George & Tammy (Episode 4): The beginning of the essential end is what episode 4 of George & Tammy was about. Keeping aside the show’s perceivable turn towards A Star Is Born-Esque damned love story, George & Tammy stays true to the highly personal and loyally individual tale it’s telling. If there are–and that isn’t even a matter of debate–bearings of the tale that feel familiar, it is entirely because of the nature of the relationship it’s talking about. George and Tammy were legendary musicians. And even with all of their singularities, the famous couple weren’t above the more general traits shared by almost everyone who lives in fame. By allowing the time-appropriate personal story of the two singers to rule the entirety of it, George & Tammy dodges the risks of telling a glamourized story that holds no essence of the real people.
We have previously seen Tammy hoping against hope that her marriage with George is something that can be saved. Tammy’s perseverance, however personal it may be, has been a muted tale of caution that is as relevant now as it was back then. As grim as “The Grand Tour” is with the scarring events it showcases, it is also the first sign of a more beneficial hope. Shaking off the preachy unconditionality that wedding vows dignify selfishly and irresponsibly, the Chrismas episode of George & Tammy effectively hammers down the first nail in the coffin of abuse.
George & Tammy (Episode 4): Recap
The Grand Tour
At this point in time, Tammy’s solo success has exceeded that of the George and Tammy craze. Countless awards in her bag outshine the ebb of George’s personal music career. But instead of being jealous, George is over the moon. He could not be happier that his wife’s music has even brought international tours to her. But at the end of the day, his love and appreciation for Tammy don’t stand a chance against his alcoholism. After the Vegas disaster, Tammy seems to have taken a softer approach to stop George from binge drinking. But dragging him out of the bar when he has already had a few is something she definitely continues doing.
It’s Christmas Eve at the Jones house, and “half of Nashville” is expected. On his better behavior so far, George groans at the idea of a crowd in his home while he builds a dollhouse for Georgette. Tammy knows that a hard-handed command from her may set George off in the wrong way. Add her motherly instinct to that and Tammy asks George to be a good boy if he wants a gift. She does remember to take all the car keys off the rack before she leaves to buy him a new car. Unsupervised in the thick of his creeping thoughts, George again gives in to the bottle. Unable to knock over any empty beer cans with a gun frustrate him into heading to the bar–or so he tells himself. Being faithful to his wife on Christmas Eve and rejecting an advance from a woman are the only ways George hopes to stay off the naughty list.
Tammy tries to keep George’s absence off her mind with a game of cards. Her friends Jan and Sheila have their own ideas about George’s drinking. Tammy compartmentalizes incredibly well. And that really doesn’t come as a surprise considering what it must have taken her to get back up every time life has pushed her down. Ruining one fun night Tammy is spending with her friends, George comes home drunk and passes out on the floor. They all pitch in an effort to drag him upstairs and get him comfortable. But being completely out of it, George attacks Tammy. What follows is an alcohol-fueled shotgun-wielding devil wrecking through everything in his path while Tammy and her friends hide, clutching their lives.
While George is confined in a straight jacket and refuses help from a rehab counselor, Tammy takes care of business and gives the people of Toronto what they have spent their hard-earned bucks for. It is Richey who first shows a sign of long-overdue honesty and talks to Tammy about considering divorce. But it will break her, thinks Tammy. The last few desperate flickers of the love she has for George still blind her to the reality of her situation. She hardly even has an outlet to vent about her excruciating pain because of the botched operation. And for George, unreasonable grumpiness comes before any sign of remorse. George and Tammy’s relationship has so far been made up of George messing it up and apologizing. This time around, not even getting an apology from George finally makes Tammy take a step toward the right path. She buys a house for herself and her kids and gets the divorce papers drawn.
George & Tammy (Episode 4): Ending Explained
One of the things that had drawn George to Tammy was that she is a “good Christian woman”. And that is exactly the emotion that George meant to exploit. Maybe not as a conscious evil scheme and maybe not even as a calculated ploy to hurt her. But knowing that it will take a lot for Tammy to stop loving him certainly played a part in George taking their marriage for granted. To some extent, his pattern works. When he shows up at Tammy’s place with the dollhouse he had made for Georgette, it takes her hardly a minute to give in to his manipulations once again. And perhaps it would’ve worked out for George for a long while still. I mean, they do end up in bed together even after the royal mess he managed to pull off. But the morning after, George sees the divorce papers. Clearly, any rational mode of action doesn’t have a place in George’s alcohol-infused blood. Angered and hurt, he decides to drive off without confrontation.
It is the rotten idea that she absolutely needs George that cripples Tammy. She is shackled by the lack of self-worth even more than the love she still feels for him. She had previously acquired strong pain medication without a prescription. And in an awful moment of vulnerability, she decides to overdose. Thankfully for Tammy, she was found before it was too late. Lying in the hospital bed after having her stomach pumped, Tammy is the face of the kind of acceptance that dawns right before it is time to move on. Although she recovered fine from the overdose, the doctor tells her that getting that operation is necessary.
Heartbreak has long been as much a muse for artists as love. George pours his pain out through the new song Richey has written for him, and he does so brilliantly. Not to be too much of a cynic, but it really makes you wonder if Richey giving Tammy the idea of divorce came from a place of genuine concern or self-interest. Sheila had previously mentioned how Richey can’t see beyond his success as a songwriter. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to question his true intentions with George and Tammy. But even if he did use George’s behavior as a way to separate the two artists and use their individual talents for his own good, Tammy leaving George is an outcome that justifies any means whatsoever. Leaving George will only bring another side to her musical journey. A side that the heartbroken amongst her fans have long been waiting for. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t really hold my breath just yet. After all, she does mutter his name as the anesthesia takes over her on the operating table.