Last Man Standing Season 7, Episode 6 recap: Vanessa’s mother comes to town

LAST MAN STANDING -- Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. -- Acquired via FOX Flash
LAST MAN STANDING -- Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. -- Acquired via FOX Flash /

Vanessa’s mother Bonnie came to town in Last Man Standing Season 7, Episode 6. How did her visit go? Elsewhere, Kyle and Mandy try parenting Boyd.

Last Man Standing introduced Vanessa’s mother Bonnie in Season 7, Episode 6. We quickly saw Vanessa and her mother do not have the best relationship. Meanwhile, Kyle and Mandy offer parenting advice to Ryan and Kristen Vogelson. When they try parenting Boyd, he has other ideas.

The major storyline in this episode appropriately reflects the episode title, “The Courtship of Vanessa’s Mother.” Last Man Standing began when Mike (Tim Allen) needs to head to work, yet Vanessa (Nancy Travis) asks him to stay. Her mother will arrive today and she is fretting about it. She likes a third person present when her mother visits. Coincidentally, Mike likes her mother.

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Her mother, Bonnie (Susan Sullivan), arrives and quickly critiques Vanessa’s flower arrangement. The two ladies go to lunch at Outdoor Man Grill, and Vanessa nearly begs Kristen (Amanda Fuller) to join them. She declines, though she promises VIP treatment of beef jerky.

Vanessa flags Ed (Hector Elizondo) over and the two are smitten. Vanessa invites him to accompany them to a painting class that evening. He readily accepts and further flirts with Bonnie.

That evening, Vanessa is overjoyed that Ed will serve as the new buffer when she spends time with her mother. Bonnie enters saying Ed wants to take her out to dinner, and Vanessa is off the hook. Mike thinks Vanessa would be glad to hear this, but she comments Ed is stealing her time with her mother.

The next day, Vanessa finds Mike in the garage. She complains about her lack of time with her mother because Bonnie has spent a great deal of time with Ed. Mike tells her to talk to her mom, but Vanessa disregards this. Mike offers this wisdom which shows his grief over his dad’s death.

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This shows Mike has some regrets about his relationship with Bud. While Vanessa appears to ignore his advice, she changes her mind the next day at lunch. Bonnie wants to enjoy lunch, but she and Ed have plans to go to an art museum to see nude pictures and statues!

Vanessa hustles upstairs to talk to Ed. She laments he has stolen her time with her mother, and she says those two are in a relationship. He agrees to cancel the day’s outing, yet when he informs Bonnie, he breaks up with her. Bonnie is hurt and Vanessa is surprised.

Hoping to rectify the situation, Vanessa chases after Ed and confronts him. He panicked at the sound of the word relationship. Bonnie is not his normal type of women. Admittedly, he likes younger women, and Bonnie is too old and similar to Vanessa. Essentially, he is intimidated, though he denies this. Mike guilts him by saying Ed would be lucky to be with Bonnie.

Bonnie wants to leave the Baxters to return home to Connecticut. Last Man Standing fans know Vanessa attended Ohio St., but this is the first time we’ve heard where her family lives. More tidbits of information such as this will give Last Man Standing writers more future storylines.

Not wanting her mom to leave, Vanessa finally opens up. She constantly feels judged by her mom. Bonnie counters by saying Vanessa intimidates her and Vanessa regularly insults her. She also is insecure around Vanessa because Vanessa flaunts her PhD and her successes in Bonnie’s face.

Doesn’t Bonnie know Vanessa quit her job as a geologist to become a teacher, only later to be laid off as a teacher? Speaking of Vanessa’s work, is she still running a tutoring service? Anyways, Bonnie also hates the third-wheel whenever she spends time with her daughter. To worsen matters, Vanessa says this.

Bonnie is Vanessa’s role model, and the two women agree to work on their relationship. Ed drops by to apologize for his cowardly actions. He still likes Bonnie and wants to date her. She politely declines to focus on her relationship with Vanessa. She remains open to it in the future though.

Last Man Standing chose wisely in casting Susan Sullivan as Vanessa’s mother. It was obvious where Vanessa gets her personality, and Susan Sullivan had good chemistry with Hector Elizondo. I hope Last Man Standing brings her back in the future.

Meanwhile, the younger generation also dealt with parenting, albeit in a different light. When Boyd (Jet Jurgensmeyer) enters the room, Ryan (Jordan Masterson) asks if he finished his math homework.

Boyd has not started yet, Ryan chastises him, and he sends Boyd to his room to finish it. Kyle (Christoph Sanders) and Mandy (Molly McCook) disagree with Ryan’s parenting technique. They offer advice, which Ryan disregards because they are not parents. Still, they offer to watch Boyd this weekend so Ryan and Kristen can go to Aspen.

LAST MAN STANDING -- Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. -- Acquired via FOX Flash
LAST MAN STANDING — Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. — Acquired via FOX Flash /

After returning home from the arcade, Kyle and Mandy ask Boyd to finish his math homework. He claims he is stupid and he doesn’t understand it. Kyle and Mandy try to cheer him up and help him using unorthodox ideas, but their plan backfires.

When the Vogelsons return from their trip, they discover Mandy and Kyle finished Boyd’s homework for him. Not only did he trick them into completing his homework, he duped Kyle into washing the dishes. He is smart, not only at school but at conniving to get his way.

LAST MAN STANDING -- Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. -- Acquired via FOX Flash
LAST MAN STANDING — Cr: Michael Becker / FOX. — Acquired via FOX Flash /

The Vogelsons tell Kyle and Mandy what Boyd needs is not more friends but rather parents. Although it’s ok to have fun with him, they are the adults in the situation, they are in charge. Not the other way around. If they need advice on what to say when he argues, they can use the most-used phrase from the most recent episode of The Neighborhood, “Because I said so!”

The introduction of Vanessa’s mom changed the actions of Mike, Ed, and Vanessa. Those moments can be growing times for those characters. Massively underutilized in this episode was Chuck (Jonathan Adams), who had only a few lines of dialogue. To his credit, he rocked that shirt.

I also hope the character pairings change in future Last Man Standing episodes. Often times the most comedic moments occur during the interactions between the generations. There were funny moments in this episode, especially Ed’s lines, but the most recent episode set the bar this season for humor.

Fortunately, Last Man Standing nicely explored the different roles of a parent. Parents begin by doing everything for their child. They then deal with their child growing up. Finally, their relationship evolves into something with their adult child. Obviously everyone ages, but ultimately, your parents remain your parents for your whole life.

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Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8/7c on FOX.