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With Mike back on Earth, Phil struggles with their old sibling rivalry.


Season 2, Episode 14 “Skidmark”


Picking up immediately where last episode left us, Phil pummels Mike while his housemates watched, completely confused. As he has with everyone before, Phil gets incredibly jealous as he feels he’s losing a place in the group that was never his. Mike, who is charming, funny and socially adept, ingratiates himself immediately, even as Phil tries to slander him with stories from the old world. Although Jason Sudeikis brings a wonderful new energy to the cast, along with a surprisingly moving performance of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, it’s squandered by the writers treading the same old ground. Phil, who has long been Tandy, becomes Skidmark after Mike reveals his childhood nickname. And he once again takes things too far in trying to get revenge by publicly revealing that Mike never came to their dying grandma’s bedside. With talent like Sudeikis, it’s really frustrating to watch the writers recycle plotlines that had already been covered by dead Phil.


Meanwhile, Todd, Melissa and Gail agree to Todd’s threesome proposal. I am sure this will lead to more of the same, with Melissa becoming jealous because she lacks emotion, and Gail’s drinking leading to her saying awkward things. Gail has, in fact, already had a lady love triangle with Erica, so we find ourselves once again in familiar territory. I hate that a show with such a unique premise has become so boring. It’s frustrating that every season opener, mid-point, and finale are so good while the rest of the episodes are fair to middling.

That’s not to say everything was bad this episode. Kristen Schaal once again acts as the series’ MVP. Carol is slowly coming undone at the seams, and her resentment toward Phil, while never ever explicitly stated, is growing with each passing minute. It’s a wonderful performance, simultaneously subtle and broad. It would not surprise me if none of this character arc were on the page, but all entirely built by Schaal on set. It’s fun to track, too, how every time Carol speaks, someone in the background cracks just a little bit. She’s the heart and soul of this show, and I would give anything right now for a Carol-centric episode. She’s got the most unique struggle, and as I said last week, if they could broach infertility with the dark humor that defines the show’s best episodes, it could be absolutely incredible. This season has been frustrating, and it’s Carol that keeps me coming back. I am not sure how much longer she can continue to see the best in Phil, and I am so excited to see what happens when she finally breaks. It will be uncharted territory — something this show has been sorely lacking.


Here’s hoping things pick up in the next couple weeks and that the crew faces new challenges.


Directed By: Claire Scanlon

Produced By: Andy Bobrow, Will Forte, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris Plourde, Liz Cackowski, Erik Durbin, Tim McAuliff, John Solomon, Emily Spivey, Steve Burgess, Erica Rivinoja, Seth Cohen

Written By: Kira Kalush & Matt Marshall

Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman, Mel Rodriguez, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Sudeikis

Network: Fox

Release Date: April 10, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

Rating: N/A




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