The Conners usually go all out for Halloween, but the mayor canceling the holiday in Lanford was the least of their worries.
Despite the pandemic, the family still made the day special on The Conners Season 3 Episode 2 with multiple costume changes, a leaf blower converted into treat distribution system, and a towel puppet with a scary message.
Mary was understandably devastated by the mayor's news. What kid wants to miss out on trick-or-treating? And Mary and Mark's costumes were epic in both their creativity and their ability to self-isolate.
When Darlene learned that Mary had been spending many of her days and most evenings home alone now that Gina's been deployed and DJ got a new job, she felt she had to do something.
I don't blame Darlene for moving Mary in without getting DJ's permission. He wasn't answering his phone, and his voicemail box was full. If something had happened to Mary, how would anyone reach him?
But as much as the family meant well, it was easy to see why DJ felt attacked.
DJ: Plenty of kids are latch-key kids.
Darlene: When we were kids, there was always somebody at home to watch us.
Dan: That’s because your mother and I loved you guys, and we couldn’t hold down a steady job.
Becky: I could have used a little less love and little more Calvin Klein jeans.
With Gina in the military, DJ is effectively a single parent, and he can't physically be everywhere at once. He's carrying a boatload of guilt as he struggles to take care of Mary in the present while earning enough money to secure her future.
I give him a lot of credit for making Mary a part of this conversation and making sure she felt safe enough to voice what she wanted, even if that was not living with him full-time.
Darlene: You’re doing the right thing.
DJ: It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
Having to leave his daughter and head home alone had DJ looking heartbroken and Dan looking devastated for his son, but there was nothing he could do to fix it.
Where will Mary sleep in a house that's already packed with too many people? Who knows, but I hope this means we'll be seeing more of both Mary and DJ this season.
Of course, DJ and Mary weren't the only ones having a tough time as Darlene tried to navigate Mark getting punched in the face after speaking his mind to a friend.
I wanted to say, "I’m not afraid. I’m wearing the mask to keep other people from getting sick, including you." Mom said that there’s no point in talking to idiots, so I should just ignore them.Mark
Dan was correct when he told Mark he had every right to explain to Colin why he wore a mask, but when Mark actually called his friend an idiot, that's when things devolved and turned violent.
Once we start calling one another names, everyone stops listening, and reason flies out the window.
Dan and Darlene's conversation was relevant for both the characters and the real world. Does Darlene not have friends because she won't listen to people who don't parrot back her point of view?
Dan: Okay, there are people who are willfully ignorant, and you just can’t talk to them, but what about the rest who just don’t see it your way. I’ve got friends I disagree with. Do you?
Darlene: That’s not fair. I don’t have friends.
Part, but not all, of the problems between Darlene and David stemmed from Darlene always believing she was right and David not standing up to her when he disagreed.
We certainly saw Darlene have similar issues with Ben when they first got together but with a much different result.
Darlene and Dan both had valid points to make. When two people have such vastly differing opinions that it feels as though you are morally opposed to one another, is civil conversation appropriate or even possible?
But if we all stop talking, is that giving up all hope of ever bridging the divide?
Darlene: You can’t engage anymore. Everyone just gets louder and louder and louder. That’s how Mark ended up in a fistfight.
Dan: Mark ended up in a fistfight because Colin’s father and Mark’s mother have both taught their kids that anybody who doesn’t agree with them is stupid.
Darlene: Hey, don’t you dare equate them with me.
Dan: Why? Because you think you’re right? They think they’re right. Then nobody talks. That’s the kind of mentality that’s ruining the country.
Darlene seemed to think that who we elect to public office will fix this, but that seems naive. Although our elected officials can use their positions to help change the tone, it will take regular people actively working on listening and not hating one another to really transform the anger and division in our country.
But back to Halloween!
Despite being stuck at home for the holiday, the Conners made the best of it, and it was hard to find fault with the result.
Becky made a beautiful Elsa, even if it was circa Frozen I instead of Frozen II. Jackie's witch costume was fantastic; I almost didn't recognize her.
And the towel puppet in the bathroom was funny and scary, probably because what it said was too close to being real!
Jackie (as a witch): Don’t forget this door. It’s a bathroom used by six people!
Towel puppet: I’m a towel that hasn’t been washed in years. Help me and use bleach!
But it was Ben's zombie costume that really had me worried, not for me but for him. He was a little too realistic as he crawled his way through that front door.
Ben was lucky the kids knew something was about to happen and just made a run for it. If someone had scared me like that with no warning, I probably would have kicked him in the head first before I ran and having to call an ambulance takes all the fun out of Halloween.
I would have given Darlene extra points for turning the neighbor's leaf blower into a candy dispensing machine, but it appeared they were only giving out cheap, hard candies. Even when Becky mentioned the Three Musketeers bar, it didn't really look as though she had one in her hand, which was disappointing.
Wow, the pandemic, a presidential election, and Halloween all at once. Throw in five dumb teenagers and a cabin and you’ve got yourself a horror movie.Dan
So tell me, TV Fanatics, what did you think of The Conners Season 3 Halloween?
Did it live up to previous holiday installments?
Did you like how they handled the holiday, the pandemic, and the election all in one episode?
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C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.