Kidding Season 2 Recap: Episode 2.10 “Practical Magic”

What steps would you take to heal a sick heart? Or the hard of seeing what’s right in front of you? Clearly, you wouldn’t search for a new body but rather find what part ails you and take steps to amend it. The self always has the chance of rejecting what could give you a new life, but it can also succeed and through some pain, the whole can take and heal itself with time. Welcome to the season two finale of Kidding (Showtime), “The Puppet Dalai Lama.”

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Welcome to Tibet, 1706. A chase on horseback is underway. As the chased comes to a clearing, we find out he is the Holiness. He admits he’s being chased because he’s not a virtuous monk. He enjoys drink, song and the woman he’s met too much. He departs with a kiss and his verboten love learns of his fate- he will be killed and supplanted by a puppet.

Back in the present, Jill (Judy Greer) notices Will’s open tome of Mysticism. Reading it, she gives pause on the spell to turn back time depending on one thing: Phil. Her oculars deceive her, however, as the word is written is Will.

Will (Cole Allen) apologizes for remitting the letters of Phil’s donors to his father. This is something that Jeff (Jim Carrey) is in the right for knowing, though Jill refuses to let Jeff call these seven recipients a part of the Pickle family. The letters were Phil’s gifts, not his father’s. The media would’ve had a field day had Jeff reached out. The glory is not Jeff’s to cull because it was never his- it was Phil’s.

Jill wants to move on through Jeff blaming her for their son’s death. Jeff’s outright refusal to comprehend how Jill feels solely responsible for that fateful day simply causes her to rend herself asunder more. Jill, not one to let the only person in the world who could tell her the truth to her face leaves Jeff at an impasse.

We transfer back to happier (?) times, when Jill and Jeff are mere acquaintances, taking community dance classes so Mr. Pickles can teach the Dalai Lama how to Charleston. At the bar, Jill’s friends pester Jeff with boilerplate questions as he passes over his gratis shots to her.

After Jeff helps a drunken Jill into her apartment, he proceeds to his quarters right above hers, practicing his Charleston before a knock is heard. Jill commands Jeff to sit down on the floor, tie his shoes together and strap in. She’s falling for him, but Jeff clearly isn’t ready for a romantic relationship of any kind. This monastic predisposition exasperates Jill. She wants to move forward with him or nothing at all. Oh, we’ve all been there before. Because Jeff is not truly in touch with what’s in his heart with her, a dejected Jill retires back to her pad. Jeff lies to himself and says it’s for the best.

The for the remainder of Jill’s stay in the residence, Jeff can only observe her from afar, but she’s never too far from his mind nor his heart.

Back on Puppet Time, after Mr. Pickles cuts up a rug with the Dalai Lama, his Holiness (Michael Yama) presents Jeff with a token of his appreciation, a puppet the Salvador Dali Lama. After being tepidly received by Jeff, the Dalai Lama gives Jeff some sage advice on how to approach a lifestyle that precludes them from intimate relations. Economically spoken, his Holiness knows his own title of a monk, but simply calls Jeff “children’s puppet guy.” His dharma is to raise the world’s children, not be looked at or approached as a reincarnated deity. Jeff is told to embrace the fleet nature of happiness and enjoy it the only time he has on this big blue marble.

“Love is friendship set on fire.” – Eric Fromm

Inspired, Jeff leaves for New York City and runs after Jill into Little Italy. As his Holiness had imparted to Jeff, if we could stop time, we’d be happy forever, but simply not possible. With one last scream after Jill, however, this is what exactly Jeff has accomplished.

Walking through a frozen tableau of Little Italy, Jeff with wonderment reaches for some newly released balloons proceeds to press Play on this paused vignette, nigh being hit in the process. Jeff wants to hit Play on the conversation they should have had that night. He wasn’t being a paragon of truth and was scared of a future without Jill. Now that that’s all he feels, so akin to the group of balloons, all they can go is up. Right?

As His Holiness officiates over the matrimony of Jeff and Jill, with puppets and bridesmaids in tow, Jeff looks into the eyes of his bride-to-be and asks if he vows to nature, protect, nourish so they can grow together in the world.

I do.”

These are the two most heart wrenching but necessary words for Jill ever to hear since the Jeff she knew said them with zero compunction on their happiest day.

On Jeff’s live addressing over his listen-to-me Pickles, he tells the children of the world, both young and old that it’s impossible to turn back time, but stealing it can be accomplished. He prompts all listening to turn back the watch an hour and utilize it to spend time with family. This I would consider a worthy endeavor and/or “challenge” to impressionable minds that wouldn’t involve you eating a fucking Ghost Pepper or reliving a goddamned Fight Club scene via salt and ice.

As Deidre (Catherine Keener) prepares for liftoff of Astronotter in Cape Canaveral, Scott’s new girlfriend is met with a slight tongue lashing by Maddy (Juliet Morris) about sitting on her buddy ax, Dolores to Scott’s dismay.

Elsewhere in the world, Josip (Johnny Kostrey) makes his on-screen debut as Mr. Sour Cucumber, James, recipient of Phil’s eyes does a puzzle with his sister, Tara Lipinski plays cards with her long-suffering assistant and Jill tries to reach Jeff through his own toy. She’s also spared an hour for her family.

Driving to the location to meet someone with Jill, Will sees his mother and father getting along for the first time in a long time. As he scans through the library card of his Spell Book, he notices one last date: 1/5/97.

As it turns out, a runner with the number of 1597 has finished the Columbus, Ohio marathon, complements of Phil’s heart. As the family meets her for the first time, Deidre on the East Coast meets the feeling of success as Astronotter’s launch to the Space Station.

As both Jeff and Jill listen to their son’s thumping ventricles once again, all the memories of the four of them come flooding back until the beating stops. Both of them realize maybe stopping time isn’t impossible to feel unbridled hope and happiness together in a world that truly needs it the most.

As this second season draws to a close, I’ve found a sophisticated growth in not only all of the characters but also the plot lines and tonality. The first season experimented with a lot of plot lines and some really strong character development but this second season knocks it into the upper echelon. The humor is sharp as ever, but the writers shine more at showing in no uncertain terms that actions have consequences through taut as a snare drum dramatic tension. Whereas the first season focused more on the Jeff Pickles that was keeping from experiencing normal human interaction, these 10 episodes found Jeff coping with the loss and gain of his family along with confronting and making peace with the only organ he’s only ever truly shared: his own heart.

Robert Kijowski
Robert Kijowski
Robert Kijowski is a script writer who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He's written for pop culture and film websites alike. You can hear him on Spotify (After the Credits) and reach out on Instagram, X or by English Carrier Pigeon.

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