Sometimes a show takes a breath before the drama intensifies. “Champagne Problems” delivers this reprieve before setting up for drama ahead. With the heartwarming theme of “you show up for the people who mean something to you,” it was a time of healing and understanding what’s important to our characters… even if other characters aren’t so thrilled about it. At the heart of it all is …

Cordell

2.16 177 Cordell

One of Cordell’s primary traits is his desire to help; to fix any problem that is in front of him. Though this means that sometimes that which does not have his current attention can get forgotten, it shows what a good hearted person he truly is. This episode showcased that wonderful trait splendidly. Saddled with a seemingly impossible task of getting Geri back into the fold, he does his best. This illustrates his devotion to his parents and to his friendship with Geri because he probably still hurts - but he wants this. Jared does a great job of demonstrating Cordell’s inner struggles and hopes as he navigates this complicated task. Another person he shows up for is Twyla, even though Liam warns him from this. Cordell views it as his job to stand up for her. So he does, despite the fact that, as Liam explains, having a relationship with her would hurt his parents and…

Geri

2.16 549 Geri

Being caught in the middle of a generational feud all while learning traumatic things about your family would never be easy, and can cause one to hurt those they love, even when not meaning to. That’s where Geri starts this episode, but then she shows up for those she cares about, even being the one to utter the line “you show up for those that mean something to you.” She shows up when Cordell texts her for a big ask, and she promises to consider what even Cordell knows is a tough decision. She also shows up, right at the right time, alleviating the pain and guilt Abeline felt. Geri even tells Abeline she loves her. Geri has made her decision. She wants both, and Odette navigates the emotional turmoil well. Major kudos needs to be given to this episode, also, for showing Geri’s point of view about Gale. Previously, the audience had only seen Gale through the lens of villain. But here, they jarringly were given a glimpse of the side she shows Geri. The mother she never had, one who is understanding of the Walkers’ pain, and who doesn’t want Geri facing an impossible choice like Marv forced on Abeline. The impossible choice in this case being Geri’s feelings between being a Davidson and being a Walker, and her love for …

Abeline and Bonham

2.16 421 Abby Bonham

The highlight of the episode has to be the focus on this amazing couple.  The central focus is their 40th anniversary celebration, but it really feels like the audience got the gifts. Getting to watch Mitch sing as Bonham was a treat. Listening to Abeline’s thoughts on how you keep a marriage going for 40 yrs, by choosing each other every day, was enlightening and wonderful. Bonham and Abeline constantly show up for each other. Their love for each other is one of the best, most unique parts of the show, and it’s wonderful to see them celebrated. It was also wonderful to see Abeline’s face as Geri walked in. These two people who love each other so much, but were torn apart by secrets, deciding that their love for each was more important. This episode also has humor. Mitch and Molly were hilarious as Bonham and Abeline teasing …

Stella and August 

2.16 574 Auggie Stella

The youngest Walkers have a fun sibling energy. It’s great watching them be there for each other in ways only brother and sister can be. Stella’s love triangle is threatening to wreck Auggie’s friendships and band but instead of berating her too much, he listens. Violet and Kale are again excellent at portraying the teen sibling dynamic. Stella is at a major crossroads in her life. She needs a sounding board. And so does …

Cassie (and Ben)

2.16 628 Hug

The fact that this brother and sister were given such a rich and emotional back story in one episode is mind blowing. Their reconciliation brings tears to the eyes. It was also a great way to see how terminal illness affects those left behind. Their storyline this episode was a hidden gem. Moving from anger and resentment to love and understanding was a wonderful, believable journey. And it was helped by…

Liam

2.16 145 Liam

Liam is such a good guy. It’s wonderful seeing his care for others rewarded with a possible new love interest. Though there could have been more closure with the Bret relationship, it was adorable watching Liam flirt with Ben, Cassie’s brother. Keegan went from clumsy flirting with newcomer Matt, to comforting Ashley’s character, Cassie, with aplomb. It was a heartwarming part of a heartwarming episode.

"Champagne Problems" focused on love and healing; showing up even though it may hurt and being rewarded with love…. for the most part. It was a wonderful calm before the storm.

The audience got to see more of the backstory between Cordell and Geri, a different side to Gale, the deep rich love of the Walkers, Mitch sing, and how even the deep wounds of not being there can be healed by showing up even if you’re late.

Per usual, there were some continuity issues that most can overlook. And the ending scene went a bit against the heartwarming feel of the rest of the episode, but sets up for future drama. So, overall a nice episode.

4.7 out of 5 stars.


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Screencaps by Raloria on LJ