Episode Tite: "Episode 7"
Writers: David Crane & Jeffrey Klarik
Director: James Griffiths
Previously on "Episodes":
Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly Lincoln (Tamsin Greig) were lured to Hollywood from England by a duplicitous network executive named Merc Lapidus (John Pankow), who forced Matt LeBlanc on them as their lead actor and couldn’t understand why their British TV series was no longer funny after insisting that the adaptation be tailored to Matt and retitled "Pucks." Sean eventually struck up a friendship with Matt, but Beverly couldn’t get along with Matt at all and she was convinced that Sean was having an affair with their lead actress, Morning Randolph (Mircea Monroe).
After catching Sean pleasuring himself to Morning’s internet sex video and then witnessing an innocent hug between them, Beverly flew off the handle and drove away from their rented home… on the wrong side of the road. She crashed into Matt’s car on the road and the two of them ended up back at his place. Beverly told him flat out that all of the changes made to their show by Matt had made it incredibly bad. They got drunk and bonded together, before a minor fight between them escalated into full blown sex and infidelity.
Hours later, Beverly ends up naked in bed with Matt and realizes that she’s made a terrible mistake and that she may be a bad person. She also notes that Matt smells like cinnamon and he explains that it’s from his "Joey" cologne. Beverly then starts to comfort herself by saying that Sean did cheated first, but Matt tells her that Sean never slept with Morning. Horrified, Beverly breaks down and cries while Matt reaches over her to grab a cigarette. Beverly goes home to Sean and meekly apologizes to him and tells him that she wrecked the rental car. He’s just glad she’s back and okay. But he does notice that she smells like cinnamon…
The next day, "Pucks" is wrapped up and Sean gives a brief speech about how wonderful it was to work with everyone. Beverly notices that the crew goes out of their way to say goodbye to him but not to her. Later, Merc has a meeting with his development team and he’s furious about the crappy comedies on his slate. Carol Rance (Kathleen Rose Perkins) stands up for "Pucks," but Merc dismisses her opinion and thinks that it’s crap. Once it goes through audience testing, it will be officially dead.
On the day they plan to go back to England, Sean leaves Beverly for a few hours to say goodbye to Matt… and he notices that Matt smells like cinnamon. Matt also tells him that he was in an accident with a "deer" in the wrong lane and his inability to keep his story straight leads Sean to ask him if he shagged his wife. Matt admits the truth and Sean chases him around and throws bottles of "Joey" at him. When Sean finally lands a punch on Matt, it draws blood and this time it’s Sean’s turn to run. He finally attacks Matt with a cactus and Matt sprays mace in his eyes.
While rinsing out his eyes, Sean is still incredibly mad at Matt. They return to Sean’s rented home and find Beverly, who is horrified when Matt tells her that Sean knows what happened between them. Sean angrily berates her for betraying him and says that when he goes home he intends to end their marriage. Matt watches them fight almost oblivious to the very real part he played in driving them apart. Suddenly, his phone rings with a call from his agent. Sean and Beverly also get a call from Merc who tells them that the test audiences loved "Pucks" and it’s been picked up. Matt goes to high five Sean and Beverly, but they look at him and each other in disbelief.
I have to give credit to the producers and creators of "Episodes." I didn’t see how this premise could survive for another season, but the set up here is very intriguing. Having Sean and Beverly divorced and forced to work together could be very entertaining, now that they both have good reasons to hate Matt. I think Sean’s description of Matt was very accurate. He’s an animal without any moral compass. Matt LeBlanc may not have much acting range outside of playing a version of himself… but he does it really well and he’s not afraid to make himself look bad.
The extended fight and chase scene between Sean and Matt may have been the funniest sequence on the entire series to date. It was a broader style of comedy than the show usually delivers, but it was fantastic. My favorite moment was when Sean slowly realized that he couldn’t actually beat Matt in a fight and the tables were turned. Sean also got the best line of the episode when he asked Matt if he had any balls to go with "that ridiculous cock."
The network development meeting was also really amusing. Merc’s increasing anger towards his employees came through when he challenged them to defend the comedy lineup and the one man who did was summarily fired. And even Carol was dismissed when she spoke up for "Pucks" with the great line “I’m not going to fire you, but I do think less of you.” Of course, Merc was the first take credit for the show testing well in his last line “Loved it? They dry humped it! Unpack your bags. We’ve got some telly to make!” John Pankow has been consistently hilarious as Merc and I’d watch this show even if it was just about him and Carol.
This was the knockout punch that "Episodes" has needed all season. In retrospect, the earliest episodes were a little dryer and didn’t have as much life in them as the final three episodes. Make no mistake, "Episodes" is not a great comedy… yet. But this finale has demonstrated that it could reach that status if it maintains this level of humor with more of the same sharp writing. A couple of weeks ago, I would have been fine if "Episodes" had only been a seven episode show. But now, I want to see more.
And sure, that could be a good way to go out too. However, after all of this build up, it would be a shame if we never saw how the Lincolns and Matt adjusted to success and the prospect of working together for a couple of years. Hopefully, we’ll get to see that play out.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out 10.