SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about Mom‘s season 8 premiere.
When Anna Faris surprisingly exited Mom back in September, viewers wondered how the show would explain Christy’s absence. However, with tonight’s season 8 premiere, Mom provided a clear, yet sudden answer.
The first episode of season 8, “Sex Bucket and the Grammar Police,” kicks off with Bonnie (Allison Janney) and Adam (William Fichtner) in the car, returning home from the airport. After some silence, Christy’s whereabouts are revealed.
“Every mom dreams of the day where they get to drop their 42 year-old daughter to go to school,” Bonnie rejoices. “I did it all by myself.”
Finally set to pursue her dreams of becoming a lawyer, Faris’ Christy is en route to Georgetown Law School on a full scholarship. While Bonnie takes pride in her daughter’s accomplishments and what’s yet to come, she can’t help but think about what she’s losing: “the most beautiful girl a mother could have.” Though Bonnie and Adam decide to return to the airport to watch Christy’s flight take off (as loving parents would), references to the now-absent character stay pretty limited.
Without Farris, Mom season 8 to continues with Bonnie, Jill (Jaime Pressly), Wendy (Beth Hall) and Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) coming together to plan a birthday surprise for Tammy (Kristen Johnston) and take her mind off her estranged father, who may give her a call. With minimal references to Christy beyond her difficulty adjusting to time differences, the season premiere focuses primarily on the connections and love shared between the recovering addicts.
The A.A. squad get together for an alcohol-free night of “Never Have I Ever” and “Would You Rather” games, and pillow fights. But when things get a bit too rowdy for Marjorie, she threatens to leave the celebration.
“Don’t worry it’s not a slumber party until somebody cries,” Jill quips.
As Bonnie attempts to stop her from going home for the night, Marjorie reveals that she needs a stent in her heart. She said the new diagnosis has left her fragile and afraid of what’s to come. Agreeing to head back into the house, Marjorie then reveals her fears – which inspires Jill to create one last slumber party activity.
The party gathers around a small fire for “Fear Bucket,” a game in which the women write their biggest fears and set them on fire “so they lose their powers,” Jill explains. From fears about their intimate lives to fears about death, the women set their concerns ablaze, turning them into nothing but a pile of ash.
“I’m afraid people in this group don’t know how much I love them,” Bonnie reads before burning away her fear.
After hoping to avoid him for her birthday, Tammy finally answers her father’s call and the two engage in a touching, yet brief conversation about their sobriety. Realizing that reconnecting wasn’t the mess she thought it would be, Tammy and her close group of friends end the night on a high note and retreat inside. Finally they rest their heads, only to be interrupted by an untimely call from Christy, who gives her mother an update on life in Washington, D.C.
Naturally, with season 8 to continue without one of its title characters, Mom makes a return that’s less than perfect. Instead, by highlighting Tammy’s parental conflicts and Marjorie’s health issues, the new season permits viewers to feel even more invested in the complex and unexplored lives of characters they’ve come to enjoy. Between the sitcom returning to TV in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and making up for Faris’ exit, it seems adjustments will be a must for all members of the Mom community.