Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 5 recap: Vibe Check

Tuca & Bertie key art - Courtesy of Warner Bros. TV / Adult Swim
Tuca & Bertie key art - Courtesy of Warner Bros. TV / Adult Swim /

This week’s episode again proves why Tuca & Bertie is such a fantastic show, and Netflix really messed up by canceling it. I’m thankful Adult Swim stepped up and saved it. Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 5, “Vibe Check,” continues to explore the complicated ways our bodies keep score of trauma.

It starts with Bertie having intrusive sexual fantasies while using her vibrator. First, she blames the sex toy for having dreams about Pastry Pete and then she blames the mattress. But what if it’s neither of those things causing problems? Could it be her own brain betraying her? That’s what Bertie questions in therapy. As her therapist puts it, brains are crazy! They’re hard to understand.

Bertie’s reaction is totally normal. We all have different ways of processing trauma, and sometimes trauma can return at seemingly random moments even if we think we’ve processed it. While Bertie thinks she’s worked through what happened to her as a kid at Jelly Lakes, it’s become dredged up again due to the more recent assault from her old boss.

During the therapy session, Bertie’s arms and legs fall off due to stress. I thought it was a funny and creatively visual way to comment on how brutal it can be to do a heavy, emotional, hour-long therapy session that suddenly comes to an abrupt end. Due to stress, Bertie ends up walking out of therapy with her limbs barely hanging on.

This reaction comes back later as Bertie and Speckle finally talk about what happened and the sexual fantasies she’s been having. The conversation between them is really mature and important, as it shows the strength of their relationship. Speckle is understanding about what Bertie has been feeling and even shares his own secret fantasy.

MORE: Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 4 recap: Nighttime Friend

However, at the end of the episode, Speckle abruptly tries to initiate rough sex with Bertie, even recalling Pastry Pete and how he manhandled her by name. My reaction to Speckle’s suddenly violent demeanor was visceral, but then he stopped and asked Bertie if she was okay with it. Despite saying yes, Bertie’s arm fell off, making me think she’s not as ready for it as she made it seem. I think Bertie needs to spend time really considering what her boundaries are!

Tuca & Bertie Season 2, Episode 5 recap: Tuca crushes on Kara

Tuca is crushing hard on Kara since we last saw the two of them together in the previous episode. Since then, they’ve been texting back and forth nonstop. But it’s hard for Tuca to figure out if Kara is just being friendly or if she’s genuinely interested in something more than friendship.

As a bisexual woman, I understood Tuca’s pain. I think any gay person has struggled with figuring out if someone of the same gender is into you or just being nice! Tuca finally gets bold enough to ask Kara to hang out again but can’t take the waiting game when Kara doesn’t immediately reply. She gets those three ugly dots of death and freaks out, breaking her phone in the process.

Without any means of contacting Kara, Tuca goes to the hospital and learns Kara is at a co-worker’s birthday party nearby in a bar. Tuca visits the bar and sees Kara texting with another woman. Then she chats with the bartender, who tells Tuca a similar story. She also had a text thread with Kara before Kara inexplicably ghosted her one day.

Then Kara spots Tuca across the room and introduces her to all of her friends as “my girl Tuca.” Wait, so does that mean she’s into Tuca!? Well, maybe not. Kara introduces all of her female friends as “my girl.” And despite being introduced, Tuca spends the rest of the night feeling sidelined until she gives up and leaves the bar.

When Tuca calls it a night, Kara chases after her, the two have a sudden hot makeout sesh. But is Kara really into Tuca? I’m not so sure. After the bartender’s story, it’s starting to sound like Kara is a little wishy-washy. Maybe she’s not into the idea of commitment. Speaking from experience, playing games with people who run hot and cold is a quick way to get your heart broken, so it’ll be interesting to see how Tuca handles things moving forward.

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