This Cougar Town episode provides some insight into the mystery that is Ellie Torres? Why is she the way she is? Perhaps it has something to do with her parents? Well, we find out when we meet her mom in “Ways to be Wicked.”

Cougar Town TITLE CARD:

Pay Attention. The title:
Cougar Town
almost makes sense this week!

Woo! Hurray! Of course now people will be confused all over again. The show isn’t about cougars! Of the middle aged lady or animal variety.

Cougar Town Recap – What Happened:

As I mentioned, Ellie’s (Christa Miller) mother is in town. And while Betsy (Susan Blakely) makes what appear to be the best muffins in the entire world, the group agrees to hate her because Ellie says she is awful. Grayson (Josh Hopkins) thinks she is nice though. So does Jules (Courteney Cox) , but she doesn’t say it to Ellie. But Grayson does. So now Ellie isn’t talking to Grayson or Jules and Jules isn’t talking to Grayson. (Grayson is more than cool with this.) I love it because I think we all know at least one person who feels about their parent like Ellie does. Parents are around to drive us nuts. (But mine watches my kids for sleepovers once a month, so we are more than cool. I love you, Mommy.)

Turns out, maybe Ellie is right and not just having “mom” issues. Betsy talks trash about Jules behind her back and then is sweet to her face. And thanks to some quick thinking on Ellie’s part, Jules finds out first hand that Betsy isn’t as sweet as she thinks. It’s funny watching Ellie talk about how awful Betsy is. But even though Ellie says awful things, she mostly says it to that person’s face, so I guess that makes her better, right?

Jules and Ellie come up with a plan to get Jules in good with Betsy by being just as mean as she is. And it works when Jules says some pretty mean things about Grayson. But then as the two ladies bond, we discover that not only is Betsy nasty, she also has nothing nice to say about Ellie. She feels no connection with her. Wow. I love that Bill Lawrence is going there with this storyline. It reminds me of Scrubs. Jules tells Ellie and says that Ellie doesn’t need to see her mom anymore. And even though Ellie says she doesn’t care, you can tell it breaks that cold black heart of hers just a little. And it is a beautiful moment for Christa Miller. I love when she gets these little moments of emotion.

Grayson not going along with “saying Ellie’s mom is a pain” at the start of the show means that Jules, and everyone else, point out that he is still considered the new guy. And not just because, chronologically, he is the newest member of the Cul de Sac Crew. But also because he doesn’t try as hard with everyone. When Andy (Ian Gomez) says he was a male cheerleader, Grayson says nothing. But Laurie (Busy Phillips) goes into a huge rant wanting to know everything. So when Laurie says she has a lifelong dream, Andy encourages Grayson to ask questions.

It turns out her lifelong dream is open a cake shop. Fun fact: in reality Busy Phillips actually makes amazing cakes. (Look at this Tangled Cake she made. On her own. If I didn’t love her so much I’d hate her for being so multi-talented) Anyway, Laurie has been a busy bee keeping “hooker hours” making cakes in an attempt to start her own shop. She makes Grayson a “Congrats on having a baby” cake. Well, it has a longer name than that because he had a baby with a drunk girl before he started dating his fiance and didn’t know his baby existed until recently. But that’s a looong name for a cake. It’s a lady bug because… well no good reason. When Laurie goes off to work, a customer wants to buy a piece of cake. So Grayson sells it to him – he’s a dream maker, according to Andy! Really, he just wants to make money, but as it turns out, Andy is right.

Grayson even goes so far as the add Laurie’s cakes to the menu and put in a new oven for her in the kitchen. Andy is so proud. Not as excited though – Laurie. She just isn’t in to it. Yeah… Grayson is more than a little upset. His incredibly mature reaction: chase Andy down and then give him a monster wedgie. Well done, sir. Laurie says she doesn’t care if Grayson is upset, she doesn’t want to sell. But he still takes a cake they drop while fighting and sells it. In mugs. It’s mug cake. I would totally buy that, FYI. Turns out Laurie is just scared that if she fails the dream is done. But Grayson throws out some parent knowledge and lets her know she just has to do it. So they are going to sell cakes!

Meanwhile, at college Travis (Dan Byrd) is frustrated that the house he shares with Sig (Shawn Parikh) and Kevin (Lamarcus Tinker) is super boring and no chics come over. In no small part due to Travis having worn a helmet for 6 weeks and apparently Sig gets a bloody nose when he is too close to the ladies. Sexy. Whose help does Trav enlist? Bobby’s (Brian Van Holt) of course! His plan – steal something. What will they steal? A cougar statue. Hey, there’s that cougar!! We’ve been leading up to this all 3 seasons, right?

Bobby enlists some help of his own – Chick (Ken Jenkins)! I’m always SO HAPPY when he is on. His character is great. And this week we discover he’s a sneaky ol’ bastard. He breaks a vending machine and sends the security guy chasing after a non-existent culprit just to prove he is down with the nefarious deeds Travis and his friends have planned. But when it comes time to act, the younguns scatter at the first sign of trouble. Amateurs. But Chick and Jules and Bobby end up helping Travis steal the statue. Yay! Now they just have to find some girls…

This episode was fantastic. I think giving Ellie a backstory that not only explains her attitude but also explains why deep down, despite having nasty things to say, she does love her friends truly, was a wonderful aspect of the season. Giving these characters depth beyond the Cul de Sac is so important. I love them all as if they were my own friends, and just like with my own friends, I like to know why they are the way they are.

What did you think? Did you like the emotion? And are you excited to see the inevitably ridiculous cakes that Laurie will make on her new exciting adventure?

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae