I'm reviewing every episode of Arrested Development season 4 immediately after I see it for the first time -- so if you haven't seen the rest of the season yet, don't worry! You can check out my other episode reviews here.
We're making slow but steady progress through the fourth season of Arrested Development (and hey, why rush?). Now, it's time for the season's sixth episode, "Double Crossers."
One again, the focus is on George, Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor). Picking up where the last George-centric episode, "Borderline Personalities" left off, we saw George attempting to bribe politician Herbert Love (a fantastic Terry Crews, who looks nothing like Carl Weathers) into supporting his border wall project, and later, to revoke that support. This saw him falling deeper and deeper into bankruptcy, which seems to be a common thread for all his family.
But while the flip-flopping (and Herbert Love's price for doing so) was pretty funny, what was better was George and Oscar's continued personality reversals. George is now the sensitive one (the result, it seems, of abysmally low testosterone and plenty of estrogen), while Oscar is becoming the austere patriachal figure that George once was. It's not clear why this is happening (but is that Marky Bark dressed as the Native American shaman?), but it's pretty hilarious to watch. And really, hasn't this been a long time coming? It doesn't seem like more than eight years ago that George was wearing his dead daughter-in-law's maternity clothes in the model home's attic. Point being, George's storyline is interesting (and funny), but I have no idea where it's going.
In fact, the high point of the episode didn't involve George at all -- in fact, it was between Gob (Will Arnett) and Michael (Jason Bateman). When we last saw them, they had been through some "unpleasantness," but they're seen in this episode before that unpleasantness, getting drunk and being honest with one another. The humor in the scene was really based on the subtleties of Gob and Michael's relationship, but it was really gratifying. The show, by splitting its characters up like this, makes us realize just how gratifying it is to see the Bluths together. That seems to be the slow realization we're coming to; Arrested Development has one of the strongest ensemble casts, but the real magic only happens when they're together. Just a scene of two characters getting drunk -- no out-there humor, just Michael and Gob talking -- was probably the best of the season so far. Here's hoping the family starts to drift back together sooner rather than later.
And that might be the case; "Double Crossers" already caught us up to the night of Cinco de Cuatro, that one night where Michael made one of his biggest compromises. While we're still missing a bit of the puzzle that shows us why Michael made such a decision, at least we're showing steady signs of catching up to it -- it looks like we'll find out in a Gob-centric episode.
"Double Crossers" worked well as a George-centric episode, but it was even better as a reminder that it's the small character moments, not the running gags or out-there comedy, that make Arrested Development so endearing (though the jokes do help).
On to the next episode -- but first, a few thoughts:
-- John Slattery is great as Doctor Norman, but I'm still not sure what his purpose is yet. There's something missing that keeps him from really clicking with this series yet, and for the life of me, I don't know what it is. (Loved him dumping his files at the dock, though.)
-- Gob IS raising bees, as suspected. This makes it very likely that he's responsible for Johnny Bark's death that was mentioned a few episodes back.
-- "HUGE IMPROVEMENT! C+"
-- There's a mention of Steve Holt, one of the few recurring characters from the first three seasons that we haven't seen back yet. Here's hoping he comes back in some way. Has he graduated yet?
-- Congratulations to Jessica Walter for successfully providing the least titillating performance of Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday Mr. President" I've ever seen on television.
-- My money's on Gob [bleep]ing Rebel.
-- I'm still not sure what's happening with Buster -- we haven't seen much of him -- but his gravelly-voiced delivery of "It's Mexican-proof," was surprisingly hilarious.