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Netflix has released Season 4 of Arrested Development in its entirety, which means we'll be binge-watching the series' revival and sharing our reactions with you over the next couple of days. The recap below contains spoilers from Episode 15 - "Blockheads." Read no further if you haven't seen the episode yet!
Because I’m still decompressing the entirety of this mostly binge-watched fourth season of Arrested Development, its ending hasn’t yet left me feeling as if the comedic void in my life will never be filled. It isn’t entirely clear what I’m left with at all, due to the open-endedness of “Blockheads” along with plot gaps left that go seemingly intentionally unfilled. This season’s disjointed structure and limited episodic focus was a far more successful way to tell this Bluthian story than I could have imagined, but the finale left me a tad too unfulfilled, and it hinted at the larger story that I wanted to get back into.
It’s easy to speak highly of the episode as one out of fifteen rather than the finale, so that’s what I’ll do first. The overtly casual way that sexual offenders have played a collective role in this season (via G.O.B.’s Sudden Valley population solution) and they were featured more in this episode than any other, and George Michael’s complete naivety towards the intentions of his new neighbors nets the biggest laughs of the episode. I wonder how small a sheet of paper one would need to list all of G.O.B.’’s redeeming values, as he chooses to send his unwitting nephew into the lion’s den so that he might make Michael happy that another house in the neighborhood was sold. Someone should tell G.O.B. that success is only an illusion, when he doesn't have Mongol problems. (Will Arnett proves several times in this episode that he is a master of the distant gaze.)
”Enjoy your war pizza!”
I’d really hoped P-Hound would be the new memorable character that this season gave us, but unintentionally getting on everyone’s bad side was his only character trait, and it wasn’t taken to the extremes that would have done his inclusion justice. He was just a cog in the machine that got George Michael out of his dorm and into a Sudden Valley house, though I did enjoy the multi-twin vote, and the implications that George Michael is a twincist. Perhaps finding out after all these years that his father wasn’t a twin led to this kind of behavior.
"Although in fairness, this is something a Bluth brother would do."
“Blockheads” mainly concerns itself with the escalating level of fibbery that Michael and George Michael are rapidly climbing, which we’ve seen before, only we see how heavily involved Rebel is this time. The final pre-tag moments after George Michael punches his father in the nose are stomach-churning. This is an act of affirmation that George Michael has earned after years of Michael’s selectively judgmental parenting, and years of hating his own name, and after a full season of getting hit in the face by people, Michael is finally struck by the person he’s most affected by.
However, I don’t think that the punch even spawned from their previous history. I think George Michael finally realized that becoming better at lying did nothing to help his situation in the long run, and it only led to him acting just like everyone else in his family. And when Michael further provoked that comparison by calling them twins once more, George Michael couldn’t handle it. I have to look at it that way, because while Rebel is a desirable woman, she is not important enough to drive such a solid stake between these characters whose relationship has been the series’ core strength. Especially when G.O.B.’s “deus ex medicina,” the Forget Me Now, is one of the factors that led to this confrontation. Still, it was good to get a moment of temporary closure from something.
I don't feel the end of the Cinco de Cuatro festivities was made very clear, even if the aftereffects were. George Michael is goaded out of coming clean for his "keynote speech" for FakeBlock by a threatening note that George Michael takes as flirtation. It's signed by Anonymouse, which leads to a nifty little cameo by people wearing Guy Fawkes masks. (Were those guys really part of Anonymous? I couldn't tell, what with the masks.Ba dum chee.)
To wrap everything else up, we learn Michael found out about George Michael and Rebel pre-festivities, and that he does indeed experience a series of slaps from Lucille 2 after making his sexual advances, and even after only referring to them. G.O.B. tells George Sr. he hired Mongols to build the fake wall, but has no money to pay them, so they're the ones who begin wrecking things. Lucille tells George Sr. that she wants a real divorce. Buster ends up getting big-handcuffed and arrested for Lucille 2's murder in an "Arraigned Development," and Lucille wants G.O.B. as president of the company. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are more interested in getting the film done than ever. The sky, scheduling and network difficulties are the limit for this series' continuation.
And before any closing remarks, it's worth pointing out again just how far this season has taken George Michael away from what we know and love about him. By the end of the episode, he is completely over Maeby - as per the narrator's choice of expression for George Michael and Rebel having sex - and after he fires her from the FaceBlock campaign that she'd put together, she ends up scheming on him, which leads to the final confrontation, where he punches his dad in the face. I mean, it's a good thing FakeBlock solidified his love for wood blocks and his internal clock's natural rhythm; otherwise, he might as well have been a complete stranger.
The ending to this fourth season is by default as amazing as the rest, given its existence was highly unlikely, but it falls just short of amazing otherwise. I really enjoyed the obvious climax of Cinco de Cuatro being shown in chunks throughout the season rather than having one big brouhaha for the finale, but I do wish the finale had achieved a much broader scope in terms of tying up its storylines. But if this is all the Arrested Development that fans get until the end of time, it was well worth the wait, and it still will be after I finish watching it another fifteen times. And even though taking advice from G.O.B. and John Beard isn't always your best bet: "Love each other." See you next year, hopefully.
The Rest Of The Developments
It's a cheap gimmick, but each time George Michael got an extended pause before lying to whoever he was talking to, I was delighted.
Why didn’t they say “Ninja, please,” more often?
I'm guessing the promotional website allowing us to put Tobias in summer blockbusters was to also allow us to put Tobias in this fourth season, given how absent he is for most of it. It's here. It's a jeer. Now it's over here.
"Uncle G.O.B.?" "No, you're mistaken." The model homes are really just elaborate bottle openers, aren't they?
"It's like everyone's birthday!" I almost couldn't hear the dialogue in the shirts vs skins football game because I was laughing so hard.
[I BRAKE FOR KIDS] - "Pervert."
"Thank god we weren't on that plane."
I wish I could have been there to hear Ron Howard get asked, “Do you mind if we call out Don Ameche in Cocoon and put it in your words for this episode?”
"They don't come in anything less than a horde."
Doublespeak with the titles here, as it makes the episode's first Peanuts reference and also plays on George Michael's interests in Fakeblock/Wood block.
"Hey, how about her knowing they had a bike shop?"
The deflating bounce house in the background after all of the sex offenders flee the pool is the image impressed upon me the most by this episode.
We hope you enjoyed this nearly miraculous season, as well as our thoughts on all the episodes. If you haven’t caught up with our recaps yet, you can do so here.