‘Downward Dog’ S1 Ep 5 review: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Nan, Ned and Jason all get “Trashed” in one way or another. Following suit with preceding episodes this season, ‘Downward Dog’s’ titular theme is reflected differently in each protagonist’s storyline. Nan feels unworthy compared to the New York mucky-mucks she’s presenting her campaign to. Ned reveals that he’s a dumpster dog to the core who shamelessly revels in trash. And after a friend drops some insights, Jason thinks Nan treats him like trash. Get ready for a whole lot of messiness.

Martin puts on a show when Nan packs for New York, but really, he’s super excited to have some freedom and fun for a change. Ouch! That is a brutal confession, Martin. Dog owners’ hearts are breaking at this very moment. Getting into suitcases and handbags is just an act. Really?! What happened to the separation anxiety he felt back in the pilot? For shame, Martin.

Nan is super nervous about her presentation in New York. When Jason arrives to babysit Martin, she wants to know if she looks “New Yorky” enough. All she wants is positive feedback, so he showers her with praise and gets a little over dramatic about it. Nan adorably kisses and loves on Martin, saying how much she’ll miss him. Then, in classic Jason form, he goes from sweet to silly in seconds.

Jason’s plans include a virtual reality adventure with his buds. Moments like this make their “just friends” status much easier for Nan to handle. Before leaving, she asks Jason to take out the trash. He says everything will be fine and shoos her out.

Nan is trying not to freak out while gazing upon the Big Apple. Jenn assures her that she’ll be great and Jason sends the perfect encouraging text at the right time, including a selfie with Martin. Too cute! Jenn wonders if they’re back together and the first thing Nan thinks of is how out-of-place Jason would be in NYC. He’s rather be on a “fictional moon.” You can’t help but wonder if Nan is being too harsh on Jason, especially after meeting the sharp-suit-wearing tools that are supposedly so much better and more grown-up than him.

Our first impression of these guys is seeing them essentially harass Kevin with inappropriate touching and demeaning him in the workplace by calling him Rigatoni Boy because of a commercial he did as a kid. The look on Nan and Jenn’s faces pretty much conveys how we all feel. We also find ourselves sympathizing with poor Kevin again. There’s obviously reason for his bizarre behavior, he’s just trying to fit in even though he clearly feels uncomfortable. Roberto even gives him another smack when he’s saying they’re ready for the pitch upstairs. What ever happened to professionalism? Nan’s getting nervous over nothing.

Meanwhile at home, Jason gets engrossed with his game. He hears the dump truck and sets the trash out just in the nick of time. However, he isn’t mindful of the gate and ends up leaving it unlatched. Ruh-roh! As expected, Martin goes on a garbage binge. He loves the danger of eating rotten and possibly living food that could kill him. This is one philosophy I cannot get on board with. Shout-out to Samm Hodges for the cool trash graphics. It shows us how Martin sees trash as his bounty, although it still looks like gross garbage to us. Eating trash is to Martin what eating chips is to humans: you just can’t stop with one taste.

Back in New York, Nan sees the scope of the conference room and panics. She goes to the bathroom and Jenn follows. Nan is losing it. She thinks all the New Yorkers look perfect and she’s just some dirty, poor kid who is unworthy to be there, which is ridiculous. Thankfully, Jenn knows just how to knock some sense into her frightened friend.

Sometimes a girl just needs a solid boob punch. I love that this was improvised. Brilliant, hilarious and oddly realistic move from Allison Tolman and Kirby Howell Baptiste. Well done, ladies!

Nan begins her pitch with honesty. She confesses that she was in the bathroom feeling “insecure and undeserving” like most people in America, which is why her campaign with be helpful and well-received. Of course, her pitch is a smashing success and they celebrate with a toast.

After Jenn leaves to meet Dan’s parents for dinner in the Hamptons, Nan embarks on her Woody Allen-eque stroll through NYC. We soon see Nan and Martin on their parallel adventures as they roam freely and dream big.

Nan feels flattered when she’s presumed to be a native New Yorker. Maybe she does fit right in after all and this is where she is meant to be. Just like Martin feels at home rummaging through garbage because he’s “a filthy trash animal.”

Martin feels so secure about his animal instincts that he doesn’t even care what Nan thinks anymore. Trash makes him happy and that’s all that matters. Martin makes a good point: “If something makes me happy, how can it be wrong?” Doesn’t this apply to Nan too? If Jason makes Nan happy, then how can he be so wrong for her? Nan and Martin aren’t the only ones doing some deep thinking.

Jason’s VR adventure almost plays out like bro-to-bro therapy. He tells his pal Drew that he has a strong connection with Nan, but he can’t change who he is. It’s heartbreaking when he confesses, “And she doesn’t want what I am.” Drew’s sage advice is basically, “You gotta do you.” The problem is that Jason at his core is the man who wants and loves Nan. That’s epic rom-com, pass-me-tissues level sweetness. Hard to hate on him after saying something so sincere. He’s pouring his heart out to Drew and his feelings have been repeatedly hurt by Nan. He wants her respect and if he’s never going to get it, then maybe it’s time to move on.

While Jason thinks of breaking free from Nan, she’s following (more like stalking) their NYC doppelgangers and begins imaging how they could make a real go of it. She could have the best of both worlds. Adding to the irony, we discover that Martin is in the same boat as Jason.

He has a flashback of his puppy-hood and we learn he was born into a family of trash dogs. After a glorious day of pillaging, Martin over analyzes and unleashes his insecurity once more. He fears the gate was left open on purpose because Nan didn’t want to be with a trash dog like him anymore. Sigh…Jason and Martin are breaking my heart. They both are mangy and sad. Somebody give them a hug!

After the worst day in his life, Martin decides to go back home to Nan. Jason is still oblivious that Martin has been gone this whole time and doesn’t even realize the poor guy wants to get inside the house. Martin roughs it on the porch and Jason passes out after playing his game.

Nan comes home the next morning and finds filthy Martin pathetically laying down outside. Yeah, she has a right to rip Jason a new one. His job was to look after Martin and he didn’t even realize he was talking to a dog that wan’t present all day. If you have the goggles on and can’t see Martin, you’d still be able to feel that he’s not next to you on the sofa. Sorry, dude, but that’s a really lame excuse.

Martin watches in confusion as Nan starts cleaning up Jason’s mess and chastises him for constantly making mistakes. She came home thinking they could get back together and finds him acting like a child again. Sorry isn’t going to cut it this time because Martin could’ve died.

Here’s what really sucks: both of them are at a breaking point in this moment. Jason spent the whole night talking about how much he loves her and how much it hurts when she disrespects him. Nan’s outburst was justified, but for him, it felt like the last straw. He leaves and plans on staying gone. Nan hopes that’s the first plan he actually follows through on because she’s tired of dating a man-child. They’ve each had enough of one another’s crap.

Here’s what’s really great: they truly love each other. That’s why this is so hard for both of them. They want to be together, they just can’t seem get it right. At least, not yet…or so we hope!

Ultimately, Martin has a better understanding of love and relationships than Nan and Jason do. He knows to be grateful for what you have and realize what’s most important in any relationship: you have each other and you’re not alone.

Martin really needs to stop making me cry so much. My Kleenex expense is increasing. Another insightful, moving and thought provoking episode. Props to Morgan Murphy for penning another stellar episode. ‘Downward Dog’ is one of the smartest and most realistic shows on television. Ratings have been holding steady and we seem to be gaining new viewers every week. Yay!

Please keep spreading the word, watch and tweet live, and thank advertisers that run commercials during the episode. If you watch on DVR, don’t fast forward through the commercials. Advertising makes a difference in a show’s odds of renewal. Continue posting your love for ‘Downward Dog’ on social media. ABC should know how much viewers love this special show!

 Martin’s Musings

  • “But part of being different means there’s aspects of each other that, like, we’ll never understand.”
  • When Nan stops Martin from getting into and eating trash: “Nan is so uptight and pious that she feels the need to act like it’s disgusting or something. And that makes me worry about our base compatibility you know?”
  • “The food just tastes so alive, like, sometimes literally…I do it because it’s dangerous. The danger makes me feel alive.”
  • “No one likes it when you’re looking forward to something and some one just comes and rips it away. It’s just rude.”
  • “Once I get a taste, I can’t stop until I’ve been satisfied.”
  • “I’m tired of hiding who I am. By living in the shadows, like, I’ve actually been buying into her Puritanical narrative that trash is bad and unhealthy and shameful.”
  • “If something makes me happy, how can it be wrong?”
  • “Sometimes I get confused. Sometimes I over analyze and I take simple, simple problems and I turn them into these mazes of insecurity. But sometimes, my purpose is clear.”
  • ” I don’t even care what she thinks anymore. Nan will never understand the wonder of trash. And maybe she’ll never understand me, but that’s her loss.”
  • “I know who I am. I’m an animal. I’m a filthy trash animal. Watch me roar.”
  • “It’s like I wasn’t even enjoying it anymore, but it was like this compulsion.”
  • “I’m a trash dog from a long line of trash dogs. And maybe all this time, Nan did know the real me.”
  • “Why would anyone want to be with a trash dog, like me?”
  • “I know I say this, like, all the time but today was the worst day of my life.”
  • “I knew I had to go back to Nan.”
  • “Yeah, of course, Nan is crazy about me.”
  • “I think so often, I forget the really, really obvious things in life. Because I don’t think it’s all that hard to be happy… I think you just have to be grateful…for what’s right in front of you. Because me and Nan are really, really different…we have these huge issues we have to work out.”
  • “…when you’re always running around looking for what’s wrong with everything,  you just end up miserable…we have each other, and that’s what’s important. We’re not alone. For that I’m honestly, really, truly grateful.”

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