I still can't look at this episode title without hearing Jackie bemoaning "Lanford, Laaaannnford" (and Roseanne saying "Cities in Illinois) in the original series' season one mall episode.
Great opening; Darlene and Jackie are terrific together. And the "Oh, hi, we've never met before ..." scene with Odessa feels like something out of the original series (and Dan's "no honking" reminded me of Mark picking up Becky for their first date). We never saw Darlene go to Rocky Horror, and that's not really who she was then, but I'll go with it; Harris blackmailing her is fun. ("She should only have one, but she has two" - ha!)
"A drunk could swerve over here and kill all of us, if we're lucky." The flat tire segment was funny on the surface, but Darlene wouldn't have been stupid enough to text both secret lovers in texting everyone she knows, separately, to come help her (and, good gods, call your first option, e.g. Dan, and then if he's not available call the next person, instead of making everyone you know trek out to the access road -- or, you know, learn how to change a tire).
I'm glad Darlene got her ass double dumped like it belongs. The veneer is nicer this go-round, but fundamentally she's been acting like as big an asshole as she was during her Chicago years as a teen and she deserves to have it finally blow up in her face.
I didn't like Ben last season, but he's been written better this season, and I respect him for how he handled his end of the break-up. I also appreciate the writers skipping the tired trope of making the expendable leg of the triangle a villain to prop up the connection between two main characters.
(Dear Lords of Interesting TV, Logic, Reason, Realism, Good Sense, Healthy Relationships, and Doing Right By Your Kids: Please let the "It's time to move on" break-up between David and Darlene hold.) If you've broken up "so many times," get a fucking clue! It can be hard when you got together so young you're each other's first loves, and you share kids, and there are still aspects of your relationship that work very well, but at some point you have to be an adult. It's time. And it's a much more relatable story on a series that has always sought to speak to realities of the American - especially the working/middle class, more likely to marry and procreate young - experience.
The alcoholics in recovery I know, along with those I've seen post in online discussions about other shows in which the issue is raised, would say it's a lot more tempting, when drinking is forbidden, to slip during quiet shitty times at home than while around others and focused on working, even if that's at a bar in a bar (or restaurant serving alcohol, which Becky's been doing all this time); it's kind of Recovery 101, and Dan needs to educate himself further. But the root of his fear, especially as it's tangled up in his notions of being The Protector, makes sense.
And, ha, Becky played that well, pouring out all Dan's beer and teasing him about he shouldn't be a bartender because of the way he drinks. I also like Louise outing Dan's trying to put the kibosh on Becky's bartending in that trio's initial scene. (I don't love the missing apostrophe on the box of toys in their later scene, but it's realistic.)
This was a good episode, and if they can stay true to the Conner-Healy family's realistic and best trajectory, it could be a turning point. But they've had and abandoned that before, so I'll just enjoy it for what it is.