'Ben and Kate' recap: Kate fights authority, authority always wins

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In Season 1, Episode 2 of "Ben and Kate," "Bad Cop/Bad Cop," the siblings tackle their first real child-rearing challenge since Ben Fox moved in. As in the pilot, the two make up for each other's flaws as they cope with unexpected problems.

Kate (Dakota Johnson) complains Ben (Nat Faxon) has been getting her daughter, Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones), to school late. Ben admits he has trouble saying no to Maddie but insists that showing up late doesn't matter, because there's no real learning until fourth grade.

Nevertheless, Kate has been called in to talk to her daughter's principal. She's nervous, because she's been lying about their address to get Maddie into their old school, using the address of the parents of Ben's best friend, Tommy (Echo Kellum).

In the meeting, Kate is highly aware of her subterfuge, but Ben charms the principal by doing impressions and gets them invited to a school-board social event.

Turns out, Kate has a well-recognized problem of being intimidated by authority, underscored by a montage showing her bursting into tears when confronted with such "transgressions" as trying to use an expired coupon. Kate's co-worker, B.J. (Lucy Punch), demonstrates how to shut down a sticky situation with a "conversation killer." Ben pretends to ask her out, and B.J. tells him, "I've got intestinal parasites."

Meanwhile, Tommy tries to help Ben to be firmer around kids, letting him help teach his tennis class. But while Ben is tough with the other kids, when Maddie asks him to teach her karate and get her a present, he melts. In the next scene, she's wearing a karate uniform and carrying a puppy.

At the school-board event, Kate nearly succumbs to nerves, but Ben charms the school-board members. Unfortunately, they like him so much they suggest holding an after party at Ben and Kate's. Fortunately, Tommy's parents acquiesce, but the school-board members soon notice the house is filled with pictures of Tommy as a young boy. B.J. claims it's in memory of Kate's late boyfriend, who was Tommy's twin brother and died in a boating accident. They buy it.

But sheepishly, Ben admits that, upon seeing that things were going south, he'd left a message on the principal's answering machine stating their case. With Tommy and B.J.'s help, they plan to sneak into the school and erase the message. But just as they pull up, a police officer arrives. Kate takes off running, but it turns out it's just a friend of Ben's saying hello.

With no other choice, Kate tells the principal the truth, making her case, and he agrees to let Mattie stay. In his own bumbling way, Ben has helped her to face authority.

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