Season 1, Episode 5
“Can We Not Talk?”
After their disastrous blowup, Joan returns to New York to appear on Late Night with David Letterman, while Melissa resumes life without Joan. Cooper misses Joan, and deep down inside, so does Melissa. Can mother and daughter forgive and forget?
After their terrible fight in the last episode, Melissa pulls herself together enough to acknowledge that even though she and Joan aren’t even speaking at the moment, they have a professional commitment to judge a drag show for charity at a nightclub. They’re professionals, and they’ll find a way to get through it.
Joan and Melissa take separate cars to the event and maintain plenty of physical space between each other from the moment they arrive at the nightclub in West Hollywood. The drag queens, many of them Joan impersonators, are thrilled to meet their idol, and Joan and Melissa soldier on through the contest.
The next day, Joan leaves for New York. She’s booked to do Late Night with David Letterman and welcomes the chance to take the first plane out and put some much-needed distance between herself and Melissa. After a teary good-bye during which Joan still can’t look at Melissa, neither Joan nor Melissa is at all certain if Joan will even come back to California.
Once in New York City, Joan arrives at her fabulous apartment. Graham, her New York assistant, greets her. The apartment is for sale, and Graham tells Joan that Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb are coming for a tour. Joan immediately swings into action, putting out framed photographs, and running out to buy fresh flowers for the visitors.
Kathie Lee and Hoda arrive on schedule and tour the apartment. Meanwhile, back in LA, Melissa and her partner Jen have an important pitch meeting for Melissa’s new line of sheets. Melissa laments that she misses Joan more than ever – her mom is so good at retail, she’s sure she would have helped her to prep for the meeting.
Later in New York, Joan gets ready for her Letterman appearance. In hair and make-up, she vows to leave some of her late husband Edgar’s ashes on the set. Back in LA, Melissa and Cooper go surfing, and on the beach, Cooper tells her he misses Joan. Melissa does her best to comfort him.
Joan preps jokes in the limo the whole way to the Ed Sullivan Theater for the Letterman taping. She’s overjoyed to see cheering fans waiting for her. She graciously greets her fans and then makes her way to the stage door. Showtime!
After the Letterman taping, Joan arrives to an empty apartment. She realizes nothing matters without family. As she sits alone, the phone rings – it’s Melissa. When Melissa asks how Letterman went, Joan explains that she left a little bit of Edgar on the stage and breaks down completely. Melissa is soon in tears as well. They both apologize, and Melissa tells Joan to come home.