Fresh Off the Boat: Breaking Chains (Review)


Fresh Off the Boat “Breaking Chains” starts down at the Cattlemen’s Ranch Steakhouse. The whole Huang family are watching the Olympics. As the rest of the family cheers for their country’s sports heroes, Jessica arrives draped in the national flag of Nigeria. She supports the runner from that country because she is, Jessica says, the best and that is her homeland.

The opening of this episode features Ian Chen doing his best Ken Jeong impression, “Kerri Strug for Li-i-ife!” Grandma Huang brags that Carl Lewis got frisky with her when he visited Taipei and the day is a resounding success.

Later Jessica and Louis come home to find the house in a mess. Jessica grumbles that a little help would be appreciated. Eddie and his gang talk about being “upperclassmen” in the eighth grade and Emery is about to start Eddie’s school. Evan is upset that Emery will not be riding the school bus with him now.

Louis hires a housecleaner to help Jessica and she is outraged. Emery’s first day at Abraham Lincoln Middle School is tainted when he learns that Eddie has been making up cultural rules that he is expected to follow.

Evan is in mourning and refuses to allow anyone else sit where Emery sat on the school bus.  Jessica yells at Louis for getting her a “cleaning tutor” and he yells back that “It’s a gift!” Finally she agrees to let Mary clean one room.

Meanwhile at the school Emery learns that the gym teacher is the Romanian gold medal winner Bogdan Dragomir (Daniel Cudmore). He learns that Eddie told the teacher that Chinese kids cannot take showers at school. 


Emery snaps and tells Dragomir that Eddie lied. Later Eddie has to used the circular shower in the gym.  Mary leaves early and Jessica takes her home but charges her for gas.

Eddie and Emery are both furious with each other. Eddie explains how miserable he was when he first started middle school. Emery reveals he wants to do all the things that Eddie does not; eating green beans, joining after school activities and taking showers.

Emery complains to Evan about Eddie ruining his first day at middle school and the littlest Huang rips a strip off of his big brother. Eddie now feels guilty and signs Emery up for Karate. He agrees to back off on everything but Harvest Day.

Louis tricks Jessica into coming down to the steakhouse so Grandma Huang can let Mary in to clean the house. Jessica is so angry that she puts Mary, Grandma Huang and Louis at the top of her list. “Although I do admire your trickery,” she says before storming out.

When Mary finishes cleaning the house is spotless and even one of the Jessica’s mice has been touched up with modeling paint.  Despite this, Jessica  wants to clean the house herself so she feels needed.

Evan finally comes to terms with Emery being in middle school. He changes seats to sit with “Walnuts” and leaves a shrine for Emery on their old seat.

Emery bus shrine

This week was a return to business as usual in the Huang household. The Huang kids are still top of their game and the sequences between the three are highlights of the episode.

Constance Wu continues to nail it as Jessica and Lucille Soong is the unsung hero of this cast. Randall Park is the peripheral glue that hold the whole thing together.

Kudos to the Boys II Men sequence and Constance’s “you’re on the top of my list.

This is simply the best comedy offering on Tuesday night’s full stop. Tune in and catch the latest episode of Fresh Off the Boat. Be prepared to fall in love with this family.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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