Will Larry find reconciliation with his family on Council of Dads?
Four Council of Dads fans weighed in on this question in our first Council of Dads round table discussion.
Larry Mills portrayed by the incomparable Michael O’Neill has endeared himself to fans. As one of three on the council of dads, we get to know Larry in a very supportive, albeit occasionally tough, kind of way. Council of Dads is non-traditional in many ways, but Larry is very much portrayed as a traditional dad.
As the writers reveal Larry’s past struggle with alcoholism we begin to learn that he definitely did not play the picture-perfect dad with with his wife and kids. In stark contrast to his fatherly role with the Perry family, Larry is divorced from his wife, estranged from his daughter and has very little contact with his son. Everyday, however, when Larry leaves home he looks longingly at a picture of his family.
We know he longs for reconciliation to his wife and grown children. He has even said as much to Robin in regard to his daughter Lauren. After Larry sees Luly reach out in forgiveness to biological father Anthony after his betrayal, Larry finds some hope.
Some say hope is a dangerous thing. Will Larry’s heart break even further if his efforts to reconcile with Lauren are never successful? He makes an attempt at initiating a dialogue with Lauren in episode 8. He is met, however, with the usual resistance. We learn of a vehicle accident involving Larry that put Lauren and perhaps others in harm’s way. Lauren suggests that it is just too much.
We asked our panel of Council of Dads super fans to weigh in on this question:
Will Larry ever find reconciliation with his ex-wife and children?
Read on to hear from Nicole, Robyn, Melanie and me as we share our responses.
Nicole’s verdict: “It depends”
Larry has made many attempts to reconcile with his daughter but to no avail. We know Larry is a changed man. He celebrated five years of sobriety, but we do not know what happened that led to his wife divorcing him and his daughter refusing to have anything to do with him.
It would be irresponsible to conclude that his family is hard hearted without knowing the full details that led them to part ways. In episode 8 Larry apologized for a tragic car wreck, that wreaked havoc on the family. I think this event was the final straw.
In my opinion, Larry has to go beyond saying sorry to demonstrate he truly, and deeply loves his family. Saying sorry is useless unless you can back it up with action.
At some point, the writers have to find a way to resolve the conflict between Larry and his daughter. I do not know how that’s going to happen, but what I do know is that reconciliation is a two-way street. Both parties must be willing to forgive each other.
At this juncture, until the ex-wife and children are willing to forgive Larry, reconciliation will never happen. I am keeping positive thoughts that Larry’s family will follow Luly’s example of forgiveness so all parties can begin the healing process.
Life is too short to wallow in bitterness.
Nicole Weaver is a polyglot and award-winning author. She writes fiction for children in English, French, and Spanish. She lives in Colorado. Visit her website at www.nicoleweaverbooks.com
Robyn’s verdict: “Maybe”
Larry’s storyline has been the most unexpected for me this season of Council of Dads. I had expected each Dad to come with his own backstory, unique offerings, and even drama.
What I had not expected was to be so deeply touched by the earnest, yet guarded pain and remorse that softens Larry just beneath his crusty layer. He is a man who has endured immense pain, and who has clearly caused his fair share for those closest to him.
I believe that it is easy for viewers who have only seen Larry at his best: calm, efficient, present, wise. Larry is a man who shows his love through acts of service and he shows up. Because this is the Larry that we, as viewers, have always known it is easy to say with confidence that he deserves forgiveness and all of the grace he so quickly offers to others.
But truthfully, we don’t know yet what makes his daughter, Lauren, bristle at the sight of him or what keeps his son away. Children of people with addictions can often bear witness to injustice and events that leave long-lasting trauma that may never be resolved. Lauren’s distrust and resentment is undoubtedly valid and a result of a lifetime of knowing a very different Larry.
When you’ve been hurt by someone it can be very hard to find grace and believe they can change. I do hope that for her sake Lauren can find a way to release some of the bitterness and resentment that she has carried, for her own sense of peace.
Do I think they will reconcile? That remains to be seen as we learn more about his past actions. Because I love Larry and forgive him doesn’t mean his family ever will.
Robyn May is a Sarah Wayne Callies enthusiast who spends most of her free time dabbling in fandom, satisfying her nerdy side, and making fan art.
Tracey’s verdict: “Yes, but not for a long time”
One of my favorite things about Larry’s story line is the slow reveal of his past. We get glimpses here and there with things he says and does. We hear of daughter Lauren in episode 2. Viewers get a glimpse of Lauren and her daughter ivy in episode 3. But she is not seen again until episode 8.
In between we hear Larry explain his estrangement to Theo and JJ. We learn of his 5 years of sobriety. When Lauren does appear again, there is mention of vehicle accident that put Lauren in harms way.
Meanwhile, Larry is an especially likeable guy in the present. He cares for baby Hope, has good talks with JJ and searches through Charlotte’s room to find Scott’s ashes. He gives some tough love and a hug to Anthony when the fellow dad leaves town upon revealing a dark moment in his own past. Larry accompanies Luly on an emotional trip to Las Vegas. Let us not forget the way Larry has been able to get Theo talking.
So will Lauren and the rest of the family ever forgive Larry? My guess is yes, but not for a long time. The writers have required us to earn our knowledge of Larry’s past. Viewers have had to be patient, perceptive and all the while hopeful. That history of gradual payoff for viewers is the first reason why I believe a reconciliation will be a long time coming.
My second reason stems from the fact that Larry has been sober for five years but was likely drinking for a longer span of time. His family probably spent years trying to cope with his alcoholism, followed by a long period of time separating themselves from him. It’s a major decision to shut someone out of your life. So, I believe it is also a major decision to let them back in, even if you have already forgiven them. I believe you can forgive someone and still choose to protect your own space from more hurt.
It will probably not come quickly or easily, but I do believe Larry will ultimately find reconciliation with at least one member of his family.
Tracey Phillipps is the author of the weekly “Council Notes” recaps of the series. She is a longtime contributor and co-creator of So Many Shows.
Melanie’s verdict: “Hopeful”
According to the Cambridge dictionary, reconciliation means “the process of making two opposite beliefs, ideas, or situations agree”.
While we as an audience have not been privy to the specifics of Larry’s past, what we know is that he neglected his wife and children and fully committed to alcohol, resulting in a very dangerous environment for them. The perception that Larry’s family has of him is a photograph of that time, a very heart-breaking and scary moment in their lives that resulted in the dissolution of a family. And while we have not yet met his ex-wife, the children (represented by Lauren) make it very clear that that image of him is very much alive in their minds.
The current photograph of Larry is that of a changed man. We know that he is reliable and caring, brave and loyal. Larry shows up for the Perry family and the council. He is a man of action and a man of his word. Larry is sensitive, helpful and determined.
We cannot expect Larry’s family to forget who he was, but can both categorically opposed versions of Larry coexist in their minds and hearts? I believe they must, in order to take the next step.
Medically, cardiomyocytes, the cells responsible for the beating of the human heart, are essential to repairing it after injury. The force that keeps us going is what helps us heal, too. Larry decided to move forward, stay sober and fix his life, and he is also determined to win his family back.
A second definition that the Cambridge dictionary gives for reconciliation is “a situation in which two people or groups of people become friendly again after they have argued”.
It will be an uphill battle and it should be. However, I like to believe that Lauren has shown some openness to talk to her father, and her tears give me hope that healing and a friendly relationship are possible in time. I’m an optimist, sue me.
I hope for a new picture in which Larry and his family are sitting on a porch smiling, getting to know each other again as his grandchildren play on the grass. But I also believe that Larry will never feel like he has done enough to make up for his past. He carries an enormous amount of guilt, and he is very aware that scar tissue is never the same as it was before. But what it is, is stronger.
Melanie Arana is a superfan of Council Dads. She’s also Peruvian, really short and sings in her car.
Council of Dads is such a fabulous family drama. There are so many rich relationships, sometimes successful, sometimes flawed. We could conjecture about so many different themes in the show. Maybe we will!
We would love to hear your thoughts on our question about Larry. Please share in the comments section or on Twitter @CouncilOfFans.
Tune in to NBC on 6/25 at 8/7c for the penultimate episode of the Council of Dads this season.