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Arrested Development Season 4 Episode 3 Review: The Triumphant Return At Last?
Episode 3 of the newly insta-released Arrested Development Season 4 is very interesting indeed.
Two characters who have barely been in the first two episodes, Lindsay and Tobias, get almost all of the screen time.
And at moments it’s glorious.
Perhaps a little bit on the ‘poor taste’ side of the comedy spectrum is Lindsay’s journey to India which is where the episode opens up. Again, the flashforward thing doesn’t really work in Arrested Development’s favour. But it’s easier to forgive as the episode returns to the series’ strength of exploiting its gullible and weak-minded characters as much as possible. Lindsay’s repeatedly poor purchasing decisions birth a hilarious “best handbag on the mountain” joke. India becomes a focal point in the episode- Marky, a later character, buys an item from an “Al Qa’eda stand” without realising it. It’s funny stuff.
But while the flashforward sections do have humour in them, they again come off as pointless and a little contrived. The Ostrich also makes an appearance again- at this point becoming a slightly frustrating running joke in that it seems to have no point. Perhaps it’s an underhand joke about how the Bluths run around like ostriches with their heads in the sand? Is that something that ostriches even do?!
At the halfway mark the episode kicks off in brilliant fashion.
The guy from The Hangover, Ed Helms, makes a strong cameo as a realtor in the best scene of the show thus far. Tobias and Lindsay go to an estate agent to try getting a house together again.
Even that statement alone feels like old Arrested Development. One of the biggest jokes in the series was how the characters were all repeatedly trying to do the same things to reach happiness and success. Season 4 has barely provided this with its long winded episode on George and Oscar at the Mexican border and Michael’s try-hard journey into his sons dorm-room. But Episode 3’s shenanigans feel like original AD.
And it gets better.
Not only does it get better, but it provides one of the best jokes the series has had thus far. I mean, including the original series. The joke is that good. It comes when Tobias, looking again for an acting group, finds one which seems suspicious and seedy as usual. He calls it a “Method Acting Support Centre.” He has to fill out a form for “Methad One Clinic,” prompting the viewer to realise it’s actually a centre for Methadone. God, we laughed. It gets even better when, later in the episode, he feels like he’s failing to improvise onstage with an addict, so he requests the support worker to give him more “acting juice.”
It’s classic Arrested Development.
And Lindsay falls in love with a guy who has prosopagnosia (a disorder rendering him unable to recognize faces). He can’t tell if she’s smiling or not- and doesn’t know she’s pretty. Which for Lindsay, should be a deal-breaker. If he weren’t also a hippy and an activist. It’s an ingenious play on the character of Lindsay- what happens when immovable vanity encounters a powerful activist force? Hilarity.
And they go to “Swappigans,” an anti-Capitalist restaurant where one must barter for their food, in auction, in trade. We laughed more. It’s ingenious. The second half of this episode is madcap scene after madcap scene.
Despite the comedy really catching back up to the story and laughs abounding at this stage, there are still odd directional quirks throughout the episode. A scene where Lindsay and Tobias run around their huge mansion looking for each other, with weird artistic screen splits, doesn’t work at all, but is clever. If it was another show, it’d be forgiven immediately and enjoyed. However, it isn’t forgiven as that idea isn’t an Arrested Development one. Still, in the second half of the episode onwards- they’ve nailed it. It’s back almost to the original series’ quality and punchiness. Case in point: the image below: