Josh meets a new face in his mom’s life, he can’t seem to catch a break with his family, and Ruth and Josh sing a ballad full of color and sadness. Read on to find out what happens in episode 3 of Mr. Corman, “Happy Birthday.”
Josh is once again working on mixing new music in his room. He gets into his car and throws his equipment into his backpack before heading to his mom’s house to pick her up. When he gets there, he spots a man he’s never met before that seems to know a lot about him.
Once Josh and Ruth are on the freeway, she asks why he’s driving so slow, and he brings up his panic attacks. It’s silent for a few beats before Josh asks the real questions: how did she meet Larry? How long have they been dating? She answers the latter with a year, and Josh is stunned that she kept that from him. She didn’t want to tell him because at the time he had just broken up with Megan. Josh wonders if he’s stronger now; Ruth answers honestly, no.
She says he handles things differently than most people and brings up how he handled his sister getting married. She thinks he hates Aaron, his sister’s husband, because he’s overtly religious. Josh is insistent that’s not the case, he really thinks his sister is a control freak that uses religion as a guise to keep her in control.
They go into a deep, heated discussion about Josh’s father after Josh says it’s been a while since his mom had a partner in her life. She thinks he remembers his father differently, how could Josh forget the trauma he underwent as a child? She’s sad he blames her for his miserable life. Josh tries to apologize, but it’s too late. She’s already hurt.
At Elizabeth’s house, they exchange greetings. It’s not long until Aaron and Josh are alone to share an awkward conversation about Subarus. You know, normal white suburban dad talk.
Josh thinks that Elizabeth and Aaron let David spend too much time playing video games, and his mom tells him to cut it out. She thinks he has always had something against David, but Josh believes he’s just a bad person. His mom interjects to remind him that he’s indeed a seven-year-old.
Josh heads outside where he spots Sarah playing in the inflatables. He beckons her with an owl call, and she comes running to him. They “hunt” for a mouse and she asks why the owl eats the mouse. He answers all of her “why” questions when she finally asks a real one in response to food having nutrients and proteins. “Is it just because that’s how God made the world?”
Josh is taken aback that she asked that, asking her where she heard it. She tries pressing him. However, when he remarks on it being a “story,” she tells him it’s not a story. He asks her if she’s ever seen God, she says yes. Sarah then asks him the same question. Josh doesn’t have it in him to tell her how he really feels, so he just says he hasn’t seen him in real life. He tries to tell her God is sort of like the mom she just ate for dinner; it’s pretend, but it can feel real. Suddenly Elizabeth appears and sends Sarah away to have a chat with her brother.
Josh tries to apologize, but Elizabeth shuts him down. If he was really sorry, he wouldn’t have said it in the first place. Elizabeth doesn’t like that Josh was pushing his views onto Sarah, Josh didn’t want to lie to her. Elizabeth doesn’t view it as lying and thinks that Josh views the world as chaos because their lives were chaos, and he still is.
Everyone is singing Happy Birthday to Sarah while Elizabeth stares daggers through her brother. Mom says her goodbyes as Josh keeps his distance, not wanting to upset anyone more than he has. Mom storms off and asks what’s wrong with him. In the car, there is complete silence until Josh apologizes. Once again, if he was sorry he wouldn’t act this way. He just wanted to answer Sarah’s question. Mom thinks he’s trying to blame a five-year-old for his behavior.
They go back to talking about Josh’s upbringing before it starts to get too deep. Ruth asks him to pull over so she can go to the bathroom. While she’s inside, he begins to see visions again. When she returns, she asks what he’s looking out. They share a few exchanged awkward glances before Josh breaks out into song, and Ruth joins in. Eventually they stop singing, but they’re still staring at each other as they get in the car to go home.