This Baskets review contains spoilers.
Baskets Season 3 Episode 2
My problems with the season three premiere of Baskets were that 1) not a whole lot happened, and 2) there wasn’t enough Martha. “Finding Eddie” handily delivers where that episode did not as Martha and Chip go on a road trip to the countryside to bring back Eddie, the rodeo’s original owner.
This is great because Martha and Chip were, from the beginning, one of the series’ best character pairings. They don’t spend nearly as much time together as they once did, so an episode that returns to this dynamic for almost its entire running time is a real treat.
Being a Law & Order fan, Martha gets pretty into following Eddie’s trail and just about everything she does and says is funny, so I’ll just list a few highlights. She tries to compensate a guy who gives them a lead with offers of “a couple of fives and some Certs.” When Chip and Martha infiltrate Eddie’s old AA meeting, Martha has a brilliant little monologue about how she’s not an alcoholic and then identifies herself as “Martha B” and “Chip Baskets, or Chip B. Um, the ‘B’ stands for something else.”
“Finding Eddie” also marks an important turn in Chip and Martha’s relationship. Chip used to be relentlessly dismissive and comically, unthinkably rude to Martha. It’s wonderful to see how he’s evolved as his natural inclination is still to shoot down her optimism. However, he now recognizes her goodness and her worth to him, at one point apologizing to her for losing his temper and, at the end of the episode, telling her, “You have a sweetness to you,” which is probably the nicest thing he’s ever said to her.
Chip has relaxed a lot overall compared to the desperate, angry loser he was at series’ start and I’m enjoying this new phase of the character. He now often acts more as an observer, sitting back and watching the madness unfold around him. At the end of the episode, he’s content to lie on the hood of Martha’s car while she goes off to pursue a potential love interest.
This is really a Chip and Martha episode. Christine and Dale are more in the background, which is probably the best for Dale. He’s the show’s most cartoonish character and typically better taken in small doses. He and Christine get some good lines though, like Dale reprimanding whoever wrote “Daledo” in the rodeo bathroom: “Don’t sexualize my name.” And then there’s Christine saying you can’t trust people with three names, citing David Lee Roth as one example. I also have to mention Chip saying, “Mom’s cool. This is her first rodeo,” because it’s maybe the best line of episode.
“Finding Eddie” demonstrates well how Baskets is really about character moments. I complained that not enough happened on last week’s episode, but really, not much happened this week either. If we boil it down to its essentials, effectively, the plot is Chip and Martha go looking for Eddie and then they find him. Baskets is not usually a series about huge moments and there’s a sleepy, leisurely tone to everything (my only real criticism about this episode is the part where they find the mansion Eddie is staying in is a little too sleepy; they just go there, meet a crazy old lady, and then wait around until Eddie randomly shows up).
However, it’s a great episode because it’s full of funny and occasionally touching character interactions. There have been more plot-heavy episodes of Baskets and more moving ones as well. But “Finding Eddie” is consistently funny and ends on a surprisingly sweet note. Solid stuff.