Monday, March 18, 2019

REVIEW: 'Arrested Development' - The Family Is Surprised by Buster's Plea at His Trial in 'Saving For Arraignment Day'

Netflix's Arrested Development - Episode 5.14 "Saving For Arraignment Day"

As the trial kicks off, the Guilty Guys throw the family for a loop. Lucille learns surprising news about Dusty. George-Michael plots a distraction.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Arrested Development.

"Saving For Arraignment Day" was written by Hallie Cantor and directed by Troy Miller

There understandably has to be some relevance to the new series of flashbacks that are starting off every episode. It's happened twice now. It is going to continue because the story cuts off before completely revolving everything that is going to happen. It just remains such a weird stylistic choice. It seems as if it could be a workaround to the busy schedules of the various actors on the show. Enough time is spent with these young versions of the characters to accommodate everyone. It also ensures that Lindsay is a part of the family again despite largely being missing from the present day action. No one in the family really cares about her either or the lack of her perspective in the various proceedings. However, it's much more intriguing to look ahead to the future than to once again delve into the past in the hopes of learning some surprising information about this family. The flashback really only brings Jean Smart into the proceedings as Lucille's mother who has long been absent from her grandchildren's lives. They don't immediately recognize her. Plus, it shows just how lazy the adults were in keeping the various secrets they had about their children. But time is better served in the present when it comes to analyzing the decisions that George-Michael and Maeby are making. The scene in the Fake Block offices is very telling because it shows that they are becoming mirror versions of their parents. George-Michael sees the burden of saving the family placed squarely on his shoulders while Maeby has some passing interest in some liberal cause and speaking up about it just like Lindsay always did. Michael and Lindsay have long butted heads with each other while still respecting each other. That's a trend that now extends to the next generation of the family. That is inherently interesting. It's important to see if George-Michael and Maeby will make the same mistakes as their parents and grandparents have made. George-Michael is still moving forward with construction of the wall simply because he feels an obligation to do so after firing his father. Of course, he is also more than willing to enlist Gob to create a distraction so that people aren't at all suspicious about his company not doing what it says it does. But that highlights how this episode is still mostly just setting up the end game for the season. Buster is finally on trial. The family is no closer to learning the truth about Lucille's disappearance. Michael is just now realizing the messages he got were all the same recording. That's not a strong piece of evidence that can help Buster mount a defense. Meanwhile, the rest of the family is scrambling because The Guilty Guys aren't the best lawyers that they could afford. They just want to enter a guilty plea and move on to sentencing. To them, that is the sensible thing to do. To the family though, they are willing to hire Dusty for the job after learning he is Lottie Dottie's ex-husband. He too has been keeping his fair share of secrets. He feels constrained by a tie and the legal world but he is also insanely rich with an estate with two separate staffs who are feuding with each other. But again, there is the overwhelming sense that the show is just telling the audience all of this information so that the eventually payoff that makes it all work will be seamless and hilarious. It's just really straining to achieve that in a meaningful and amusing way.