The Comeback: “Valerie Cooks in the Desert” Season 2 Episode 6 Review

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This week’s episode title may have been a funny nod to Breaking Bad, but the episode itself took a more depressing tone. Perhaps Valerie Tries Desperately to Save Her Marriage would have been more appropriate.

Seeing Red is a totally different monster than Room & Bored for Valerie. For example, the hours on her former sitcom were more normal. No one cared how fake the snakes looked on that series. But this is HBO, they’ve got to look real.

Valerie Cooks in the Desert opened with our star reading the New York Times review of Seeing Red. The critic praises Valerie but not necessarily the show, saying that she and Seth Rogen elevate a predictable story. Good news for Val, not so good news for Paulie G.

With the season almost wrapped, HBO makes a call for some reshoots on the season finale. They unfortunately land on the only day Valerie and Mark seem to be able to make plans. This episode did a great job establishing Mark’s new status quo. He’s renting a house with a beach view an hour away from his and Valerie’s home. He doesn’t necessarily want to make the trip unless he has to and he’s suddenly making plans with new friends and not including Valerie. Their marriage appears to be in trouble. It’s understandable, considering what Valerie has put her husband through with Seeing Red and the camera crew once again following her.

Val’s dissatisfaction with her marriage makes her more irritable on set than we’ve ever seen her. After hours of being tied up in a trunk covered in fake, and eventually real snakes, she lashes out at the producer. It was great to see Valerie standing up for herself. Of Season 2 thus far, this is the episode Lisa Kudrow should submit for the Emmys.

You have to wonder if Valerie is cut out for a series as time-consuming as Seeing Red. If HBO renews the series, they’re going to need Valerie since she’s one of the few things the critics think works about the series. With just two episodes left, we could see a situation where Paulie G. needs Val more than she needs him, a first for their relationship.

But that begs the question of whether Valerie should even stay in show business. Valerie’s note to Mark was gut-wrenching. If this is how she truly feels, acting may have to move to the side so she can work on her marriage. Val is coming to a point where she’s going to have to decide what’s most important in her life: Mark or her comeback.

Valerie Cooks in the Desert was one of the best episodes of the season. The scenes of Val in the trunk were the funniest of the season, but her lashing out on set and desperate moves to win her husband’s affections were also the most dramatic. The Comeback is gearing up for something big. If this second season is the last we see of Valerie Cherish, I hope she realizes what exactly in her life makes her happy. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to The Comeback: “Valerie Cooks in the Desert” Season 2 Episode 6 Review

  1. Glenn Gury says:

    I binge-watched everything in 10 days… season 1 and season 2 through last night. Plus all of Web Therapy. I had no idea how talented Lisa Kudrow really is… and I am blown away. Is there any chance for The Comeback season 3?

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