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Ghosts - The Tree - Review: Orange You In The Friend Zone

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I know I may sound like a broken record, but it's worth repeating that one of Ghosts' biggest strengths is how it manages to focus on one ghost at a time each week amidst its spectacular ensemble cast.

The Tree puts the spotlight on Sasappis when Sam learns that their next door organic farmer neighbors June and Ally are taking town an old, big tree. While Flower naturally goes into protest-mode, Thor points out that there is no need to be so upset about one tree when there is literally many other trees out there; needless to say, he proceeds to point out the ones he can see. Sas' reaction is probably the strongest, emotionally touching on the historical and cultural impact that tree has, with 13 markings on the trunk representing the 13 dialects of the Lenape language. Just when I think this storyline is going to zig, it zags in the most unexpected way.

I was both shocked and cringing a little when it's revealed that Sas lied about the significance of the tree. His attachment to it lies solely on Shiki, the Lenape ghost he likes who is still stuck at the Ulster County Register office, and the 13 markings simply denote the 13 times Shiki said "hi" to him. It's sweet and beautiful in the most Sas way imaginable, but it also uncomfortably turns Sam into a Karen, though through no fault of her own.

Watching Sam argue with June, Ally, and Bob from the Hudson Valley Lenape Cultural Center is nothing short of awkward and embarrassing for Sam, especially after Sas comes clean about the tree's cultural impact (or lack thereof). The beauty of that scene, as tough it is to watch, is how well Rose McIver sells Sam's motivation -- she clearly only wants to do justice for the ghosts she has gotten so attached to, but sometimes it's hard to remember that these ghosts were just regular humans too, with flaws and romantic attachments that could potentially leave them selfish at times. Her land acknowledgement at the end, with Bob, Sas and all the other ghosts, is nothing short of an emotional journey that left me reaching for tissues, particularly as Bob does a traditional Lenape welcome at the end. Goddamnit, Ghosts, for always making me cry unexpectedly.

Román Zaragoza's Sasappis has a similarly tearjerking moment earlier when he tells Sam that it wasn't just about the markings on the tree that left him aching to keep the tree alive; it's that all his people got pushed out, and worst of all is that he just had to watch it all happen. It's without a doubt Sas' most heartbreaking scene since the show's debut, and a part of me is hoping to get many more Sas-centric episodes soon. Until then, The Tree absolutely delivers everything it set out to do and more. I can't think of many sitcoms that are simultaneously hilarious and culturally appreciative, but somehow Ghosts is pulling it off in spectacular fashion.

Surprisingly, Thor gets quite a bit of screentime this week as well when Trevor points out that if he wanted to impress a certain protester girl who may have taken acid at some point in order to save the snow leopards we absolutely still have today, Thor will have to show her he has similar interests. While wanting to save the environment doesn't work out as well as he had hoped (and proved to be much inconvenient for everyone when he cut their electricity off), Thor's big idea to impress Flower and help Sas is to use seeds from the tree to grow new trees. It's a nice touch that is fitting as an episode capper, with the added bonus that the area they decide to plant the trees to honor Shiki and Sas's friendship is referred to as "The Friend Zone". I may not be as attached to a potential Thor/Flower coupling as I was (and still am) to Isaac and Nigel, but I don't mind the comic relief this subplot is adding in the meantime.

Finally, I would be remiss not to touch on Hetty's character development. It's been a slow-burn over the course of this season, most notably since she discovered the power of sitting on top of washing machines, but Hetty has been...well, horny. It's absolutely hysterical to watch her grow from a stuck-up, uptight lady of the manor to someone who wants to look up stable boys on the internet. It helps that Rebecca Wisocky seems to be having a blast in this role, and I myself cannot wait to see how far Hetty goes in her sexual awakening.

Scary Delights from the B&B:

- "You are like Odin, wisest god, if Odin's butt cheeks always visible every time he bend over."

- "So, rich and handsome. If only he were dead."

- "So, how about the environment, huh?"
- "What about it?"
- "Just listing things that I deeply care about, like the environment."

- "Oh, dear, two men hunched over Samantha's lap computer. I know better than to look at what's on that screen."
- "Relax, it's a bunch of nature stuff. Picture of a baby seal."
- "I don't care what you're into, you deviants."

- "The power of the pen! It's mightier than the sword."
- "Not if it's a plus-two magic sword. Those are pretty powerful."
- "What?"
- "It's a D&D thing."
- "You don't deserve Jay."

- "And, you, worst of all. Industrial Revolution start of everything. Thor read about dark seductress, buried deep within the Earth. Her name is... coal."
- "We did get really into coal."

- "Hey, just a heads up, this is starting to look a little Karen-y."

- "You know, I don't think it was just about the markings that I made on that tree. It's that... everything's gone. My people were pushed out. I watched all of it happen. And that tree was the last thing left from when I was alive. And now it's gone, too."

- "Wait, are you pregnant? Did Jay's seed find purchase?"

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