In "Fountain" emotions spring out of characters as they decide to share some of their personal struggles.
With this episode, quite a few of the characters insecurities and vulnerabilities are on display. For the parents, their need to be in their children's' lives, be it in a supporting role or otherwise, leads them to opening up. As for the young people on the show, their fears of the worst part of their lives repeating themselves is an issue.
Topic 1: A Walk in My Shoes Bay & Daphne
Starting off with Bay, in order to get a recommendation letter, to the Pratt Institute, she decides to help Theresa with an art show in Minneapolis. With this road trip, Theresa's life is opened up to us, if just a bit, leading to Bernhard putting on a performance of an artist who feels used for her talent, and lacking the confidence to really recommend Bay to take on such a life. Thus leading to Theresa, once more, making Bay question herself. This leads to a sort of short, but nice, chat between Bay and Regina in which Bay tries to understand why Regina stopped painting. Of which, it seems, like with Theresa, the passion was just fading for the work. But, despite Theresa having a bit of a meltdown, she does her best to reassure Bay to go through the struggles, and gives her a recommendation letter to help push her toward her dreams.
Then, in Daphne's life, she is forced to begin to see things from Sheree's point of view. For, with Matthew going around cutting tires and smashing windows, this leads to a lot of the students who transferred into Carlton into targets. And, unfortunately, Sheree is caught with a box cutter she uses for work. With this, Sheree gets expelled and the life she has lived thus far starts to be presented to us. Sheree, for reasons not yet explained, outside of her being an African-American woman, has an issue with racism which seemingly has plagued her life. Add on the fact that she has a complicated relationship with Daphne, and you can see why she is usually a bit on edge. After all, Toby and Daphne are essentially using Sheree's athletic abilities to impress John by trying to show they are capable, and deserving, of his praise. Meanwhile, Sheree doesn't get much out of the situation but a ride to school. And really, that is just part of them doing what it takes to please her. It isn't done out of the kindness of Daphne's heart, nor Daphne helping Sheree get un-expelled since the first thing she dares mention is the damn field hockey team.
And speaking of that whole getting expelled situation. Matthew comes out, fully, about why he is damaging cars. In his time before Carlton he was bullied and, with all these new kids, seemingly he feels like the past may repeat himself. So, in his version of Daphne's revolution, he plans on influencing the parents of the deaf kids into pushing the school board to kicking the kids out. Which, at first, he succeeds in since the parents are upset, but when Sheree ends up an innocent casualty, and Emmett has his first chat with Daphne in ages, Matthew ends up expelled.
Topic 2: A Vulnerable Parent Katherine, Regina, and John
As noted in an earlier episode, Kathrine is within the early stages of empty nest syndrome, and with Toby talking about getting his own place she tries to not only keep him close to her, but also dependent. Which, isn't something Toby is really for. Being that he is married, and working, the idea of his mom shadowing over him, bringing groceries, and all that, just doesn't appeal to him. So, despite Kathrine's help, through Renzo's friend, Toby finds a nice place all his own.
As for Regina, she and Wes, the guy from the construction site last episode, create a passionate working relationship, in a platonic way of course. You see, Regina is lacking clients and this is leading her to worry about this new business, but then she gets Wes as a client and between him questioning throwing a major project away to baby her teen daughters, to him questioning if she just wants to do small kitchens or what not, he really gets into her face. But, being that Regina doesn't feel like arguing with this man, she just walks away. But, being that Wes sees potential in Regina, like Patrick did in season 1, he just can't let her go without being involved with her success.
Lastly, there is John. Now, him being vulnerable perhaps isn't the best word, but he does still hold that old guilt for missing 16 years of Daphne's life. And being that he is terrible at expressing himself, he explains to Daphne that the reason he came down so hard is because he wasn't there to parent her for 16 years. But, what leads to this confession is because Daphne finally had enough of John's reprimanding and explained why she was going through field hockey and trying so hard to impress him.
Bernhard to me was probably the best in the episode and, of the newcomers, I think has proved she is worth her salary. Between her effect on Bay, and her story as an artist who rose in the 80s and is now floundering to compete with more modern artists, you see a potential Bay, but at the same time, a person who may not have the support Bay does. As for everyone else, I am loving Sheree, though I feel like more needs to be done with her character. But, as for the main cast, they are doing well as usual, but I still feel like I'm adjusting to there being less soap opera styled drama and more, sort of, realistic situations. For, nothing seems as over the top as past seasons, at least to me.
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