Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW: 'Another Period' - Lillian and Beatrice Race to Stop a Wedding as More Changes Hit Bellacourt Manor in 'Modern Pigs'

Comedy Central's Another Period - Episode 1.10 "Modern Pigs"

Lillian and Beatrice race across Newport to try and stop Frederick's wedding. Peepers must save the Bellacourts from destruction after he realizes Chair's true intentions.

Lillian and Beatrice have spent the entire first season of Another Period trying to get accepted into the high society of Newport. But the Bellacourt family is just way too ridiculous and strange for that to ever actually happen. The plot of the season finale is literally about Lillian and Beatrice racing - via a rickshaw - to stop their brother's wedding because Beatrice is in an incestuous relationship with him. Everyone in this family has something like that in their lives. The only exception is Hortense. She is the black sheep of the family. One who everyone else openly mocks because she has crazy ideas. Those crazy ideas, however, are the way normal people of society think and the rest of the family is just so out of touch with those norms. That's ultimately what sets this finale and its big twist up so well. Hortense is the outlier in this family and heavily motivated to do something to embarrass the rest of her family.

This finale also features several big callbacks to key moments from throughout the season. Several things that happened before are able to come back and make the humor of the finale even stronger. Everything is connected in a truly organic way that is uproarious in the execution. Sure, not everything works. Tabu really didn't need to appear again. The only thing he does here is give Beatrice and Lillian some drugs and alcohol and complain about not having a warm place to sleep. But so many of the other touches and callbacks worked so well - even though the "Previously On..." segment somewhat spoiled what would be relevant in this final episode of the year.

Beatrice and Lillian aren't able to stop Frederick's wedding to Celery. It's a marriage of convenience for the two fathers who want to merge their families and businesses - considering steel and magnets are a perfect fit. But there's no love between the two. There's also no surprise to their ceremony. Beatrice and Lillian recognize the urgency of the situation. But they get too distracted by needing to say "Please" to Garfield in order for him to continue helping them. While that's happening, the action cuts back to the Manor where everyone is very matter-of-factly saying that the wedding has already taken place. The audience knows that Beatrice and Lillian are too late to stop things way before they actually get back home. That leads to the two of them starting their first real fight because they didn't get their way.

This family is very dysfunctional. That comes out in an expose in the local newspaper. All of their secrets are exposed - except for Victor and Albert's love affair. That's the only thing that breaks up the fight between Lillian, Beatrice and Celery. Everyone learns just how horrible this family actually is. And none of it is Hortense's fault. She just happened to point it all out while blaming Scoops LaPue for the article. The rest of the family won't read the article to see if that's true or not. The Commodore acts just as impulsively as the rest of his family. He is the least developed character in the show's incredibly strong ensemble. And yet, it still hits when he banishes Lillian and Beatrice from the manor. In that moment, they truly have been defeated. There's no way they can be accepted into high class society with a banishment. All of their hopes and wishes are officially over.

Except they aren't. That's the beauty of it. The finale crams a whole lot of story into its final minutes. But the impact of the last scene with Lillian and Beatrice is so strong. Walking away from the manor, they don't know what to do. Their lives as they've known them are officially over. They don't know how to survive in a world where they have to fend for themselves. They don't walk anywhere or even know how to say please. They are faced with that becoming a reality for them. And then, everything changes once again. A person in the town recognizes them as the pigs from the newspaper and wants their autograph. A crowd soon gathers. This isn't the kind of attention the two have been craving all season long. But it's just as good. They are being worshiped for who they are. This feeling is even better than the dream they have been chasing all season. They are the stars of the city following the article. That can lift them up to an entirely new level of celebrity in this community.

But that's not the only change that happens in this finale. Chair finally puts her plan into motion to move to the upstairs portion of the manor. She has spent her time in the downstairs quarters slowly manipulating the people who have been so cruel to her over the season. She got Garfield fired. She got Blanche institutionalized. And she is given Dodo in a state where she can easily give her too much of her once beloved drugs. All of this is done in the hopes of the Commodore seeing that a change needs to occur. And it does. Chair is able to return to her life as Celine, but as a resident of the manor and not a servant. Of course, that doesn't go over well with Dodo. But it's actually Blanche who has the final say in the matter. Even though Chair continues to manipulate and get rid of anyone who poses her a threat, she still can't fend off Blanche when she returns and pushes her down the stairs. That scene was such a great callback moment to the time Hortense was pregnant and tried getting rid of the baby. But this time, she actually did fall. Her fate is uncertain with so much of the staff knowing what she's up to and ready to do something about it. Blanche acted on it while Peepers embraced his former heritage and identity to also get the job done. Again, it's a very nice shakeup to the structure of the show - which will make the already announced Season 2 an anticipated delight to watch.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Modern Pigs" was written by Natasha Leggero & Riki Lindhome and directed by Jeremy Konner.
  • The one consistent thing about the Commodore is that he's always leaving so he doesn't have to deal with his crazy family. That makes sense but he stirs up enough problems when he's at the manor as well. He loves Celine but he's also not there to protect her in the end.
  • Albert finally wakes up - thanks to Peepers removing the ax from his chest - and promptly attacks Dr. Goldberg. 
  • Garfield is so excited to be welcomed back to the manor and rehired as a servant even though it's for a new job that doesn't pay nearly as well as the old one did. He's just so happy to be back doing the thing he loves.
  • Chair frames Hamish for the murder of Scoops LaPue, which is made hysterical because Hamish has no idea who that even is. It's not as if the two policeman would listen to that though.
  • The final credits-rolling scene of the season includes a tribute to the towel that is no longer a part of the Bellacourt manor. RIP Towel!