Guilt was the overwhelming theme on The Conners Season 3 Episode 17, and for better or worse, it's foreshadowing significant changes ahead.
It's funny how some people can enter your life and shift your perception of the world in completely unexpected ways. Molly Tilden did that for Darlene when they briefly reconnected.
And it seems that Jeff, Wellman Plastics' new employee, is doing the same.
Once again, Darlene tried to convey to Ben how much she needed to get away. Even if it wasn't a trip to Hawaii, she just needed a mini-vacation to recharge, and she wanted to take that with him.
But Ben either wasn't really hearing her or he or didn't want to. He's fixated on him and Darlene moving in together as the end game. Ben is focused on his own needs, and that's not necessarily wrong.
Ben moved into the Conner house with Darlene so that Dan wouldn't lose his and Becky's and Beverly Rose's home. But it's been a year, and he wants to move forward. It's hard to blame him for that.
A year is a long time, but no one expected Covid-19 to come along and derail all of their plans. Ben is so set on his goal of moving in with Darlene that he's failing to see that she may need something else.
It's not as though Darlene has been out partying and letting Ben do all the financial heavy-lifting. If anything, she's the one who took on the full-time job at the factory and then worked hard to get a promotion. She's put so much pressure on herself that she's been having anxiety and panic attacks.
Jeff: You know, we’re all carbon-based beings. If you added any more pressure, you could turn into a diamond. I learned that in Superman comics.
Darlene: I hadn’t pegged you as a reader.
Molly's death shook Darlene. Molly was so young and had so much more she wanted to do in her life, and then it was just over.
Darlene realizes that time can run out when you least expect it. It has made her reassess what she really wants, and maybe she's not willing to settle for a life in Lanford and a job at the factory, even if that means being able to get a place with Ben.
Hearing Jeff talk about being on a beach in Fiji and planning on moving to Australia had Darlene thinking about other options that didn't include giving away perfectly good tickets to Hawaii to pay bills.
And then Barbara came along, and I'm still uncertain whether she made things better or worse.
Is Candace Bergen's Barbara going to be a recurring character on The Conners? I'm torn over that. I love the actress, but Barbara irks me in a similar vein to Beverly. Neither character is ever really nice, and their acerbic wit only goes so far.
I suppose Barbara's role is to irritate the audience, but she's also supposed to push the plot forward, which she did here by making Dan feel guilty.
Coming to Dan's house and telling him to sell it so Ben could get what he wanted was selfish and short-sighted. Depending on Dan's mortgage and the real estate prices, how much Dan might make is questionable.
And that's not even factoring in the emotional ties the entire family has to the house that was once Roseanne's.
No matter what happens with the house, I'm glad Jackie told Darlene about Barbara's interference. Darlene needs to know the type of person Ben's mother is, whether she and Ben end up together or not.
Darlene telling Dan not to sell because she was unsure about her future with Ben was a shock. I'm guessing it will be an even bigger surprise to Ben.
Elsewhere, Becky went off to rehab looking determined to get well.
That feeling didn't even get her through her first group therapy session.
Becky heard everyone else's horror stories and tried to make fun of them because humor is how Becky deals with stress and because she didn't think that could ever be her.
But Becky was wrong. She had been passed out drunk with her baby screaming only ten feet away. There are so many what-if scenarios where that could have turned out differently. When you're that intoxicated, tragedy is only one wrong turn away.
Once again, Jackie brought the tough love where it was needed.
Becky, stop. If you don’t go back to rehab, you’re not just screwing up your own life. You’re screwing up Beverly Rose’s. I had to grow up with an alcoholic father. I never brought friends around because he would always embarrass me, and when he went out at night, I used to pray that he wouldn’t die in a car crash. And then, when things got really bad, I prayed that he would. So, you really want to put Beverly Rose through that?Jackie
I could picture Roseanne telling Becky that same story, and perhaps Becky could, too. Thankfully, it drove the point home, but part of Becky was still waffling on whether rehab would work.
Becky: What if I can’t do what they’re asking me to do?
Dan: Oh, you’re as stubborn as I am, but you’re also as tough as I am. You need to go back there and just get this done. If you don’t try, you know where this goes.
Dan and Becky have always had a special relationship, so it was good to hear him reference their similar qualities, both good and bad, as he tried to get his daughter to do the right thing.
So what do you think, TV Fanatics?
Do you like the idea of Barbara being a more permanent resident in Lanford?
Was Barbara wrong to tell Dan he's holding up his kids' lives?
Were you surprised to hear that Darlene is reconsidering her future with Ben?
Should Dan sell the house if he can make any money from it so that everyone can move on?
Have you checked out our exclusive interview with Lecy Goranson, who plays Becky?
Do you think Ben and Darlene will still be together by the end of this season?
Don't forget to hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell us what you think of this installment of The Conners. And there are only three episodes left of The Conners Season 3! Check back in for our next The Conners review.
And you can always watch The Conners online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.