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'Ties That Bind' fan recap: The daddy-in-prison blues

Season 1 | Episode 8 | “Paying for It” | Aired Sep 30, 2015

Ties That Bind, you’re such a tease.

It’s Tim’s birthday this week, and to celebrate, Ties give us a few fleeting moments with the reason we started watching this show in the first place: Luke Perry.

Looking worn and prison-weary, Tim tries to get Allison to keep the children from visiting him, but she’s not having any of it. She’s been lying to Mariah and Cameron this long, but the look of disappointment on their little faces is just getting to be too much for her—and me. Blech.

She’s resolute, and essentially tells Tim to “suck it up,” they’re coming, and he’d better get used to. In return, he delivers one of the Luke Perry-iest speeches ever, but Allison is not moved by his indignance. I am, though. I’m sucker for all things Perry, I’ll admit.

Meanwhile, Matt has a job. Did you forget? Me too.

Apparently he’s the boss of a construction site, and one of his workers, John Chow, is mixed up in a murderous slavery ring that is holding his girlfriend hostage. The group of Chinese smugglers is holding his beloved girlfriend Meimei in exchange for five grand, but he’s having a hard time raising the money.

Matt stumbles upon some henchmen roughing up John a little, trying to squeeze him for the money, and obviously Matt’s first instinct is to tattle to his wife. Allison and Devin dig into the crime a little, but not before she has to deliver the obligatory lecture to John Chow about his illegal status and scold him about paying kidnappers. Blah, blah, blah.

The investigation into the smuggling ring takes them deep into the Chinese community. They hit up the church and some of its members, but it’s the community center that is the real gold mine in terms of clues.

Here, they meet sweet, demure teacher Ying Ma, who is compassionate and thoughtful and just raves about the effect of the community center on her life and adjustment to her new life in America. She’s even a self-sacrificing teacher, helping other immigrants to learn English and adjust to living in America. She seems like a dream—but that’s how Ties gets you.

Don’t let the cardigan and pearls fool you. Ying Ma is really the leader of the slavery cartel, but it doesn’t become apparent until all of Allison’s police intervention results in some vandalism and light terrorism. Seeing the words “don’t talk to the police” scrawled in Chinese in red spray paint helps Allsion figure out Ying Ma’s part in all of this.

The supercop duo heads to Ying Ma’s house, but they don’t make it there in time to grab her. They do, however, save a few young women from indentured servitude, so it’s not a wasted trip. While Allison and Devin are raiding her house, Ying Ma is busy hustling Meimei into the back of a windowless van to meet John Chow for the extra five grand.

John Chow, by the way, stole that money from Matt’s job site (Matt has a job, remember?), and determination to save Meimei from the clutches of Ying Ma and a future of slavery overrides his morality.

As John Chow and Ying Ma come face-to-face to make the exchange, Ying realizes that John’s payment is short, and she orders her guys to kill John Chow right there. Luckily, Allison and Devin have the world’s most convenient police timing, and pull up right in time to save John Chow and Meimei from getting shot dead. Whew.

All of this happens in enough time for Allison to clock out and and get home to collect Mariah and Cameron for their trip to see Tim in prison. Mariah has been emotionally obsessing about what to wear, what to say, and how to fix her hair, because she’s got a terrible case of the daddy-in-prison issues.

Cameron, on the other hand, works his emotional stuff out in his usual broody, scowly, incredulous-eyebrows way. He rejects Jeff’s attempts to connect with him. The harder Jeff tries to help, the more Cameron gets annoyed. Cameron tells Jeff to “step off” because, you know, it’s 1996. Jeff finally does “step off,” but he stays pretty worried about his cousin. He’s a sensitive young man in that way.

Allison and the kids make the trip to the prison, but Tim sabotages the visit by getting into a fight 10 minutes before they arrive. (You can’t take disrespect in here, he reminds us.) Allison is furious and delivers a foot-stomping, fist-shaking lecture (this episode is full of those), which seems a little too self-righteous to land where it should. I don’t care for her tone.

Tim is appropriately admonished, and probably feels like crap, but as long as Allison gets to look like the good guy, all is well. Right?

What do you guys think? Was she too hard on Tim?

Ties That Bind airs on Wednesdays at 9/8C on UP.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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