“United States of Tara” mini-cap: Gluten-free

This season of United States of Tara has robbed me of my words. Rarely does a TV show leave me dumbstruck, but when Tara shifts into high gear like it has the past few episodes, the bombshells drop so fast I can barely keep up.

This week, Tara and Charmaine discover the thread that could unravel everything: Mimi. After Kate tracks down Mimi’s address, Tara decides to go see her.

I know that every week I talk about Toni Collette’s brilliant acting (which shines in this episode as always), but the interaction between Tara and Charmaine this week provides a showcase for Rosemarie DeWitt’s talent. Char is self-absorbed — it’s how she copes — but she loves Tara enough to let her guard down. And she seems to be having some childhood memories of her own.

That pact sounds a little more Charmed than Tara, but definitely freaky.

When Charmaine and Tara find Mimi’s house, they realize it’s the house Tara made for the art show — right down to the last detail.

And when Mimi appears, they see why their mom assumed that Alice was mimicking Mimi.

Mimi doesn’t remember Tara and Charmaine at first, but when Tara asks if she could’ve been their babysitter, the sisters get quite a shock.

I guess the whole foster home thing slipped their mom’s mind.

When Mimi’s husband Dwayne comes out to meet the girls, he gets a face full of T.

Welcome back, T. Dwayne, however, was not around when Tara and Charmaine lived with Mimi. Whatever made T. emerge had nothing to do with Dwayne.

Max senses trouble and hops on Buck’s bike to go check on Tara. He gets there just as Mimi remembers that the girls arrived the day of the bicentennial parade.

Meet Tara’s new alter. I loved Charmaine’s reaction when she recognized Chicken — I don’t know that she’s ever been that happy to see an alter. What’s interesting is that Chicken seems to be a five-year-old Tara instead of a separate personality. I’m sure we’ll find out what that means next time Shoshana appears.

While Max puts Chicken in the car, Mimi tells Charmaine that the foster children who lived with her were from “especially abusive homes.” Char’s response is a mixture of horror, confusion and “why-the-f am I finding this out the day before my wedding?” Mom and Dad will be there for the happy occasion — and I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more breakage than just the glass under Nick’s foot. Mazel tov, everybody.

The episode closes at a family restaurant, where we get a peek at what Max and Charmaine have dealt with for decades.

Yes, they know. And when Tara regains control a few minutes later, she’s going to hear all about it.

Next week is the season finale — and Charmaine’s wedding. Do you think we’ll get some answers before the season ends? What are your feelings about this week’s United States of Tara?

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