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Throwback Thursday - Episodes - Season 2 Episode 9

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Throwback Thursday is a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from the past.

For those of you who have never seen an Episodes episode (I have a feeling this is going to come back quite a bit, the title of this post was just the beginning of Showception), let me set the scene a little. When two BAFTA-winning British writers are wooed by an American network to adapt their TV show and bring it to the land of palm trees and sunny disappointment, i.e. LA, they hem and haw about it... But ultimately cannot resist the lure of the Hollywood (pipe) dream. Many, many terrible decisions later (including the casting of Matt LeBlanc as the titular character of the show inside the show), the new version of their series is about as similar to their former successful one, as a beetle is to a butterfly (little Hunger Games deep dive ref' for ya there). Throughout the seasons, LA does its best to beat the sarcasm out of Bev and Sean, but thankfully never quite succeeds, as the show delightfully unfolds through many quirky situations.

The first time I tried Episodes is actually a clear testament to the quality of the show, since it was on a flight to Boston, and I had to make do with (probably) some random episode in the middle of season 3, what with flight selections being what they are and unfortunately not usually including l'intégrale. Nevertheless, for some reason it caught my eye, I watched it, promptly realized it was a gem, and proceeded to dive into the (at the time) existing four seasons as soon as I got home, some two weeks later. The trip was a little life-changing for many reasons, but the discovery of what is now one of my favorite comedies, was a perfect addition.

In this specific episode, the season two finale, several storylines are finally coming to a head (quite literally in some cases), at, luck would have it, Merc's Man of the Year award ceremony. I, for one, would like to understand who voted for him, and more to the point: WHY, but that's neither here nor there since the deed is effectively done. So, we've learned through the Elliot Salad grapevine (or...leafvine? Yes, I'll see myself out), it turns out, is Merc.

Sidenote: how great are character names on this show? "Mister Salad" and "That Salad person" both had me in stitches, as have in the past (and in no particular order): Merc Lapidus, Castor Sotto, Andy Button. It's like there's a crazy name generator on set and each time the writers shake the proverbial urn, Aubergine Tomtom tumbles out and voilà, she's the new head of international marketing at the network.

As Carol (Rance. Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff?) and Bev set off on one of their hikes, Carol once again laments the state of her "relationship" with Merc. Or maybe, one could argue, her PWB status. And no, I don't mean Phoebe Waller Bridge but rather Producers With Benefits. He's never going to leave his (let's not forget, blind) wife, and quite frankly, it's baffling as to why Carol so desperately wants to be his main squeeze (and fifth, if I recall correctly, would-be wife). I mean, to each their own, the heart wants what it wants and we've all been there with the incredulous "but... whyyy" but Merc is in a special (hellish) category all on his own. The man is a cheating, balding, disgusting, screaming, impotent mess who is about to lose his job, and yet Carol acts like he's the eighth wonder of the world.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you happen to be Carol), Bev finally lets slip a very crucial piece of information. Or rather, she "hmms" it, and Carol pounces on her.
"You've never moved this fast in your life!"
Uh, RUDE! Bev, at the very least, works out every day by lifting pastries from the craft services table to her mouth, as well as some heavy lifting of multiple gift bags at any industry event. I won't lie, I'm more partial to their beach hikes (I hate LA, but you gotta admit, those ocean views are *chef's kiss*), but this one was peak physical comedy as Carol turned into a rabid beast, pushing Bev to admit that Matt, and Merc's wife Jamie were having an affair, and had been for a while (remember the handjob during the Pucks premiere? Good times).

Predictably, Carol resists all of thirty secondes once she meets up with Merc (that dress though, I'd need a ref if this hadn't aired... /sighs/ 9 years ago. At least, unlike Myra's dress, she didn't buy it "for her sister's funeral". Myra, never change!) before telling him. In her defense though, he was being his typical Merc self and conveniently manipulating her into staying with him all while he stayed married to Jamie. That, however, ended with Carol's news, which did not go over well.
"I can't breathe!"
"You can breathe."
"I can't breathe WELL!"
Unfortunately, Carol doesn't leave then and there for greener, Mercless pastures, but doubles down and makes the biggest mistake of her career (aside from, you know, sleeping with each and every one of her bosses). Imagine sacrificing your dream job for Merc, of all people! Mister Salad (and me, and everyone who has ever lived) is understandably baffled, so Carol unveils the only defense she has.
"I mean, I'm more than fucking him!"
"I'm not sure I know what that means, but I'm sure he's a very lucky man."
Back at the awards venue, things are still incredibly awkward between newly separated Bev and Sean, and newly coupled up Bev and Rob (also, formerly sexed up Sean and Morning, if we're being exhaustive). Sean immediately goes into insane mode, which includes the terrifyingly friendly "Wallace & Grommit" smile, as well as some particularly weird, double-handed patting on Bev's shoulders. I'm not usually big on physical comedy but Episodes does it so well, it's always seamless.
Bev is almost quite literally skipping around (in a floor length gown, no less), grabbing gift bags left and right: "Seven!", much to Rob's increasingly incredulous stance, until Merc and Matt finally fight it out on the dance floor, and Bev gets punched in the aftermath.
"Watch out, he's got a bag!"
"What are you gonna do? Hit us with a spa certificate?!"
"I saw a candle in there!"
"I didn't get a candle!"(Bev, suddenly resuscitating and heading straight into Gift Bag Customer Service Hell)
The brawl ends after Merc dislocates Matt's shoulder (say PUPPET POP IT one more time), resulting in at least on good thing: Sean and Bev finally reunite, and all is well that ends well: Carol finally snaps and leaves Merc in downtown (the sheer horror), Jamie and Matt sail off into the sunset (slightly marred by his impending custody battle with Diane, courtesy of Labia and Matt's very poor, self-sabotaging, life choices), and Andy's video goes viral.

There's a reason why this episode is beloved by fans, and it delivers in just about every way. It's peak Episodes, where no amount of drama goes unpunished by ridiculous, but hilarious kerfuffles. If you haven't tried it yet, do yourself a favor and start right now. Bev, Sean, Carol and Morning's CGIed right cheek, await!

As usual, sound off in the comments if you love and miss this show, if you've never seen it and want to give it a shot, or even if you hate it (okay, maybe not then though).

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