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Last Man Standing continued its entertaining momentum into its second episode of the season, “Driving Lessons.” The episode focused mainly on Eve learning to drive and her complicated mother-daughter relationship with Vanessa.
The episode began with Mike teaching Eve how to drive. The basic rules he has given are to “floor it” when the light is yellow, a stop sign means “look both ways for Johnny Law then floor it,” and a yield sign means “nothing to a Baxter.” All lessons Eve gleefully recites before intentionally spinning out in the parking lot. Mike is ecstatic about his daughter’s driving skills, which she admits it is thanks to Grand Theft Auto.
Back at the Baxter household, Mandy is annoyed with how Mike always uses Kyle for work around the house, consistently ruining her plans. Mandy tells Kyle he needs to stand up and learn how to say no to Mike. Unable to refuse Mike, Kyle goes to help. Vanessa offers to take Mandy to the mall, but when she finally agrees Kyle returns and the two head off. Kristin arrives to look for Boyd’s guinea pig. Vanessa tries to get Kristin to go shopping, but Kristin already has plans. All the while, Eve has been sitting on the couch watching football. Vanessa realizes she’s down to her last option and tries to talk to Eve. Eve begins talking about football statistics, but Vanessa is at a loss. Unable to connect with Eve, Vanessa goes out to the garage with Mike. Mike offers to take her out to do whatever she wants.
Later, Mike tells Ed that he and Vanessa went to see a boring French film. During the conversation, Ed comments on how Mike seems to be losing his alone time since his two buffers, Kristin and Mandy, are always busy. He suggests that Mike should use Eve as a buffer to ensure his personal free time. Mike admits that Vanessa and Eve have never really clicked because they just do not like the same things. Eve and Mike have much more in common. Ed suggests that Mike should hand off Eve’s driving lessons to Vanessa. After deciding this could be the perfect buffer situation, Mike breaks the news to Eve, who does not take it well. As Mike is reassuring her that it will be fun, Vanessa comes in the a driving manual and recites her rules, “No phones, check your mirrors, and, remember, the brake is your buddy.”
As always, Mike uses this current family matter as a prompt for one of his advertising videos. He compares the American style of driving lessons with that of Denmark. Mike urges parents to bypass the dangers of American teenage drives by coming on down to Outdoor Man to purchase a Kayak. Meanwhile, Vanessa is off teaching Eve how to drive. Much more serious than Mike, Vanessa and Eve clash over the rules of safe driving.
Back at the Baxter’s, Mike’s latest job for Kyle is finding a dead animal under the house. Kyle successfully finds the dead animal. Unfortunately, he has to wrestle it from the animal that killed it. Kyle confides in Mike that Mandy wants Kyle to say no to Mike. However, Mike thinks Kyle needs to learn to say no to Mandy. Eventually, overwhelmed by Mandy and Mike’s demands, Kyle says no to both and tells Mandy it’s time they do something he wants to do before storming out of the house. Mandy immediately runs after him, only to find Kyle waiting on the other side of the door, surprised at his own gumption. Vanessa and Eve return and continue to argue. Eve, understanding that her and Vanessa have nothing in common, tells Vanessa she’s only using Eve now because Mandy and Kristin are never around. After an upset Eve goes to her room, Vanessa tells Mike she thinks she should go talk to Eve about this. Mike urges Vanessa to let Eve cool down and think about her actions. As Vanessa walks into the kitchen, Mike sneaks up to Eve’s room to try to smooth things over.
Mike, unimpressed with how Eve spoke to Vanessa, encourages Eve to try to find common ground with her mother. After a little heart-to-heart, Eve apologizes to Vanessa. The two try to think of something they can do together.
Eventually, Vanessa explains a current project that she is working on, which includes a controlled implosion of a coalmine. Eve excitedly comments, “That sounds like you’re blowing something up!” Vanessa says she basically is. Thrilled at the prospect of blowing something up, Eve realizes her mom isn’t as lame as she thought. Vanessa agrees to let Eve take part in the “fun,” even letting her drive to the site.
The episode ends with Vanessa sitting down on the couch with Eve and showing an interest in football. All the while, Mike is proudly looking on. He’s essentially killed two birds with one stone, as he’s recovered some of his free time and helped to repair Vanessa and Eve’s relationship.
While seriously exploring the complex relationships between parents and children, the episode still brought the laughs. A perfect example of how Last Man Standing is a great family series that you should definitely check out on Friday nights at 8/7c on ABC.