So having spent the week hectoring her husband to meet with his absent "bio-dad", Jessica suddenly seems filled with dread at having to come along with him. Perhaps she knows Frankie's history after all? Or maybe she's terrified at the prospect of meeting someone who's escaped from a fictional prison dimension!
PROTIP TO TOM BATIUK: The phrase "talking out of the side of one's mouth" is not meant to be a physical description.
Yeah, Darin's smirking so hard in panel 3 that his mouth appears to be trying to escape to the back of his head.
All this has taken place this week, and yet, what's the result?
Frankie: Wanna talk, son?
(After this week of treading water and worthless strips, reinforcing negative impressions of both Darin and Jessica):
Frankie: Wanna talk, son?
"Give bio-dad a call"? "bio-dad"?
I get that they were trying to save space, but if that's all then why not just have Darin refer to him by his actual name. That would be a great way to show the distance between the two of them.
Or how about this: have "Bio-Dad" refer to Darin by the wrong name, thus tipping off the reader (if any still need to be tipped off) that Frankie's motives are less than altruistic? Such a slip-up might be plausible if Frankie called him "Derwin" or "Aaron" or something that has more in common with his real name than just the first initial. Not to mention that Frankie seems to have gone to the trouble of learning everything about everybody in town: it's unlikely that he'd carelessly misremember the name of his mark.
Looking on, of course, is Lenny, Frank Pierce's partner in whatever scam they're trying to run here.
Calling Darin's "crustaceous ketchup" comment a "joke" is quite a stretch. And I'm really not sure why Darin's birth father is something "we" need to talk about, Jessica. Your man's had a hard day. Butt out.
So we're to conclude from this that Dying Lisa never told Darin anything about his biodad, so when Darin called "Frank Pierce", he had no idea who that was or why he was trying to contact him.
Well, maybe Lisa shared with Darin the circumstances of his conception, which would explain why a young man who obsessed over finding his biological mother would be so scornful of a man claiming to be his "Dad". But hey, since his adoptive dad Fred is now damaged goods, you think Darin would opt for the upgrade.
Great punchline today from an author who knows a lot about "coming a long way for nothing"!
"Hello? Who's this? Darin Fairgood? What? You say you want your "frank" pierced? What are you, some kind of pervert?" *Click*!
Guess those "Winkerboard" meetings run pretty long. Frankie's finished his "cup a coffee" and split, but not before dropping off his card, which contains no contact information but does include a variation on a gag from Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938).
Frankie finally musters the gumption to get out of his Stalkermobile and enter Montoni's, where he is greeted by an entirely too-chipper Rachel. The redhead attempts to throw this mysterious stranger off the trail by spouting gibberish when asked about Darin's whereabouts. But she doesn't know that Frankie's read The Book: he gets the "Funky Winkerboard" reference and regards Montoni's would-be gatekeeper with a stern gaze.
What's Frankie going to do? If he's trying to reconnect with Darin, why is he hanging around like a cop on stakeout? Why doesn't he just go in and introduce himself?
Even though it's stalkerish behavior, I'm still not getting Batiuk's intended "evil vibe" off of Frankie. He genuinely comes off as a guy who was deprived of the chance to meet his own illegitimate bastard son.
What and why indeed? Frankie seems totally un-sinister today, at least compared to how he's been portrayed so far in this arc. Where is this going?