Mr. & Mrs. Smith Episode 5 Review – “Do You Want Kids?”

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Do You Want Kids?

“Do You Want Kids?” feels like the perfect distillation of what Mr. & Mrs. Smith is trying to achieve in its first season, a chaotic mix of relationship melodrama and spy intrigue, set against a backdrop of exotic locales and punchy, stressful action scenes. It’s definitely the most finely tuned episode of the series to date; with a few tweaks to its now-familiar formula (and the best guest star appearance yet), “Do You Want Kids?” is a ceiling-raiser for the show, a dynamic hour of terrific character moments, sardonic bits of humor, and brewing internal conflict that sets the stage perfectly for the last three episodes of the season.

I quite appreciate Mr. & Mrs. Smith‘s rejection of the ‘origin story’ template so much of television’s past decade was obsessed with; from the first few minutes of “Do You Want Kids?”, it’s clear a considerable amount of time has passed since the end of “Double Date”. Besides the mention of missions in Monaco, upstate NY, Somalia, and Sydney, “Do You Want Kids?” opens with John and Jane well settled into their professional identities. Of course, office work for them isn’t knowing how the coffee maker works or where the printer paper is; it’s being able to effectively tie up and transport a high-risk target Toby Hellinger (Ron Perlman) and escape down a series of winding Italian roads.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Do You Want Kids?

More enjoyable is how the episode immediately transforms its dramatic getaway opening sequence into something much more personal; Perlman’s Toby is the world’s oldest baby, complaining about everything, peeing his pants, and generally just being absolutely intolerable as he’s whisked away to the secret cottage John conveniently bought (at one point, John gets him to take medicine by promising him a cigarette later). John and Jane’s reactions, both to the situation and the parent-adjacent situation they find themselves in, respond in fascinating ways; Jane softens and John hardens, quickly forming relationship dynamics with both characters – that is used to surprising effect, especially when early on it feels like a series of unsubtle jokes about the commonalities of babies and old people.

Putting them in a house that John recently purchased without telling Jane (has he never seen a sitcom before?) only ratchets up the tension; as John leans into their new lifestyle, “Do You Want Kids?” shifts its focus over to Jane for most of the episode, as she contends with the growing chasm at the heart of her career and relationship. John is clearly ready to settle down, talking about Italian cottages and low-risk delivery jobs, and very oddly whispering “I want to put a baby inside you” when they begin to make out on the cottage porch under the moonlight. But as John’s biological clock seemingly ticks, Jane visibly detaches – both as a byproduct of the insanely intense gunfight they survived, and as a panicked reaction to John seemingly setting up an entire life for them (even though they decided to, you know, go their separate ways after a couple years).

John and Jane clearly have ironed out their professional conflicts; John is encouraging as they navigate the car chase shootout, and the two wonderfully share a laugh later over whether they ruined the wedding they drove through the middle of. But as trusting as they’ve become in the field, and the closer they seemingly become as a couple, the more their goals and dreams are beginning to diverge; and even though they’re willing to find common ground on things like John calling his mother and promising never to kill Jane, Jane’s darting eyes and anxious responses are incredibly telling, as she very gently begins to look around for a ripcord to pull.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Do You Want Kids?

The John/Jane material, enhanced by the infantile geriatric billionaire Toby (“I’m not Hitler evil,” he promises Jane during dinner), feels like a series firing on all cylinders, using its humor as a salve for the heavier ideas pushing to the surface between the titular couple. It’s so strongly delivered, it almost feels like the Hihi material, with Jane and Hihi eventually discussing a promotion for her and a possible John ‘replacement’, isn’t really needed; though it does give some more dramatic propulsion to the Big Picture of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, how well this series has developed the dynamic between its two leads negates the need for external pressures – even if those contain the kind of plot points a show can begin conceiving a potential second season around.

Thankfully, “Do You Want Kids?” mostly filters these ideas through John, as he continues to build himself and Jane a life she never asked him for. How the episode builds out their parental dynamic is wonderful; people are never the parents you expect them to be, so watching Jane take a more maternal approach with Toby, while John lies and sneers at him, makes for a really effective contrast. And while John’s hoping that she’s pregnant, Jane’s not ready to bring kids into their fucked up lives – which leads to their first real fight on screen, where Jane calls John simple and disappointing for having more traditional goals than her.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith Do You Want Kids?

While not entirely a logical argument – I don’t see how John could counter Jane’s point that having guns shot at them regularly makes it difficult to parent – it represents that moment every relationship has, the first time a couple faces a major decision they can’t agree on. After all, the pursuit of life is an inherently selfish act – and honestly, neither have proven they’re capable of it, given how John still talks to his mother and Jane insists her cat Max (her tether to her old life) will liver forever; though the two entered their job with a common understanding of each other, Mr. & Mrs. Smith has done a great job deconstructing that through their missions, each one explicitly designed (and wonderfully executed, at least so far) to observe very specific, intimate moments in relationships as they mature and evolve.

“Do You Want Kids?” is the best of Mr. & Mrs. Smith‘s first five episodes, the first hour where it truly feels all of its elements are working in harmony with each other. A few of them, primarily Hihi’s constant manipulation of John and Jane’s relationship, I could do with a bit less of – but as a catalyst for some of the episode’s deeper questions about the sacrifices everyone has to make for a relationship to really, truly work (even for a couple willing to promise not to kill each other), “Do You Want Kids?” is exactly the kind of episode I want to see as the season heads into its third and final act.

Grade: A

Other thoughts/observations:

  • I love that Mr. & Mrs. Smith commits to an eight-minute chase sequence; however, the editing of the scene saps a lot of the tension out of the driving portion. Once John, Jane, and Toby are running, however, the set piece comes together and finishes extremely strong.
  • I could not help but laugh at John’s combo of a sweater and the world’s shortest short shorts.
  • “I thought you were an angel coming to put me out of my misery.”
  • Hihi is just straight up not being subtle at this point, sending the usual celebration bottle to the couple with a “Nice work, Jane” note attached to it.
  • How long until we see Jane’s response to Hihi about replacing John? Curious to see whether Mr. & Mrs. Smith lets this simmer silently for an episode or two, or if this is the catalyst for the season’s climactic arc.

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