Momona Tamada is a star.
Her emotional portrayal as Claudia Kishi losing her beloved Mimi in The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 Episode 7 proved her acting range.
It’s painful losing a grandparent, but especially one you have lived with your entire life. Claudia wasn’t prepared for that loss.
This incorporated many Japanese traditions beginning with how to prepare Japanese tea. It’s important to pass on from generation to generation.
Mimi was teaching Claudia how to prepare the tea so she could carry on the tradition. Claudia didn’t understand the significance of it yet, but Mimi must have known she was dying soon.
It was one of the last times the two of them had been drinking special tea, so Mimi wanted Claudia to learn everything, such as the importance of warming the cup first.
As a teenager, Claudia had been impatient that her sister interrupted their time and wondered why everything had to be a certain way.
Claudia: I have to bring Janine tea? What am I her maid? Why doesn’t she just learn how to make it herself?
Mimi: Because you are learning to make it for the whole family.
When Mimi died, the Kishi’s informed their daughters that Mimi wanted an old Japanese funeral. That meant that the funeral would be in a few days and no visitors were allowed at the house until then.
Claudia kept hearing her parents and her sister say that Mimi lived a long time or that she knew this was coming, but she could not handle it.
Claudia couldn’t handle staying in her house without Mimi there.
She bolted over to Stacey’s, where she was hoping to distract herself from her grief.
Claudia, how are you doing, sweetheart? I’m so so sorry.
Claudia felt guilty that she couldn’t support her family, but the more flowers and mourning gifts her family received, the more it felt like Mimi was gone.
She bolted again, first to Stacey’s and then to Mary Anne’s.
Apparently, her friends were beginning to think she should go home too, so she thought Mary Anne would let her stay since they were both so close to Mimi.
Mary Anne was even more direct than Stacey, and both Momona Tamada and Malia Bakia sold this scene. You will need kleenexes.
Mary Anne: Please listen and stop trying to distract yourself from feeling your grief.
Claudia: I don’t want to feel my grief! My grief feels horrible. My grief feels like
Mary Anne: Like what?
Claudia: Like my chest is going to explode. Like I can’t breathe. Like no one understands
This is the first time the series has ever addressed in-depth the grief Richard felt over losing Mary Anne’s mom and how that affected Mary Anne. Richard mourned Alma for so many years that time froze for both him and Mary Anne.
As Mary Anne reminded Claudia, it wasn’t until they could talk about her mom’s death that Richard moved on and let Mary Anne grow up.
Mary Anne also told Claudia the importance of feeling the pain and healing. It was such a pivotal scene that could only happen between the two of them as they’ve shared so much history and loss together.
Even though Claudia tried, she still blew up when she found Janine with Mimi’s things. It’s hard to remember that people grieve differently when you’re so focused on your own relationship with the deceased.
Claudia: I came in here to be alone and grieve and deal with my feelings and here you are stealing her stuff.
Janine: No one is stealing anything. She was my grandmother too.
This is the first episode of the Baby-Sitters Club that really explored an LGBTQ relationship. It touched on it briefly in Season 1 when the series mentioned that Dawn Schafer has two dads in California.
However, this is the first onscreen relationship. Did anyone guess when we met Ashley Wyeth in The Baby-Sitters Club Season 2 Episode 2 that she was anything more than a good friend of Janine’s?
They did have a unique connection though, and Ashley was always quick to defend Janine, saying she’d learned many interesting things from her.
It wasn’t until this episode that we saw how loyal Ashley really was, and that Mimi found out about them before she died.
When Claudia returned hurling accusations of Janine and Ashley stealing Mimi’s jewelry, Janine shut that idea down, reminding her younger sister that Ashley had been the only one to comfort her since Claudia left.
I’m not grateful to her. I’m in love with her! She’s my girlfriend, Claudia.
Mimi had figured it recently and since was so kind-hearted she was happy Janine had found someone to love
. Mimi had wanted to leave Ashley a present too as a symbol of acceptance.
Janine hadn’t told her parents yet, but Mrs. Kishi told Ashley she was always welcome and smiled when they held hands so she may suspect.
In the end, Claudia realized it was her job to keep her family together and help strengthen connections. She sent out fancy tea invitations and invited her family and her friends to a tea ceremony.
She finally realized why Mimi taught her to make Japanese tea, and her mom especially was impressed with how well it was prepared.
Mimi had touched so many lives. She’d been there for Mary Anne, whose mom died. She welcomed Ashley into the fold. She was the kindest and most accepting person there was.
Her legacy will always live on. She will be missed.
This was the most heartfelt episode of the season so far. It featured an accurate portrayal of how a teenager would react to their beloved live-in grandmother dying.
It included several stages of grief. Many tears will be shed.
Over to you, TV Fanatics. Were you surprised by the twist that Ashley was Janine’s girlfriend? Did this episode make you cry as much as I did? Chime in below in the comments.
The Baby-Sitters Club is streaming now on Netflix.