I’m feeling a lot better about this season. Or, more accurately, I feel like I don’t have to worry about this season. Given the significant changes—filming during Rona, Jemaine Clement leaving the writers room—I’d forgotten the standard season-to-season change. They’ve been away for a while, the momentum’s slowed, the energy’s changed. But they’re doing just fine. No small thanks to the script, credited to Marika Sawyer, which does an excellent parsing out of the cast for the episode.
The main cast will all come together eventually, but most of the episode has them split. Natasia Demetriou and Kayvan Novak have to work together on Vampiric Council business—in this case, updating the website—so Matt Berry and Mark Proksch have their own adventure together. They’re both selflessly—though verbosely—keeping the other company as the household adjusts to the new normal of Demetriou and Novak working together.
Except, of course, Novak is skirting his Council duties to hook up with his previously never mentioned regular lady friend for the last forty years, guest star Aida Turturro. Despite being the center of all the drama, Turturro actually doesn’t do much. She gets talked about a lot—all the men are convinced Demetriou doesn’t like her because women are all jealous of each other, which might not be as funny of a joke if Demetriou and Turturro weren’t great (and if it didn’t have a female writer credited)—and Harvey Guillén’s hilariously jealous of her getting Novak’s attention. She’s much more the subject of the episode than an active player.
It’s mostly Novak’s episode. While Berry and Proksch split their subplot, the rest supports lovestruck Novak, with Guillén and Demetriou fixating on him for different reasons. The resolution will bring in one of the series’s regular villains, and the episode wrings all the potential out of it well. Novak’s got to deal with some worst-case scenarios and does so in his wonderfully obtuse manner.
There are lots of terrific laughs; each actor—except Guillén, who’s very supporting this episode—gets at least five. Then some outstanding ensemble laughs. Plus, Kristen Schaal is back. She’s almost a regular, which I really hope continues. More than anyone else at this point, Schaal’s the audience’s avatar. And, despite not having a bunch to do, Turturro’s fantastic; great guest casting.
Again, lots of credit to the script for the character balancing and better incorporating the Vampiric Council arc into the episode plots. And maybe just giving Berry enough to do.