I was thinking about Rich’s absence and what purpose it served. Everyone knows that I absolutely adore Rich and he is one of my favorite characters. So his absence was really hard for me. Seriously it was horrible even though I thought Episodes 3 & 4 were brilliant. Anyway I started thinking why the writers would decide to write him out of those two episodes and once I started to think it made sense.
The first episode of course was setting up the climatic event that changes everything—the crash. Then we join Rich on his emotional journey of trying to find Grace to realizing he would never find her she’s gone. It was such an emotional journey from beginning to end. I think even people who did not like Rich at first saw this episode and felt something for him. It was emotion overload. After this episode we are left with questions: Is he going to be okay? How is he? How is he going to handle this? Will he ever be the same?
I feel like the writers knew that if they wrote Rich into the next episode that no one would be open to the new character. We would want to know “how is Rich?” So they wrote him to leave which I think fits his character. Getting tired of people watching him like he will break, his friends reacting in their individual ways, Alo being preoccupied, and Liv being upset about not attending the funeral. He wanted an escape so he took it in order to go through his initial grief alone.
So why didn’t he come back in Franky’s episode? Franky has such intense emotions inside of her including guilt. I am not sure if she would go find Luke if Rich were to come back. Franky was written to go through this violent and uncomfortable journey as she realizes she does have family without feeling guilty with Rich around. It makes sense to me.
So why did Rich come back in Mini’s episode? Now this is just my opinion based on my knowledge and my beliefs I have about these amazing characters. I think that Rich came back in Mini’s episode partly because if he didn’t I think many people would be hospitalized. It was too long to go without him. However I think the BIGGER reason and the most IMPORTANT reason is that Rich was brought back for Alo. In this episode Alo does not handle himself well he is coming on a little strong toward Mini. However, Mini has been treating Alo horribly and he is becoming too attached. Sometimes when you feel like you do not have support you are willing to stick with a bad situation. Alo decides to break it off with Mini, because he is exhausted. Mini has been his main distraction and his main source of comfort post-Grace. So breaking it off with Mini would mean he would need some place for support (Rich.) I also think that the way in which Rich returned was meant to get the audience curious about how he is, why he left, and if he is okay.
Another thing that I found fascinating was the reactions of the characters. They were priceless and told us quite a bit about the group. When Rich entered the room immediately we saw Nick smile and become happy looking back at Alo who also is ecstatic. Rich then walks to take a seat Liv holds her hand out Rich takes it and they have a bit of a moment with Liv smiling. Alo of course hugs him from behind declares that he missed Rich and that he smells good. Franky was speechless (maybe connected with her guilt—what does she say to him?) and Mini who has a poker face on while Rich and her share a look. This is why I think it is essential for Rich to have a discussion with both Franky and Mini.
But ultimately thank god Rich is back.