Arrested Development Review: The Best Laid Plans

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We're back with another review in our 15 Days of Arrested Development series. We'll be reviewing one episode a day for the next two weeks to celebrate all the things we're glad Netflix brought back into our lives. 

Like yurts. And plans. And hallucinogenic scams. Do those things ever actually work?

Not for George Sr., it seems.

In Mexico

"Borderline Personalities" starts with George Sr. and some other CEOs searching for financial empowerment in a sweat lodge in the desert. It doesn't seem to be going so well. 

The Arrested Development standard title card and voice over tell us that this time it’s going to be George Sr.’s arrested development. I see what they’re doing here, and I think I like it. I’m just waiting for Gob’s episode.

That land George Sr. bought on the border of Mexico has turned into his newest money-making venture. It involved yurts and a sweat lodge and Mary Lynn Rajskub as a hippie who doesn’t speak but communicates with her thoughts. She may be nonverbal, but I still shout “Chloe!” at my TV set. (There's a new season of 24 in the works, after all.)

I love the flashbacks with Young Lucille, Young George Sr. and Young Barry if only because they casting is so spot on. It’s only mildly distracting that none of these people ever appeared in the first three seasons.

George Sr.’s bumbling plan to steal Sitwell’s “George Bush monument” is exactly the sort of thing that makes Arrested Development great. Of course that’s what he thinks the plans are for, and even once corrected he gets it wrong again again and again. Running jokes for the freaking win.

Of course the plans are actually for a wall between the United States and Mexico, an idea Sitwell obviously stole from Lucille after Lupe spilled bleach on her blazer, which is yet another perfect example of what makes Arrested Development great: intentional, ironic, casual racism we laugh at uncomfortably. Ron Howard says it’s OK, guys.

When the guy from Mad Men showed up I said “Hey it’s the guy from Sex and the City!” We’re getting the back story on that land George Sr. bought on the border, and it’s all his identical twin brother Oscar’s fault.

Obviously Netflix threw more money at Arrested Development than Fox did, since the George Sr/Oscar-in-the-same-frame shots are plentiful. It weirds me out, but Heartfire trying to order a drink from the bartender with her mind makes me snort with laughter.

Oscar lives on the border because of the complicated legality of growingslasheating macca root, which is some sort of hallucinogenic. George Sr. wants to buy the land and then undercut Sitwell’s contract to build the wall. Of course things don’t work out exactly as planned.

The scene with Lucille blowing smoke directly into Buster’s mouth and making him run to the balcony to exhale is the best moment of the episode. Lucille doesn’t speak a word, Buster mutters the whole time. It’s a perfect 30 seconds. 

The episode finally comes full circle when we find out George Sr. is carrying the land/border wall building contract with money he’s squeezing out of high-powered executives in a first-class sweat lodge scam. He uses Oscar as his double in the yurt and then pretends he has a higher power that lets him stay cool before selling the CEOs lemonade for $10,000.

Oscar isn’t handling it well, burying his face in a bush of macca. George joins him and they see a vision of an ostrich. Or maybe a guy in an ostrich suit. Or possibly a divine spirit.

Either way it’s a warning to get off the land and the beginning of the end for George Sr. A year later he’s got a $15 million balloon payment due, his high-powered executives have started bringing their own bottled water and Oscar is busy canoodling with China Garden instead of sweating in the yurt.

After some standard Oscar/George Sr. place swapping, Oscar accidentally finds out about the wall plan and (next time on Arrested Development...) takes it out on George Sr. by making sweet, sweet, wildly uncomfortable love to Lucille. And we'll be back to dish all about it with another review in our 15 days of Arrested Development.

What did you think of "Borderline Personalities?" Was Lucille's smoke-blowing escapade your favorite moment?

Suzanne Davis is a guest contributor for TV Fanatic. When she's not commanding her ginger army on Bebehblog, you can find her on Twitter.

Borderline Personalities Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (25 Votes)
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Arrested Development Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

George Sr: Where's Barry?
Lucille: He's with the harbormaster. He's trying to dazzle them with a suit of his own.
Barry: Well, he hated the suit. Thought I was making fun.

(with her mind) Did you pay my FICA yet? Got it. Not in front of the seekers.