‘Stumptown’: Friends with benefits

“Missed Connections”
October 2, 2019

We begin with a flashback some six years earlier. Dex is in a convenience store, just trying to buy a 40 when some asshole bursts in with a shotgun to rob the place. The short version is that Dex beats the ever-living shit out of him, and manages to wrestle the shotgun out of his hands, sending him running off into the night. As thanks, the shopkeeper gives her the 40, which she promptly drops after literally running into Grey. He offers to buy her a beer, and that’s how Dex and Grey met cute.

They also, apparently, one-night-standed cute, too, and the next morning, Dex tries to sneak out of his apartment only to set off the alarm. Dex tries to thank “Greg,” and he realizes she has retained exactly zero information about him, whatsoever. He, however, knows that she’s afraid of heights, hates water chestnuts, is a Sagittarius and is between jobs. Because he is definitely in love with her from afar. Dex is all, “Yeah, great, gotta go now, bye,” and leaves, prompting Grey to note to himself that he dodged that bullet.

the matrix dodge bullet

Except he doesn’t! Because she’s knocking on his door some 15 seconds later, asking for a ride. Her car broke down, and, in fact, she was planning to go look for a new car that day. He joins her at the car lot where he tries, and fails, to talk her out of buying her straight-up hoopty.

They then head to a diner for lunch where Grey warns Dex that he’s just coming out of a four-year-long relationship and therefore not really emotionally¬†available.


oprah who you talking to

So plan on meeting the ex-girlfriend in about four more episodes.

Grey also admits to having served time for grand theft auto, and Dex is impressed — she’s never slept with a convict before. Except for Sammy, she was a compulsive shoplifter.


rupaul drag race spittake

Dex then orders an Asian salad and a scotch and soda, and Grey tells the waitress to hold the water chestnuts on Dex’s salad because he is in love with her from afar.

Later, Dex brings Grey home with her where he plays videogames with Ansel. After, Grey suggests that he and Dex go out to dinner that night, and she agrees, before taking a big swig of … something.

Flash forward to later that night, as Grey brings a plastered Dex home he notes that it’s ballsy to call the guy you stood up for a ride home. She collapses on the couch before drunkenly explaining the whole thing about her first (and only) true love and how he died because of her and that’s why she’s a one-dimensional alcoholic/sex addict “complicated.” Then they agree to only be friends and “dodge that bullet.”

the matrix dodge bullet.gif

Right. So, in the present, Grey hooks Dex up with a guy who needs an investigator despite spending THE ENTIRE PILOT telling her that investigating the missing teenage girl case was a bad idea and discouraging her from doing future investigating. But OK.

The guy is Jay Duplass and he explains to Dex that he met a woman at a bar, Kaytlin, they had an instant connection, but the number she gave him, it doesn’t work. And Dex is like, “Yeah, because she probably didn’t want to ever see you again.” But he’s insistent and promises to pay Dex $1000 to find her. Dex is like, “YOU BETTER NOT BE A STALKER, DUDE,” but also, “I need the money, so sure.”

Dex returns to the bar where Jay Duplass said he met this Kaytlin, and after a little run around with the bartender and manager, she gets the number for the cab company that Kaytlin used to go home. After some off-screen detective magic, Dex is at Kaytlin’s apartment where a bitchy woman refuses to hold open the door for her. But no matter, a resident buzzes her in when she claims to be Chinese delivery.

After some more off-screen detective magic, Dex is on the exact floor where Kaytlin’s apartment happens to be. And even more fortuitously, there’s a furious fight coming from one of the apartments. Dex knocks on the door, claims to be a neighbor (which seems like a potentially very risky and dumb move if the apartment’s residents know their neighbors like, AT ALL) and is just checking to make sure everything is alright. The hipster dude who answers the door assures her that everything is fine, ok, bye.

Dex threatens to call the police, at which point the woman he was arguing with begins hitting him. He threatens her, so Dex leaps on him. Fighting fighting fighting and eventually Hipster Boyfriend runs away, leaving Dex with Kaytlin who is actually Shoshanna from Girls.

why am i here shoshanna girls.gif

And Shoshanna, she just agrees to go with this stranger who burst into her apartment and beat the shit out of her ex-boyfriend? OK. But she does, explaining that she thought that Jay Duplass was too good for her, which is why she gave him a fake number. But now with Dex finding her, maybe this is the universe telling her that she and Jay Duplass are supposed to be together. Dex is like, “sure, whatever lady,” before dropping her off at a diner to meet Jay Duplass and pick up her check.

The End.

Except not! Because Jay Duplass’s check, it bounces, sending Dex to his house to try to collect her money. And it’s a super nice house! But it’s also empty — or so Dex believes at first. After swiping some documents off of his desk, she is bonked on the head by an unseen assailant.

Later at the police department, Dex is explaining to Hoffman and Camryn Manheim that Jay Duplass is missing, she thinks Hipster Boyfriend has something to do with it and that he is probably the one who hit her over the head and is she free to go now? Camryn Manheim is unimpressed with Dex’s argument that she shouldn’t be held on charges of breaking and entering just because the house was unlocked, while also pointing out that it is illegal to be paid for detective services without being licensed.

They do release her, but not until Dex has been sitting around the station long enough to see Hoffman visiting with some attractive woman. And Dex maybe has a jealous? A wee jealous?

Meanwhile, at Grey’s bar, Ansel is approached by Dwight from The Walking Dead, claiming to be an old friend of Grey’s and casually wondering where the safe is. He seems nice and trustworthy and not shifty in the least. When Ansel doesn’t give him any useful information, he takes his leave and promises to return when Grey is there.

And he does — later that night, the men reminisce that it’s been 10 years since they saw each other last, and Dwight, he’s been back inside a few times since. ANYWAY, the reason he’s here now is that someone named Frank called him about someone named Kane who wants his money. Dwight here, he blew through his $250,000 and so he was hoping that maybe Grey had some cash? Grey explains that he put his $250,000 into this new bar venture of his, so Dwight suggests that they burn it down for insurance. (Of course, I wouldn’t think Dwight would want anything to do with fire, but …) Barring that? Dwight’s gonna hit the road. BYE.

lisa vanderpump rhobh bye real housewives beverly im going

Later, Hipster Boyfriend is brought in by the cops for questioning, where he insists he didn’t hurt anyone — he loved Shoshanna, but she is a con artist, and he found out that she was stealing from him. Hoffman fills Dex in on the rest: Shoshanna targets wealthy men, and she has an accomplice — that bitch who refused to open the door for her at the apartment — and That Bitch is tied to the murder of a different wealthy man.

Back at Grey’s bar, Dex and Grey use the financial documents she stole from Jay Duplass’s house, and some basic info she picked up about Jay Duplass, to set fraud alerts on his bank account so that she can track any activity. And it works: She receives a ping that someone has withdrawn $50,000 from the bank. Through off-screen detective magic, she manages to arrive at the bank just as Jay Duplass is leaving it with the cash.

Jay Duplass explains that Shoshanna isn’t scamming him — the money is for That Bitch to get her out of Shoshanna’s life once and for all. He rejects Dex’s offer to come with him when he makes the drop-off, so she slides her brother’s phone in his car so that she can track his movements.

The phone leads her to a motel where Dex pays off a maid to be let into the room where she knows Jay Duplass is meeting That Bitch thanks to some off-screen detective magic. Dex bursts in to find Jay Duplass tied to a chair with a plastic bag over his head and That Bitch about to take her leave. Fighting fighting fighting and Dex eventually gets the best of That Bitch and saves Jay Duplass.

At the police station, Shoshanna repeats her story: she wanted to get out of the con game, the plan was to pay off That Bitch, she’s never killed anyone. The cops are pretty sure she’s pulling the biggest con of all, but release her to Jay Duplass and they live happily ever after.

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Meanwhile, Camryn Manheim basically tells Dex, “Welp, you were right all along. Go get your private detective’s license, dumdum.” And Hoffman clarifies that the hot lady from earlier was his dead partner’s widow before leaving on a call.

don't be jealous that i was talking to hot girls all day napoleon dynamite.gif

Back at Grey’s bar, Dex and Grey celebrate having dodged that bullet for six years now …

the matrix dodge bullet

Meanwhile, that call Hoffman went out on? Yeah, it’s Dwight. He dead.

Before we move on — so I was looking for Dwight gifs (there really aren’t any, in case you were wondering), and instead I found this:

Austin Amelio Dwight the walking dead.png

Y’ALL. Austin Amelio, he’s so handsome! He doesn’t look like a greasy meth head in real life at all! And now all I can think is how much would it suck to be a handsome guy who is literally only ever cast as a greasy meth head.

Alright. I only have a couple of thoughts on this because, you guys, there’s not much to say about this show.

  1. I’m actually pleasantly surprised that they got the “Will They or Won’t They” tension with Grey out of the way and early — it was a refreshing change on that old nugget. That said, the tension will still exist because as we all know, he’s in love with her from afar. And, in fact, I suspect at some point the bullet will no longer be dodged, they will end up in bed again, and it will create Complications.
  2. Hoo boy, was I bothered by some of the plot holes in this episode. Now, I need you to know before I go on this little rant that I do enjoy Stumptown and think that it is both a well-written and well-acted show with a great deal of charm. BUT. I know that we can’t get bogged down in details like how did Dex get the address from the taxi company or how did she know which room in the motel Jay Duplass and That Bitch were in because it’s only 40 minutes of television. But then there are the bigger plot holes, like how did Dex, in her famously shitty car, manage to get to the bank before Jay Duplass could leave with his money? She only received the fraud alert once the money was withdrawn; did it really take the teller that long to put the money together for him? And why was Jay Duplass at Grey’s bar in the first place? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to go back to the bar where he met Kaytlin? And so then once he’s at Grey’s bar, did he just ask Grey if he knew a detective? I mean, I know that people pour their hearts out to bartenders — at least on TV and in movies — but it just seems like a lot of hoops to jump through to get Jay Duplass to Dex in the first place. And why why why did Grey go from strongly discouraging her from being a detective and putting herself in danger to basically becoming her agent? Why the change of heart? Also, ALSO, why didn’t Hipster Boyfriend charge her with assault and battery? As far as I can tell, he wasn’t being abusive with Shoshanna, just yelly, and then suddenly this strange woman bursts into the apartment and starts BEATING THE EVER LIVING SHIT OUT OF HIM, and he just shrugs it off? I mean. I MEAN.
  3. This show is a blog killer. I’m still very mad at all of you.

rosa angry mad brooklyn nine nine shitty terrible no

Stumptown airs on ABC on Wednesdays at 9/10 p.m.


2 thoughts on “‘Stumptown’: Friends with benefits

  1. My theory on how Dex got to the bank so quickly: Her car is the same one that the Fringe crew used to get between Boston and New York. (Or was it Washington? It’s been a few years.) Ya gotta admit, that tape deck is pretty Fringe-y.

    The Stumptown comics famously owe a debt to The Rockford Files, and during the pilot I tried to map the Rockford characters to Stumptown. Rocky is now Ansel, Dex’s family connection. Becker is Hoffman; Becker’s Rockford-skeptical boss is Lieutenant Cosgrove (Manheim). Beth Davenport, Rockford’s lawyer and sometime love interest, is now Gray. And I thought the taco truck guy from the pilot might make a good Angel. (Maybe there will be many Angels.)

    And Rockford’s Pontiac Firebird is now the Fringe car.

    Gretchen Corbett (Rockford’s Beth) is active in the Portland theater scene – she was even in a few episodes of Portlandia. She left The Rockford Files after a contract dispute, but maybe she would be interested in a Stumptown cameo.

    Meanwhile, I’m wondering if Joshua Jackson would make a good Mariette Hartley.

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