Speechless – S-U-R– SURPRISE!
By: Taylor Gates
Maya (Minnie Driver) is crushed when Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) announces she doesn’t want her annual surprise party that year. This reminds Ray (Mason Cook) and JJ (Micah Fowler) that they still need to get her a present, deciding to shop for a birthday gift together.
That night, Maya seduces Jimmy with his favorite food and music, trying to sweet talk him into having another baby. She feels like Dylan doesn’t want her around anymore, which confuses her because she always thought she was the cool mom. Jimmy tells Maya they have to respect what Dylan wants since they raised her to be a smart, independent person, talking her off the ledge of wanting another child.
JJ is impatient, wanting Ray to take him to the mall, but Ray is too invested in playing video games. Since Jimmy put Ray in charge, he feels like he doesn’t have to listen to JJ. JJ doesn’t like this, deciding to leave and go on his own. JJ loves his newfound freedom, but Ray panics—he lost his brother.
Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) and Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough) run into each other in the hallway, admitting they feel awkward around each other, as they never have anything to talk about. Determined to find something in common, Kenneth makes a list of everything they might be able to bond over. They finally find a mutual interest: barbecuing. However, they disagree on whether charcoal or gas grilling is superior. They decide to settle it once and for all with a taste-off. Their cooking contest gets intense, the two constantly roasting each other. They end up having a good time, discovering trash talking is their thing.
Maya leads Dylan into the house. Despite Dylan reiterating that she just wants a quiet night with the two of them, she walks in to a huge, winning-themed surprise party with all of her friends. Maya tells Dylan to give the night a chance, pointing out that she even convinced all the cool kids to come, both the popular girls and hot boys.
At the mall, JJ runs into a woman with a dog. When mall security informs her that no pets are allowed, JJ covers for her, saying it is his service animal, but it backfires when the dog starts barking at him. Ray finally finds JJ, yelling at him for leaving since Ray is supposed to be responsible for him. JJ doesn’t like this, as he’s the big brother and should be watching after Ray instead. The shoe store is going to close soon, and JJ sadly tells Ray to go without him—he already had his fun.
At the party, Maya counsels Elle (Taylor Ann Thompson), one of the popular girls, giving her advice about her boy troubles. Elle tells Maya that she’s cooler than either of her lesbian moms currently at Coachella, which thrills Maya. It has the opposite effect on Dylan, who gets upset, telling Maya she knows she’s not some lame embarrassment. She didn’t want a party because she didn’t want to have to share Maya with her classmates.
Maya and Dylan talk in Dylan’s room. Maya apologizes, saying she had no idea Dylan wanted to spend time with her. Dylan is relieved by this, as she never wanted to cut in and demand attention. Everyone needs a piece of Maya, and Dylan always assumed it was her job to stay out of the way. Maya tells her that’s not her job—she always knew Dylan was an easy child, but she never knew she was trying to be. Dylan says it’s not a big deal since she can take care of herself. She just wanted to be alone with Maya so her dumb stuff could come first for once.
Maya makes it up to Dylan, taking her to her favorite stuffed animal place. She even resists the urge to help one of the employees with her problems, focusing all her attention on her daughter.
Ray tries to buy shoes for Dylan, but a man grabs them from his hands, planning to sell them online. JJ wheels up to him, threatening to kick his ass if he doesn’t hand over the sneakers. He then uses his laser to call the dog over from earlier, successfully scaring the guy into giving them the shoes. JJ is proud he managed to teach his little brother a few things: how to be bold and kind to strangers.