Another George Sr. episode? Oh, COME ON.
No offense to George Sr., but after nearly half the new season, we've seen only two episodes that aren't about him or Michael. And even in this one there was a little bit of cheating, as far as narrative perspective is concerned.
So far with this fourth season, the show has been pretty good about sticking to its various points-of-view. Each episode is centered on a single character and we see their limited view on the world, with a sprinkling of reminders for related items we've seen before. George Sr.'s first episode already fudged things a bit since it included scenes with Oscar, but those felt organic. Whereas with "Double Crossers," there was a whole segment dedicated to just G.O.B. and Michael talking at the model home, with George Sr. nowhere in sight. The show snuck in a Michael minisode on us.
But those are my two biggest complaints about this episode, that it contributed to the show's current lack of diversity in character focus and that it waffled in its perspective. Otherwise, there was a lot to like. Jeffrey Tambor is killing it with the two different roles of George Sr. and Oscar and then switching their personalities in a subtle-enough way that you can tell who's who, and that they aren't themselves. Even trying to describe the situation is confusing; I can't imagine an actor trying to portray it convincingly.
The key to "Double Crossers" was watching such a pathetic version of George Sr. suffer so much. The writers have been setting up since the end of Season 3 that George has never been the brains behind any of the family's operations, that Lucille has been orchestrating the ruthlessness the whole time. But to see him bounce from Lucille to Herbert Love to running from the blowback, all while dealing with a blow to his manhood (his testosterone levels are "off the charts," meaning they're so low they don't even register), connected a character who usually seems so strong even in hiding to the show's overall theme of the members of this family having to hold themselves together individually, too.
After two episodes that many people have noted as their favorites of the season thus far—Michael's "The B. Team" and Tobias's "A New Start"—this is the one that convinced me that the show has finally hit its stride. While I liked both "The B. Team" and "A New Start" (even with their flaws), "Double Crossers" was in its element, started to really utilize the new format, and was funny on its own without the support of attached episodes. I wouldn't call it my favorite, but it really demonstrated where this show wants to go.
So I guess I'm saying that the new Arrested Development began to get its groove back around Episode 6, which would be about unforgivable for those of us who got antsy around Episode 4 but we'll cut the show some slack because it's Arrested Development.
OTHER BARREN FLOWERS TO POLLINATE
– Race is playing an interesting role this season. Arrested Development has always had something of a white-washed cast, with limited engagements for people of non-blue color (there have to be more than just Ice and Carl Weathers, right?). With the running gag of "tipping a black man," Herbert Love as a parody of Herman Cain, and Baron Vaughn being party to that Republican strategist joke, this episode touched on that a lot.
– Speaking of Baron Vaughn, now that that show is over, can we get him on a good sitcom? Maybe the one with Nelson Franklin and David Walton that I'd also like to see?
– How does John Slattery charm me every time he's on the screen, no matter what role he's playing? That charisma should be a registered with some sort of agency. It's dangerous.
– "No hugging." When George Sr. broke down on the Mexican border and appealed for comfort from the surveyors, I was reminded of something. Have we heard anyone say "No touching" yet? I feel like with as much as Tony Hale has had to say it over the course of his post-AD career (I remember it being shamelessly noticeable in Chuck), the fact that one of the most beloved phrases of the series hasn't been uttered yet. Correct me if I'm wrong. They did do a "bees/beads" joke, which I really appreciated.
– Like a bee pollinating "one barren flower after another" might be one of my favorite lines of the series. Honestly, though I'm complaining about there being too much George Sr. in this early going, some of my favorite jokes have come out of his episodes.
– So much seed planting and sowing! There was the blast and alarms at Herbert Love's fundraiser (which seemed slightly odd), and I swear I heard Lindsay's voice among the crowd during the blowback to Zuckercorn getting a ladder (so he could reach the chachi); half the fun of watching this show is not following the story and just discovering the side quests.