Wow, James was in denial about his drinking two years ago.
Single Drunk Female Season 1 Episode 8 showed that James fooled most of his family by being a functional alcoholic.
James did such an excellent job hiding his addiction that he was still the golden boy at home until everything changed that fateful Thanksgiving.
Sibling rivalry is always complicated, but it's worse when one person feels left out by their parents' praise.
James's older brother Lucas felt out as their dad singled James out in his praise. To make matters worse, Lucas was the only one that suspected James was drunk that day.
James was a functioning alcoholic, meaning he could usually handle his alcohol, perform well at his job, and fool his family into thinking he was sometimes a little tired.
Lucas: What are you doing?
James: Sorry for loving the Lord.
Lucas: You’re drunk. I knew you drank, but today of all days on Thanksgiving, Mom’s favorite holiday with all our relatives around.
He was so good at this game that no one believed Lucas when he told the family James was drunk, and they needed to intervene. Instead, the entire family turned on Lucas, driving an even bigger wedge between them.
No, that can’t be true! No one in this family drinks.James's mom
Sibling rivalry can be frustrating. It was evident that Lucas cared about James and wanted him to get help, but he was tired of being painted as the lying brother.
It's a rough spot to be in when the functioning alcoholic can con everyone to their side and make you look like the bad guy. Lucas had enough and announced James had been drinking in his recent car accident.
Of course, James was offended and stormed off to a bar to get even drunker. James and Sam's first meet-up was so cute. It seemed so out of character that James would drink Pina Coladas, and he had to settle for a non-blended version.
Sam was an empowered woman back then. She used a fake name since she didn't want anyone to trace her, and she wouldn't let James buy her a drink because she didn't want to owe him anything.
Hopefully, some of these instincts return to the current version.
Sam took care of James in this flashback versus all the times we've seen him take care of her. James was a funny but embarrassing drunk as he danced around the bar. It wasn't the best option, but she bought him more drinks, so he would stop dancing.
While Sam and James's bathroom scene was hot and impulsive, I appreciated that Sam stopped long enough to ask James for consent. She recognized that He was more intoxicated than she was.
Katrina(Sam): Wait, you’re very drunk. I just want to make sure I have your consent.
James: Oh, you got it.
If only more people recognized those scenes, many date rapes could be prevented.
James was so drunk, and he wanted to take that further by having them each vow consent to each other. It was sweet in theory, but they were both so drunk that it looked hilarious.
Even though Sam and James tried leaving the bathroom separately, no one fell for that trick, and they were kicked out of the bar.
In every timeline, Sam and James's connection was on point. They understood crazy family families and did not want to let others down.
I got kicked out of my family on Thanksgiving. We can be monsters together.
Could these two be any more fun? They were entertaining as they attempted to order food through the drive-thru on foot.
Is it really illegal to do that? What if people don't have a car, and it's their only way of ordering food?
James and Sam gathered as much junk food as possible from a nearby party store for their celebration. They looked so happy as they promised to do this again the following Thanksgiving.
These two genuinely light up around each other. No matter what happens between the two of them, Sam and James share a strong connection, where they understand each other and understand feeling like a screw-up.
James loved that he got a job that made his dad proud, but he was unsure if he could do the coding job. It made him feel overwhelmed, which started the cycle of drinking more.
It surprised me that after a night of partying that Sam was the one who wanted to call it quits first. She wanted to go home, even if it meant dealing with her mom.
On the other hand, James was terrified of his family and preferred playing in traffic. What would have happened if Sam hadn't been there?
It took the kindness of a new friend for James to realize he needed help. At that moment, James thought he was invincible and could beat the speeding cars.
If Sam hadn't been there, the car would have won. Was that event enough for the rest of Jame's family to realize he needed help as well?
Lucas showed up to support James despite their sibling rivalry at his first AA meeting. Hopefully, we'll learn how the brothers' relationship healed and more about the beginning of James's recovery.
Knowing what he struggled with initially would help us understand why he's currently so wary of dating Sam. Is it because he's dealt with those same demons?
Over to you, Single Drunk Female Fanatics. Did you enjoy James's backstory? Do you think he and Sam will try again once her year of sobriety is over?
Chime in below in the comments.
Remember, if you missed an episode, you can watch Single Drunk Female online right here via TV Fanatic.
Single Drunk Female airs at 10:30/9:30c on Thursdays on Freeform.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.