Season three of “The United States of Tara” gets off to a cool start as it addresses last year’s revelation that Tara had a brother. Her “Buck” personality goes looking for Bryce like The Terminator.
By now Charmaine (Rosemarie DeWitt) is fully pregnant. Poor Neil (Patton Oswalt) just humiliates himself trying to do right by her. She won’t marry him but they come to a good resolution at the end of the episode.
It seems like the main plot of season three will be Tara going back to college to finish up her degree. She gets the idea and even goes to Dr. Hattaras (Eddie Izzard) to add his psych class. I assume Hattaras will be a witty character later on, but he only gets hints in his one scene this episode.
This brings up the juiciest drama of the show. Max (John Corbett) isn’t thrilled with his wife going back to college. It’s not just because her alters could come out at any time. He’s used to that. It’s that college was a traumatic low point in his and Tara’s lives. Corbett gets two solid dramatic scenes to talk about his fears sincerely.
The script is by series creator Diablo Cody and it feels especially sarcastic. Charmaine’s reprimand of Kate’s (Brie Larson) drinking and Max’s admonition of Marshall’s (Kier Gilchris) replay of the humiliation video seem designed more for TV than for parenting/authority. Tara’s procrastination montage for writing her first paper is lame, and Charmaine’s pregnancy emergency through the sprinklers too.
That’s always part of the show though and it’s probably only a matter of moods and tastes. There’s enough honest drama with the back to school subplot, and Neil gets a really frank confrontation of Charmaine’s dependency issues. It ends with a five way scene of all of Tara’s personalities, and a hint of cutting. Not sure if that’s been addressed before but it’s certainly a very real correlated issue that could be dealt with this year.