Speechless – M-A–MAY-JAY
By: Taylor Gates
JJ (Micah Fowler) decides he doesn’t want Maya’s (Minnie Driver) help getting dressed, as he wants to work on becoming more independent. Maya promises not to interfere and JJ works on undoing his button literally all day.
The principal (Marin Hinkle) calls Maya in to tell her that the school won’t pay for Kenneth’s (Cedric Yarbrough) services once school is out and they’ll have to do without his help for a few months. Maya is thrilled, ambushing her with a kiss—she gets JJ back to herself all summer. She breaks the news to Kenneth and JJ, enthusiastically declaring this the “summer of MayJay.” Once she leaves, Kenneth tells JJ he needs to let Maya know he wants to go to camp. However, JJ is worried about hurting her feelings and asks for advice on how to manipulate her into agreeing. Kenneth tells him a poorly masked anecdote about his friend JI who wanted to go to winter camp and played on his mom Paya’s vanity to get her to say yes.
Ray (Mason Cook) practices his Honors Modern Dance routine. He enrolled in order to stop his gym grade from dragging down her GPA. Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) is mortified, offering to teach him how to run so he can stay in regular gym and not bring shame to the DiMeo family. However, Ray is surprisingly good and even beats Dylan in a race. Dylan wakes Ray up early the next morning, insisting the race was a fluke. Ray refuses to give her a rematch, declaring that he’s retiring at the top of his sports career. Dylan decides to take Ray’s identity since he stole hers and proclaims herself the smart one until he races her again.
Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) goes on a forced dinner with Maya’s friend’s husband Dane (Paul F. Tompkins). He isn’t looking forward to the night, but he begins to have fun when Dane starts flexing his status as a regular and getting special treatment at the restaurant. He gets Jimmy the best service, the best food and even lets him request a song for the band to play. Jimmy gushes about his night to Maya, saying he promised Dane he would return the favor the next time they went out. Maya reminds him he doesn’t have juice anywhere, which upsets Jimmy.
JJ presents Maya with a scrapbook about their summers together including pictures of when Maya taught him to fish and fly a kite. He presents her with a pamphlet about summer camp, buttering her up by saying the greatest mother in the world gave him the confidence to want to explore on his own. It is all going well until Kenneth goes off script ad-libbing a long, cheesy speech without JJ signaling to his board. Maya realizes she’s been played, blaming JJ’s manipulation solely on Kenneth. She thinks that ten weeks away is too long and JJ isn’t ready for it. Kenneth disagrees saying that JJ wants to push himself. Maya tells Kenneth his summer starts now, ordering him out of the house.
JJ stubbornly keeps trying to undo his button while Maya explains why she doesn’t think camp is a good idea. He gets frustrated and falls out of his wheelchair and the DiMeos have to drive him to the hospital. While Jimmy wheels JJ through the hospital, the hospital staff excitedly greets him and gives him special treatment. He realizes he has juice at the hospital.
Kenneth runs into JJ’s hospital room, terrified when he sees him in a hospital bed. Maya and Jimmy assure him that JJ will be fine. He just dislocated his kneecap and will have to have surgery—the same surgery he had a few years prior on his other knee. Discouraged, JJ says he realizes he shouldn’t go to camp. Jimmy tries to cheer him up by saying his connections will allow JJ to name a baby if he wants.
Maya tells Kenneth to convince JJ to go to camp. She doesn’t want to be the person who tells her son what he can’t do. Kenneth matters to JJ now and she wants Kenneth to use this power to encourage and push JJ.
Dylan and Ray walk outside together, reminiscing that being there for each other during tough times is much more important than competition. Ray admits that he loves how nice JJ is after surgery and Dylan says she notices that Ray is always the first person JJ sees. She explains that she turned the ringer on his phone off and JJ is getting out of surgery now—the only way to make sure he is the first person at JJ’s bedside is if he races her there. Dylan ends up winning the race through the hospital, but she lets him be the first one into JJ’s room anyway since she knows how important it is to him. Ray and JJ share a loving, brotherly moment while JJ is still hopped up on pain medication.
Later, Kenneth starts explaining to JJ that he should challenge himself. However, seeing JJ in the hospital still scares him and he passes out. Maya takes over, saying that she’s a good mom only because she tries to be the mom that JJ deserves and he inspires her to take risks. She promises that, if he does want to go to camp, she will help him get ready to go. The next day, she walks into his room and sees that he has unbuttoned his shirt all by himself; JJ is going to camp. Jimmy invites Dane to the hospital to eat steaks usually reserved for new mothers.