It’s always hard to see cast members leave a show, but it’s harder to grieve the loss when they aren’t even present in the episode that it is announced they are leaving. So is the case with Matthew Chestnut (Matt Oberg) who “Irish exits” the show and tells Louis through a Dear John letter via his wife (Angela Kinsey).

Hardly a spoiler, since it’s the entire premise of the episode, except almost every storyline gets wrapped up in what is a semi-sad departure that’s handled poorly. Rather than Louis mourn his loss, he has a sad montage moment of lost employees, then sets out to replace his friend. This ends up spreading to an offer that Eddie declines and then regrets when his “promotion” at the mattress store is more “promotional” than he bargained for.

Fresh Off the Boat – ABC [see the pun there?]

Cut to Edie’s ginger friend Trent taking the vacant position — and succeeding! So a jealous Eddie takes matters into his own hands and interferes with Trent’s promotional Cattleman’s coupons to print in the paper as ‘free steak with drink’ instead of ‘free drink with steak’. Of course, a swarm descends upon the restaurant and Trent is left overwhelmed and blamed while Eddie watches the carnage and steps in to “help”. Louis hints at how much money it costs the business, but because they finish dinner service things unrealistically turn back to okay and not only is Eddie not punished for costing the family a boatload of money, but he is given a car to do delivery for the restaurant [with grandma running side saddle]. In a more reasonable move, Trent ends up becoming a permanent addition to the restaurant to prepare for more of that dynamic is for it to be half ignored going forward — it’ll be subject to the direction the wind was blowing in the writer’s room that day.

Equally, head-scratching as the choices in the restaurant was the writing surrounding Emery, Evan, and Grandma Jenny. They’re a great trio and we’ve enjoyed the more formulaic setup with them, but it offers so little room for development or substance, and, in a twist of irony, their storyline focused on “who is the funny one” with the least funny jokes of the season? It was just sad and forced — and maybe that was because it was MEANT to be uncomfortable to watch? Regardless, when we are begging to see Emery find his niche and grow, a fight for who the “funny one” feels uninspired, and like no one came out the winner. Maybe that was the point, but it felt like their scenes were squandered.

Fresh Off the Boat – ABC

Speaking of squandered potential, Jessica continues to yo-yo with her wants and bounces from her pursuit of being principal to wanting to be PTA president. Her journey leads her to pursue the appointment from the exiting president – Mrs. Chestnut. We’ve always loved their dynamic, and watching someone play Jessica to Jessica is always hilarious, so it should’ve been a recipe for success. Success is a strong word though because seeing Jessica swallow her pride to bow to someone’s demands is almost heartbreaking, but it made the scene where she shows compassion for the Chestnut’s son and helps mother him through processing the move easier. It helped that the Dollywood references were choice. We’re paraphrasing but, “imagine a land with roller coasters ruled by a big blossomed woman that gives books to children,” was the gem of the episode.

Luckily we have at least one more episode on the 14th before the show goes on winter break, so hopefully it delivers enough laughs to get through the holidays!