Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 4 explores Tuca’s desire for companionship

Tuca & Bertie Season 1 -- Courtesy of Netflix
Tuca & Bertie Season 1 -- Courtesy of Netflix /

The latest episode of Tuca & Bertie Season 2 is a contemplative and beautifully animated episode exploring Tuca and her yearning for companionship, similar to what Speckle and Bertie have. Earlier this season, Tuca & Bertie established Tuca’s fears that her co-dependent relationship with Bertie could be holding her back and preventing her from finding a stable relationship.

“Nighttime Friend” further explores this by showing how Tuca spends her sleepless nights. Unable to quiet her mind enough to fall asleep, Tuca spends Season 2, Episode 4, exploring Bird Town after dark.

There is something heartbreaking and relatable about Tuca’s struggles in this episode. I know I’ve felt the sting of loneliness after spending all day with friends only to return home to an empty room and bed. Alone in the dark with only the television on in the background to create a false sense of companionship and low-level background noise, nighttime can be crushing.

Instead of toiling in those emotions and lying in bed for hours, Tuca takes late-night visits to her favorite diner, visits her mom’s grave in the cemetery, and brings her Aunt Tallulah the cheapest, maltiest liquor she can find despite Tallulah still being in the hospital recovering from cirrhosis.

At the hospital, Tuca meets a potential new love interest, the night shift nurse Kara. Kara helps Tuca realize how much of her time is spent catering to other people’s whims and needs instead of her own.

She continues plying her aunt with alcohol in exchange for companionship despite Tallulah being too selfish to respect her niece and her sobriety; she gives a group of virgins attending Bird Town’s version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show a lecture on sex; she does favors for a teen bird who also can’t sleep every night, and earlier this season we saw Tuca ruin a potential relationship with the bird mechanic to come to Bertie’s rescue.

But meeting Kara creates a new possibility in Tuca’s life. Fittingly, she lives in a lighthouse and takes Tuca there on their first night exploring Bird Town together while she’s off work. Kara is like a beacon that cuts through the noise. There is room for development, either platonic or romantic, with her. It’s no coincidence that by going home with Kara, Tuca is finally able to sleep.

It’s worth mentioning that as we get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to forge new connections. Once Tuca realizes the potential Kara represents, she goes out of her way to find the nurse during her night off from the hospital. I think that shows some growth in Tuca’s character, that she seeks Kara out instead of waiting to see her again the next time she’s visiting her aunt. Tuca does something solely for herself, and by the end of the night, she’s able to relax enough to sleep.

Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 4 recap: Speckle gets a pedometer & Bertie struggles to stay awake

And while Tuca is exploring the wonders of Bird Town, Speckle is too, in his own way, as he gets a new pedometer and his obsession with tracking steps leads him to so much sleepwalking that his leg muscles are jacked enough to turn corn cobs into popcorn.

Bertie has the opposite problem of Tuca as she just wants to stay awake long enough to watch an episode of the latest prestige television show, Buried in Oil. Her attempts to stay awake fail as coffee triggers a bout of IBS. It’s only when she power naps first that Bertie can stay up and watch the episode with Speckle and Tuca, only to realize the show is actually terrible.

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New episodes of Tuca & Bertie Season 2 air Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.