid sister at school with him and Brick, well Brick’s more concerned with his girlfriend than the permanent change in family dynamics.
I’ve come to equate Sue with that guy from the original National Lampoon’s Vacation flicks. They both want these Hallmark worthy family moments, sweet, treasured memories. And both consistently fail to realize that their families are hot messes and they’ll never, ever get what they want. Should Sue be surprised that the family ends up stranded and screaming at each other on the side of the road? Past episodes (and Frankie herself) say no. Is she? Yes. But if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t be the Sue we know and love.
The thing about this show, it gets me in the heartstrings sometimes. But not in the corny, over the top, afterschool special way that makes me want to watch a Sons of Anarchy episode right afterward to cleanse away the sentimentality. When Frankie does eventually break down and realize what she’s losing and tells Sue that yes, she will be missed, that was good stuff. And of course Mike refuses to give in to all this human feeling and tell her he loves her and will miss her too, because that’s not Mike. What better way to truly show your kid you love her than by teaching her how to tie knots and plunge toilets and reminding her that muggers and murderers are around every corner?
This was definitely a Sue episode. Brick’s storyline with Cindy didn’t add much to the party, but it was enjoyable. I do worry about the ending shot, with Sue alone in her dorm while others laugh and interact around her. If Sue was invisible in high school (or at least felt that way) she’s very likely to be invisible in college, a much, much bigger pond. Or maybe she’ll simply be known as the football player’s kid sister. If that’s the case, I hope it doesn’t last too long. Because that last shot made me sad, and I don’t like it when Sue is sad or uncertain.
Protect Sue Heck at all costs!
Also, the hair burning incident? Nearly died of sympathetic embarrassment. Because yeah, that’s never any fun. Even if Sue’s new haircut is cute.