Arrested Development – Recap & Review – Blockheads

photo: netflix

photo: netflix

Arrested Development

Original Air Date: May 26, 2013

JD – Sr. Staff Writer

We’ve come to the end of the new season of Arrested Development, and it really has been a whirlwind. The amount of story crammed into only 15 episodes and the intricacy with which it was sewn together is nearly astounding, though there is some healthy debate as to whether or not putting the season out in this way was a good thing or not. Overall, I’m glad we have this season, even if it wasn’t perfect. Nothing ever is, and I think the pros have outweighed the cons.

This final installment is ostensibly a George Michael episode, and picks up his story from “It Gets Better”, but really this episode is just as much about Michael as it is George Michael. Their relationship has become complicated since we left them in season three, with George Michael leaving for college and discovering himself while Michael’s life sort of disintigrated. This episode follows more of that plot, and eventually sees them try to repair the damage they’ve done. Will they work it out? Read on…

As we’ve seen so far this season, Michael and George Michael aren’t really communicating very well. After Michael gets booted out of the dorm room, he and his son wind up in an elaborate game of what Ron Howard calls “lie tag” when they begin avoiding each other. Remember the ‘stuck in traffic because of a crashed plane’ lie? Yeah, turns out George Michael was already at the Ealing Club, where he had run into Rebel. The two commiserate about how overbearing their fathers are, then duck into the photo booth when they realize their fathers are both there (though neither of them points that out to the other). Much like Michael and Rebel in the phone booth before, things get pretty hot and heavy for Rebel and George Michael as the camera takes their pictures.

Not long after that, after Michael and Rebel’s accidental double date with Lindsay and Herbert Love falls apart and a bit more lie tag is played, Rebel meets up with George Michael at his dorm, where things get even hotter and heavier. Unfortunately, P Hound is still still miffed about how things turned out with Fakeblock, and when he sees that George Michael has moved his things to impress Rebel, it’s the last straw. He and most of the Twin Club kick him out of the dorm in a very elaborate series of votes, and Michael is forced to leave.

He runs into Gob on the way off campus, who claims he’s there because he had some bologna and he knew George Michael liked it, then proceeds to try to roofie George Michael with it… demonstrating again that he doesn’t understand how roofies work. It’s far too late for George Michael to forget what happened at The Gothic Castle. Oh well.

When he finds out George Michael has nowhere to live now, Gob sells him on a house in Sudden Valley. And it’s a happy day for the sex offenders in Sudden Valley when George Michael (a 22 year old who “looks 16”) moves in. The shower him with gifts, play “skins vs. skins” touch football with him, and even throw him a party when he says he wants to show his girlfriend his new home. But when Rebel comes over, she gets cold feet when George Michael starts talking about leaving the dorm and getting a house to impress her and suggesting she can stay in his spare bedroom if she wants. She ends the relationship with him. George Michael confides in Maeby about what happened, but he does so not realizing that he was going to have to fire her the same day.

Maeby runs into Michael after being fired. She signs over her rights to the movie, then accidentally discovers Michael is “the other man” with Rebel. To get back at George Michael for firing her, she says she knows Rebel and tells Michael she knows that the other “other man” is out of the picture. She gives Michael advice to act like he doesn’t care in order to regain her interest. A few failed attempts at this later, Michael is back in Rebel’s bed, and because he’d been wanting a picture of himself and Rebel together, he snags their photobooth picture off her dresser before he leaves. It isn’t until he’s already gone that he realizes the pictures he stole were actually of Rebel with George Michael.

Needless to say, Maeby is out of the movie.

When Michael goes to deal with Gob, he winds up running into George Michael at his Sudden Valley house instead. The two have a heart to heart, with George Michael admitting he in part bought the house to please his dad. Michael is touched, until George Michael says it was also to impress his girlfriend, though he admits he thinks things are over with them. Michael seems relieved at this, but then later also tells George Michael that he thinks things are over for him and his girlfriend too. It looks like Michael and George Michael’s relationship is on the mend.

Michael leaves, and prepares to debase himself (or worse) with Lucille at Cinco. George Michael also goes to Cinco, as he is supposed to give a speech about Fakeblock. He runs into Gob, who he asks for advice on his whole situation, then rightly decides to do the opposite of what Gob suggests. He’s going to give his speech truthfully and admit that Fakeblock isn’t real. The problem is that when he gets to his microphone, there’s a note taped to it reading, “You are going to get screwed like you’ve never been screwed before. – Anonymous”. He thinks it’s from Rebel and reconsiders telling the truth. He winds up chanting “put up this wall” with everyone else.

George Michael goes to Rebel’s place and gives her the note, which she didn’t write and thinks he wrote for her. They get to work on making that note come true, and the next morning he’s in bed with her when Michael calls to tell her he doesn’t care about the other man. She tells him to come over later, but George Michael, feeling lucky after the night before stops pretending he’s okay with things being casual. Somehow this time he gets what he wants, and Rebel decides maybe she is ready to get serious.

Later that day, George Michael leaves Rebel’s place, but runs into Michael entering it. Michael tries to act surprised as the truth about them both dating Rebel unravels, and he’s not doing a bad job until something slips. “Are we not like twins? All the way down to the photo booth. You name me one way we’re different.” It takes a moment for it to sink in, but George Michael slowly realizes his father knew he was seeing Rebel, and chose to pursue Rebel anyway. And that is one way he is different from his father. He would have never continued seeing Rebel if roles were reversed.

He questions Michael, and after a long pause, Michael only tries to deflect… and George Michael punches him in the face.

Cut to the credits!

Ohhh, ouch! That’s how this is gonna end?! You’re killin’ me, Arrested Development!

But wait… On the next Arrested Development… Lucille 2 having gone missing, Lucille makes Gob president of The Bluth Company. Because that worked so well before. And while Gob didn’t take a Forget Me Now the night before after sleeping with Tony, it turns out Tony did. Also, Buster gets arrested for Lucille 2’s murder, and Ron Howard sees it on the news. He realizes he has the movie rights to Buster’s life.

Notables and Callbacks:

– Gob pronounces bologna “bo-lo-nee-ya”. He also uses the expression “ninja, please”.
– George Michael tries to take the cap off a bottle using the counter in the model home, and breaks the counter. When will the Bluth boys learn?
– Maeby tells Michael that she thinks movies are dead, and that the story of their family should be a TV show, mirroring the opposite sentiment expressed at the end of season three.
– George Michael says the sex offenders in the neighborhood use the expression “put it into Bluth”. He thinks they’re talking about investing in the houses. They probably aren’t.
–  Gob’s original, knee-jerk advice to George Michael when he asks before his speech at Cinco? “Love each other.”
– As it turns out, the blowback riot at Cinco was not caused by hispanics angry about the chanting to build the wall between the US and Mexico, it was started by the horde of Mongols (“that’s the minimum; they don’t come in anything less than a horde”) Gob hired to build the wall when he couldn’t afford Chinese people. They start rioting when Gob tells them he can’t pay them either.
– The “Anonymous” who left the note for George Michael is not Rebel at all, but the hacker group Anonymous. Several people in black hoodies and Guy Fawkes masks are seen walking away from George Michael’s speech.
– When Buster gets arrested, we see that at some point he has created himself a Lucille 2 doll like the one he made of his mother.
– The ticker on the bottom of the screen as Ron Howard sees the news about Buster contains a reminder to Ron that he has dermatologist appointment. The reporter signs off the newscast with “Love each other”.

It was getting near the end of this episode when I started to realize that they weren’t going to wrap everything in the season up. I wasn’t surprised at all, and I’m generally okay with things not being handed to me in a neat package, but ending the episode with George Michael punching Michael in the face was completely unexpected. When I first saw it, I actually felt a little cheated. Michael and George Michael were supposed to be the more relatable characters in the show, the moral (if imperfect) centers of the family. Michael went totally off the rails and lost that morality this season. He gave into the darker side of his Bluth blood.

After watching it again, though, I’m starting to think it was a little bit genius. I mean, Michael’s life fell apart. He was $700,000 in debt and the only family he felt close to, his son, wasn’t around as much any more. These things certainly don’t excuse his despicable behaviour toward his own son, but it goes a long way to explain why he would cling so much to a woman who seemed to enjoy him (and reminded him of his deceased wife), in spite of his better judgement. And come on, Michael can’t always be the voice of reason. No real person can be just all the time, and just look at the kind of influences Michael grew up around.

This season was very hit or miss for me on my first watch, but I wanted to watch it all again. Hit or miss, it was still pretty good, and I wanted to try to clear up the timeline in my head. What I found in watching it a second time was that I appreciated it a lot more. The episodes I didn’t like as much the first time were suddenly more enjoyable because I could see all the places they tied into the better episodes. This season was really a clever piece of writing when taken as a whole!

What did you guys think about this last episode? What about the whole season? Give us your TwoCents!

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2 Responses to Arrested Development – Recap & Review – Blockheads

  1. jules says:

    I so felt annoyed when it ended with George Michael punching his dad! I actually screamed at my TV. In any case, I knew it wasn’t all going to wrap up, but at least many things were all explained. I hope this means there will be a movie or more episodes. I think I enjoyed the season after re-watching, too. Too much new stuff going on the first time around I felt completely lost.

    • jd says:

      I wasn’t too upset about GM punching Michael, though I WAS momentarily stunned. But Michael kinda deserved it, and it isn’t the first time GM punched a family member over a love interest intentionally stealing a girl from him! Poor GM.

      There had BETTER be more coming! Sad little Buster just got hauled off to jail for murder! 😉

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