The women are all atwitter about who the new roommate is going to be. Kim is already predicting horrible things, and Towanda helps her to put her expectations aside and just wait to see who it will be.
In the loft, there is even more excitement because Josie’s mother is coming today. We didn’t get to see too much of Nancy in Season one because she had to take a bus to get to Chicago for Chloe’s delivery, and she was pretty quiet. (I’m still mad at Josie for hounding her for a car safety seat when she’s on disability.) Iyanla reminds Josie to push the delete button on any bad memories to allow Nancy to be a good grandmother to Chloe. Josie, crying, narrates that Chloe brings her and her mother together even though she could feel jealous that Nancy is able to nurture Chloe in a way she could not with Josie.
It’s also Jen’s mother’s birthday today. Jen narrates she’s been feeling better about her mother in the past couple of weeks and that now Jen believes her mother did not favor her sister after all, that Jen just made it all up in her mind. And she’s starting to believe that her mother did not choose to not care for her children. Then we see Josie hollering about how she did all the housework to please her mother, then her mother would get drunk and make a big mess. She tells the group she had already lived with her grandparents by then, and seen the same behaviors in her grandfather. Josie says her mother is good at playing the mommy role, then going back to being a drunk. She is asked to remember some good things and says her mother started the school newspaper at her school and got the dress code changed so girls could wear jeans, and passed on that empowerment to her. They go around the room and all tell one good thing they got from their mom. Sommer says her ability to release tension through laughter; Towanda, singing to relieve stress; Kim, volunteering and advocating for women; And Jen, being very forgiving. (I am gagging on the baloney by now.) Iyanla reminds the group to get a photo of Josie with her mother and Chloe, because 3 generations of women is a powerful visual.
She hands out assignments for the day. Jen will meet with an MS specialist to discuss her mother’s condition. They will all return to the loft this evening to meet their new housemate. Jen narrates she will be fine as long as the woman is nothing like Deborah.
Josie narrates that she hopes the Starting Over house is rubbing off on her mother, and that she doesn’t consider her a bad mom.
There is a knock at the door and someone, I think Kim, says “come in”, and is scolded by Josie for not saying it loud enough. It’s Lori Fox, a social worker with the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Jen tells her mother has had MS since the age of 19 or 20, and had Jen at 21. Her mother doesn’t have episodes of good and bad days; she is just down all the time. “Every day is a bad day, and some days it’s even worse”, is how Lori puts it. Jen shares that her mother has never mentioned her illness or her father’s imprisonment.
Nancy, Josie’s mother arrives. She’s an earth muffin with long grey hair and cute hippie clothes, and 70′s vintage wideframe plastic eyeglasses. Chloe hasn’t seen her in months and doesn’t recognize her but doesn’t seem afraid.
Jen tells Lori her mother’s MS got way worse after her dad was incarcerated. She fels a lot more compassion but hasn’t told her mother how she was feeling. She thinks her mother is too far into denial to be ready for a serious conversation. She doesn’t want her mother to feel guilty.
Nancy and Josie are getting re-acquainted. She calls Josie “baby”. Nancy calls Chloe “the Chlo-meister”.
Iyanla takes Towanda back to Roca Sound to work on her song. Towanda’s caption reads “Chloe, the artist formally known as Towanda”. She tells Sebastian about her technical experience without letting him know she was a professional or has a famous sibling.
Lori wants to know if they have covered all of Jen’s concerns and Jen asks if it is normal not to talk about the illness with your family. Because the symptoms are always changing, it’s hard to know what her mother goes through. Lori tells her fatigue is the biggest factor, the one that’s always there. Jen’s mother might be in denial because she’s scared.
Towanda and Sebastian are working with the lyrics she has written. The melody that was in her head while she was writing is good, but he says he wants to hold that for another song and show her something else for this one. She’s enthusiastic and appreciative of his suggestions.
Nancy has brought some baby clothes for Chloe and Josie also has a present for Nancy – a little suede bag with turquoise fittings which Nancy really loves. Weeping, Josie narrates she things her mother tries extra hard with Chloe because she knows she failed with Josie. Nancy in turn narrates that she’s amazed at how Chloe has grown. We see them playing outside and Nancy gets her to say “mama”! We see more of Josie crying in confessionalthat she is not jealous (One gets the impression she’s trying to convince herself.) Then more of her riff that Chloe is number one and it is crucial to make her feel she is not a mistake, like Josie felt as a child. (I wonder if this means she has stopped calling Chloe “Little Bastard”.)
Jen meets with Iyanla to tell her about the talk with Lori. She slips and refers to herself as a kid, then corrects herself. Jen believes the “fierce conversation” that will take her to the next step and help her heal, should not be on the phone because she wouldn’t get through the denial. She’s also decided she’s sick of playing the Wounded Child role, so she won’t focus so much on feelings from the past. Iyanla agrees that she should honor it but not live like it’s still happening.
We see some quick confessional wondering about who the new roommate might be, and Jen worrying that it will be someone who’s crazy.
Towanda and Sebastian are putting her song to music. He has thought up what he thinks is an appropriate melody and she likes it. It feels good to belt out her feelings.
Jen calls her mother to wish her a happy birthday, in baby talk.
Towanda discusses her song with Iyanla. She’s happy to discover that you can go through pain and even explore it, and come out ok on the other side.
Now it’s loft time and everyone is staring at Iyanla because they want to know who the new housemate is. The door opens, and no surprise to anyone who’s been watching this week, it’s Maureen Goodman. The housemates recognize her too. The plasma comes up and she introduces them to Larry. He is a loner and this has caused frustration in their marriage. Their fifth anniversary was last April Fool’s Day. We see pictures of her children, the daughter who died of Leukemia, the son who died of a heart attack, the surviving daughter. We see a picture of Mo on the night of her first good comedy routine. Then there’s a picture of her living room and we see a news report (Might be re-enacted though) of the fire. She has returned because she is Starting Over again. (We aren’t told where Larry is, but it’s a shame to pull them apart just when they are finally appreciating each other.) Kim narrates that she feels sorry for Maureen. Losing a loved one is a big fear for Kim, and she also says that every object in her home means something and it would be devastating to lose anything.
Mo and Sommer enjoy a butt together outside. Kim comes out and compares rings with Maureen (the jewelry survived the fire) and marvels that Maureen’s diamond is beautiful, too. Maureen narrates that the Starting Over house will be freedom from the pressures of the loss.