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S03E02: Crackerjack
Showtime  ·  28 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: April 04, 2011

Directed by: Craig Zisk  |  Written by: Dave Finkel, Bett Baer

Official synopsis: Tara Gregson begins taking an abnormal psychology class and her professor, Dr. Hattaras, is a mean-spirited cynic and doesn’t believe that Tara really has DID, but is just attention-seeking. Kate Gregson wants to teach English in Japan. Charmaine and Neil move in together.

Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Matt Richenthal for TV Fanatic, April 05, 2011

The third season premiere of United States of Tara concluded with the show’s title character going relatively insane once again. But the real question on “Crackerjack” was whether or not Max could keep it together. Played perfectly by John Corbett, this supporting father and husband hasn’t been given a great deal to do over the first couple seasons. He pretty much just reacts to the nuttiness around him and tries to remain calm. But Max is now facing a struggle outside his home life, buckling under the economy and selling his business. It puts the man in a difficult position, and not merely because he must fire his best friend.

What happens when the rock of the family needs someone else to prop him up – and that someone else is busy transitioning into T because her new professor thinks she’s full of it?
Indeed, Eddie Izzard was featured prominently this week, as the series has set up an intriguing situation for his character and Tara at college. It’s very much true that some in the field of psychology don’t believe in D.I.D. or similar disorders. Throughout its opening two seasons, United States of Tara hasn’t really gone there, though. It’s presented us with a number of alters and asked viewers to accept them as fact. But might it now challenge that set-up? I can’t imagine it will spend too long trying to convince us that Tara has been misdiagnosed or is even somehow making up her personalities… but it will be interesting to see the result when Bryce enters the picture again.

Elsewhere: How great is Neil? He’s loving and caring and funny, but I’m guessing all women can relate to being turned off to someone who may be all those things, but also lacks any kind of drive. What an emotional, well-acted scene between Tara and Kate to wrap up the half hour. The latter showed how much she truly loves her mother, just as she’s leaving for Japan. Will we actually follow her adventures there, or will Kate be absent for awhile?

Guest Cast: Eddie Izzard (Dr. Hattarras), Patton Oswalt (Neil), Michael Hitchcock (Ted Mayo), Aaron Christian Howles (Noah Kane), Scott MacDonald (Larry), Michael J. Willett (Lionel), Dan Bakkedahl (Mr. Kern), Jeffrey G. Barnett (Student on Bike), Henry Monfries (Rory)