Warning: Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Conners. Be sure to come back once you've caught up!
We've known for a few months that Dan's much younger brother, Little Ed (played by Shameless vet Noel Fisher) would be coming to The Conners this year, but we didn't know much about when or how. Well, tonight's episode changed all that, as an adult Little Ed and Dan were finally introduced and, as you might imagine, things were not all kittens and rainbows at first.
Well, This Isn't A Good Way To Start Things
When we first saw Dan tonight, he was looking through the newspaper at the kitchen table as Ben and Darlene were taking care of Beverly Rose so that Becky could work on the final preparations to open the Lunch Box with Jackie. Dan was reading the obituaries, as you do, and came upon one he wasn't expecting: Ed Sr., Dan's estranged father, has passed away.
Ben immediately offers his condolences, but Dan says that he's fine because he hasn't seen the man in 20 years, and considering the news he expects "that trend to continue." Never let it be said that The Conners does not excel at gallows humor.
Darlene tries to get Dan to take some time to process the loss, so he takes literally a quick second to complete the task and heads out, because he got a call about doing some drywall work. When Dan gets to the home, it's a mess. The young man explains that it's his father's house, who just died, and that this hoarder's paradise is how the man had been living. When Dan tries to lighten the mood after apologizing for the guy's loss, though, it's clear that he has something he needs to say to Dan because he's got an attitude and Dan can't figure out why.
Here Comes The Boom
You know where this is going, right? The young angry man in question is actually Dan's little brother, Ed Jr., and he is none to pleased that he and his sister had to drop everything to care for their dad, when Dan did nothing. When Dan asks why he didn't say who he was on the phone, Ed tells him that he knew he wouldn't come if he'd told him the truth. Ed then tells Dan he wants him to help him fix up the house so he can sell it, implying that Dan owes him for never being around when their dad was sick and dying.
I'm sure you know what happened next. Dan exploded with anger; saying that he doesn't owe him anything and doesn't owe their dad anything. He also tells Ed that their dad was a deadbeat who treated Dan and his mom like crap his entire life, and Ed says that their dad told him Dan would say that. Ed also asks why he never tried to get to know them and Dan yells that, surprisingly, he did. But, the argument still escalates to the point that they almost get into a fist fight, with both men putting up their dukes like old-timey boxers with handlebar mustaches.
Luckily, before anyone throws an actual punch, they both decide that the other simply isn't worth it and Dan turns to leave, taking a random living room microwave for his trouble.
A Conner Is A Conner Through Thick And Thin
After not too much more time, though, Dan has calmed down enough to head back over to Ed Sr.'s home and try talking to his brother. While he was at home, he decided to dig out the letters that he'd written to Ed Jr. and his sister, to try and get to know them. He shows Ed that they were all marked Return To Sender, unopened, and with their dad's handwriting on them, so their father actively stopped them from getting to know each other.
If you haven't been on Ed Jr.'s side at this point, the tide will likely turn (unless you're some kind of monster) because he tells Dan that he doesn't know what to do with that information. It's clear to him that Dan wants him to hate their dad like he does, but he can't; he was a good father to him and his sister. Then we know that Dan has calmed completely down because he tells his brother, "You're lucky you can miss your dad," to which Ed replies, "It doesn't feel lucky."
Shut up! I'm not crying, you're crying!
Dan then invites Ed for a drink, and when we next see them he's being introduced to almost the entire Conner clan at the Lunch Box after opening day. It's all quite lovely...until Harris unknowingly hits on her great uncle and has to run away in sheer mortification when Dan reveals who Ed is. Ah, these Conners. You just never know what kind of crazy mistakes they're going to make, do you?