Josh’s coming-out to his father goes disastrously wrong, as his father, MJP, thinks this is actually about him being kinky, because that’s how he knows Pete.
MJP takes off his tie, undoes his shirt and reveals his padlocked collar.
MJP: “I’m kinky, Josh.[…] Kinky sub masochist, owned by my mistress, blissfully so. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long.”
Josh is horrified, and Pete tries to make peace but accidentally outs Josh in the process. Despite his own confession, MJP doesn’t take this well.
MJP: “Joshua, what you do privately is your own business–”
Pete calls this “next-level hypocritical.”
MJP: “Well, I’m trying to be open, but the Bible says–”
Josh: “What does the Bible say about your fucked-up sex life?”
MJP: “When you think about it, Jesus was basically a masochist.”
He also says Josh’s mother was “the one who got me hooked on all this.”
Josh leaves and dumps Pete then and there.
What people believe doesn’t necessarily make sense, so MJP being kinky and homophobic is plausible enough.
Tiff builds or re-builds relationships in this episode, being vulnerable with them. At Pete’s place, she drops by and finds Rolph cleaning the kitchen. He apologizes for breaking her trust. She admits that she made some mistakes too. She gets close to him and orders him to “clean this shit up”, which makes him deliriously happy.
Next Tiff finds Portia packing. She had a miscarriage and wants to leave town without telling Frank. Tiff tells her about the time she got pregnant from her one time with Pete, had an abortion and never told him or anybody else about it. She jokingly says they would have been terrible parents. She urges Portia to leave Frank a note, at least. She says she regrets cutting Pete out of her life.
Tiff: “I literally pay him [Pete] to hang out with me.”
Pete comes in, angry, having overheard.
Pete: “Funny story. Maybe you should tell it to me sometime. I have a comedy show.”
Pete is angry at her for using and abandoning him, and he tells her he broke up with Josh, and points out that she never came to his comedy shows. He’s also angry that she said he would make a bad parent.
At the comedy club, the manager and the audience are all in kink wear. It isn’t clear if these are actual kinky people or just a fandom appreciation of Pete’s comedy gimmick.
Backstage, Pete wonders if he, as opposed to “Master Carter”, is any good at this.
On stage, Pete puts his mask on and launches into a long riff on being his situations with Josh and Pete, focusing on the absurdity of kinky people having children.
Unknown to him, Tiff is in the audience with a bouquet of flowers. When Pete says, “Thank god she didn’t keep it”, she drops the flowers on the ground.
After catharsis via comedy, Pete is relieved, and there’s even an agent who wants to talk to him. However, Tiff comes in.
Tiff: “Pete, I’m sorry that I roped you into my life. I took you down a road, most oftentimes without your consent, that made you believe you were part of this community of people, so much so that you thought you had permission to make fun of us in front of an entire group of strangers. I mean, dommes are real people with lives and families and partners, just like Mira. Just like I could have one day if I so choose.”
Pete: “Tiff, it was a joke.”
Tiff: “Yeah, my life is not a fucking joke, Pete. And this is exactly why I didn’t want to work with you. […] This whole thing, this is not your story to tell. This is my story that you used to be a part of.”
This is a complex area. Is Pete part of the kinky community or not? Certainly, Tiff dragooned him into pro-domme work with the combination of money and codependence. But once in, he found he was interested. It’s mostly at an aesthetic level, or as fodder for his comedy, but he likes wearing the outfits and hanging out at gay leather bars.
Tiff is upset about him using her life as fodder for his comedy, and for publicly saying she would have made a bad mother. She’s wildly overreaching when she says he’s making fun of dommes, which shows how much she’s made that part of her identity. Furthermore, she’s calling him an outsider, a person who has no right to publicly make jokes about kinky people.
There are many ways to be a kinky person, and Tiff is not the arbiter of whether Pete is in or not. She’s fallen back on her old habit of making decisions about Pete’s life.
Before this goes any further, the manager brings in the agent to meet Pete, and Tiff leaves.
Agent: “You really are something else. Such a hilarious take on a world I know nothing about.”
This could be Bonding criticizing itself, just as Pete is profiting from making jokes about a subculture that he only superficially understands.