Christmas comes early with a final double dose of "The League," as we wrap up a pretty ho-hum fourth season with a couple of great episodes.
All told, the first offering knocks it out of the park purely because Ruxin gets back on track. He finally shows a little of that biting, malicious humor that we've been starved of this season in addressing the playoff situation. Jeff Goldblum returns as his needling father, throwing a wrench in his plans to pursue the fabled "anchor baby," and any exchange between the two is rife with comedic chemistry. Finally, he butts heads with a possibly anti-Semitic mall manager (Bob Odenkirk) over the incessant Christmas music. I love Odenkirk, and he brings it in his guest role, really gelling Nick Kroll in their scenes together.
In tribute to the playoffs, the frontrunners make offerings to The Shiva... and then Pete puts them all to shame when he unveils his newly decorated Shiva Mobile. Jenny takes a page out of Andre's season one playbook by befriending Shiva as the ultimate tribute. Unfortunately, she also runs afoul of Shiva when she gets wise to Jenny's motivation. The writers seemed to kind of sweep the Shiva Curse under the rug after the season opener. That and Ruxin's Commissioner reign should have been recurring themes to play off of, especially since now that they finally are going to that well it's proving to be some of the best comedy of an otherwise uneven season four.
Taco bemoans the lack of Krampus in holiday rituals. Oh, who is Krampus? Apparently some troll-like creature who follows Santa around and eats the bad children. Shockingly, it's German folklore. It's a pretty mundane subplot until Taco dons his "Krampus" costume and drops a hurtin' on Santa's Village.
We get a little bit of development in Andre's love life as well. Still concerned that he is moving a little too fast with decorator-turned-fiance, Pete plants the seed in Andre's head that she has MLA (Mouth Like Anus). Brown/flesh-colored lipstick doesn't help, nor does puckering up after a sour drink, but Andre is unfazed and presumably we'll have our resolution to this and the anchor baby in the season finale.
Final Grade: A