It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Review: Brotherly Love Ends In Bloodshed
What is it about 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' Halloween episodes that make them so awesome? The Gang always seems to bring the full comedic force on this holiday.
In what some would consider to be a continuation from last week’s ode to recycling, The Gang tells this story, "The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre," through flashback just as they had with the costume party at Paddy’s the previous year.
But this version had every horror movie plot device and nod to popular horror classics of the past (Blair Witch, zombies, vampires), yet it didn’t come off as cliche.
This is the season where all The Gang’s past actions, interactions and transgressions come back to bite them. I’ve noted their half-self aware/subconscious desire to change, and we’re seeing why: the holes they’ve dug are only getting deeper. The consequences collide in a one giant, hilarious clusterf*ck with this, the unholiest of unions.
Mac couldn’t have said it any better when he discovers Liam is the groom at Maureen’s wedding - "‘A McPoyle-Ponderosa wedding... Jesus." It’s like the previous seven seasons have been one long setup for this season alone. One hundred-plus stories spent neatly establishing and meticulously developing characters, arcs, relationships, dynamics and family trees to have them culminate in frantic and frenzied fireworks with each episode, but especially this one.
And yet, they show restraint. They don’t go overboard shoe-horning more characters in. Just enough mayhem to move the narrative along to the next level. Is this hitting them stride? Seems hypocritical and flip-floppish considering my assessment last week, but I was completely opposed to the recycling approach.
Take, for example, Bill Ponderosa’s addiction to drugs and alcohol leading him to lace the milk (the McPoyle beverage of choice) with bath salts, the narcotic that caused people to eat each other’s faces like zombies. You couldn’t have written it any better. The writers’ grasp on the characters is as firm as it can get. The progressions - and conclusions - just feel natural.
What I’m probably most fond of is the trend of Charlie taking on dramatic speeches where he gets into character. When well-placed, it’s a game-changer and his slightly modified soliloquy from Jaws was top notch. While it’s something I’d like to see more of, I’m hoping The Gang doesn’t wedge it in - it's spontaneous, out of left field style is what makes them so great.
But the gold star goes to the moment when Dennis busts down the door with Frank it tow to catch what looks like Ryan McPoyle deep-throating his brother, Liam. Again, this is the payoff we’ve been so patiently waiting for since the disturbing duo’s debut. Of course, it turns out Ryan’s just begging for forgiveness but it was a rare, jaw-dropping moment.
Tying up the loose ends with Dennis’ narcissistic, self-absorbed quasi-homicidal psychosis is the bloody cherry on top of this expertly crafted sundae. Like Chinese takeout, it’s left me hungry for more - more recurring characters from the Gang’s past to come back and add to their own lore and the legendary status of the show.
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